Feature Artist: Eric Miller

The Featured Artists for March and April 2022 at the Dillsburg Area Public Library are Eric Miller and Charlotte Yealey. Our art wall coordinator Shelby Pizzaro caught up with Eric:

What is the source of your inspiration?
I find inspiration in a variety of ways. As far as painting techniques, I subscribe to several magazines that offer ideas to try when I’m feeling the need to do something new. For subject matter, I look for things close to home – local wildlife, gardens and orchards, old machinery – that inspire a composition.

How would you describe your art?
My paintings are representational. I paint things the way I see them, striving for a realistic or natural look. Even my “experiments” end up this way.

Do you have a favorite medium? Has your preference changed over the years?
My love of watercolor took root in the 1980’s, and it’s been my medium of choice ever since. I still do an occasional piece with oil or acrylic paint, but I always go back to watercolor.

What do you enjoy most about creating new art?
I enjoy watching a painting develop, step by step. It can sometimes be frustrating or stressful in the early stages, when I’m not sure it will come together. When I decide I’m finished, and the painting looks the way I intended, it’s an especially rewarding feeling.

How do you start new work? Is your process always the same? If not, how does it change?
I work with a very limited palette on most of my paintings, meaning I’ll choose one or two yellows, reds, and blues. From these, I’ll mix all other colors – green, orange, violet, brown, black, etc. This =results in a painting where all colors work together in a unified way. Typically, I’ll begin by applying a thin, diluted wash of color, and then I’ll take advantage of the transparency of watercolors by adding more thin layers until I achieve the value and intensity I’m after. There are variations of this technique that I use, but that’s the foundation.

Do you ever experience a creative block? If so, how do you rejuvenate your creativity?
I think all artists run into the occasional “block,” and I’m no different. That’s when I sit down with my magazines and books to look at what other artists do. I’ll also go on a hunt for new subjects with my camera. Usually, I’ll find something that gets me back to work.

How have you managed to stay creative during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic actually caused me to paint more than usual. Having to stay home more than usual meant I had more time to spend in my studio. It became harder to find excuses not to paint.

Do you have a favorite/inspirational quote?
“Think before you paint.” I believe the quote may have come from one of my college art instructors. It sounds obvious, but it’s good advice to follow. It’s sometimes too easy to plow ahead without thinking, then look at your painting and wonder what went wrong.

If someone is interested in your work, how can they reach you?
Anyone interested in seeing my work can email me at [email protected], and I usually have some work on display at the Hanover Area Arts Guild’s gallery and at the CALC Gallery in Carlisle. Sorry, I don’t have a website and I don’t post on social media.