“I thought it was a wonderful scene, or I thought it was. My parents didn’t appreciate it so much, though,” Mills said laughing.
“I was always drawing, and at school, they would send home notes that said I was doing too much drawing and not doing my classwork,” Mills said, adding that his mother didn’t think much of his talent, and wanted her son to go to college and be an engineer.
Mills did just the opposite. His education focused on art, and he studied sculpting, painting and sketching.
Born in 1950 in Fitzgerald, Mills received a bachelor of arts in education and a bachelor of arts in design from LaGrange College, a master of fine arts from Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y., and studied under Marvin Mattelson at his portrait drawing/ painting workshop in Atlanta. Mills did an advanced study at the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture in Princeton, N.J.
He is a member of the Portrait Society of Atlanta, the Portrait Society of America and the Portrait Institute. Mills has been an adjunct instructor of art appreciation and leads the drawing and painting workshops at Southern Union State Community College in Wadley, Ala.
While at LaGrange College, he met his future wife. They are parents of three children and two grandchildren.
Mills teaches art appreciation at Southern Union Community College and Columbus State University. He also is a member of the Visual Arts Alliance of LaGrange. He exhibits art, mostly portraits, at various shows and exhibits. He has ventured into a few other roles, including politics.
But it is the art that keeps him going.
Mills has exhibited his work through the Visual Art Alliance of LaGrange as well as at the LaGrange Art Museum, the Wildlife America Foundation, Callaway Gardens Invitational, Rosenfeld Gallery in Philadelphia and a variety of locations in New York.
Calling Norman Rockwall as one of the artists who inspired him, Mills tries to share and show his experience with his students, but he also said, “I have learned from my students. When I was teaching art on the secondary level, I had a group of eighth-graders who amazed me. I would keep a book of their work and show my college students, and say, look at what these eighth-graders did.”
Mills’ next show will be through the Visual Art Alliance of LaGrange’s exhibit at the LaGrange Art Museum on Oct. 16.
“Each artist has been allowed to submit different pieces – I submitted four,” he said.
Most of his submissions have been portraits
Mills believes the show to be a “good opportunity for local artists to show their work, and for the community to see what the local artists have to offer.”
Asked to define his art, Mills said, “It is a serious research into the techniques of past and present masters.”
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