contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Saturday, October 6, 2012

trying to say something

...And when they tell you life is not like this,

life is never like this, life will never be like this,

insist that the sun has always found a time and a place,

the moon too knows when and where to enter,

and you too have your stories,

and you too have your place.

~Shira Erlichman, "How to Tell a Story"

here it is studio time
pages, pages and pages
mark and scratch
carve and stamp
i follow the path to where it leads
soon there will be books

i love the sun of sweet autumn
the visit of bears and coyotes to the fruit trees
warm afternoons and crisp evenings
i want to preserve the light somehow
to remind me on dark winter nights that
the sun and moon each have their place

i want to tell each artist how much i
enjoy and revere their work
how my eyes take delight
how I read each word you write
and feel connected on the path we walk
alone but together

When the woman you live with is an artist, 
every day is a surprise. 
Clare has turned the second bedroom into a wonder cabinet, 
full of small sculptures and drawings pinned up on every inch of wall space. 
There are coils of wire and rolls of paper tucked into shelves and drawers.

The next day I come home to find that Clare 
has created a flock of paper and wire birds, 
which are hanging from the ceiling in the living room. 
A week later our bedroom windows are full of abstract blue translucent shapes 
that the sun throws across the room onto the walls, 
making a sky for the bird shapes Clare has painted there. 
It's beautiful.

The next evening I'm standing in the doorway of Clare's studio, 
watching her finish drawing 
a thicket of black lines around a little red bird. 
Suddenly I see Clare, 
in her small room, 
closed in by all her stuff, 
and I realize that she's trying to say something, 
and I know what I have to do.

~Audrey Niffengger, The Time Traveler’s Wife


  1. Each autumn I make artists books. It's one of the ways I celebrate this season of changes. The books are a work of of textures, shapes and color...and the love of turning pages to see what the next one will bring, somewhat like turning the pages of my life.

  2. des superpositions de charme et de finesse!

  3. What a wonderful idea: making artists books each autumn! These pages are gorgeous.
    When I go into the studio tomorrow morning, I'll be carrying this inspiration with me.
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks Lynn: I wish you a fruitful day in your studio!

  4. So Beautiful. your dedication . creativity . sharing .

  5. another lovely lyrical post! I love your whole hearted studio explorations and as always the wonderful quotes you bring us!

    Love the picture painted in the time traveler's wife!

    happy fall, happy exploring! look forward to seeing some of those books put together.

    and yes I think we are always trying to say something in our work, sometimes it is apparent to us, sometimes to others and sometimes a mystery to all. I think I am starting to like the mystery to all part!

    1. Saying something with our hands so that we may understand with our hearts what we know in languages other than the one we speak...that is, to me, non objective art.
      A few more pages and then - the book building begins including bit and parts from many explorations, to make books that have no one size and can hold many conversations!
      Thanks Carole, happy fall to you too!

  6. The pages are just wonderful and the ritual of creating these books in Autumn seems just right. This is a beautifully poetic post Leslie. Thank you!

  7. oh how magnificent, this share.
    the words, the images, the rhythm of it all
    ....glad and grateful thanks:)

    1. Hi Jennifer: Yes, the rhythm. I love work with a good rhythm! Thank you.

  8. i'm not sure i am saying much but i DO like bears.

    1. Hi India: You say volumes with your eco dying, and lovely sounds they are! And the bears - its been such a good year for them. Mama and her baby and once Daddy bear was here - he is a big guy! I am always safely inside. They never even notice me clicking away with my camera.

  9. I love what you are saying with this work. For me, the simplest of forms speak loudest. I think they leave you space for imagination to translate, rather than have an artwork spelt out in detail. I admire the evocative and the suggestive .....

    1. Hi Susan. I agree, leaving breathing room, and space to BE is so important in work. Thank you for seeing that.

  10. Thank you Leslie, for reminding me of the poetry of The Time Traveler's Wife, one of my favorite books. Your imagery compliments it perfectly!

    1. Hi Ruth. Time Traveler's Wife is on my top ten book list too!

  11. Leslie, whenever your Autumn explorations begin your contentment overflows into your posts. How lucky we are that you share! Your work conveys so much and I relate to these stories .... your heart language .... and feel content, creative and inspired.

    1. Hi Robyn: What a good point - Autumn is my season so it follows that my heart language is closest to the surface now. Thank you.

  12. Leslie, I am entranced by your autumn story; I think this post speaks volumes. Lovely work you've made to put in your books! I like the idea of making parts first, then putting them together; I'm usually a whole-to-part thinker when it comes to these things (you know- planning first), but I'd like to try it the other way around. The time traveler's wife is a favorite of mine; another good story. Thanks for sharing yours.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Sharmon. The ways we work are natural to us, but it is fun to try a different approach. The work leads me down my path. No matter how I try I can not have much of plan in place.

  13. Leslie - such gentle and quiet echoes on these pages. I love the way they come into being - softly, creeping and then are so beautiully expressed. As ever, I enjoy reading words plus pictures! Go well

    1. Hello Fiona: Images and words - they pull me in every time! Thank you for visiting.

  14. LAM-it is so good to have the work of each other to inspire and enrich us. Though mediums can be different the feel of inspiration, creativity and energy of the community fills us. As you say thanks to all who share and energise. B

    1. Hello Barry - this community of ours is an energy source. We are so fortunate to be able to relate even though we may be half way round the globe from one another. Good to have you stop by.

  15. i look forward to seeing wha tyour books will be like, like audrey's words, beautiful birds, or something entirely surprising.

    1. I love the surprise of working with my hands and watching as something will appear from the ether. Good to connect with you.

  16. love this focus on telling stories and the quote from the novel. a real life clare would be so blessed to have such a loving companion.

    your pages are wonderful. you are making representative shapes like the bird. is one on tissue paper?? it looks so thin.

    a nice tradition you have to make artists books as the season turns.

    1. Hi Suki: Yes, tissue papers. I use them to take mono-prints from my paintings. That becomes the base of my collage. It is a lovely tradition. I would guess 5 years or so of making Autumn books.
      Thanks for the visit!

  17. you have such a wonderful connection with your art work and your studio and you express your feelings about your journey so well.

  18. I've read this post again .... thank you


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