Artist of the Month: Dan Miller
I've never seen anything like it - and am so grateful to the internet for the discovery! When first seeing our Artist of the Month, Dan Miller's art, I was stunned. Every time I see something by him in my feed, I am happy, pause, reflect, breathe. He has an unusually calm and detailed way of sharing the natural world with viewers - one for which I am grateful. His medium? Colored pencils! His art enhances our lives...and brings joy - and the outdoors - into them. Here, without further ado, Colorado artist Dan Miller...in his own words.
I'm a colored pencil artist settled in the Front Range foothills near Evergreen, Colorado. I have a marked enthusiasm for exploring remote locations in the Rocky Mountains while at the same time observing how nature works in the wild. During the past few years, I've devoted much of my life to documenting intimate impressions of the local landscape and wildlife through art, photography, and writing. My purpose on earth is an eternal quest for truth and beauty that currently finds me striving to discover a middle-ground between realism and abstraction.
How long have you been an artist?
I've been an artist my whole life. My father is a western artist and my two younger brothers are artists, as well, so it's kind of a family affair. We grew up in a liberal environment and we were strongly encouraged to pursue creative endeavors.
Is your art your full-time career?
Yes, I studied Fine Art at Chadron State College in Nebraska, where I learned to draw and paint. I try to plug away on my personal projects every day whenever I have the chance.
Upper Bear Creek
Where do you work? How long have you been there?
In order to pay the bills, I work as a graphic artist for a printing company down in Denver. I've been in the printing industry for about 30 years now, mostly working on an Apple computer setting up files for press.
Snowy Bergen Peak
Do you have favorite places you like to create?
I take reference photos out in the field, but I like to complete the drawings in my home studio. I'm happy being a night owl, as it's nice to stay up late and work when things are peaceful and quiet.
What does a typical day look like?
My typical day begins with a morning hike, then off to work. I'm back in Evergreen by four in order to shuttle kids to practices. I get in an evening workout, then supper and finally, usually after dark, I get to process photos, draw, or write.
Last Dollar Road
What materials do you prefer?
My favorite materials are colored pencils on medium weight, textured drawing paper. With such a busy schedule, I like the convenience of being able to pick them up or put them down in an instant.
Where/how are you inspired?
I'm inspired by the local landscape and wildlife that I see every day. I have a great respect for nature's beauty and I can only hope my spiritual reverence for the mountains shows through in my work.
How do you know when your piece is done?
I've been creating artwork for so long that knowing when a piece is finished has become a gut instinct. Nowadays, I just know it. I've learned my lesson from ruining too many drawings by overworking them after they were actually done.
Early Spring Evergreen
Do you work on one or more pieces at a time?
No, I usually only work on one piece at a time. Sometimes if a drawing goes bad, I'll put it away and start a new one. Later on, I'll resurrect the failure and work back into it. Often times the finished piece turns out surprisingly well.
If you were not an artist, what would you do?
If I weren't an artist, I'd probably be a high school history teacher and basketball coach or a mathematician or a fantasy football guru.
Colorado National Monument
How can our readers find and purchase your art?
I've published an illustrated story every week for the past five years on my nature blog so if you'd like to see more of my work, please visit - www.ImpressionEvergreen.com
Would you like to share anything else with us?
My best advice for younger artists is that it's important to keep working and to never give up even when things go bad. You will experience criticism and rejection but don't give in and imitate others in order to please patrons. When you discover your natural style, embrace it and don't fight it. Be at peace with who you are, create in a manner that feels honest, and always be true to yourself.
Bergen Peak First Snow
and of course, on his site: www.ImpressionEvergreen.com
All photos courtesy and copyright Dan F. Miller