Courtney Miley

January 15, 2019

On finding her path and staying whole

Artist Courtney Miley was introduced to us by way of osmosis. She is an active participant in the Greater Baton Rouge arts markets and shows her work in a variety of gallery and alternative venues. She’s a dedicated painter who’s driven by her love of her craft and lifted by the community she’s found in the fellow artists that make up our great region. What we love most is her story, and how her art journey began (along with her daughter’s own artistic beginnings). She took some time to talk to us about her practice this week for our Artist to Watch blog, and we are so glad she did!

Were you an artsy kid, and what got you started in painting?

Not that I can recall, but I have always been intrigued by the arts, especially abstract paintings.  I didn’t find my “inner artsy kid” until much later.  In 2012, my 7 year old daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia.  During treatment we began to paint small canvases to pass the time and I started to notice the therapeutic effect it had on both of us.  So we began art journaling because it was somewhat portable.  For the next two years I did not leave the house without a backpack stocked with art supplies and at least 2 art journals.  This was not only a way for my daughter to take her mind off of chemo and doctors, but also for me it was a way to process and heal through a very scary journey in our lives.  As she began to get better and we spent more time at home rather than in the hospitals, I found a little more time to explore this new passion for painting and working in mixed media.  Now, seven years later, I realize that while medicine saved my daughters life, art is what kept me whole. 

How did you learn your craft?

All of my painting and art knowledge is self-taught and learned through exploring.  When I first began I approached painting like learning a foreign language and immersed myself in any media I could get my hands on.  In the beginning it seemed more like a science experiment between what would happen if I mixed media’s and colors together, and how it would look if I applied it to different substrates.  In the end that was the best way for me to learn…..hands on with appreciated mistakes along the way. 

What other artist or people are you inspired by?

There are so many amazing artists out there.  At the moment I’ve really enjoyed art by Australian artist, Rowena Martinich.  Her use of color and large scale work is divine.  Abstract artists, Andrea Soos and Heather Day, I absolutely love their work!  Their free style way of mark making seem raw and refined at the same time.  

Music is a huge part of my process and my painting is highly influenced by song lyrics and emotions.  At the moment Dermot Kennedy, an Irish singer/songwriter, is on repeat in my studio.  I also have the privilege of having live music on occasions while painting (the privileges of being married to a musician).  It can’t go without saying that my family is a huge inspiration to me.  I couldn’t ask for better cheerleaders.  My oldest daughter is an amazing artist. Although we have very different styles, I am always amazed at her work.   Her raw passion for art and the skill-set she has honed at age 16 is so inspiring to be around.

How do you feel about the arts opportunities in Baton Rouge?

Baton Rouge’s arts community and arts opportunities are great.  There is always an art show to view, a market to shop, or an art organization gathering.  Its just up to the artist to put there work out there.  There is also a great sense of community between artist and local businesses that creates a great atmosphere for growth in our city, along with great organizations to help guide new and seasoned artists.

This past year I have had several opportunities to work with these awesome organizations. Some including the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, MidCity Rising, LocalPop Up by Sweet Baton Rouge, and MidCity Makers.

What are you excited about in 2019?

For the last 15 years I've been the stay-at-home mom of 4 children, so I am still feeling my way through this process of being a working artist.  But this year I hope to continue to get my paintings out into the world.  I try not to get too far ahead of myself and just stay fluid to growth and change that comes with a new year.  What I can say for 2019 is I look forward to making more art.  I hope to continue to find new venues for my art along with a different way for my art to be viewed on a larger physical scale.  I love to paint abstract and the canvases just seem to be getting bigger. 

Where can people see your work online and in person?

Last November I had the privilege of being accepted into the Baton Rouge Arts Market which is held on the first Saturday of every month from 8 AM to 12 PM downtown.  I will also be joining Mid City Makers Market this coming February.  The MMM is a fine arts/makers market held once a month from 6 to 8pm.  Both markets schedules can be viewed on their website.  Also throughout the year I try to attend local art fairs.  Those schedules are usually updated closer to each event. 

Online my work can be viewed on my website or they can follow me on Instagram @cmileyart.  I tend to update my work more often on my social media than on my website.  You can also see updates about shows/market through-out the year on my instagram and by joining my email list.