contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Humming in the Studio

Several large works are coming together in my studio, and I am contemplating some companion pieces in a smaller size. The work is evoking mood and thoughts of stillness, and of the evolutionary movement of continents and islands. I continue to create deep layers of texture and marks, exposing parts of each layer to compose the whole. I find that my methods evolve naturally, and the work is deeply satisfying, engaging and also challenging. Making art is doing good work.

I have started reading a new art book, Art Revolution, Alternative Approaches for Fine Artists and Illustrators, by Lisa L. Cyr. The imagery is compelling and rich. There are 20 contemporary and cutting edge artists represented in the book. As delightfully enticing as the images are, I am even more interested in the messages about contemporary art as it exists now, the interviews of each artist, and the encouragement the author provides for all of us to be authentic, innovative and content driven.

Lisa provides a summary of the history of contemporary art, a snapshot of where we are now, and a call for high standards as we move forward. She points out the almost homogenized aesthetic that results from formula driven art. In the chapter titled Content Drive Approach, Lisa says “To move forward, artists must adopt a success-based work ethic. They have to be willing to strive for greatness every time, refusing to compromise and settle for the mundane. This means doing their best in every aspect of their work, regardless of the rewards or accolades that may or may not come from their effort….Visionary artists don’t limit themselves. They are always thinking ahead, seeking new ground for their work. Even in the face of adversity, artists who are determined to succeed do not give in to fear and anxiety or accept a state of defeat. They see the uncertainty of a situation as an opportunity to try new things, reveling in the potential it can bring for upward mobility. Instead of trying to fight adversity, they embrace it and use it as an incentive to move forward. Some have described the feeling as riding the wave of life. “

She also says “They need to innovate, embracing entrepreneurial thinking and authorship as a way to penetrate the complacency that exists. They must seize the opportunity to turn the tide of mediocrity. To create a more vibrant and robust cultural exchange, artists need to become inventors of their own content, asserting a viewpoint all their own.”

Her book combines techniques demonstrated by the artists, and thoughtful writing designed to inspire each of use to put forth our best efforts. “As an artist grows and matures, the work evolves naturally in a free and almost effortless way.”

In the interest of supporting that entrepreneurial call for artists, I can also recommend the July/August edition of Art Calendar, the business magazine for visual artists. The issue is devoted to marketing art in the digital age, including web design, using social media, targeting your market, boosting your web site’s search engine positioning, and protecting your images on the web.


  1. inspiring and useful post - thank u so much

  2. Aahh, I've been waiting patiently for another post, Leslie and it was well worth the wait. Great texture and markings in this piece....and I love what's going on in the left corner.

  3. I love all the wonderful detail and texture in this piece, Leslie. NICE.

  4. Leslie,
    Your piece is very beautiful & evokes exactly what you said:evolutionary movement, (and sound too....I can hear the turnings!)
    Thanks for sharing the quotes form "Art Revolution" which brings up lots of "serious" stuff that evolving artists really need to hear. When doing art from the perspective of interior growth, excellence in every creative endeavor requires a real commitment and focus; difficult to always achieve but worth the effort. (Can get the book on Amazon? Would love to have it!)

  5. Kate – you are welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

    Robyn – Thanks Robyn. Time for art vs. time for blogging – two things I enjoy doing, but I must make a choice about time. These last few weeks I’ve felt the need to paint (including the kitchen walls and ceiling!) I’m playing with tissue papers and an artist books format for my favorite tissue transfers. Even though autumn is a ways off, I always get in the mood to make a book as the seasons change. A future post is planned on that.

    Willow – I live for the details!

    Janet – Thank you, and thanks for visiting.

    Marie – I like to ponder and discuss things like authenticity in art. But when I am actually creating art it’s all about going with what’s happening at the moment guided by my intuition and experience. Yes – I got the book from Amazon. I’ve added a link on the side bar to Amazon. I think you would enjoy the book.

  6. wow! loving the header! and the back cover of the book on your sidebar looks amazing! wish I could make it big - I've always loved the word 'seize' and I find that in your description of something in the book - I need to title a painting 'seize' - it's so powerful :)

  7. Hi Leslie,

    Along with everyone else, I like the colour and texture in this piece, especially the top left corner!

  8. Great painting, Leslie. Ditto on what Marie said. I would like to see an example of what Lisa Cyr means when she says "homogenized aesthetic that results from formula driven art." Can't avoid it if you don't know what it is. Any thoughts?

  9. Your work always inspires me. The paintings almost beg to be touched with all that wonderful texture. That certainly looks like an interesting book too.

  10. Jeane – Looking forward to seeing your “Seize” painting! I’ll email the image of the back cover to you. I notice the images in my posts are “clickable” but in the side bar they are not. I have no idea how that works. The new header is from one of the 36 x 36 inch paintings.

    Derrick – Textures r me!

    Mary – Work that relates to something personal (personal content) is not formula driven. Jeane just commented how engaged she is with the word “seize.” So when she makes a painting called “seize” it will have personal meaning and come from within Jeane. No formula there! As I am working on my current paintings I am finding out what they are about – movement of the continents and islands, and evolution are all in the painting and resonate with me – nothing about that is from someone else’s work.
    Jackson Pollick was his own man, so to say. He saw things in his drips, and he knew what they were about. If someone else came along and did what he did, it would be mimicry. The work would be about mimicking Jackson.
    Still everyone influences everyone, and we artists of our time. The impressionists all have a style in common, but they could still make personal statements by responding to their subject matter from a personal perspective. I guess it’s about knowing what you are painting and why you are painting it. It does not have to be something big, it can be a simple thought, or feeling, but a personal response to that thought, feeling or subject matter. Circles as a symbol for instance, could be about the cycle of life, or buttons on a dress your Mom made you, or the moon, or just that you like circles. Its about your like of circles, not someone else’s like of circles.
    Someone else want to chime in here?

  11. Zappha - the textures have evolved, and now are almost completely visual rather than tactile. Thanks for visiting.

  12. Leslie,

    Each painting your through mastery in the use of clear and dark dexterity of touch, is a window that opens to the world reveals its most intimate universe. Particularly this painting reflects a look inside, full of lyricism, which builds and reveals its particular universe.

    Yours, José Brito

  13. Leslie,

    Your painting reveals mastery through the use of clear and dark dexterity of touch, is a window that opens to the world reveals its most intimate universe. Particularly this painting reflects a look inside, full of lyricism, which builds and reveals its particular universe.

    Yours, José Brito

  14. You sound like you're more than humming you're buzzing. You are so prolific. Thanks for the book reference, I'm going to check it out now.

  15. Leslie,
    Thank you so much for your loyal support over at Cinnamon Studio. I appreciate it much more than I can say!

  16. José – Thank you for all your encouragement. I appreciate your kind comments.

    Ro – You are pretty prolific too! I think you might like the book. Thanks for stopping by.

    Marie – You are welcome Marie. I think your blog is interesting, and you are a good artist.

  17. I just received this book and was cogitating about what to write for my blog. After I do that, I'll come back and read yours more deeply.

    As soon as I saw what you were writing about, I stopped reading. It will be a lot more fun to see how our impressions and thoughts coalesce on this.

    It is such a wonderful book. Great taste, Leslie!

  18. I already posted one quote from the book, in the post about Jeane! I loved the fact that the book came the day I was writing about her. And here you are, talking about how engaged she is with the word "seize."

    Well, I seized the opportunity of synchronicity, also feeling that Jeane exemplified an artist who had a content driven approach.

    It's such fun when things like this happen ~~ it shows how connected we all are.

  19. Hi Carol -Yes, the connections are ever present - a good thing! It is a great book. Excellent eye candy, but thoughtful writing as well. Thanks for visiting Carol!

  20. Leslie,
    I came across your post about my new book Art Revolution and thought I would thank you for sharing it with others! The book was truly a labor of love. I was compelled to post, especially after reading another post in this thread about how we are all connected. I believe that to be true and I also believe that we are here to share and help each other along the way. I've posted your review along with the reviews from others at:

    As an FYI, I also have a facebook page around the project for events, exhibitions, lectures, etc. For anyone that may be interested:

    Thanks again for sharing your insight and spreading the word about Art Revolution!

    Lisa L. Cyr
    (author of Art Revolution)


Thank you for stopping by! Please sign the guest book and let me know what you think. Join the conversation. It's fun!