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ArtSpotlight

Lifetime Achievement Spotlight

Millard Wells, A.W.S.
Painter

Millard Wells is perhaps the most exciting and prolific watercolor specialist in the State of Florida, and has earned membership in the American Watercolor Society - a distinction he has enjoyed since 1966. He is the only Florida Keys artist to have earned this prestigious recognition, one that is second only to membership in the Royal Watercolor Society of England. From his longtime home and studio in the Florida Keys, he records his impressions of his spectacular surroundings. As owner and operator of the Wells Studio-Gallery in Islamorada, Mr. Wells is considered to be one of the country's foremost watercolorists, a fine demonstrator and an inspiring teacher.

 

Each watercolor by Millard Wells captures the rich hues he sees all around him and celebrates the land, water, and sky of the Keys. His method of watercolor painting, which requires fast location painting, lends itself to portraying the interesting characters, birds, water, lighthouses, boats, and buildings as he sees them in that moment. Through his paintings, he calls attention to the sensitive resources of the Florida Keys and recognizes the interconnectedness of the natural environment with the community, without losing the charming ambiance of the old-time Florida Keys.

 

Mr. Wells was born in Arkansas, reared in Michigan, educated at the Flint Institute of Art and a student of Joroslav Brozik. He also studied under Maholy-Nagy at the Chicago Institute of Design following his discharge from the Armed Forces after World War II. Mr. Wells first paintings in the south were done during a stint in service in Charleston, South Carolina where he won a first place award in the National Soldier Art Competition and exhibited with that show in the National Galleries in Washington, D.C. This was followed by a succession of shows and awards all over the country. Millard is an active member of several state watercolor groups and is one of the founders and Past President of the Florida Watercolor Society. He has been active on the Board of Directors of that society and has recently seated on the Executive Advisory Board. He is actively participating in exhibits across the country and his paintings may be found in many public and prominent private collections.

 

Although Millard is adept in any media, his personal challenge is watercolor and his handling of this media is acclaimed in Florida as one of the finest. Since 1968 when he moved from Chicago to the Florida Keys and began to devote all his time to painting, Wells has painted in the subtropical areas surrounding the Keys. He is also familiar with Grand Cayman, the Dry Tortugas, and has spent time painting in Cozumel, the Yucatan Peninsula, Colombia, Haiti, and El Salvador. His singular ability brilliantly brings the viewer closer to the true feeling of the fantasia of lush greens, vivid blues and rich hues of native color predominating these still untouched areas of the world.

 

"I am constantly being made aware of the beauty and the inhabitants of the waters of the Florida Keys. Fly fishing has allowed me the best opportunity of seeing intimately this unique area and its citizens at a closer range. This intimate acquaintance has enabled me to transfer my inmost feelings in the language I know best...watercolor. It is my way of sharing, yet protecting, our ecological heritage."


Millard Wells is also a published author. The illustrated journal, Florida Keys Impressions, is a journey around the Florida Keys highlighted by his original watercolor paintings. In addition to three yearly workshops which he conducts on the Keys, Mr. Wells has taught drawing and painting on the faculty for the Florida Keys Community College.

 

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