Here’s an animated .gif file of the different stages in the making of my new painting titled, Mental Fix. It was inspired by a strange happening under the viaduct on Normandy Rd next to Delemere Blvd. in Royal Oak.
This repeating animated gif file shows the development of my latest painting titled, Ben Jamin.
The realistic landscape depicts the Benjamin Avenue Viaduct in Royal Oak, Michigan toward the end of winter.
There are several dilapidated 1930’s viaducts in Royal Oak. They are a point of contention with the residents of the city for various reasons, including questionable structural safety, potholes, trash, and graffiti.
A year or so ago, a friend of mine, artist Carl Oxley III, decided to call attention to the state of disrepair the viaduct near his place was in, and he painted a mural of his signature bunnies on the wall. Well, it turns out graffiti is illegal and someone complained about it to the city. The city responded very swiftly by apprehending Carl and painting over his bunny mural with gray paint. (See my rendition below) Carl learned a thing or two through this process about the city and how it has no control over railroad crossings, but plenty over covering up graffiti.
Anyway, to make a long story short, his story stuck with me. I found myself taking pictures of the viaduct on Benjamin Ave., near my studio, toward the end of winter/early spring. This painting is the result of my curiosity. I love the stains on the concrete, and the texture of the leaves and potholes. I like the subtle differences of the gray squares covering old graffiti and the peeling paint. I like the light, the shadows, and the perspective. Most importantly, I like the challenge it was representing this space accurately. On the sidewalk, I’ve included one of Carl’s bunny yard signs under some leaves, as an homage. He sold those yard signs to people who wanted to support his cause of calling attention to the problem.
I began painting “Stasis Hiatus” in November of 2018. This has been one of the most rewarding and difficult paintings I’ve made to date.
Originally, I was open to portraying the interior loosely and painterly, inspired by an artist I stumbled upon on Instagram. However, as I went along, I found myself excited by the prospect of pushing the image realistically, and taming the visual chaos of the room.
I am portraying a moment I experience often when walking into my studio. The need to decide whether to get to work on a painting that I’m not fully invested in yet, or play the drums for instant gratification.
My father used to talk to me about the subject often. He felt the need for instant gratification was a real stumbling block in our society. I can see his point, however, procrastination can also lead to creativity.
Look At My Painting “Stasis Hiatus“.
This small pet portrait was made for two dear friends in memory of their beloved little Pomeranian family member named Zoe.
Last week, I made a painting while visiting Douglas Beach on Lake Michigan with my family and friends.
I had a blast working en plein air, under shade, while everyone else played in the sand and water.
Studying the changing light and reflecting surfaces of the water was mesmerizing, but I had to work quickly laying in compositional and color choices before my acrylics dried or the light changed too drastically.
The finished painting took approximately 2.5 hours on site, and a couple more hours in my studio.
Here is my FB Post about painting “A Day at Douglas Beach”.
Visit the portfolio entry for “A Day at Douglas Beach”.
It’s hot, humid, very bright. Keep moving. Almost to the top. There’s an offshoot with shade. If only these damn horseflies would leave me alone.
This is one narrative I consider when thinking about my latest acrylic landscape painting titled, “Rocky Climb.”
Rocky Climb, like a lot of my paintings, is not based on a real place. It’s a fabricated daydream I explored for fun, through trial and error, and months of pushing paint around.
I enjoy painting imaginary landscapes because it reveals more about me than if I were to paint what’s in front of me. On the surface, Rocky Climb expresses the beauty I find in organic forms, and rugged environments. However, when looking a little deeper, this painting suggests that I have more hill to climb before I feel accomplished or satisfied. Therefore, this painting says a lot about my inability to appreciate where I am at the moment. I guess I should work on that.
To see progress shots and details of my painting process, follow me on instagram @SteveMillerArt.
See Portfolio Page of Rocky Climb.
Just finished this big trail painting today.
I took several pictures, so I could make this little animated gif and look back at the work in progress.
Trail Dreams, 60 x 40, acrylic on canvas, © Steve Miller 2017
This painting was inspired by mountain biking in SE Michigan, but is not an actual place. It’s just a daydream built on good memories of getting out there and contending with the trail. Feeling the exhilaration of moving through the trees, and finding all these great things to look at, if only for a moment.
Painted these portraits of my little ladies the other day. Magenta highlights and smiles.