Janet (Holly) Middleton CPE

1922 - c. 2018

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), which offered her an opportunity to travel across the Province of Alberta. Between 1948 and 1971 she was a painting instructor at the Banff School of Fine Arts for the summer terms. She later lectured at the University of Guelph, Ontario.

Janet Middleton worked with a variety of media. She painted in watercolor and oil, worked as a muralist and with stained glass, and she explored lithography and intaglio. Influenced by George Weber (1907-2002), Janet utilized the printmaking media of serigraphy, woodcut, and linocut. Her approach to watercolor was very much based in the tradition of English Watercolors Technique, with its use of light, transparent washes. She was highly influenced by the tradition of the topographic artists of the expansionist period, where working d'eau plein air served the purpose of documentation.

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.