Janet (Holly) Middleton
A prominent western Canadian painter, printmaker, muralist and educator, Janet Middleton (aka: Holly Middleton; aka: Janet Holly Blench Middleton; aka: Mrs. Jack Churchill) was born in Vernon, BC. She was an associate of H.G. Glyde, Walter J. Phillips, A.Y. Jackson and several other mid 20th century Canadian art icons. Her works are in the permanent collections of several Canadian museums.
Janet Middleton studied at the Winnipeg School of Art (1941-3), at the Provincial Institute of Art and Technology in Calgary (1943-6) with H.G. Glyde and Walter J. Phillips, and at the Banff School of Fine Arts with Phillips, Glyde, George Pepper, and A.Y. Jackson (a member of the Group of Seven). In 1961-2, through a British Arts Council Bursary for the Slade School of Art (London) she studied graphics. During that time she also traveled and studied in France, Italy, Japan, and the USA.
Middleton taught at the Department of Extension, University of Alberta (1948-64). Between 1948 and 1971 she was a painting instructor at the Banff School of Fine Arts for the summer terms.
Janet Middleton painted in watercolour and oil, worked as a muralist and with stained glass, and she explored lithography and intaglio. Influenced by George Weber (1907-2002), her printmaking utilized serigraphy, woodcut, and linocut. Her approach to watercolour was very much based in the tradition of English Watercolours Technique, with its use of light, transparent washes. She was highly influenced by the tradition of the topographic artists of the expansionist period, working en plein air.
She was an early core member of the Edmonton Branch (Western) of the Canadian Society of Painters & Etchers, along with George Weber, Edmonton (its first president); Annora Brown, Ft. Macleod; Stanford E. Blodgett, Calgary; Margaret Shelton, Hubalta; and James Agrell Smith, Red Deer. Her serigraphs were exhibited, along with one hundred and twelve other entries, in the first Western Canada Print Exhibit (1956-7) at Hart House, Toronto. Her works were regularly included in the large juried exhibitions of the CPE. She was granted full membership with that organization in 1961.