Sylvan Lake artist selling work

for a good cause

You don’t need to travel very far to see artist Denise Milne’s love for the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre on display.

Just take a stroll down the hospital’s main floor hallway.

Nestled on a wall between the admitting desk and the regional hospital’s main elevator banks is one of Denise’s latest creations.

A mixed media artist, Denise is also co-owner of Sylvan Lake’s Bonavista Art Gallery, named after Lake Bonavista, the Calgary community she grew up in. A drafter by trade, Denise rediscovered her creative side while taking classes at Red Deer College’s Summer Art School Series in 2012.

“Before that, I had always done a little bit of tole painting. I used to cut my own wood to paint … I always did something. I took that abstract class in 2012 and something clicked. I just loved it and I never looked back.”

Over the next four years, she took additional classes to further refine her skills.

She opened Bonavista Art Gallery in December 2015 originally to showcase her own work. Over time, she began welcoming other local artists into the fold, and at one point displayed the work of 29 other Central Alberta artists.

While escorting her business partner to the hospital for a procedure in January, Denise was amazed by the artwork displayed in the hallway. Her friend suggested they approach Volunteer Resources to inquire about displaying some of her work.

“I really wanted it to be a big display,” she said. “But I wanted to give back because they are doing so much work … I just feel like its right to give back.”

Once approved, Denise returned to her gallery to begin work on her series, “How do I love thee.” The 29-piece floral-themed series was recently installed in the main hallway of the hospital and will be on display until the end of September.

The title came to her as she completed her first few paintings.

“That was just what was coming out,” she explained. “It all ties into the hospital and people visiting sick people that they love. I just thought it was a fitting title.”

Besides her art, Denise’s favourite creation is her son, Carson. During his first year of high school, Carson became quite ill and spent the better part of three years battling health problems away from school. Now 21, Carson recently completed his high school education and will be taking mechanical engineering technology at Red Deer College this fall.

“I’m really proud of him for doing that, because once you start getting up there in age it’s harder to go back.”

Denise’s paintings retail for $79 and can be purchased by calling Volunteer Resources at (403) 343-4715.

Denise said she hopes to eventually create another series for display in the hospital, with proceeds going towards mental health.

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