painting full time in the mid – 80’s and turned professional in 1986 with the
aid of the infamous ‘Enterprise Allowance Scheme’. He was initially inspired to
paint landscapes by visits to the Lake District and was drawn to work in ‘Ink
and Watercolour’, using soluble ink to create hints of linear detail, but with
the essence of watercolour.
The remainder of
the 80’s was spent busily combining Painting, Exhibitions and Teaching, whilst
each holiday provided new and exciting material. By the end of the 80’s, Gus’s
painting style and the range of subjects covered had expanded considerably. The
ink was long gone and a bold strong style of pure watercolour evolved.
became a significant area of Gus’s work, subjects ranging from Traction engines
to the ‘Dreaming Spires’, as well as numerous landscapes. He still really
enjoys the challenge of Commission work, with many happy customers.
time spent working at Labbett House, East Challow, Gus opened the Studio for
Oxfordshire Art Week and for a Winter pre- Christmas Show. He also participated
in a range of group shows as well as solo exhibitions further afield.
His style and
approach were in great demand at Adult classes and for Art Society
Demonstrations. During his teaching time at Grove Adult Education Centre over
800 students were influenced by his unique style and competent teaching. Many
ex-students have subsequently exhibited their own work, having learnt the finer
points of watercolour painting from Gus.
In 2004 Gus
entered the Sunday Mail’s ‘Not the Turner Prize’ competition. His painting
‘Wantage Brook- Betjeman Walk’ was selected from over 12,000 entries to form
part of the finalists’ exhibition. Although not the outright winner, the
experience of exhibiting in the Mall Galleries, Trafalgar Square indicated to
Gus that his painting had reached a level which justified a wider audience.
In May 2005, ‘The
Gus Mills Gallery’, opened in Wantage. Set in a beautiful and very old
building, it allowed Gus the opportunity to work alongside the ceramics, glass
and wood of many other artists. The Gallery enjoyed over three years of success
until changes in Wantage and the economic climate forced closure.
For a few years
Gus combined several days a week at the Oxford Castle Market with working once
again at the Attic Studio, East Challow.
takes part three times a year in a prestigious Art and Craft Market in Broad
Street, Oxford and this has led to a wide collection of work focusing on Oxford
and particularly the college buildings. He has recently begun selling his work
in Blackwell’s Art and Poster Shop.
He continues to
share his watercolour talent with young artists through work in schools and is
available at the studio in Challow, where by arrangement paintings can always be
viewed, as well as discussing commissions.