Joyce Bessie Mills was born in Sydney on the Second of August 1914, the day World War 1 was declared, to parents Elea and Bessie Angelo (née Gowing). She was born with only two fifths of normal vision.
Joyce attended Artarmon Public School and Neutral Bay High School and lived in the Artarmon area as a child. Joyce initially trained as a nurse in Dubbo but returned to Sydney to assist her elderly mother. She married Arthur Brier Mills and lived in the Kings Cross area for many years. After her husband's death she moved to Ronald Ave, Greenwich in the 1950s and commenced painting under Henry Justelius at Naremburn.
Joyce produced hundreds of artworks over the years, mainly traditional oils, acrylics and watercolours of still life, portraits and landscapes. Her use of primary colour has been a consistent feature. Many artists at the time thought this brash but soon came to copy her vibrant style.
Joyce ran a local art class from her home for many years and was a very close friend of well known local Northwood artist Lloyd Rees and his wife Margery.
Joyce was a life member of the Lane Cove Art Society and in 2010 still sponsored an annual Art Prize. She exhibited from 1977 and won many awards, amongst them the Lloyd Rees Prize in 1988 and the Lane Cove Art Society Prize in 1994. Joyce and Viola Winkler shared an exhibition annually for many years at the Chatswood Town Hall and in 2003 she held a very large solo exhibition of 150 artworks at the Lane Cove Music & Cultural Centre selling approximately 60 artworks in three weeks.
Joyce held an annual exhibition at the centre from 2003, her most recent contribution being 5 artworks as part of the NSW Seniors Week Exhibition “Age and Memory".
Joyce donated many artworks to friends, charities and Lane Cove Council.
Joyce was the subject of Portrait Artists Thora Unger, Pamela Irving and Irene Bateson.
An impressive portrait of Lloyd Rees painted by Joyce in the 1970s was recently donated (by Laurie Butler) to the Lane Cove Music & Cultural Centre for the now dedicated Lloyd Rees Studio.
Joyce was recently the subject of documentary film maker Jan Wood with her life story being filmed for the Chanel 44, Coffee Break Series.