2018-01-01 / Arts & Entertainment

Artist SPOTLIGHT: Mila Apperlo sees light from a unique perspective

By Kathy O’Flinn


“Summer” 48”x48” acrylic “Summer” 48”x48” acrylic An accomplished stained glass artist, Mila Apperlo has been exhibiting and winning awards and accumulating collectors for her abstract paintings here and abroad.

Her painting “Chesapeake Bay” recently was accepted into the annual juried experimental art exhibit by the International Society of Experimental Artists, hosted by BigArts on Sanibel.

“Both stained glass and painting are my true passions. With painting I can express my feelings better,” said Apperlo in a mix of English and Serbian with her husband, Stevan Stanisic, translating. “It’s hard to speak English especially when I get excited,” she said.

Apperlo and Stanisic met 27 years ago. She was a young intern in his father’s company, a respected stained glass and mosaic studio. Stanisic had just graduated from college after studying art history and joined the family business, established in 1908 by his great-grandfather. “We found many things in common but most importantly for all these years we shared our love and passion for the arts and each other,” said Stanisic.


“Window” 24”x48” acrylic “Window” 24”x48” acrylic Since then, the couple has created stunning stained glass windows and mosaics for private homes, businesses and places of worship.

Four years ago, as Apperlo explained, they came to Southwest Florida to visit a fellow artist and friend, Brenda Belfield, and soon decided this is where they wanted to be. Today they are Florida residents and after two years they are comfortably settled in as teachers of mosaics and stained glass at the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs, where Stanisic is the marketing director. They continue to do commissions, doors and windows, some lanai work and mosaics for swimming pools as Mila also pursues her interest in abstract painting.

In Florida she fell in love with the light. A morning trip to a foggy Miami was her inspiration for one painting. She began a painting that same afternoon at home trying the capture the image in her mind of the fog and her emotion at the time. It’s a process she does quickly and from her heart. It’s a very different process from stained glass; however, many of her paintings capture light with a stained glass quality.

Her paintings are joyful, not melancholy, of landscapes remembered using a palette of predominantly blue, yellow and gold acrylics. She finds inspiration for her abstract style in the works of Joan Mitchell, the American abstract expressionist painter and Picasso and Modigliani. She has studied with abstract artists Brenda Belfield and Theresa Girard.

More of her work can be seen at apperlo.com/paintings. 

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