contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Exploring Again

I am feeling the need to explore; specifically I want to explore shapes and line. While I am completing a few more Bone Prayer paintings, I have also decided to start in a different direction. I have been thinking of this new direction for a while. Today was the day to begin because I had some left over paint mixed up and needed a place to put it. Kurt had made me some birch panels sized at 12 inches by 24 inches, which is a nicely exaggerated rectangle. Paint plus panel equals a start.

I am showing you the very first layer of the many I am sure I will add to this piece. I am also showing you a page from my art notebook, where I tried out the ideas after I had already started the painting…I suspect this will be a series, and go in directions I don’t even envision yet. I like funky, loose drawings, so I did these with my non-dominate left hand.

I’m still working on meaning; vessels as a metaphor, and Joseph Campbell’s talks about the Native American concept of the “long body.” My stage in life where the view back to the beginning is longer, I think, than the view out to the future…. experiences poured in, and poured out, weathering and firing, the polish of time.

In the past I have made pots and bowls on a potter’s wheel, and woven baskets from natural materials I gathered. I used to dream about the feel of wet clay spinning under my hands. I have entered natural cathedrals of tall trees and moss covered under story in the rain forest while seeking cedar roots, and left them all there because the sense of place told me it was too sacred to touch…..Now its time to explore the same shapes in collage and paintings.


  1. Leslie, your new header is exciting! Your art notebook and your new direction are the Great Harvest promise for you!

  2. me, learning to be open and play with materials, untrained...a few classes in retirement.....and a longing. i'll be watching and listening to your stages with your work, all of which 'speak to me' and my yearning/process. thanks for sharing. nn

  3. If the final art is as beautiful as today's post it will be sensational.

    I can't wait to see how this develops.

  4. It will be exciting to watch your journey. Vessels and the symbolism around them has always interested me. I have a series started on that theme as well and will explore it in encaustic. I am so looking forward to seeing how each of us will differ in our search. I love your start here.

  5. i love the way you don't stay still - and that top painting is perfect

  6. Black and White: Thanks. I am excited to explore.

    Nancy: Perfect! You have everything you need. Openness, playfulness, time, and yearning. A perfect formula! I can tell you are also enjoying the process, which is part of the fun.

    Barry: Thank you dear friend. I’ll keep you posted of course!

    Zappha: Vessels as symbols – very rich material. I wish I could visit your studio and see your encaustic process. It is going to be interesting to see where this takes each of us….

    notmassproduced: Thank you. I do have to keep moving – dancing – exploring. Its part of the fun of creating. Seeing what’s around the bend in the road.

  7. Oh, for beautiful beginnings...the heart beats a little faster and the play and joy is in full swing. These are great vessels. I like the raw shapes using your "other" hand. I so loved your description of communing with the sacred groves in the rain forest.
    I did monotypes using the sacred vessel as a experience.

  8. wonderful. i've always been drawn to bowls and vessels and look forward to seeing how your new series develops.

  9. The vessel as receptacle, and womb, and body, and life as a vessel to be filled--such a rich point of departure in this new direction. I'm glad you had the paint and the panels to get started.

    WOW. My word verification is handripl. Like the feel of clay.

  10. relishing these
    you always delight!

    xox - eb.

  11. wow, this looks really wonderful, Leslie - and I see you have an interview - will go check it out right now - hope things have settled a bit for you :)

  12. How exciting, Leslie! I look forward to following your new exploration. Summer is a great time for exploring.

    Looks like you've already written your artist statement for this new series.

  13. Hi Leslie,

    I have just been reading Dave King's poem about Adam and Eve and the vessels in your second sidebar works look as if they could have been discovered in the same place! It will be interesting to see this new direction.

  14. My attention was immediately drawn to your sidebar and the beautiful vessel pieces in progress. Absolutely wonderful Leslie!!!
    Now off to read the interview :-)

  15. Leslie these are fantastic! I am also a lover of vessels and drawn with your non-dominant hand makes there line very special, almost a liquidy feel to them or oniric. Keep going with this!

  16. your new header is great! and I'm loving these explorations! they look great, inspiring and promising. I'm curious to seeing more :)

  17. Here you go again, Leslie, down another pathway, one that's still hidden a bit but soon your destination will be revealed just as it was as you started your bone series. I love these vessels of yours and am anxious to see what comes next. For some reason I remembered Sas's sister drumming for us that night... remember? Her drum was a vessel for sound.

  18. Leslie, Noticed the sidebar and read your interview... WONDERFUL!
    Also saw your works in process...lovely,

  19. aha!
    I was wonderinghow to obtain tht reference to the Long body....and here itis on your blog.
    And vessels...yes..

    they are drawing me too.. perhaps because I sense that my natural "vessel" will become dried up soon, that I am pondering ..oh and they are looking more like scrotums , says one..the irony...

  20. I love the way you change the header according to your present series of work. It gives us a heads up when we come to your site.

    San said it: the vessel as womb, receptacle.

    We are all vessels. We are filled, we pour out, we are filled again. The splendid, ongoing cycle of life and art.

  21. Great new header. I love the vessels. I too used to be a potter in my younger days and still occasionally crave for the touch of clay magically forming into organic shapes on the wheel.

  22. Lovely, a really promising diversion. Should be fun.


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