contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Finding Beauty and Pleasure

September, 20 inches by 20 inches, by Leslie Avon Miller

I’ve been noticing how many small things bring me pleasure. The shape of a particular letter, the color of a leaf, the dots made by tiny little black seeds or a well turned phrase can make me smile. I remember once asking my mom why she liked something in particular and her studied response was “because it pleases me.”

A short while ago Nancy bestowed upon me a blog award. And while telling you seven things about me would be in keeping with the “rules” of the award, I am also pleased by breaking rules – or more to point, in finding my own way. So I prefer to list seven things that please me.

Painting this painting pleased me. I’m calling it September, after the month I find most pleasing for its afternoon warmth, not heat, and for its cool mornings, not cold. September is a time of beginnings, and gatherings, harvest and change.

I am pleased by the letter “g”, particularly in Garamond Font. I like the curves, and the space it takes on the page. I find it a letter that is a work of art all on its own.

I am pleased by the Black and White concert by Roy Orbison, and his fabulous voice singing Pretty Woman. I am pleased by a memory I have of listening to the concert on our TV, watching young rockers groove to Roy, and pushing the dining table out of the way so Kurt and I could dance on the wooden floor, sliding on our stocking feet, laughing and loving being alive.

Sepia is a color I fall in love with again and again. Not black, not brown, but a beautiful in between color that is rich and earthy. Beauty.

I love baby feet and baby sized shoes. I can’t see an image of baby feet and not smile. I can’t be in the presence of a baby and not kiss its perfect little feet.

I love the fog that gathers over the water this time of year, and the sound of the fog horn. I have listened to the fog horn each autumn, knowing it meant the beginning of another school year approached. Beginnings are another thing I love.

I love blackboards, especially old ones made of slate. Messages written and erased, over and over, creating a pattern of fleeting marks intrigue me.

Please feel free to join in and list seven things of your choice. Lists are another thing I enjoy…

Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it. -Confucius


  1. Hmmmm... list only 7 things? I will try :-)
    --circles and dots (2 for 1)
    --umber and taupe (2 for 1)
    --stones and rocks
    --text, words and numbers (conceptual)
    drat! I have more....
    beautiful post by the way.

  2. Love the Painting. Also I like the post.. It brings smiles to my face.

  3. i am pleased by people who BREAK RULES and then MAKE NEW ONES. i enjoy your writing and the list you created. i love the b&w concert, roy joined by favorite friends==tom waits, tbone burnett, bonnie raitt, the boss, kd lang, ..and the image of you dancing with your husband. lovely. and sepia...i'd deleted my award post, felt self-conscious with my list of things about me, but ... i like your list of those things that please and will accept your invitation to do the same. lovely.

  4. gorgeous painting and how lovely to read your list of things you love.

  5. Hi Leslie,

    A very pleasing selection! Simple things that can be enjoyed without a deal of fuss. Although it depends when the foghorn sounds!

  6. What a fabulous post. I love the painting. It has such a zen-like feeling for me. I love the fog over the water in the early morning but add the sound of a calling loon to that.

  7. I'm new to following your blog. (I try out new ones now and then) Glad I was able to see this post! Fine painting. I love September too.

  8. Your "September" so pleases me!!!

  9. Leslie, lovely painting, so fresh and free, lovely pleased to be reminded of being pleased as a reason for liking something. I am pleased by the light in these September days, the smell in the air, freedom to paint whatever happens, reading your blog, eating from the garden, making breakthroughs, and being alive!

  10. can I add fossils to my list?
    oh and rusty things?
    You are right-- Sept. is cool in the morning and warm in the afternoons--so pleasant--- we are 'eased' into fall in such a nice way.

  11. I feel so relaxed after reading this post. And pleased. I am going to do my best to get as much pleasure as I can out of September.

  12. wonderful list and that you broke the rules! to suit you :) I love September, but I love August more - I'm a huge fan of the one layer dress code, but am in the closet dragging out second layers - scarves, sweaters,and oh god, even a pair of boots - wore my flip flops even in the rain yesterday - just can't stand the idea of having to put them away!

  13. I have always found pleasure in that which others take for granted or that which is seen but ignored. Beauty is fickle one might say. I can fall in love with a broken shell which displays her inner structure, while another person may feel it is imperfect.

    I could be standing by my kitchen door, with a glass of green tea and watching a leaf depart from the branch and find pleasure in this, or when I am most in need of a little company at two in the morning working at my computer when the cat shows up, reminding me it is time for bed but not after first curling up on my lap.

    Life is full of little pleasures, we just need to let them touch us.

  14. Thank you for your wonderful blog post, seven things, I will have to give that some thought.
    Thank you also for becoming a follower of my blog (Abstract Minimalism) which I only posted for the first time yesterday. I was full of trepidation about how it would be received but some pleasing response is just what was needed.

  15. -birds in flight
    -kids laughing
    -the first crocus
    -distant lightning
    -the everglades
    -paul klee

  16. The dribbly feel of this painting I find very appealing. Like the dribbly light of September, still abundant but not as loud as summer light. Kind of buttery. Make that "drizzly" feel.

    I too like September. It's my birth month, so it represents a new personal beginning for me. And in Santa Fe we celebrate Fiesta, which is kind of our New Year. And yes, there's the beginning of school, and the beginning of fall. A month fraught with possibility and pleasure.

  17. This idea of seven is intriguing!

    Clean cool sheets at bedtime

    hummingbirds arguing over the feeder

    The first Ranier cherries of the season

    cracking open an anticipated book

    Thai massage!

    the smell of fresh, hot, bread

    a welcoming fire after a long cold hike.

    By the way, your painting is very spiritual looking to me...

  18. it pleases me just seeing your artwork..and then reading your wise words..

  19. I love.....your posts and your paintings.

    .....books I can live in for a good long while summer mornings on the deck with a hot steaming cup of coffee.

    .....dinner and great conversation with friends

    .....long walks with a happy dog anywhere

    .....and time or place I get to be with my wife

  20. Hi Leslie, I enjoyed reading your list...and loved looking at your's wonderful when we feel good about something we have created.

  21. What a beautiful post Leslie. It arrived on a morning when I needed to be reminded of all the small things to be grateful for in our lives.

  22. I have thought about a list of seven things I love, well today this is it although I am sure on another day it would be different.

    Night sounds in the country(fox barking, owl hooting).
    Conkers (Horse Chestnuts) fresh out of the shell.
    The smell of new mown grass.
    Espresso coffee.
    Sheeps wool caught on a fence.
    Bonfire smoke in the autumn.
    Good red wine.

  23. Your lists are fabulous! So many of these delights only require awareness and appreciation….

  24. This post pleases me. Your painting pleases me even more. It makes me think of a haiku by Basho.

    Carving in solitude
    Good coffee

  25. The list changes a bit through the year - barefoot beach walks don't happen much in January, here and the plums are all eaten!

    fruit straight from the tree
    barefoot beach walks
    walking all day with no clock watching
    being lost in playing music
    finishing work after a satisfying day

    Thanks for following my new blog!

  26. I am pleased by the fact that I am not the only blogger who wanders off the path and puts theie own spin on these types of awards!

  27. mmmmmmmm and i love the image of a blackboard over in your sidebar :o)

  28. So nice to land on your site once again. Beautiful "September" painting and a loving list. The fall is my favorite (my birthday as well) and my spiritual new year so it has deep meaning and pleasure. Here is to fall! (I'm holding my glass up!)

  29. Leslie,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to try & brain storm the limbo comments!
    I love shadows and stains, the way things age,and the wet and wild way of birthing. I love silence and the calligraphy of personal alphabets. I love every vital mark in my day. I love noticing!

  30. Marie - well there you are! I'll leave comment moderation off and see how it goes. Silence (except for blog comments), the way things age, personal alphabets - I love your list.

    This has been so enjoyable to hear of the small things each person finds pleasurable. Thank you all for contributing. So much more enjoyable to notice a small pleasure than something annoying!

  31. Beautiful painting. I really like the movement of this piece. It really is September - moving quickly into a new season.
    Seven things that please me: fresh warm croisants, handmade paper, tall feathery grasses, rushing streams, rusty worn buildings, barns, and time with my granddaughter.

  32. Hello! I am visiting from "Art Propelled." Just wanted to say your art and blog are both a wonderful treat. Thanks!

  33. I just love this latest work and oooo oooo I want to join in the fun:

    7 things I like/love:

    - tiny detailed things (if it requires a magnifying glass or a microscope - all the better!)

    - layers

    - texture

    - nature (so inspiring!)

    - my family

    - art blogs

    - colour

  34. I just took a stroll over to Dean Nimmer's website. Fabulous work - and I loved this gem of information at the end of his bio:

    "And yes, it's true that this is the same Dean Nimmer who was the drummer in the psychedelic rock group The Baroques, the first white group on Chess Records c.1967!"

  35. "Layers" and I seem to agree with the things we love, especially rocks and stones. The smell of them when it rains and how like jewels they appear when they are wet.
    Thank you Leslie, for becoming a follower of my blog. I just recently added this gadget to my site. I'm learning about all the clever things we can do with Blogger. I love yours and your collages. I'm looking forward to doing more of them myself.

  36. You are so in tune with what pleases you, with what you love, and you communicate it in such a palpable way.

    It's obvious that you adore words, as well, and delight in arranging them, like you arrange your art and other objects that please you, into attractive configurations that feed your eyes and spirit when you gaze their way.

    And then, you paint, as an expression of all of this, and more. The way you translate the thoughts and feelings that abetted the creation of your paintings comes through as genuine and honest, so it moves those who visit you.

    Which is why we keep coming back.

  37. So glad you came to visit my blog and left a comment...your images and words are wonderful.

    Seven, I love lists, so can't resist. Seven things that please me that begin with the letter "p."

    pigeons flying up into the sky.

    Never been good at picking favorites.

  38. Again and again, your comments add such delight. Thank you all.

  39. And this perfectly imperfect dripped work pleases me!
    I think that often drips look contrived,,,,well, maybe only if in my work,,,but definitely not in yours.
    Reading your list I found myself nodding,,,so many of your things I could have listed also.

  40. Oh WOW, this is a great post & you have the most gorgeous site here. I had to stop by to leave this comment for you – and to say hello of course ! Your posts are creative and original and you have interesting pictures. It's all perfect ! Thank you for sharing your site and best wishes....

  41. Thank you so much Elise - and thank you for introducing me to your blog about ballet! And your header! - all those shoes lined up - perfect!

  42. Well, better late than never, Leslie! But I just love stopping by during a busy workday to browse your wonderful blog -- so wonderful, in fact, that I often forget to leave a friendly message! New blog banner? and love "September" -- yes, there is something yummy about sepia!

  43. You can tell from my blog that I'm the mistress of loving tiny ,odd, quirky little things!
    The colors of your blog delight as do your wonderful paintings

  44. mm.. your work is changing direction, loosening..

    getting juicy..

  45. I love the way you think! I am also drawn to this artwork and think it reflects your list of likes well, especially the blackboard.

    Thanks for your visit:)

  46. mmmmmm - sepia - yes, my preference too.

    and this collage is just wonderful to me :)

  47. This painting is beauty!
    My pleasure!

  48. Leslie your blog and your art is such a visual treat. I'll keep my list short:
    I am pleased by what I see here
    I am pleased that you stopped by my blog and left me a comment today.

  49. 7 things that give me pleasure:

    list making
    Buddha candle at night
    breath carrying movement in yoga
    crow calls while walking
    holding a dream upon wakening
    spontaneous hugs from my son
    tummy rubbing the dachshund Luna...

    and the arising of many more
    now in answer to the question
    which I will take into the journal
    thank you Leslie - for your beautiful work, your thoughtful posts and your presence...

    xox - eb.


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