Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer Night

Monhegan Moonrise, oil on linen, 36 x 24, 2009

Illustration Friday is running a them that gets my heart pumping: midsummer night! How I long to be visiting the far northern reaches of Scandinavia one midsummer's day eve! Till then, Maine is about as north as I can get. This is the moon rising over the tip of Monhegan Island.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shadow Paintng

Arrangement for Ukulele, oil on canvas, 16 x 16 inches, 2011
This week's prompt over at Illustration Friday is shadows. A good deal of this painting is about the shadows cast by the objects. So I hope it fits the bill. This piece was part of my one person show last month at Artists' House Gallery in Philadelphia. I believe the paint was still wet when I dropped it off. I hope I canpry it out of the frame because of course I now see several things I'd like to fix!

Friday, April 22, 2011


Portland Delivery, oil & pencil on linen, 9 x 12, 2009
Bicycle is the theme today at Illustration Friday. I have only once painted a bicycle, and here it is! It's very uncharacteristic in style as well as in execution. I was so worried about depicting the bicycle accurately that I traced it carefully in pencil onto the primed canvas before "coloring it in", not at all my usual slap-happy style!

I had been showing at a gallery in Portland Maine (Susan Maasch Fine Art) and was dropping off some work one late afternoon when I saw this bicycle delivery guy sailing slowly past on his red bike. There was something about the light and the balanced motion of the scene that caught at my heart. I happened to have my camera in hand and click: almost unbelieveably I managed to catch the moment. I don't usually work from photos, depict action, work from tracing or even do any drawing at all before painting, but I did this time and was somewhat pleased with the result. Something to revisit in future perhaps.

I felt later, looking at the scene that it had a faint whiff of Christen Købke about it, which must have unconsciously caused the initial attraction. I have had a postcard of this painting on my studio wall for years.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Last Autumn, Bottled

Green and Yellow, oil on gessoed ragboard, 8 x 10 inches, 2011
Bottled is this week's prompt at Illustration Friday. I love this little brown bottle which once held a nutritional supplement we were giving my son with autism when he was younger,  and I use it over and over again in my work. I think it signifies a simpler time, when we were full of hope and energy. Still have lots of hope, but less energy! ;-)  The coreopsis blossom and nasturtium leaves were from my late autumn garden. They lasted a long time in my chilly studio. The apple on the left only went into the compost bin a month or two ago...very long-lasting! This recently completed piece is on the invitation card for my upcoming show:

Nancy Bea Miller: recent work
May 4-29, 2011
Artists' House Galley
57 North 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA

First Friday:
May 6, 5 - 8:30pm
May 8, 1 - 4pm

Friday, April 1, 2011


Joined, oil on linen, 12 x 9 inches, 2011

DUET is this week's prompt at Illustration Friday. This is a painting I completed about a month ago and I think it fits the bill. I am in the Philly area and we sure do love our soft pretzels here! I am originally from NYC and we loved our pretzels there too, but the NYC pretzels are an entirely different configuration. In any shape, soft pretzels are best bought from a street vendor on a cold day,  eaten warm with a zigzag of mustard. If you get a blob of mustard on your cheek and someone kisses it off...all the better!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Oliver on the Floor, oil on canvas, 20 x 42 inches, 1992-3
Surrender is the theme this week at Illustration Friday! Battling to meet several important deadlines and to endure a bunch of winter storms I had surrendered the idea of participating. But this morning, imminent deadlines met, storms having done their worst, I took a deep breath and decided I wanted to play after all. Better late than never!

The model for this painting was a young man I was friendly with at art school. He was immensely talented, but unfocused. I knew he needed money and so I was happy to pay him to pose now and then. He had long thick blonde hair and a Jesus beard, till one day he showed up completely shaven! We were in the middle of a painting too. Resigned, I put that one away and started this one, which seemed to better suit both our moods. Unfortunately, the shaving seemed to be indicative of some "casting off" process, and after only a couple of sessions he disappeared. Later I heard he'd headed to California.

The painting never got finished, but there is something about it I like, despite its rough, unfinished, state.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Free Range, oil on canvas, 8 x 10 inches, 2009

This week the theme over at Illustration Friday is Chicken. At the risk of being a literalist, this painting from about a year ago sprang to mind. I painted this at the 2009 Plein Air at Beaver Farm event. It's a beautiful biodynamic working farm but it's a real farm too, nothing boutique about it. Nature red in tooth and claw and all that.  I was surprised when several people who first saw it said "Awww, sweet!" and "Isn't that cute?" While painting I had been thinking about these chickens, happily roaming the range and killing bugs and even small animals (apparently they love to eat field mice, baby snakes and voles!) as fast as their greedy beaks would allow, and how they would eventually be food themselves. Just cycle of life thoughts, nothing tragic, but certainly far removed from sweet or cute. I was thrilled when the person who bought it actually shivered and said "Ooh, this one is a bit creepy! Makes you think, doesn't it?" YES! Makes me think it certainly found the right home, this painting. ;-)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Déjà Vu

Pears and a Pot, 11 x 14, oil on linen, 2008

Not really sure what to put in for Illustration Friday this week. The theme is Déjà Vu, the feeling that you have already experienced a moment which is currently happening. Who hasn't felt this, but it seems a tough concept to handle visually.  This comes close, I think, to expressing that feeling that creeps up on you... a concealed memory projected onto the present moment. A little unnerving!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Hazel and Katie, oil on canvas 28 x 44, 2007
RESOLUTIONS is this week's theme over at Illustration Friday. I don't believe in New Year's resolutions per se, but taking stock and taking appropriate action is a good idea at any time. Let's hope it is more than just once a year! ;-) My developing resolution of late is to dig deeper.

This painting from a few years back seems apt for the Resolutions theme. It was recently featured on the fantastically interesting blog Women Painting Women. I was thrilled, surprised and grateful that it caught the eye of the WPW folks.

Resolutions or no resolutions, Happy New Year everyone!