Tracy Miller Expressions
| 16 May, 2017 09:34
If you’ve been following my work for a while, you may know that I create these colorful dog and animal portraits. I grew up around animals, and I love painting them in true abstract expressionism. As I paint, the animals I’m working to capture reveal themselves to me slowly. I use bold brushstrokes and vibrant, charged color schemes to capture their personality and spirit. From there, I refine their key recognizable characteristics – capturing them as we see them.
I strive to create a unique portrait of the animal subject every time I start working on a new piece. Every animal, after all, has a unique personality. I feel that by capturing them in such a primal way, I can help represent the special space they take up in this world. Through bright colors and lines that capture their quirky, individual expressions, I’m showcasing them as exactly what they are – individual, happy, creatures who add value during their time with us.
Originally, these portraits were a way for me to interact with animals – which I love. Living in Colorado, I have a lot of opportunities to see and visit with western wildlife in a way I might not be able to if I lived elsewhere. As my paintings gained some traction with collectors who were familiar with my work, I started to receive commission requests. Painting someone’s pet, whether they’re living or deceased, is an important way that I can help them remember their beloved furry friend and capture that special relationship.
As commissions became increasingly popular, and my originals started selling on Ugallery.com, I started opening myself up to the prints market. As an artist, I strive to be realistic. Not everyone can afford a commissioned piece or an original, and that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to access art that moves them. If you’re connected to a piece on an emotional level, as many people are when you’re dealing with animals as a subject matter, you want to have access to that art.
For me, there’s a huge difference between the originals and commissioned paintings world and the prints world. Getting involved in having my art created for mass-printing has been a game changer for me. I feel like my creations are now accessible to a broader public, and that’s an incredible feeling. In many ways, this feels like my calling – making people happy through my work. Being given the opportunity to cast a wider net and bring that joy to more people through my art has been an enriching and rewarding experience.
| 27 June, 2013 14:57
I just returned from a really fun trip up to Jackson, Wyoming to participate in the 2nd Annual Plein Air Fest to benefit the National Museum of Wildlife Art. I met so many amazingly talented and well known artists, it was a real honor to paint beside them. Here I am standing next to a life size sculpture of a moose by Sandy Scott that I used for my inspiration. Artists set up all over the sculpture trail and many painted the gorgeous landscape surrounding the museum as well painting animals like I did. When we were finished (after a 4 hour time limit) the paintings were put up for silent auction, and let me tell you, it's a great way to buy originals by established and emerging artists and get to meet them too! My painting sold to a local collector, very exciting! I hope I'll get invited back next year. My family trailed along on this trip and we took advantage of nearby Yellowstone National Park, where I was lucky enough to take some great photos of wildlife for future paintings. If you've never been, schedule a visit up there!
| 04 June, 2013 11:13
It's been months in the planning and execution, but Coni Grant and I are so proud of the work we've created for Phantom Canyon Brewery and Restaurant in downtown Colorado Springs. This show will be up for June and July. See our largest and most colorful paintings yet as you hoist a cold one and enjoy the restaurant's excellent cuisine. Coni has been my cohort this spring in Creede at the quick draw paint out and she will also be my featured artist at 3rd Friday ART Walk in Manitou at the Gallery. She will demo a painting that evening, so stop on in and meet her! Then on Saturday June 22nd, Coni will be teaching a one day workshop hosted by my neighbor gallery, Fare Bella. To sign up, contact me through the website. I will be in Jackson that weekend to participate in another quick draw at the National Museum of Wildlife Art! Watch for a future posting on that event and the painting I create for it. Hope your summer is off to a great start!
| 12 April, 2013 16:31
On April 11th I hosted Author and Art Coach Alyson Stanfield down here in Colorado Springs for an informal question and answer session over at Deb Komitor's wonderful studio in the Midland School building. It was great to get together a talented and diverse group of artists and put them together with Alyson, who has written "I'd Rather Be in the Studio" the no excuses guide to marketing your art. Alyson is no nonsense, doesn't want to hear excuses or whining! It was informative, thought provoking and fun! I highly recommend her book and check out her websites www.artbizcoach.com and www.artbizblog.com Here's a pic of her and me in my gallery!
| 03 April, 2013 15:17
I've been making a real effort these past couple of years to get juried into and participate in some of the bigger shows out here in the west. As with anything else, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. This was a winning show for me! I had sales and got to participate in the quickdraw! (Thank you Lindsey Bittner Graham for the encouragement) I'm pictured here at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum Western Spirit Show on March 2nd right after the quickdraw (I had only 30 minutes, yikes!) What fun it was to participate! I came up from the Springs, spent 2 nights, attended the mixer Friday evening, went to the artists symposium all day Saturday and finally opening night later that evening. Long day but really worth it. At the symposium I watched Brandon Bailey start a painting and talk about light and shadows, and heard lectures on the state of contemporary western art from 3 influential women, Rose Frederick, Nikki Todd and Mindy Beshaw. It was all very enlightening and informative. I met some really nice folks up there and I look forward to participating again! Watch for more posts on this subject as the year unfolds as I've been accepted to 2 more shows!
| 13 March, 2013 18:16
Last in my current series of writing about commissions is the most recent one pictured here. It's titled "Ready to Play" and is of a young and spirited foal. The collector had recently purchased 2 of my horse paintings, Tobiano and Paso Fino. After receiving those and hanging them on her wall, she decided that they needed to be a family and she gave me a call with her idea. Young horses are always a lot of fun to paint. They have a mischievious look in their eye and have such boundless energy. I needed to match the background colors to make them look like they were all painted around the same time. It has me thinking that I need to do some paintings of foals on a more regular basis to be offered for sale.
| 08 February, 2013 23:25
Well, it was my intention to blog once a week so this is late, but I want keep on the subject of commissions and working with collectors. This is a recently finished painting for a Denver collector who was looking for me to paint a buffalo similar to an earlier one I did but to change to a very specific size. Narrower and taller so it could fit into a recessed area facing the front entryway and with a different color background. I sketched out a new placement of the buffalo within the parameters of the canvas and got the go ahead. The painting turned out really nice and the collector was also happy.This one is titled"Contentment"
| 07 January, 2013 18:38
A lot of artists don't like to do commissions, but I'm not one of them. Every commission I've done has given me an opportunity to grow as an artist. My collectors have presented new challenges for me to meet and I'm always excited and encouraged with the results. Take this painting for example. A collector came in my gallery and fell in love with a painting of an elk titled Evening Sounds. Unfortunately the size of that one was all wrong. After going home and measuring her wall, she called me back and asked if I could"re-create" that elk pose into a more stretched out version. I said yes and took the opportunity to include much more of the elk's rack giving it a really dramatic look. The customer was thrilled with the end result! I'm now doing another commission where a collector really liked a certain buffalo painting, but needs a very specific custom size. I'm reworking the placement and including a bit more view of the animal and changing the background color behind it. Be open to commissions because you never know how they will help you grow as an artist.