It was an idyllic glimpse of what an artist’s life could be: while on a school painting trip in the small Italian village of Seravezza, Leilany Garron-Mills painted morning, noon and night—pausing only when the tantalizing aromas from the kitchen signaled that food was on its way.
"I’d walk up to the studio with a cappuccino in hand and begin painting for the whole day," says Leilany, a native of Bolivia. The school trip was offered through the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. , where she was living and working as a graphic designer for the Inter-American Development Bank.
At the end of 10 days, her mind was made up: the graphic designer would become a painter. Pursuing her dream brought her to NSCAD University in 2008. Now her life is as rich as what she first tasted in Tuscany: she works as the artist-in-residence at Office Interiors in Dartmouth and is currently producing work for a third solo show.
Title: Passionate Life in bright orange and fascinating blues, oil on canvas, 36" by 30", 2011 (Private collection of Mr. & Ms. Robbie Shaw)
"Painting is very challenging and yet at the same time so rewarding," she explains. "When I was in Italy, time stood still and it felt completely right … I recognized that painting was exactly what I wanted to do, what I am doing every day."
And she may yet return to NSCAD: "When you’re studying, you work so hard to finish. But at the end, the immediate question is ‘What’s next?’ ‘What else can I take at NSCAD?’ It really is a place of possibilities."