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#RetroAGO: Thriving in isolation

Legendary Canadian painter David Milne used seclusion as a means for self-discovery.

Winter Sky David Milne

David Brown Milne. Winter Sky, January 1, 1935. Oil on canvas, 30.5 x 41.3 cm. The Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario. © Art Gallery of Ontario AGOID.104212

As we all process what’s happening around the world, the lens through which we choose to view it can really set the tone for our experience. Perhaps while we’re practicing physical distancing we can discover new roads to self improvement. For a great example of thriving in isolation, we take a look back at the life of famed Canadian artist David Milne.

For David Milne, a chosen life of seclusion in the wilderness was a means of thriving as an artist, and growing as a human being. Milne was a woodsman. He lived alone for long periods of time in remote cabins throughout rural Ontario, doing nothing but painting, journaling and maintaining a humble lifestyle. The peace and harmony with nature that Milne experienced in seclusion is evident in the subtle landscapes that defined his body of work. And by viewing his gorgeous landscapes, perhaps we can all experience a bit of serenity ourselves.

Back in 2012, the AGO produced a series of short videos exploring Milne’s monumental life and work. Using his personal journal entries, the video below features a self-described day in the life of David Milne.   

David Milne: My Days

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