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10 things you didn't know about Judy-Ann MacMillan

Published:Sunday | October 7, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Judy-Ann MacMillan

Judy-Ann MacMillan is one of the country's leading painters. Her preferred style, realism, as in the figurative, the art form that pre-dated photorealism.

Not that she finds this form better or worse than any other type of expression; it is simply, for her, the most enjoyable and has been so when, at 16, she first laid eyes on Van Gogh's 'Starry Night'.

Today, this art form is not as fashionable in some quarters, but MacMillan has her fans who constantly badger her to host retreats and give lessons, as not only is her style celebrated and acclaimed, it has inspired a new generation of artists. A book of her work, published in 2004 by Macmillan Publishers (no relation), has an introductory essay by celebrated artist Edward Lucie-Smith.

MacMillan was enrolled at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, Scotland, at age 16, and although offered a post-diploma year by the college, returned home in a hurry to start her painting career, which saw her hosting her first one-man show in Kingston at the age of 21. Since her debut, she has taken part in numerous group shows, private views and numerous one-man shows in Jamaica and abroad, most notably the last two being in London in 'What is Realism' at Alblemarle Gallery London in 2005, and 'My Jamaica', at the Jonathan Clark Fine Art, last year.

With her inspiration being the island of Jamaica, its people, its flowers and fauna, its topography and her own emotional response to the unique, visual experience of Jamaica.

Today, we look at 10 things we did not know about the celebrated artist.

1. She is an unapologetic optimist. "I think it takes more courage and faith to see the glass as half full rather than half empty."

2. MacMillan values true friendship above all other emotions.

3. She does not like hypocrisy. "I am uncomfortable around pretentiousness and find the company of negative people draining."

4. When entertaining or being entertained, she prefers small groups for lunch or dinner rather than big parties because "I love to cook for my friends and enjoy being cooked for by friends, especially those from different cultures".

5. She is addicted to cooking shows on television, as she finds them informative and educational, and a source of inspiration when she enters into the kitchen.

6. MacMillan has a passion for chocolates that borders on vice.

7. She does not think she has ever met an Italian she didn't like.

8. She is in awe of people who are proficient in mathematics.

9. Her secret dream involves leaning on a piano in a smoky club wearing a sequined dress and singing the blues. It has remained a dream only because she can't sing.

10. "I love my life in the present, adore my past, but have no wish to live in it."