Artist Robert Milner’s art on display at Gallery 18

Ancelene MacKinnon
Published on June 18, 2014

Artist Robert Milner with his wife, Kathleen, at Gallery 18 in the Carriage House on June 15. Milner will be having an exhibit there until June 29. Ancelene MacKinnon/ Journal Pioneer

NEW LONDON – Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

For artist Robert Milner, maintaining his creative side was never an issue, as painting has been a part of his everyday life since he was a child growing up in England.

Now, living with his wife of 58 years in Kensington, he has done thousands of paintings over the decades and also teaches art classes from home in Malpeque.

His latest exhibit is taking place in New London at Gallery 18, in the Carriage House.

“It’s a retrospective because some of the pieces date back a long time and some are very new.”

He said a few are from 1970 and there are 38 paintings on display plus some small watercolours.

This isn’t the first time Gallery 18 has shown and sold Robert’s work.

“Kathleen and I arrived in P.E.I. from Ontario almost four years ago. This was one of the first galleries that took my work. They were happy to host it and I’m happy to have it shown here.”

The exhibit began on June 15 and will continue until June 29.

Robert said there is a significant amount of variation in his work.

“I paint whatever I feel like on the day and in whatever medium, so they can’t say, oh, yes, that’s absolutely a Robert Milner. I believe you should respond and paint to what you’re feeling.”

He has also been a social worker, but said painting is most important, as it’s the best form of expression.

“I guess I was just born with that instinct. It’s always been a part of my life.”

He loves for people to see his work, but if he never sold another painting, it’s something he would never let go of.

He and his wife met in England when they were teenagers, he said.

“I continued to paint and she continued to encourage me and has been doing so ever since.”

Kathleen said she’s proud of her husband as an artist and having another exhibit at Gallery 18 is wonderful.

“To me, he’s one of the best.”

She said she is a photographer and recently took up Robert’s passion.

“I’ve been painting for five years, but I have watched him over the years. You learn a lot by watching.”

It’s something they can enjoy doing together, she said.

“We go out in the field and paint. It really is lovely. We would paint forever.”

Aubrey Bell works at Gallery 18 and said it’s been rewarding working with Robert over the years.

“We’ve supported him and he’s supported us, so it’s been a good relationship.”

He said they always have a few pieces of his work on display throughout the season, but this is a major exhibit for Robert.

“It’s an opportunity for him to bring out a significant amount of his work and put them on display and give them more exposure.”