contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tangling and Interweaving

Nest Leslie Avon Miller

Here’s the sexy white hot truth about creativity. 
It’s a religious experience. 
It’s a transcendental adventure.
 It’s the losing of the daily self and entering the magic kingdom. 
You come back bigger. 
You come back satiated. 
You come back sweeter. 
You come back with wings and fins and new toes that seek for higher ground. 
You never come back the same.

~Tama J. Kieves

Nest II, Leslie Avon Miller

I watch as the art, the creation takes on its own beingness.   
What didn’t exist now does. 
Messages come to my hands and the materials weave and 
move and engage with one another. 

It’s a time of making. 
The more I make the more I want to make. 
The more I make the more I think of to make. 
You know how that is.

It’s also a time of giving, so I won’t show you everything
 so as not to spoil the surprises.

Cedar Root Coil, Leslie Avon Miller


Tiny tendrils at the terminal ends especially delight me. 

These precious cedar roots have been coiled and waiting.
This particular coil is bundled so beautifully I can only call it art and leave it as it is.

Nest III Leslie Avon Miller

Nest III Leslie Avon Miller

Cedar Root Coil

Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and the bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.

Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.

Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: Make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after
the planting, after the long season of tending and growth,
the harvest comes.

                                         The Seven Of Pentacles by Marge Piercy

Nests Leslie Avon Miller

Materials: cedar root, cedar bark, morning glory vine, sweet grass, excelsior

Saturday, November 3, 2012

echo and interruption

bundle by Leslie Avon Miller

The World is not something to
look at, it is something to be in.

                                                      ~ Mark Rudman

bundle and leaf

I look and look.
Looking's a way of being: one becomes,
sometimes, a pair of eyes walking.
Walking wherever looking takes one.


The eyes
dig and burrow into the world.
They touch
fanfare, howl, madrigal, clamor.

World and the past of it,
not only
visible present, solid and shadow
that looks at one looking.

And language? Rhythms
of echo and interruption?
a way of breathing.

cracked, a self portrait series by Leslie Avon Miller

Breathing to sustain
walking and looking,
through the world,
in it.

~ Denise Levertov ~

cracked, a self portrait series by Leslie Avon Miller

It’s been 5 months since I have painted. 
I could let that break my heart. 

I could. 

Instead, I see this as another 
beautiful crack and restoration in my life. 

A new chapter.

Leslie's studio on a Saturday morning.

After a time of letting go, I am looking around me again.

 I feel the flutters of excitement and anticipation. 

Part of my beloved stash of natural materials.

Natural materials and fibers have always captured my heart. 

I was born a gatherer. 

Boxes and boxes

This is not a step back to what was; basketry. 

This is a step into the new and unknown.

dried orchids, pine needles, sea shells, leaves and nuts, weathered clothes pins...

pottery beads, dried tea bags, found drift wood and more hosta leaves

I am weaving the past into the future and the now. 

Artist books, bundles, assemblage perhaps.

Paper and natural dyes. 

fiber bundle, found shell fragment, coffee stained paper and waxed linen on maple leaf

I can’t see around the corner, 

but my eyes are as wide

 as those of a young child 

on Christmas morning.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Unscripted; An Exhibition by Thirteen Experimental Artists

Wind Changing to the East
by Leslie Avon Miller
diptych 24 x 24
acrylic and mixed media  on birch panel

Not knowing the way, I paint a space in which to breathe deeply.
 The painting becomes a stepping stone on the path, a marker of the journey. 
I feel, but I can not explain what I am learning of space, time and light. 

Artist Statement, Leslie Avon Miller

The Artists Whisperer

The Artist Whisper. That’s how I think of Steve Aimone. In April of this year I spent a week in a Steve Aimone graduate work shop, working, thinking, painting, being with other artists, and getting feedback and critique from Steve. It was the second time I worked with Steve in an intensive workshop setting.

Through the Window
by Leslie Avon Miller
36 x36
Acrylic and Mixed Media on birch panel

There is something about taking the time to get away and immerse one's self in a workshop; to live and breathe in one's work in the company of other like minded individuals. The energy created is with me still, as I continue to explore my path.

The workshop is described as 

The workshops are designed to replicate the atmosphere and mindset of a graduate school fine art studio. Each artist will focus on an individual contract (or mission statement) to explore certain territory, develop a series of pieces, or explore a particular theme. Participants will introduce and refine their contract in an opening roundtable discussion. This contract serves as the genesis point for the development of work during the remainder of the retreat. 

Interactive discussions of work take place throughout the workshop, allowing artists to engage in the process of discussing one another’s working process and development. Spur of the moment, informal critiques are encouraged and facilitated. The workshop ends in a summary discussion and critique during which each artist makes a formal presentation, followed by responses from Steven Aimone, and, as time allows, other artists.

Leslie Avon Miller 
workshop participant
photo by Steve Aimone


The true work of art is born from the 'artist': a mysterious, enigmatic, and mystical creation. 
It detaches itself from him, it acquires an autonomous life, 
becomes a personality, an independent subject, animated with a spiritual breath, 
the living subject of a real existence of being.

~Wassily Kandinsky

Unscripted is a capstone of the work these artist have done with Steve in the last two years. 

The Old School House Arts Center is presenting ‘UNSCRIPTED’, an exhibition and sale of the newest work produced by thirteen experimental abstract artists, many of whom are FCA members. 
Over the past two years, these artists have completed a series of workshops with artist, author and instructor, Steven Aimone, MFA and this show is the culmination of their extensive work and exploration. 
Opening reception at TOSH is Wednesday, October 17 at 7pm. 
Come meet the artists and share the excitement. Show runs October 15 to November 19, 2012. 
The Old School House,122 Fern Road West, Qualicum Beach.

In conjunction with this exhibition, Vancouver Island Art Workshops is pleased to announce that Steven Aimone, MFA will give a power point slide presentation and discussion that surveys art historical examples of abstract paintings, how they work, and what kinds of expressive purposes they serve. 
Steven will conclude his presentation with a commentary and analysis of one painting from each of the participating artists. You'll leave the presentation with a greater understanding of what abstract painting is. Saturday October 27, 2012 at 2:00 PM. Only 50 tickets @ $20.00 This is a fund raising event for TOSH. or call TOSH @ 250-752-6133

Many, many thanks to Mary Stewart who organizes a fabulous workshop experience, to Barbara Scott for being  so kind and generous as my host on Vancouver island, and to Lisa Danesin who took time to professionally photograph my work.  To each member of the work shop I also extend my thanks for your dedication to the arts. I appreciate you all. 
 And a special thanks to Steve for all the positive mentoring, but most of all for loving art as much as you do. 


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