Saturday, November 18, 2017

2018 Desk Calendar is here!

Enjoy Westford Massachusetts landmarks each month in my 2018 desk calendar.  I make a limited number each year so when they're gone, they're gone!  

​The footprint is 2 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches and is 4 inches tall.

​$15  Click here to purchase.  Price includes tax and shipping.

if you live in the Westford, MA area, you can also purchase them at Muffins on Main, 40 Main Street, Westford, MA.  www.muffinsonmain.com  









Monday, September 11, 2017

"Farmers' Market Find" - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas

"Farmers Market Find" - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas
I picked up these orange cherry tomatoes at the Farmers' Market.  I had no intention of buying tomatoes but these little guys looked so beautiful I couldn't resist and immediately wanted to paint them. 

The tomatoes in the back were more ripe and their color was a rich, saturated orange which I created by mixing various amounts of reds and yellows.  The foreground tomatoes were still somewhat green so I added a bit of blue into the orange to "gray them down." 

This is just a happy little painting that reminds me of summer.

"Farmers' Market Find" is a 6 x 6 inch oil on canvas painting and is available at Artists Corner and Gallery in West Acton, MA.  It comes in a black floater frame.  See additional photos below.











Monday, August 28, 2017

"Garden of Eden Beans" - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas - SOLD"

Garden of Eden Beans - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas
Last weekend I dropped by a friend’s house, and, as we sat chatting at his kitchen counter, a neighbor came by to drop off beans she had just picked from the garden.  She had the beans in a berry basket and I was immediately struck by the color combination of the aqua basket with the green of the beans.   

Before I left, I asked if I could take home some beans to paint as I thought they were quite beautiful.  I gotta be honest, he seemed a bit reluctant to let them go and asked if I planned to eat them (as I assume he wanted to make sure they wouldn’t go to waste).

I had my own berry basket at home (you can probably tell that I like painting these as I’ve done several in recent weeks) so I filled it with my handful of beans, added a few cherry tomatoes and put everything on a dishtowel.

I started with a bright pink wash of acrylic and painted the beans first and then the basket.   I decided on a very dark background to add drama and contrast to the beans.  I had my choice of several dish towels but settled on one with blue stripes as I liked the extra pop of color in my composition.  The painting flowed easily without many sticking points along the way so I was quite happy when I finished.

I was told these are called “Garden of Eden” beans and after I painted them, I enjoyed them immensely!  They were crisp and sweet and juicy.   I ate them raw and loved every last crunch.

Monday, August 21, 2017

"Maine Coast" - 12 x 16 inches - oil on canvas

"Maine Coast" - 12 x 16 inches - oil on canvas
Last week I played hooky from work on the most glorious summer day and took a trip up to York, Maine to visit with friends who have rented the same cottage for the past 40 years.  Their cottage is only steps to the famous Nubble Lighthouse which was a pretty cool backdrop for the afternoon.  


We spent the day telling stories, eating, laughing and just soaking up the sun.  I didn't think about much of anything other than simply enjoying the moment.

I brought my paints along but never pulled them out.  Instead, I walked along the rocks and took several photographs of their amazing view.  When I returned home, I was definitely inspired to capture the experience in paint.  

In other news, last week my painting "Diversity" sold at the Artists Corner and Gallery in West Acton, MA.  Apparently, the woman who purchased it has a son who is autistic.  He only verbalizes a few words and donut is one of them.  So, when she saw the painting she knew she had to have it. 

That story was a good reminder that art enriches our lives in so many ways.  I sometimes think about the fact that my paintings are hung in various homes around the country and it is humbling to know that I can brighten someone's day with the images that I create.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Seoul, South Korea - 12 x 16 inches - oil on canvas

Below is a progression of a commission of a street scene in Seoul, South Korea that I recently completed.  My reference photo was a bit dark so it created a bit of a challenge.  Fortunately, the structure in the center is a famous landmark (called the Sungnyemun Gate) so I was able to find other photos to help me see its colorful and elaborate architecture.

I started with a thin wash of orange over the entire canvas as I knew there would be a lot of blue in this painting so I picked the complement to make the blue shine a bit brighter.

As you look down at the progression of photos, you'll notice that I started in the background and worked my way forward.

I stayed pretty true to the reference photo but to balance the composition, I asked if it would be ok to add a car or a bus entering from the right side.  We agreed on adding a car.

One of the biggest challenges was the tall office building behind the Sungnyemun Gate.  You can see that I initially included some detail on the windows but later softened and blurred the detail so that it wouldn't become an area to focus on.

I was given a pretty long lead time so I spent several weeks thinking about the painting before I even put my brush to the canvas.  I've heard that painting is 90% mental and 10% execution and in this case it was definitely true!  This was a challenge but I was pleased with the final painting and more importantly, so was my client!









Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Olivia - 8 x 8 inches - oil on canvas

"Olivia" - 8 x 8 inches - oil on canvas
I just finished this commission of "Olivia" who was a "bagel" (part Basset Hound and part Beagle).  Olivia always had a bit of a worried expression on her face but was the sweetest dog.  She was adopted with her brother, Beau, who I painted last week.  

Beau and Olivia's claim to fame is that they were selected to be the Grand Marshalls at the 2015 Tri-State Bassett Hound Rescue BoardWaddle Parade in Ocean City, NJ.  

Olivia recently passed away so this portrait will be a loving reminder of her sweet face.

Commissions can be challenging especially with mediocre photos.  I much prefer to take my own so that I can control the lighting and position of my subject.  Below is the reference photo that I was given.  

This photo presented a couple problems for me.  Most importantly, her eyes are very dark and I can't see much detail at all.  Fortunately, there were other photos so I used those to determine how to paint her eyes.  The second major issue was beneath her chin.  I think she has folds of skin that hang down in front of her neck so that only a piece of her collar and tags showed.  Considering I just couldn't figure out exactly what was happening, I turned her bandanna around so that the knot was across her back and the bandanna covered the area below her neck.  I kept the color subtle so that it isn't something you really notice unless you study the painting. 






Saturday, July 22, 2017

Beau - 8 x 8 inches - oil on canvas

"Beau" - 8 x 8 inches - oil on canvas
I was commissioned to paint "Beau," a Basset hound mix as a birthday gift.  Beau has quite a personality.  When his "sister" Olivia was getting any attention, Beau would immediately insert himself into the picture.  If there were belly rubs to be had, Beau wasn't about to miss out!

Portraits, whether human or animal, are challenging and require more care than landscapes or still lifes.  I was given a handful of photos of Beau which made my job easier as I could view him from several angles to make sure I was capturing his essence as much as possible.  Below is a photo of Beau getting the attention that he knows he deserves.






Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Popcorn Painters



Every summer for the past 4 or 5 years, I've taught a painting class to a group of girls.  They've grown up a lot and now range in age from 9 to 15.  

I always try to find something fun and colorful to paint that they'll enjoy hanging on their wall.  In the past we've painted pears, cupcakes, ice cream cones and Hershey Kisses.

Even though I lead them through the painting step-by-step, I talk about art concepts like forms, shadows and highlights.

The littlest one is very free and easy and always loves what she does.  She realized that she didn't leave enough room for the word "Corn" under the word "Pop."  Her sister looked at the painting and said, "It looks fine ...just leave it as 'Pop'."  She thought for a second, said "Okay!" and then immediately added two exclamations points and underlined the word, "Pop."  No problemo.  We should all paint like 9 year olds!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

"Summer" - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas

"Summer" - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas
The two small slices of light shining through the holes at the top of the blue crate are what caught my eye.  I was immediately drawn to them as these nectarines sat on my counter.  I tried to keep this loose and painterly and am pretty happy with the end result.  (I've often said that paintings go through a "middle schooler stage" where they are awkward, pimply and a bit ugly until they are transformed into a more attractive high schooler.  This painting definitely went through that awkward stage so I was a bit worried for a while but persevered!)

I've made a few additional sea glass suncatchers and posted one on ebay.  It is an interesting one using old brown bottle tops and a rare red glass bead.  You can view the listing here.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sea Glass Suncatchers

Anyone who has followed me for a while knows that I'm pretty obsessed with collecting sea glass.  In fact, I can't really enjoy relaxing on a beach anymore as I'm always on the hunt for my next big find like a piece of an old coca cola bottle, a piece with interesting texture or a rare color like red or turquoise.  


I've also become interested in creating stained glass art pieces and have learned the basics of copper foiling and soldering.  So, it's only natural to combine my interests by creating these "Sea Glass Suncatchers."

Like designing an abstract painting, I'm always thinking about the distribution of colors, shapes and textures.  I might spend an hour re-arranging the pieces until I'm happy with the composition.  I like adding wrapped wire in a spiral or heart shape to add an extra element and point of interest.

Each suncatcher is about 5 inches square and is unique and can never be duplicated again.  The inner pieces are sea glass (unaltered exactly as I found them) and I've "framed" the outside using either clear, textured class, or, in the first example below, the edge of a green glass plate (that I sliced apart).

A handful of these suncatchers are available at Artists Corner and Gallery in West Acton, MA with another few available at the Rockport Art Association in Rockport, MA.

I'm happy to custom make a suncatcher for anyone who is interested.  Email me for details at Laurie@LaurieGMiller.com  





Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kiss Stack - 11 x 4 inches - oil on board

"Kiss Stack" - 11 x 4 inches - oil on board
For those who have followed me for a while, you know I've painted a fair number of Hershey Kisses.  There is something a bit magical about how the foil comes to life as I add the bright highlights.  It never gets old.

In the past, I've created 3 individually framed kiss paintings but for this one, I framed them all together in one "stack."  I debated long and hard if I should arrange them in a horizontal or vertical progression.  As you can see, vertical won.  Do you agree or would you have chosen horizontal?  

"Kiss Stack" is an 11 x 4 inches oil on board painting in a natural wood floater frame.  It is available at www.LaurieGMiller.com as well as at Artists Corner and Gallery in West Acton, MA.  Additional photos are below.






Monday, June 12, 2017

Rockport Afternoon - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas - SOLD

Rockport Afternoon - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas
This is another view painted plein air in Rockport, MA from May.  There was a storm approaching so the winds were picking up, the water was starting to churn and the sky was overcast and gray.  I loved watching the entire scene change as the weather turned stormy.

I've never spent much time painting rocks and Rockport is the perfect place to practice.  I blocked in the overall shape of each mass and then carved out suggestions of the individual rocks using dark colors to create the crevices between the rocks and added lighter colors to the tops.  

"Rockport Afternoon" is is a 6x6 inch oil on canvas painting presented in a wood floater frame.  



Sunday, June 4, 2017

Chicago - 10 x 20 inches - oil on canvas- SOLD


"Chicago" - 10 x 20 inches - oil on canvas - SOLD
I recently completed this commission of the Chicago skyline which was given as a graduation gift.  

I was provided with several reference photos but wasn't crazy about the lighting so I ended up combining various references that I found on the internet of the same view.  The sky, building and water are all from different sources - otherwise, I would have tracked down the photographer for permission to use their photo.  

I wanted the skyline to be fairly accurate but planned to accentuate the building colors and subsequent reflections to make a lively and fairly abstract scene.  I started with a bright pink background, sketched in the building shapes and then started with the sky, then the buildings and finally the water reflections.  My last step was to add suggestions of windows and other small details on the buildings.



The painting was well received and it is always gratifying to have another happy customer!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

"Rockport Morning" - 8 x 8 inches - oil on canvas

"Rockport Morning" - 8 x 8 inches - oil on canvas
Formula of my life for the past month:  Travel + Travel + Mom Care + More Travel + Broken Camera = No Blog Posts!

Ok, some of my travel was for fun with some unplanned but necessary travel thrown in.  I’m now home and finally settling back into a routine.  During all the commotion, I managed to finish two commissions, research and buy a new camera and complete several seascapes.

I was lucky enough to spend a week in Rockport, MA in a beautiful home that overlooks the water.  “Rockport Morning” was painted en plein air but I was able to stand inside the comfort of the kitchen and paint while unaffected by the brisk wind.  Yes, this was my view from every window in the house.  This is Gap Cove with Straightsmouth Island in the background and the Atlantic ocean beyond that.

I could probably paint this view a million times as it is an ever changing scene depending on the tides, weather, time of day and never ending parade of sea ducks, gulls, and boats.

Third time is a charm for this particular canvas.  Beneath this painting is two other paintings that just didn’t make the cut.   Serendipitous results can often happen when painting over a previous painting if you allow some of the colors to show through.  There is a lovely richness to this painting that I hope is conveyed by this photo. 


"Rockport Morning" is an 8x8 inch oil on canvas painting presented in a wood floater frame.  This painting is available at www.LaurieGMiller.com and will also be available at Artists Corner and Gallery in Acton, MA later this week if you want to view it in person.  Additional views are below.








Thursday, April 20, 2017

A funny thing happened at my painting demonstration . . . and, which do you like better?


On Tuesday, I gave a painting demonstration to the Leominster Art Association.  There were about 40 people in attendance and it was a great group with interesting questions. 

Funny story:  I arrived early to set up my easel, palette, paints, etc. and then decided to sit in the audience to conserve my legs as I’d be standing for most of the evening.  People gradually started filling the seats and I could hear chatter all around me.   I overheard a conversation between two women that went something like this:  “Oh, wait, I thought this was going to be a watercolor demonstration. “ “Yeah, me too.  I’m so disappointed.”  “That definitely looks like oils.  I’m so bummed.”  Their comments didn’t bother me and I actually thought it was pretty hilarious.  

I started my demo and initially talked for 10-15 minutes about my process, tools, creating a good composition, etc.  Then, I started painting.  Seriously, you could hear a pin drop in that place.  At one point, I turned around and said, “Gee, it’s so quiet in here I thought you all left!”  They laughed and we continued on.  

After an hour or so, we took a break so folks could stretch their legs and get some refreshments.  I ran into one of those two women and she said to me, “Oh my gosh.  This is the best demonstration.  I’m thoroughly enjoying it and I’ve learned so much already.  I can’t wait to see more.”  Separately, the other woman approached me and said pretty much the same thing on how she was really enjoying the demo.

After the refreshment break, there was much more chatter and side conversations in the audience so I realized that the complete silence during the first hour was because I had captured their attention so well.  Either that or they were all sleeping but I’ll go with my first theory.

In preparation for the demo, I painted the top painting (see below.)  My canvas was already covered with paint from a previous painting that I wasn’t happy with so I painted over it.  For my demo painting (the one beneath it), I made a few modifications to the composition and started with a blank canvas that I toned with bright pink.

I’m wondering which you prefer!?!?!?

Preparation for the demo

Painting demonstration




Monday, April 3, 2017

"Cyclamen" - 16 x 16 inches - oil on canvas

"Cyclamen" - 16 x 16 inches - oil on canvas
Happy Spring everyone!  Here in New England we got quite a surprise with an April Fool's Day snowstorm.  I'm thinking that was the last major snow of the season but we'll see what Mother Nature has in mind.

I only have a few plants in my house and I have to say that I don't give them much TLC.  A few recently found their way into the compost bin as they were hanging by a thread and my resuscitation efforts didn't pan out.  So, on a whim, I picked up this Cyclamen plant and we'll find out just how compatible we are.  

I've always liked painting subjects with back-lighting so when I walked past my new plant sitting on the dining room table, I really wanted to capture the strong afternoon light that created a nice reflection on my dining room table.  I tried hard to stay loose and not worry too much about the details.  Easier said than done!

In other news, "Froot Loops" was interpreted by a floral designer at the "CCA in Bloom" show last weekend.  I had to laugh as the designer did quite a literal interpretation (see photo below) by including actual fruit in the design!




Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Packed" - 9 x 12 inc hes - oil on canvas - SOLD

"Packed" - 9 x 12 inches - oil on canvas
I really enjoy painting shiny, reflective things so sardines in a tin can made for a perfect subject.  Sardines always make me think of my cousin Billy who claims that King Oscar is the best brand of sardines.  I wouldn't know since I just can't bring myself to eat them!

As with my previous painting, this one came together pretty quickly and easily.  It is a relatively "cool" painting with many shades of gray so I love the warm touches of color in the fins and the gold can lid to provide some balance.


In other news, "Froot Loops" was accepted into the Chelmsford Center for the Arts "CCA in Bloom" gala.  A floral designer is going to interpret "Froot Loops" in a flower arrangement.  It will be fun to see the final result!