So it was no big stretch for Milton, a Sawdust Art Festival exhibitor who paints watercolors of classic landmarks and vanishing Americana, to agree earlier this year to become the treasurer of the festival's Benevolence Fund board of trustees.
The fund benefits Laguna Beach artists, regardless of their Sawdust involvement, in times of dire need.
The fund's 15th annual art auction will be this Sunday, where everything from original paintings to jewelry, ceramics, sculptures, art glass and clothing will be available for bidding.
Funds raised have gone to fire, flood and landslide victims, as well as exhibitors who have been unable to continue working due to medical emergencies.
"I've seen a lot of people helped by it," Milton said. "Life turns on a dime sometimes; things happen."
To date, about $100,000 has been distributed to 80 artists, who can apply for $1,000 a month for five months total per year.
"We annually help out usually about a half a dozen artists," exhibitor and fund trustee Scott Moore said. "Each artist is eligible for a $1,000 monthly grant, with up to five grants monthly per incident."
Moore said illness is the typical reason for a request.
"The average artist doesn't have health insurance," Milton said.
"Artists are facing the same problems as the rest of the nation. The average American is only one health disaster away from bankruptcy. They're doing everything they can, but they're still slipping through the cracks of the system."
It's rare for a non-Sawdust exhibitor to request assistance, Moore said, although the fund is open to all Laguna Beach artists.
"Ninety percent of the time they are Sawdust artists," he said.
Many items at the auction will be sold at bargain basement prices.
"Some of the best art I've been able to collect has been from auctions," Milton said.