My name is Steve Miller. My representational acrylic paintings document my life as a husband, father, and creative professional. I visualize my thoughts and capture both observational and imaginary moments.
Watching my daughters grow up provides plenty of inspirational moments to paint about. For example, two recent paintings, “Allowance”, and “Dress Makers” illuminate two loving and playful moments in the sister’s relationship during the waning days of summer. Luckily, I had the forethought to take pictures of these moments while they were happening, so I had material to work from in the studio.
Memories and feelings are much harder to convey. They take more time to explore and comprehend, and often, I have no idea what the output will look like. I rely on my imagination, experience, and instincts to help me discover imagery that conveys what is often difficult to communicate. Exhilaration is a feeling I portray in my painting, “Trail Dreams.” This imaginary landscape was inspired by memories of mountain biking in S.E. Michigan. The use of rich color, dappled light, and blurred forms contrasting sharp focal points give the painting a sense of movement.
Most important to me as an artist, is to tell a relatable story within a believable space.
Most important to me as an artist, is to tell a relatable story within a believable space. People relate to images they can recognize, and I use that as a tool to communicate ideas.
My most recent painting, “Stasis Hiatus” is one of the most realistic yet imaginative paintings I have made to date. It’s an image of my studio space, and it reveals a lot about me. On the left, a solid yellow ochre canvas sits on the easel waiting to be worked on. On the right, is my drum set waiting to be played. Everything else in the room is organized chaos, informing and directing the viewers’ gaze through the composition back to the choice: drums or art. Which will it be? Painting takes time and lots of effort, but is very rewarding when finished. Playing drums is instant and fun, but you’re left with nothing to show for it. The relatable story here is that we are all facing choices daily between working toward long-term goals and satisfying our desire for immediate gratification.
Sharing my story through painting allows me the opportunity to be present and self-aware, challenge myself, and seek praise. Assigning meaning, however, is one of the most exciting parts of making or viewing art. And it always comes after the painting is finished.