Arrow-right Camera

Washington Voices

Watercolorist Stan Miller tries to reveal beauty around us

Stan Miller is a well-known painter and teacher in the Inland Northwest. He will have an open studio show at his home Friday through Sunday.  (Colin Mulvany)
Stan Miller is a well-known painter and teacher in the Inland Northwest. He will have an open studio show at his home Friday through Sunday. (Colin Mulvany)

There is a quote that hangs on the door of artist Stan Miller’s South Hill studio. It reads: “The reason there are so many cynical in the confusions and alarms of this world is because the wrongs are being worked out. They make the noise, the tragic sound. The very quietness of goodness is undramatic and therefore too often not seen…”

The author is unknown but the words resonate with Miller.

“It reminds me what I long for when there seems to be more and more 24-hour breaking news on television and radio stations,” he said. “First, I long for peace, first in me, then in our world. I long for the light to overcome the darkness. I long for a world where the old and worn is revered as much as the new and shiny. I long for a world where we realize, that if this world were a painting, every color would be seen as important and sacred so that this painting might come together as a beautiful work of art.”

Miller creates beautiful works of art. More times than not, his name will be mentioned in conversations revolved around art as he has taught and inspired many artists. He has taught in France and the Caribbean, and across the U.S. including workshops in Texas, Arizona and Alaska.

Locally, he teaches at Spokane Art Supply and Community Colleges of Spokane.

In 2007, he was paid to travel to Italy, where he stayed in a beautiful villa not too far from Florence and painted. Watercolor Artist magazine did an article with numerous images of that particular trip. He has won awards and exhibited his work from New York to Seattle.

Miller grew up in South Dakota. He idolized his older brother who loved to draw. At 7, he recalls visiting his father’s friend in Wisconsin. Walking toward the man’s home in the woods, Miller thought to himself “I’m going to God’s house.” Inside, he was in awe of the artwork done by the man that was displayed everywhere.

At 15, Miller and his family moved to Spokane. In 1973, he graduated from Spokane Falls Community College with an applied arts degree and a degree in commercial art with a resolve to make a living as a full-time, professional watercolorist which he has been doing for more then 30 years.

Working primarily in watercolor, Miller has mastered the challenging medium, enabling him to focus more on what it is he wants to say.

“The greatest compliment I’ve ever received after someone has looked at my work is, ‘Your work is so peaceful.’ I’m, to a great degree, trying to paint peace. I’m also trying to paint hope,” he said. “Many of my paintings are quite dark with light coming into the compositions in carefully planned areas. The world can seem quite dark at times, but the light is always there. In my paintings I’m also trying to honor what is old and worn which can teach us about ourselves, our history, who we are, and where we’ve come from.”

His work is a respite from the daily noise, timeless beauty far removed from trendy distractions. It speaks loudly, urging others to be quiet and listen to the silent beauty that surrounds you.



Click here to comment on this story »