Back when she was a19-year-old nanny to three children in England, the world of art was an unknown. And it continued that way when she emigrated from Holland to BC in 1965 when the Dutch government, to address a crisis of overpopulation, offered to pay citizens to leave the country for either Australia or Canada. Mildred Van Ommen chose Canada, mainly because her aunt was living in Terrace. And yet, looking back, her genealogy search turned up painters on her mother's side. "They were mainly into folk art," she says. But it took a while to commit to painting.
Having experienced life in Rimouski, Montreal, Vancouver, Tsawwassen, London (Ont), Ottawa, Markham and White Rock (twice), where she returned to school at 52 to become a medical office assistant and then managing a group of 16 doctors, Mildred is finally getting in touch with her artistic roots. "I enjoy it here and plan to stay," she says. "Having grandchildren in Victoria and in Vancouver helped my decision to settle here." She took her first painting class three years ago in Cordova Bay at the 55+ Centre. Now, once a week she heads to Goward House for a painting class. After four years, she's
developed a style of her own using watercolours or acrylics. Her condo walls show proof of her artistic talent. Probably something in the genes!