Artist Spotlight: Patris Miller
Enchanted with urban landscapes, Patris Miller paints images that portray city life, along with her true passion: plein air scenes of California, her old stomping grounds in Northwest Montana, and Glacier National Park. Mainly using oils, the artist—who also teaches drawing and painting at the Crocker Art Museum and in her Oak Park studio and gallery; and hosts paint & sip events, master workshops, and artist exhibitions—enjoys the never-ending process of learning and discovering new applications for the medium. “I love working from life and direct observation,” shares Miller. “I seek to convey the beauty I see and feel when painting outdoors and in urban landscapes, focusing on the positive aspects, interesting architecture, and juxtaposition of natural creation with man-made elements.” Miller has been chosen to participate in this summer’s Plein Air Glacier 2020—a prestigious event where invited artists venture into Glacier National Park and surrounding areas with their brushes and easels for one week and then present their work in a collaborative show—and will also be teaching her first destination workshop in August ("Beginning Landscape Painting in Oils") at the Mendocino Art Center.
HLN: How has your background shaped your art?
PM: I grew up in Montana surrounded by the grandeur of the landscape, forever instilling in me a love of nature. I lived in a small town without many art opportunities, yet my mother always encouraged me to draw and create. Instead of art, however, I pursued a master’s degree in education and worked teaching English to refugee students from Laos, working on language development and program administration for second language learners at the Department of Education. It was tremendously rewarding, but after losing my mother to cancer, I changed life's course and began pursuing my heart's passion: art.
HLN: What significance does the Oak Park area have on your work?
PM: I started my artistic journey painting images of my community that highlighted its beauty. I still create vibrant images of Oak Park that reveal a positive perspective, focusing on the hidden beauty and unseen charm woven into the design of Sacramento’s first established suburb. My greatest aspiration is to support the renaissance of this neighborhood and invite others to enjoy the treasures of it.
HLN: In 2012, you opened your own studio and gallery. What was your vision?
PM: Patris Studio and Art Gallery’s vision is to foster growth in the visual arts and provide a place for artists—including myself—to work and connect with other artists. I also want to enrich the community with high-quality programs focused on art education and practice, art appreciation, and exhibitions.
HLN: What words of wisdom do you have for new artists?
PM: Art is a journey, and no one is born a master; it takes constant practice, learning, and searching. Artistic growth doesn't happen overnight. Developing as an artist is a process and takes time and devotion. Wanting instant perfection is the enemy of making art, while adopting a beginner's mind keeps us open to exploring all possibilities. There’s an important difference between demanding perfection and seeking excellence. The latter requires us to put in the time, devotion, and commitment; the former only seems to end in frustration.
By Heather L. Nelson