Tracy Miller Expressions
| 15 September, 2017 11:25
You may have heard that on September 30, 2017, the Tracy Miller Gallery will be putting on an art show – The Great American Bison. The show will focus on the art of the New West, and the artists who are participating will be putting a special focus on the bison. One Nation Film Festival is hosting the show – and I’m thrilled!
This show is near and dear to my heart – primarily because of my deep love for the bison. To me, they represent everything that is the New American West. They’re majestic and graceful – and in nature they’re honestly a site to behold. But it’s much more than that.
American Bison Portrait by Ezra Tucker
Over the course of Western American history, the bison has been a key player. They were hunted by Native Americans and settlers alike, and they often were the reason that communities formed and settled. They provided food, but they also provided clothing. They provided a sense of security, which contributed to the settling of the west – and the evolution of it to be an area that we know and love today.
Growing up, I always admired the bison. They’ve played a large role in my personal work. I’m drawn to animals who exist so well in their natural surroundings, and exhibit a life and a personality all their own. The bison is amazing to me because they’re so strong. Size-wise, they’re huge. They’re stocky, made of muscle. Yet they manage to exude this sense of kindness, grace, and peace. To me, they represent freedom and strength – and that ties so well to the nature of the American West that I’m drawn to.
Bison with Blue Sky by Ray-Mel Cornelius
Having an entire show dedicated to this magnificent animal means a lot to me. I think it’s important that we show them respect and reverence through our tribute. More than that, though, I’m always excited to see how other artists perceive and represent the bison. We all connect with nature in such different ways, and I love to see the energy of those connections in everyone’s individual work. Appreciating that we all approach the same figure – the great American bison – in different, unique ways says just as much about the great American bison as it does about us as artists.
This show is going to be amazing, and I hope to see you all there!
| 22 August, 2017 10:58
Everyone has goals and dreams. For me, I always dreamt of being an artist and owning my own studio. However, I also had a dream to refinish a vintage camper trailer and to use it as a travelling artist’s studio. Recently, my dream was realized!
My husband and I bought a 1967 Trailmaster in 2015. It’s a traditional “tin can” type of trailer, and I loved it immediately. I named it Dimples, and my husband got to work on one of the biggest renovation projects we’ve ever undertaken together! It took almost a full year to gut and renovate the trailer, but the result was absolutely worth it. Inside the trailer it’s primarily cowgirl or Western themed, but we added some elements of a traditional fishing lodge, as well.
Although I love my trailer as it is, I dream of travelling in it more often as the years go by. My big goal with this trailer is to travel and promote myself and my artwork wherever and whenever I camp. The trailer will be used as somewhere to stay while my husband and I travel the country, but also as a travelling artist studio! I’ll be able to gather inspiration from my new surroundings wherever we choose to stop, and sell my work as I go. The logo for my gallery is a decal that we placed on the back of the trailer, and we had a decal of one of my trout paintings created for the door.
As someone who grew up fishing and camping, I love having the opportunity to fully relax in my camper and to take my painting with me wherever I go. It truly is an excellent stress reliever – I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world!
During the last week of August, I’ll be showing off Dimples at the Denver Modernism Show (and of course I’ll be showing off some of my artwork as well). In the future, I’d love to travel with Dimples whenever I go to different shows out West. Keep your eyes out for us!
| 27 July, 2017 15:50
I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Art in 1987. For a while, I worked as an art consultant at a high-end gallery in downtown Denver, Colorado. It was called Gallery One. During my time at Gallery One, I really absorbed the business side of the art world. I found working in a gallery to be exhilarating, and I quickly found that selling art came naturally to me. Despite this revelation, it took me until 2011 to open my own gallery. As is all too often the case, life happened. I was so busy being a mom and an independent artist. Other galleries were representing me and my work, and I felt obligated to stay independent and focus on my art.
Finally, with the encouragement of my husband, Roger, I opened my own gallery in Manitou Springs, Colorado, in December of 2011. I decided to focus my gallery on the genre I love most, and the one that appears in most of my own art – contemporary western art. Over the last few years, I’ve found that collectors have found my gallery due to a variety of factors. The artists I showcase are amazing, and they come from a wide variety of places in their careers – some are well established, while some are just starting out. I love finding new, incredible artists to showcase.
Of course, running my own gallery while still focusing on my art can be challenging. But all of the work I do is a labor of love. I love having the freedom to make decisions both about my art and my gallery. I love deciding what to show at the gallery and what to sell, and over time I’ve learned to ride the waves of business and to embrace both the ups and the downs. At the end of the day, all of the work I put in to rep artists and their work is about putting the perfect piece of art in a collector’s home. I love knowing that when I find the perfect piece for a collector that they will love and treasure it. After all, I’m an artist. I get it. The pieces that the artists I rep bestow on me are more than just pieces of art – they’re that artist’s sweat, blood, and tears. They’re hours of work and an emotional journey. I love knowing that I can help them to find a collector who will appreciate all that went into it. Many collectors have now worked with me on finding multiple pieces, which is amazing, and I’m so grateful.
| 21 June, 2017 12:56
Recently, I went on a trip to Creede, Colorado where I was fortunate enough to paint with Stephen Quiller and several other fantastic artists during Taste of Creede. Taste of Creede is an annual Event where they celebrate the fine arts and dining, and it’s a lot of fun. This year it was held over Memorial Day weekend and the turnout was great! I was so excited to participate, and I’m even more excited to share my experience with you here on my blog.
The artists who attend Taste of Creede are set up on the street to do painting demonstrations. Finally, on Sunday, we all participate in a “Quick Draw.” This is such a unique experience, and one that I loved participating in. We’re given an hour and during that time we paint anything that we believe reflects Creede, Colorado. Some artists choose to go with landscapes, some choose to paint the quaint downtown area, while others choose to paint portraits.
I decided to paint something relevant to the trout paints I've been working on over the course of the last 3-4 years. Creede is at the headwaters of the Rio Grande, and fly fishing is a huge pastime for those who are from the area or who come to visit. I decided to get creative and paint fishing flies – a totally new concept to me (and the people at the event!). I was excited to put my work out there, but to complete it within the allotted hour took some seriously vigorous painting. After all was said and done, I was honored that someone bid on the painting. What an incredible validation of the effort you pour into your work!
The “Quick Draw” at Taste of Creede raises money for the Creede Chamber of Commerce, which is an added benefit to participating. Overall, it was a wonderful weekend and I was thrilled to paint alongside some truly excellent artists such as Frank Fancese, Coni Grant, David Montgomery, Charles Ewing, and (as mentioned before) Stephen Quiller.
The weekend was only made better by the fact that my husband, Roger, and I camped in our recently renovated vintage camper – who we have dubbed Dimples. We saw some incredible wildlife – we actually spent Sunday morning in the presence of wild sheep! If you get the chance to attend Taste of Creede next year, or just to visit the area at all, I highly recommend it. Such a stunning pocket of Colorado’s natural beauty!
| 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.
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Calendar Of Posts
- The Great American Bison: What This Show Means to Me
- Dreams Realized
- Owning a Gallery as a Solo Artist
- My Trip to Creede
- The Story of My Dogs
- Painting at the Plein Air Fest in Jackson WY
- Wildland Wildlife
- A Visit with Alyson Stanfield
- Making the Rounds at the Shows here in the West
- Commissions Part Trois