contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Monday, December 23, 2013

My True Love Gave to Me 12 Turkey Feathers....

Turkey Feathers, Artichokes and Sweet Grass

A gathering I went in November…dried artichokes were cut and treasured.

Familiar ornaments were unwrapped with care.

Sweet grass and dried found leaves are a studio supply on hand.

And my true love gave to me 
all the turkey feathers he found as he walked along the road.



Every time a hand reaches out
To help another....that is Christmas

Every time someone puts anger aside
And strives for understanding
That is Christmas 

Every time people forget their differences
And realize their love for each other
That is Christmas 

May this Christmas bring us
Closer to the spirit of human understanding 

Closer to the blessing of peace!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Notice Each Thing

We are here to witness the creation and abet it. We are here to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but, especially, we notice the beautiful faces and complex natures of each other. 

We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us and to praise the people who are here with us. We witness our generation and our times. We watch the weather. Otherwise, creation would be playing to an empty house.


According to the second law of thermodynamics, things fall apart. Structures disintegrate.

Buckminster Fuller hinted at a reason we are here: By creating things, by thinking up new combinations, we counteract this flow of entropy. We make new structures, new wholeness, so the universe comes out even. 

A shepherd on a hilltop who looks at a mess of stars and thinks, ‘There’s a hunter, a plow, a fish,’ is making mental connections that have as much real force in the universe as the very fires in those stars themselves.
~ Annie Dillard


Witness. Yes, we can do that for one another. These paper structures, created with rusted and water colored papers, evolved from the need to create. Of course they evolved. For instance, we worked surrounded by long pine needles so they became the center of a flower. 

In a tree, on some rusty springs, in the brush, amongst the dried flowers from summer we set up the paper flowers and took photographs. 

          My niece and I walked around and found several different appealing placements.

 These are the new structures, the wholeness we contribute to the universe. And I       have returned home with boxes of pine cones, pine needles and dried summer        flowers. 

  More to come.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Drawing as Language

egg shell drawings Leslie Avon Miller
A small stick, some ink and watercolor, a pencil, some charcoal. A surface of paper, brown paper bag, or an egg shell. Drawing is a path to a small world complete with map, or to a story or to observation of beauty.

Marise Maas  

Drawing the Unknown

Taking from the drawer
a large sheet of thick, white paper,
I place it on the floor
and kneel before it.
With a big stick of charcoal
I begin to make marks;
rhythmic, gestural, hard, soft,
intuitively covering the paper
until my hand takes over.
I work slowly with feeling,
drawing deeper
into the paper, into myself,
responding to what is there.
I sponge, smudge, rub, caress,
overlay new marks,
continue building layers,
building energy,
creating more depth,
darkening parts of the paper like thunder
causing the charcoal to splinter, crumble,
crack under pressure.
Now drawing with the rubber
I work into the darkness
clearing passages of light
and before me
there’s a tonal range,
graded and granular
from coal black
to the palest whisper of grey.
I keep going,
immersed, mesmerized,
becoming aware of illusory shapes.
I keep pushing, pulling,
forming, coaxing
until I lift the image out
and my hand is still.

~Ann Symes

Ann Symes, Burn 7
Ann Symes, Distant Voice, graphite
 For me, drawing facilitates thinking. The drawing process is so crucial to me, 
and gradually I have noticed that the activities in life which I prioritize and 
repeat outside of drawing allow a similar kind of thought process to take place, 
for example spending time walking is very important to me.
Through walking, I consciously create time to think, observe and explore. 
But, also I see walking as a linear journey or path through a thought process, 
similar to that of making a drawing. 
I think the other parallel is motion. 
I find it easier to think when I am in some kind of motion, 
which for me is particularly conductive to contemplation.

~Gemma Anderson

Drawing, Leslie Avon Miller
For me drawing is all about movement, it is always the result of an action, a record of motion as a result of a force exerted over time. Whether it be the artist's hand or body, seismic movement, the motion of a tree branch or the path followed by the wind through the landscape it is always the result of movement.

~Tim Knowles

Tim Knowles Tree Drawings
by mick maslen and jack southern
brown paper bag drawing, Leslie Avon Miller

As I put this post together I realized the subject of drawing has the potential for several blog posts. To be continued...

To draw, you must close your eyes and sing.

~Paublo Picasso

More drawings I love are here.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Out with Lanterns

Lanterns, collage on paper 6x6 , Leslie Avon Miller

Perhaps being lost, one should get loster.
~Saul Bellow

Loster in the studio; that’s where I am. And it’s no so bad. I have no idea what I am doing and I don’t know where I am going. I only know I am continuing in a state of curiosity. I try many things and make decisions about what to keep and what to discard. 

I create papers with color and textures which will later be turned into some shapes for collage. I make marks and I follow new pathways.

I have been through most the drawers and other places I have stored papers, collage, and paintings on paper looking at my own artistic history. I am grateful that I have kept some of my earlier works. It seems to me that the ones I have kept are sensitive and perhaps not so easily understood. But to me, they have a beautiful mystery, a certain aesthetic. And I find there is a thread from them to what I am doing now. 

          And I am out with lanterns, looking for myself. 
                                                      ~Emily Dickinson
My sensibility shows up like my fairy godmother even if I am unaware. Examples can be found by following the link to my tumblr blog in the side bar.

Some fellow named Sir Herbert Reed said that art is pattern informed by sensibility.

As I commence this next phase of my life, likely the final third, I have decided to do so with increased awareness and gratitude in general and with specific appreciation for my own sense of discernment. I feel a tenderness. I am opening. I am opening and turning towards the light. 

Late Ripeness

Not soon, as late as the approach
 of my ninetieth year,
 I felt a door opening in me
 and I entered
 the clarity of early morning.

One after another my former
 lives were departing,
 like ships, together with
 their sorrow.

And the countries, cities, gardens,
 the bays of seas
 assigned to my brush came closer,
 ready now to be described better
 than they were before.

~ Czeslaw Milosz,

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Small Things of Life

Leslie Avon Miller, accordion fold booklet

The small things of life were often so much bigger 
than the great things . . . the trivial pleasures like cooking, 
one's home, little poems especially sad ones, 
solitary walks, 
funny things seen and overheard.

~Barbara Pym

Leslie Avon Miller, paper construction

Small things I like today:




Small boxes with lids

The word “evening”

Roots of trees


The smell of clean 

Leslie Avon Miller, paper construction

 In the studio I now have photography back drops of a variety of neutral colors. They are actually sheets, but they seem to do the trick, as long as I have a lint brush handy. The gray and coffee-with-cream colors seems less harsh than white or black. 

I continue to experiment with water colors, washi papers, various fibers and powdered graphite. 

Leslie Avon Miller, paper construction

If you read and posted a comment on the last post, you will want to know who won the drawing for one of these paper constructions.

Liz Davidson's name was pulled from the basket. A package is on the way to her as we speak.Thank you all for your comments. 

A note about the quote which begins this post. I was not familiar with Barbara Pym, but now that I have read more about her works, I look forward to reading them. You can read more about her books here at a blog called A Fondness for Reading. 

What small pleasing things are on your list?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Following the Lead of Watercolors

Leslie Avon Miller

You are valuable because you exist. 
Not because of what you do or what you have done
 - but simply because you are.

~Max Lucado

Leslie Avon Miller

In a dream this week I made selections. From several choices I had in the dream, I chose a vase, which was old, vintage and, typical of the oddness of dream images, of several styles all at the same time. I knew the vase would fit in with the collection I have inherited from my female ancestors.

Then I selected a mantel clock with a graceful curve of wood and a simple round face. Not too big, not too small, but just right, this clock was designed to sit on the mantel, above a nice warm fire in the heart of the home.

Leslie Avon Miller

A vase; a container of plenty, meant to hold water and beautiful blooms. A clock keeping time, measuring out the days and hours. I choose a container and time.  I think the message is about a life not too full, not too lacking, but just right, here, now in this time. 

Leslie Avon Miller

I acknowledge a sense I have experienced of late that I want to simplify a bit. I want to focus on what is important and to remind myself that there is enough. Enough means I am satisfied, calm and I feel gratitude. My appetite is satiated.

This is not a strongly practiced concept in Western cultures where we experience a lot of messages to have more, do more, earn more, spend more, invest more, be more, compete for the prize more…well you get the point.

Leslie Avon Miller

There is enough to go around. There is no competition. There is enough for you and there is enough for me. This concept relaxes me and allows me to be here, at this moment in my life. I like the feeling.

Pausing to deeply enjoy the stars and moon before bed and hearing the bird song in the early morning brings me enjoyment and satisfaction at the beginning and end of the day. It is enough. Life is rich. Life is a miracle. 

A simple life is a treasure.  The lovely and appreciated connections made through the blog world with like minded souls like you are one of my dearest treasures. These experiences are the beautiful blooms I want to place in my container.

Leslie Avon Miller

Gently following the lead of watercolors in the studio, the placement of a piece of paper just so, and wrapping little bundles just because I am called to do so provides me with contentment in the very moment.

If you would like to receive one of these small paper constructions, you are invited to leave a comment and let me know. I will wait a week and then I will drop your names in a basket and announce the results in my next blog post. I suspect my next post will go up in a week or so. If your email is available via your profile I’ll contact you.