Studio Sessions with Wendy McLeod, a Milk Paint Artist with a Colourful Spirit

Studio Sessions with Wendy McLeod, a Milk Paint Artist with a Colourful Spirit


How did you get started?

Well you turn a certain age and after you live your life and raised children you just take a look and you go this is not my life. We have our traditional life and mine was colorful I needed that back. So I went into a room where there was wood and Milk paint. There’s always wood and Milk paint in the house and I just started painting. I just let everything out that I was holding in my head.


What is milk paint?

Milk paint is the oldest paint known. It dates back to cave paintings. Egyptians used it. Its used in native art. Its known for its durability. Its crushed up lime and the protein from the milk and natural pigments. So ground up clays and minerals for color and it soaks unto porous surfaces. They use it on stone and wood and it never chips, peels or fades. The colors are rich and earthy.  Milk paint looks dull and dries really fast but when you put the finish on its like pouring water on to a rock. The colors get intense and really pops. Its an amazing process.


How have you grown and developed as an artist?

Milk paint is an interesting paint to work with so actually painting in colors with it is a process of its own. I’m always learning something different. Its like a stain so when you put it on the wood its there. You have to know exactly what your want the piece to look like. There is no blending. There no messing around with this paint. Its intentional.


What are some challenges you have faced and what advise would you give?

Well I have no art training. I’ve never taken an art class. Everything is self thought. Even I grade school when the whole class was doing something there was the teacher coming up to me going “no, no, no that’s not right! Its outside the lines. Its everywhere”. I used to think I’m not meant to be an artist so that was a write off my list right away. So when I started I think the wood really inspired me when I look and the movement of the trees. I’m not really one for tradition so when it comes to painting I would advise anyone to look at the famous painters who were ostracized. They just painted what was in their head and they paint how the saw the world. I see the world so colourful so that’s how I paint.

Do what you feel do not paint for the masses! Paint for yourself.


What does your creative process look like?

For me painting just happens. You get a board and sometimes you have intention for it and sometimes the grain is so pronounced or I see some kind of image in it and I just go with it. I can paint in a day from start to finish. I just need to get it done. I need to see the end.


Title: Self Portrait

This is a wood panel I had picked up and I was going to do something else with it but the wood grain was really lovely so I used the milk paint stains. So it has colours and it has stain. So I’m standing here at the board and I was following the grain and you see my shadow (she explains this as she turns her back to the window in her studio). So I’m seeing this all day. So I go do something else or go and have lunch and every time I cam back I would see my shadow. S I just went its meant to be. So I followed the shadow and it became my self portrait. Now I never though I would do a self portrait but when I started painting this is how I see the world. Outside of the shadow is dull. Cars are all the same nothing is really interesting and the colors in the shadow is my colourful spirit. I didn’t intentionally choose colors but when I stand back and look at my art I see things like months later that I didn’t see before. Across my chest and in my head there bright red which represents my passion. On the shoulder where we hold a lot of our past pains and strass. The barn red to me is like dried blood where all of our past is sitting on one side.


Check out Wendy’s work Click Here

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