Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"Minecraft Cow" Original Oil Daily Painting

Busy day! I prepped a bunch of new substrates so that I could do my daily painting without running out. This time, I cut out foam core in 4 x 6 and 4 x 5 inch sizes. Then I covered them with a thin film of hide glue and positioned Claessan's Belgium linen over them. I smoothed them out and covered them with heavy weights. They have to sit this way for 24 hours. Then I can see if there are any delaminated spots, or if they are ready to paint.

Then, I started my next daily painting. I have been wanting to do a series on the video game "Minecraft". When I first saw this game, I thought I was back in the 80's with it's heavy pixelated and blocky textured look. The huge difference is that you get a 3d view of the game space. Players can create anything within Minecraft, only their imagination providing the limit. I just picked up a small manual on Redstone so I'm looking forward to learning about it. I'm not a player, because I know that it 's very addictive and I'd spend too much time on it if I started. My daughter is a Minecraft player though, and I like seeing it's world through her eyes.

"Minecraft Cow", 2.5 x 3.5 in., oil on canvas/SOLD ©Victoria Page Miller

This painting is an ACEO. ACEO stands for Art Card Originals and Editions. They are kin to ATC or Artist Trading Cards and share the requirement of being 2.5 x 3.5 inches, or the same size as a standard playing card. This is the first in my series on Minecraft.

Monday, September 22, 2014

"Brown Bear, what do you see?" Original oil painting

Brown Bear, what do you see?

Victoria Page Miller Brown bear, what do you see? painting
"Brown Bear, what do you see?", 5 x 5", oil on linen/SOLD ©VP Miller
"Brown bear, brown bear what do you see?
I see a red bird looking at me...."
- Eric Carle

This bear was playing in the water and absolutely enjoying himself. It was amazing to see such a powerful animal engaged in play. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

"You've Got a Friend in Me" Cat Oil Painting

You've Got a Friend in Me

"You've got a friend in me
 You've got a friend in me
 You got troubles. I got 'em too
 There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you
 If we stick together we can see it through
 'Cause you've got a friend in me
 Yeah, you've got a friend in me" - Randy Newman

Everyone needs to know that someone is there for us, through thick and thin. This pair of cats, one real and one a stuffed animal, are inseparable friends.

"You've Got a Friend in Me" cat painting, the rough in stage
The rough in stage of the painting

"You've Got a Friend in Me", color blocking stage
The color blocking in phase of the painting

Victoria Page Miller "You've Got a Friend in Me" painting
"You've Got a Friend in Me", 5 x 5", oil on  linen/available ©VP Miller

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Caramel Apple Original Oil Painting

In case you have decided to roast your own beets, like I did yesterday, there's a few things you should know. First, take a head of garlic slice off the top and drizzle it with olive oil. Wrap aluminum foil around it and roast it along with the beets. You might as well, it's the same temp and time (400 deg F for 1 hour). You can then smush some of the garlic heads out since they are nice and soft, and use it in your sauteed beet greens. It makes a world of difference. Also, after you've tasted the earthy beet flavor and enjoyed their gorgeous claret red color, er, um fair warning that you will probably see that red again, and again, the next day. Nothing to be alarmed by and no reason to call your doctor! Just a public service announcement for any other fresh beet newbies out there.

Now on to today's painting. Fall. Autumn. This may be very early (especially for those of you in the South), but caramel apples are reminiscent of county fairs, crisp evenings and of course, Halloween.

Caramel apple, getting the center of interest down on the canvas

The beginning of the painting. Shadows down first, then the background behind the apple.

Caramel apple, blocking in the background

The background is mostly in. I like to brush into a wet background, when blocking in my center of interest. It's better than doing a lot of work on an object, and then having to paint the background in afterwards and try to avoid messing up what you've already done.

Caramel apple, rough block in with light and dark side

Here the apple is filled with two shades of brown, a light and shadow side. I learned that I could have gone darker with the dark shade but it was corrected later. The previous me would have tried drawing the peanuts in first and painted around them. Why? Because a) I didn't know better and b) I like to draw. I've learned from David Leffel, that although you may want to draw with your paint, you must paint instead.

Nothing delights a student more than to draw with a paintbrush - the more minute the detail, the better. Avoid doing this. Instead, paint with your brush; think in terms of dimension. Instead of individual hairs, for example, paint hair thickness or dimension; paint the light on the hair.
Caramel apple, peanuts painted in but without highlights or accents

The concept of the painting was it's shape. The shape of the caramel apple combined with it's shadow makes for an interesting positive and negative space. The darkest areas are in shadow behind the stick and below the apple. Each area has the lightest light next to it. I put in the highlights on certain peanuts and knew something was missing. It was the accents - dark spots. You can't have light without equally dark areas in value.

Victoria Page Miller "Caramel Apple" oil painting
"Caramel Apple", 5 x 5", oil on linen/SOLD ©VP Miller

The finished caramel apple painting. I adjusted the main shadow and added final highlights and accents. I didn't overwork it and it was fun to paint.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Beets with Wine Bottle Original Oil Painting

Beets with Wine Bottle

"Beets with Wine Bottle", 5 x 5", oil on linen/SOLD ©VP Miller
I set up a triangular composition of three beets, their greens and a wine bottle. My intention was to make the leftmost beet the center of interest, followed closely by the wine bottle highlight. The greens would boomerang your eye around, effectively keeping your eye from leaving the painting. 

I'm still learning and focusing on the concept of massing - keeping darks together or whites together to form continuity. The darkest dark on the beet is next to the lightest light. That is mirrored in the wine bottle. The greens are mid-values. Their focal point is color, although nothing to light in hue that would rival the highlights. I learned a great deal about paint handling into wet dark values.

Tonight, I'm enjoying roasted beets with olive oil and salt (for the first time), and having the sauteed beet greens on the side.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Still Life "Grapes with Pear" Original Oil Painting

Grapes with Pear

Victoria Page Miller "Grapes with Pear" oil painting
"Grapes with Pear", 5 x 5", oil on linen/SOLD ©VP Miller
This painting is about studying massing and edges. Massing is keeping your darks together and your lights together. The grapes, their shadows, the pear's shadow and it's darkest area are all connected. By edges, I mean I am working on found (sharp) and lost (soft) edges within a painting. The sides of the pears are almost completely lost in the background, yet you still feel it's mass. The edge of the grape stem that connects with the center of the pear (and it's lightest part) is also a hard edge, which should lead your eye there.

 It's also a just a pretty good representation of grapes and a pear. I am channeling David Leffel, of course. I'm not really channeling him (he's alive, thankfully). I am learning from him in an old book called "Oil Painting Secrets from a Master". Hopefully as I progress through his lessons and apply what I've learned, you will see a progression in ability too.

You should know, this was terribly fun to paint.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Never Forget" Yellow Rose with American Flag Original Oil Painting

Never Forget

"Yellow Rose with American Flag", 5 x 5", oil on linen/SOLD ©VP Miller
This is a tribute to the military, fire fighters, police, EMTs and other first responders of 9/11. May we never forget how we came together as a nation after tragedy. The yellow rose is a nod to the military tradition of tying a yellow ribbon around a tree to remember and support those who are far away in service. The American Flag is a symbol of unity and strength. 

God Bless the USA!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Strawberry Pastry" Original Oil Painting

Strawberry Pastry

"Strawberry Pastry", 5 x 5 in., oil on linen, ©Victoria Page Miller

Is your mouth watering? Mine is! Light, flaky buttery pastry with bright, juicy strawberries anchored by a custard center. 

 Victoria Miller Original Oil Painting Pastry Strawberries Food Art Framed 


Victoria Miller Strawberry Pastry Original Oil Painting


 food art pastry painting

Monday, September 8, 2014

Commission: embellished wedding invitations

Happy client with customized wedding invites

I love meeting and working with people over projects. This is Kathie, who wanted to have her wedding invitations hand painted with watercolor flowers. Kathie actually called the florists while sleuthing, so the design would incorporate each bride's choice of color and flowers. She plans on matting and framing them and giving them as gifts to the bride. What a thoughtful gift. She was a true delight to meet and talk with. I just love my job! Thanks, Kathie!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

"The Gift" Original Oil Painting

The Gift

"The Gift", 5 x 5 in., oil on linen, ©Victoria Page Miller/ SOLD

This was a gift to my family from friends that we made in Germany this summer. Freshly, homemade Himbeermarmalade (raspberry jelly). Thoughtfully and beautifully wrapped, I had to share the gift with you. It makes me smile every time I look at it.

 Victoria Miller Original Oil Painting The Gift Art Memento Framed Food 


Victoria Miller summer jam jelly Original Oil Painting


 food art painting

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Bird of Paradise" Original Oil Painting

  Victoria Miller Original Oil Painting Bird of Paradise Exotic Flower Framed

Bird of Paradise

"Bird of Paradise", 5 by 5 in., oil on linen, ©Victoria Page Miller/SOLD

Do you dream of visiting an exotic locale? You may have seen the fabulous Bird of Paradise. It's colors are designer envious and it is shaped like a bird in flight. That's why it's is also known as the Crane flower. It is finally flourishing in my Florida garden. It is a true symbol of tropical paradise. You can almost hear the waves crashing on the distant shore.

 Victoria Miller Original Oil Painting Bird of Paradise Exotic Flower Framed 


Victoria Miller Original Oil Painting Bird of Paradise Exotic Flower


 exotic flower painting

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"Gummy Bears" Original Oil Painting

Gummy Bears

  NFAC Victoria Miller Original Oil Painting Gummy Bears food gift Memento
"Gummy Bears", 5 x 5 in., oil on linen, ©Victoria Page Miller/SOLD
Two darling gummy bears linked arm in arm, running to the forest to play. Perhaps they are friends looking for adventure. Or maybe they are in love. You decide. Bring a sweet fairy tale into your home or office with this keepsake. This painting would also make a wonderful gift for a whimsical food lover.

This is my entry for the NFAC monthly art contest. The theme for August is "Forest Creatures".


 NFAC Victoria Miller Original Oil Painting Gummy Bears food gift Memento 


Victoria Miller Gummy Bears friends love Original Oil Painting


 gummy bears painting

"Watermelon Slice" Original Oil Painting

  Victoria Miller Original Oil Painting Watermelon Slice Art Memento Framed Food

Watermelon Slice

"Watermelon Slice", 5. x 5 in., oil on linen, ©Victoria Page Miller/SOLD
When you think of summer do you picture fresh watermelons? Slice or slab, chunk or melon ball, summer just isn't the same without them. I don't think a watermelon is complete without a few black and white seeds punctuating that bright red color. Without seeds, you wouldn't be able to enjoy a watermelon seed spitting contest. :) Get yours now before the watermelon season is gone. Bring a sweet memory to your home or office with this little keepsake. 

 Victoria Miller Original Oil Painting Ice Cream Bar Treat Gift Memento Framed 


Victoria Miller Ice Cream Treat Original Oil Painting


 ice cream painting

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Pickle" Original Oil Painting

  Victoria Miller Original Oil Painting Pickle Barrel Gift Memento Food Bag


"Pickle", 5 x 5 in., Oil on linen mounted board, ©VP Miller

Dill with it. (Did I mention I love puns? ) :-)

Click for Purchase info. Bidding starting at 1 cent.

 Victoria Miller Original Oil Painting Pickle Barrel Gift Memento Food Bag 


Victoria Miller Pickle Original Oil Painting


 pickle painting

Monday, August 18, 2014

"One More Bite" Original Oil Painting

  Victoria Miller Original Oil Painting Ice Cream Bar Treat Gift Memento

One More Bite

"One More Bite", 4 x 4 in., linen on board, ©Victoria Page Miller/SOLD

What's better than ice cream? It's not just for summer. I ate ice cream daily on our summer vacation. I haven't quite stopped. Who could blame me? :)

 Victoria Miller Original Oil Painting Ice Cream Bar Treats Gift Memento 


Victoria Miller Ice Cream Treat Original Oil Painting


 ice cream painting

Sunday, August 17, 2014

"Honey Bear" Original Oil Painting

  Victoria Miller Original Oil Painting Honey Bear GIFT Food Memento Framed Bottle

Honey Bear

"Honey Bear", 4 x 4 in., Linen on panel, ©Victoria Page Miller/SOLD

This painting was created in one sitting - alla prima. There is nothing like honey in tea or on toast. It's perfect, and it won't spoil. This would make a great gift for your own honey. :)

 Victoria Miller Original Oil Painting Honey Bear GIFT Food Memento Framed Bottle 


Victoria Miller Honey Bear Original Oil Painting


 honey bear bottle painting

Saturday, August 16, 2014

"Teacher's Pet" Original Oil Painting

"Teacher's Pet", 4 x 4 in., Linen on board/ SOLD

This was created in one sitting - alla prima  from life. Even though I live in Florida, I can't help but think of apples as we start the new school year. This would make a great new teacher gift. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

6 Things Kids Can Teach Us About Art and Team Work

You know if you have been following me through Facebook or here in the blogosphere that I readily volunteer at my daughter's elementary school. They don't currently have a dedicated arts teacher. I will periodically give classes or have annually been their local PTA Reflections chairperson. That's a national program which encourages and promotes all the arts.

To celebrate all the students who had participated in the Reflections program in the slightest this year, I wanted to throw a little party, and include painting. Even for the kids that submitted music or literature or just suggested a new theme for the next year.

I had to word the invitation so that it wouldn't be intimidating to the non-painters. The goal was max participation. I had 12 kids participate. There would be a cross cut of technical skill from none to proficient with ages running between 5 and 11.

Here's what happened. 

After a brief introduction to Vincent Van Gogh and his paintings, I explained that they would be creating their version of "Starry Night" together as one group painting. I heard some mild protests. 

Then I showed them their canvas, a very large 24" x 36". Fear sprung around the room. 

Instead of giving them brushes, I gave them craft sticks to use. I heard kids saying it wouldn't look good.

Then the magic began... They started making bold, large sweeping marks on the canvas. They still thought it was just random marks until a whole tube of blue was used up. Large swaths of color were laid down rapidly because there were so many hands working together. Kids who previously didn't want to paint asked to do certain parts, like houses or stars or the color orange. 

6 Things Kids Can Teach Us About Art and Team Work

1) Believing is Not Required at the Outset

They didn't really believe that making marks with craft sticks was going to turn out okay, much less great. Once they saw a form emerge from the shock of blue paint they relaxed, trusted and put their energy into action. The more they saw results, the more effort they used. Belief was no longer even part of the equation. It's only a hurdle in the beginning. The group will do the rest.

2) Large Can Become Small

When I first showed the students the 24" x 36" canvas and told them they'd be painting on it, the fear was palpable. They were used to drawing on standard 8" x 11-1/2" pieces of paper. What a jump! It's like a billboard! Once they made their first marks, and plunged into their work it didn't matter anymore. It wasn't just that there were numerous hands to help, it was they had their own task to do. Scale became irrelevant.

Introducing the blank canvas and project scope to the young students

3) Use Friendly Tools

They had brand new paint brushes available but I showed them what would mostly likely happen though if they used those. New or timid painters often hold a brush like a pencil, using tight, small marks. A large canvas requires large gestures especially since we were creating a painting inspired by Van Gogh, who used expressive, loose brush marks. So, I simplified the tools and gave them craft sticks. Who is afraid of a Popsicle stick? They simulate a large brush like mark when used a certain way. They are also not intimidating to the non-painters. Why intimidate when you can free up a group?

Craft sticks mimic loose brush strokes, without requiring finesse or adding intimidation

4) Push Through the Ugly

In every painting, there is an "ugly" phase or a part where it just doesn't look good. That is, it doesn't look like it could become good. The trick, or key, is getting past that to the truly great phase. Most people give up at this ugly phase thinking that they aren't good, or don't have talent or (insert another negative thought). These kids had their doubts, but because there were so many working together they quickly got past the ugly working phase before their self doubts caused them to stop.

Students working through the "ugly" (doubting phase) - not yet integrated as a group

5) Collaboration is Powerful

Before, these kids had always drawn on individual pieces of paper, and been guarded over their images. They'd never worked on a group art project. They were minor outcries over whether someone was going to over paint or "mess up" their section. Blending edges (and territories) was explained. Kids with no previous experience enjoyed the thrill of expertly demonstrating a skill to another child. By the middle, they were loosened up and truly enjoying the give and take and constant change of doing the work. They stopped looking for others' infractions and instead gave in to the pleasure of painting. They had become a team. A team with nothing in common except one painting.

Deep satisfaction after completing the project, the team is integrated

6) Experience Trumps Fear

Now they have the warm, powerful feeling of successful working experience with others of different ages and skill sets. Technically, the beautiful part of the exercise is once the students realize they finished a large painting! It's in their muscle memory. They will no longer be intimidated by anything that large even if they set out to paint solo! The fear of the unknown for the (formerly) non-painters is banished. They know they too, can paint. Craft sticks will translate to brushes. Experience trumps fear, easily. 

These young painters are learning how to add highlights, in turn they taught others

This amazing masterpiece "Starry Night" inspired by Van Gogh and created by the Reflections students of Galileo School for Gifted Learning, will be auctioned at Winter Springs High School April 17th from 6-7pm in the Auditorium. Proceeds will benefit the Seminole County Reflections Program. There will be an Seminole County Reflections Awards Ceremony following the auction.

"Starry Night" after V. Van Gogh, by Galileo School for Gifted Learning Reflections students, 24x36", acrylic

A special thanks to Jeff of the Dairy Queen of Sanford who generously donated Bizzard Juniors to our student painters during this project.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

I made it into the 3rd Annual Juried #WPSE Exhibition!

I'm sooooo excited! I can't wait!

"Heron at DeLeon Springs", Oil, 20 x 24", ©VP Miller

Next week I'll be cruising up to Greensboro, GA (southeast of Atlanta) to the opening of the 2014 3rd Annual Juried Women Painters of the Southeast Exhibition. My painting "Heron at DeLeon Springs" was selected, and I couldn't be happier especially when I saw the incredible work that it will be displayed alongside. I can't wait to meet these artists and talk about their work.

You can see the entire 2014 WPSE Member Show online here

If you would like the excuse the get out of town and join me, the Magnolia Art Gallery is hosting the event with a Preview Party and People's Choice Voting on Friday, March 28th from 6-8pm.

I am signed up to see the supremely talented painter Mary Garrish demonstrate her painting on Saturday (you are also invited, but you must register... no worries, just contact Magnolia Art Gallery above... oh but it will be so worth it). Her landscapes are so beautifully rendered, but it's her skies and clouds that I get lost in.

On Sunday morning I'm trying my first oil plein air outside, ever. That is, I will be hauling my paint supplies with me to Georgia, and schlepping them to some as yet unknown outside location with ladies I haven't met and will be painting in a manner completely foreign to me, in front of them! No problem! I really can't see anything going wrong!

Actually, I firmly believe in acting despite of fears, because it causes growth, having fun laughing at yourself and learning anyway! If it makes my chest pound, it's probably something I should do. What a better way to start painting outside, then with a seasoned group of plein air artists who might be able to offer tips?

If I'm truly brave, then I will remember to take and post a few pictures.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

#twitterartexhibit you're invited tomorrow night #Otown

@ the CityArtsFactory in Orlando with parking validated at $4 flat, if you park in the Plaza Parking garage (bring your receipt in to the welcome desk). My entered piece "Red Balloon" and backstory is here.

This time, I hope not to be too spazzy and forget to take photos or video! There's going to be live performances by the Center for Contemporary Dance. If I do, I think the whole thing is going to be streamed live. Wouldn't it be great if we could have video from some of the international artists that contributed too? :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

#twitterartexhibit entry "Red Balloon" and how it got here, er, there

"Red Balloon", Mixed Media on Paper, 12 x 16cm, ©VP Miller

"Red Balloon" is my entry for the #twitterartexhibit. #twitterartexhibit is an international postcard art exhibition benefiting the Center for Contemporary Dance, Special Needs Classes in Orlando.

My entry work is 6" x 4" postcard sized and mixed media including shaving cream. Can you see the image of The Ministry of Silly Walks in the middle? Just there? Whaaaa?

Let me explain.

Last week (and the week before starting on Friday), I was again at my daughter's elementary school guest teaching. Anyway the wonderful teacher who invited me, wanted me to piggyback onto a creative learning segment called "Sweet Science" and teach the kids a little bit about Pop Art.

Can I say how much I love these guest teaching jobs? There's so much intensity packed into such little time, and the students really enjoy it!

Day 1 was a quick YouTube video overview of Andy Warhol, because you have to start there! Sadly they'd never heard of Andy Warhol prior to my workshop. Then again, they are between the ages of 7 and 10! As our Day 1 project we created Warhol inspired mono prints using Styrofoam plates and acrylic paint. The look of joy, and gasps as they pulled the paper off the inked plates was precious!

Scratching a design into Styrofoam for mono print

On day 2 of my workshop, we did the heavy prep work for day three. We had huge fun making marbleized paper by using shaving cream and floating food color, and frosting on top! Think rainbow colors with bubble gum and cotton candy smells! They oohed and aahed when scraping the shaving cream away and revealing their beautiful paper. We talked about what would happen if the shaving cream wasn't there and what it was used for with the inks.

Making marbleized paper with shaving cream and dyes

Day three 3 work was inspired by Robert Rauschenberg and his work with newsprint images. I wanted to show the students how to make easy copy paper transfers using pop images of their choice using their new marbleized paper. They brought in pop culture images relevant to them. They brought copier pictures of kittens, dragons, food and hearts. For my demo, I chose an image of The Ministry of Silly Walks. Using gesso mainly, we easily applied the images to the paper and I showed them how to complete the transfer once the gesso air dried.

Since we had time left, we painted with simple rockets. I recommend this for any age (that's you adults), and all skill levels. You get stunning results and things explode and take off like fireworks into the air 20ft. minus the fear of dismemberment. Yay! The film canisters were courtesy of the kind and excellent folks at Harmon Photo in Orlando. We talked about color theory a little after the thrill of having tempera paint explode out of canister. Because color mixing is thrilling....

Getting the film canister rockets ready with paint 

That was the back story for my piece "Red Balloon". It is the demo used during the student workshop on days 2 and 3. There is a lot of energy and love in it, with hours of sweat equity. It fits perfectly into the theme of benefiting children at the CDC, so I knew I wanted to add onto it. I was thinking more of John Cleese and creativity and humor. Please see his excellent video on how to stimulate creativity here.

Afterwards, I used pens to draw a red balloon. Have you seen the movie "The Red Balloon"? I imagined this little red balloon tethered to bad feelings and lifting up, up and away.

There you have it. How it got here, er, there.