My name is Steve Miller. My acrylic figurative, landscape, and still life paintings are inspired by autobiographical moments and feelings I contemplate and represent in order to challenge myself, be present, and achieve self-awareness.
Watching my daughters grow up provides plenty of inspirational moments to capture through painting. 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.
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 and instincts to help me discover imagery that conveys what is often difficult to communicate. Exhilaration is a feeling I captured in my painting, “Trail Dreams.” The sense of movement, rich color, and dappled light in this imaginary landscape was inspired by memories of mountain biking in S.E. Michigan.
Isolation and helplessness are feelings I have analyzed and portrayed in my painting “Fat Man Little Boat.” In this painting, an oversized, exposed male figure, that looks a little like a mix between me, and my deceased father, sits in a tiny rowboat in the middle of nowhere, out at sea. With his dim lantern, he searches for answers. Hope is represented by the moonlight above him. I couldn’t stop thinking while painting this that we are all basically alone during life’s toughest moments. I had no preconceived plan to paint this narrative. I simply opened myself up to the feelings I was having, and allowed my head, heart, and hand the time needed to comprehend and visualize those deep feelings, giving the viewer a first-person perspective into my soul.
A lot of my paintings develop organically, through trial and error. Corrections are made along the way. Visualizing and interpreting feelings is a process of discovery. Once a direction is determined, I may cover everything up and start over in order to satisfy my need for strong composition and a sense of movement within the image.
Painting allows me the opportunity to discover, contemplate, and represent my thoughts. Hopefully, the viewers also discover a connection with the artwork.