December Artist of the Month – Don Collins

This December, we again honor the work of Don Collins with his piece, “The Annandale Ranch Log Cabin (1915)” as our Artist of the Month and as the artist of our 42nd annual calendar. Don has produced approximately 400 works for our calendars, allowing us to share his passion with our customers. The Miller IDS calendar is our holiday gift to you, order yours online today or pick one up at either of our locations beginning December 5th, 2018.

Don has embraced hunting for unique sites on back roads, long-deserted main streets and historical libraries in Texas for decades. The special sites include a story – be it a story of getting onto the ­property to take a photo, a story of the building itself, or a tale involving the folks he met on his adventures. His drawings and paintings breathe life back into these old homes, barns, courthouses, shanties and structures that he has chosen. Don authored the book, Traces of Forgotten Places: An Artist’s Thirty-Year Exploration and Celebration of Texas as It Was sharing some of these stories and drawings.

Raised in Parker County west of Fort Worth, Don worked as a commercial artist after serving in the Army during the Korean War and graduating from the University of Texas at Austin. Though he produced a wide range of images for commercial accounts ranging from builders, architects, book publishers and NASA, Don now concentrates on landscapes, character studies, and nostalgia pieces.

Collins is active in his “retirement”, having recently published a colorful children’s book featuring animals of all kinds visiting doctors and dentists. He is involved with several DFW art organizations, accepts several commissions yearly, and travels abroad. Additional work and contact information are available on his website, www.dchandart.com.

From George Cofer about the log cabin on the family ranch, The Annandale Ranch near Concan, Texas:

“The ‘dog trot’ log cabin was first built in the 1800s (date unknown) a few miles up the Frio River from its current location but still on the family ranch. In 1915 my great-grandmother Mae Florea FitzGerald had it disassembled, floated down the river, hauled up the hill, and reassembled at the current site in the ranch headquarters compound as a wedding gift to her son, Paul FitzGerald and his new wife Helen Haynes FitzGerald.”

We appreciate the Florea/FitzGerald/McQuown/Cofer family allowing us to place an image of this intriguing log-cabin on our 2019 calendar face!

November Artist of the Month – Ashwara Pillai

Miller IDS is proud to announce Ashwara Pillai with her piece, “Under the Tuscan Sun” as our November 2018 Artist of the Month. An Ann Richards School (ARS) senior, Ashwara’s creative side has prospered since she was young. Now at 17-years-old, Ashwara just completed a solo exhibition of 60 pieces at Imagine Art, a space where artists both with and without disabilities can practice and exhibit their art. Miller IDS is honored to feature this young artist from ARS.

Inspired by her trip to Italy in summer of 2017, Ashwara created this piece under the guidance of Meenashi Matai. She notes of her painting, “[it] transports me to the Italian country side, which is filled with color, happiness, and flow.” Specifically, the hues of red, yellow, and orange highlight the playfulness of the countryside and the depth of Ashwara’s ability to captivate the Italian landscape. “Under the Tuscan Sun” sparked a greater interest in landscape and observational pieces, which is now Ashwara’s favorite style of art

Regarding working with our talented fine arts specialist, Dana Burton, Ashwara had this to say: “Dana was incredibly helpful when creating my informative poster that would be held at my exhibition. Dana was also extremely cooperative when transforming my painting into a print. We thank Miller Imaging and Digital Solutions for making my exhibition and artistic path successful in every way possible!” 

Next fall, Ashwara plans on attending college and majoring in design. We are proud to feature a future graduate of ARS and wish her the best of luck in all her future endeavors!

With the holidays fast approaching, remember that scans and reprints of personal artwork and family photos make incredible gifts for loved ones and friends! Contact Dana Burton (FineArt@MillerIDS.com) for further information.

September and October Artist of the Month: Claire Lewis

Miller IDS is proud to present our September and October Artist of the Month, Texas born-and-raised, Claire Lewis. Formerly of the Fort Worth area, Lewis now lives in Central Texas where she draws much of her inspiration from the natural world around her. Lewis honed her skills through formal study at various University of Texas System schools and eventually received both a BFA in Painting and a BS in Art History from the University of Central Florida. Both a figurative and impressionist style painter, Lewis focuses predominantly on the observations of life and nature. Particularly, in her work, Lewis captures the glimpses of life that make her curious, smile, or laugh out loud.

              

Lewis’ “Mr. Tran’s Scissortail”

The piece we feature this month, “Mr. Tran’s Scissortail,” shows the bird in a moment of flight in a field of wheat. In her work, Lewis is drawn to both avian flights that portray elation as well as grounded moments of quiet pensiveness.  The paintings Lewis brings to Miller IDS exemplifies how she approaches her subjects by capturing them in brief moments in time. Birds are prominent throughout her work and this scissortail is no exception.

You can find more of Lewis’ work on Facebook or at various venues around Texas. Currently a member of the Live Oak Art Center in Columbus, Texas, this fall Lewis will teach a children’s art class of found art.

Lewis gives a glowing recommendation of Dana Burton, Miller IDS’ Fine Art Specialist,  “As an artist I rely on Miller to digitize my paintings and produce prints of my art that are faithful to the quality of each piece . I never worry that the work I bring to Dana won’t come back to me in time for my deadlines. I always look forward to my visits to Miller, they always have solutions for my problems and help me work out my promotion strategies.”  

To view more of Lewis’ work click here or contact her at lewis.claire5@yahoo.com.

 

 

August Artist of the Month: Susannah Blanton

             Miller Imaging and Digital Solutions is proud to present the August 2018 Artist of the Month, Susannah Blanton and her piece The Beginning of the Beginning. Originally from Fort Worth, Blanton was heavily influenced by the creative spirits of her parents who exposed her to all forms of art. Blanton’s work also has great influence from the LA Artist community social commentary during the early 2000s.  In her work, Susannah Blanton views painting as a medium to illustrate a message and tell a story. Specifically, in her collection, The Beginning of the Beginning, Blanton highlights the fragility of human life and is the expression of Blanton’s own grief.

“The Beginning of the Beginning”

               The collection and our chosen piece uses several symbolic elements to describe Blanton’s grief and coping of the loss of both her mother and brother-in-law. The use and power of water, horses, and vintage advertisements aid Blanton in describing the loss of control one feels throughout life. Spilled water is an incredibly powerful image, as to Blanton water “[is] a symbol for death and/or the voyage into the afterlife.” Within the piece, she attributes “the vulnerability depicted in the falling horse [as a reminder of] how fragile life can be.” To Blanton the “piece establishes the symbolism for most of [her] subsequent work, where water came to represent the afterlife and horses represent us in the physical body.” The chosen piece, featured right, explores much more than the literal but the fragility of the human experience and the lack of control humans have throughout life.

An example Blanton’s work exhibiting the influence of an vintage advertisement.

Additionally, the influence of vintage advertisements taken out of their original contexts throughout her collection, give her work a deeper, more complicated meaning that there is the “possibility that under the obvious is something less perfect that demands to be heard.”

Come by either of Miller’s locations to see a reprint of Susannah Blanton’s The Beginning of the Beginning now. 

View more of Blanton’s work here or contact her at blantondesign@me.com.

June/July Artist of the Month: Angela Diehl

Diehl’s “Rotterdam”

Angela Diehl earns a living as a medical illustrator but has always had a fascination with maps and a love of fabric and quilting. Diehl pursued a biology degree, but her work never lingered far from incorporating her interest together.

For the piece chosen, ‘Rotterdam,’ Diehl draws form the meditative process of cutting geometric shapes from fabric in a mixed media. She considers such work as a welcome break from technical drawing. “I always liked incorporating different types of materials in my paintings…I dug up the fabric collection and whatever other materials I thought I might want to work with.” Her inspiration for the collection drew from her desire to preserve a collection of maps she had inherited from her uncle.   Specifically, in her process she begins her process by focusing on physical objects rather than specific story or message she might have in mind.  Diehl’s ‘Rotterdam’ exemplifies the “highly organized visual interpretations of our physical environment. The foundation of her art is organic and always changing, but the structure from the geometric patterns and shapes in her work represents structure, order, and control. Maps, as Diehl notes, are comforting because they “create the illusion of having some level of control over our surroundings.”

Her background in traditional painting and biology gives her a unique view of the world and power within her work.  She specializes in traditional art and digital multimedia with a specialty in scientific, medical and biological subject matter and has worked on a wide variety of educational materials.   Her illustrations and multimedia have been provided for peer reviewed articles, grant applications, teaching materials, and websites.

Diehl has honored Miller IDS and our Fine Art Specialist, Dana Burton, with an incredible recommendation: “Last year I decided to make prints of my work to sell at EAST [East Austin Studio Tour].  Someone recommended Miller… The quality of their work is excellent – Dana has an incredible eye for color and detail and was very persistent in getting the digital versions as close to the original paintings as possible, and I was pleasantly surprised by her results.  I will use their services in the future and always recommend them to fellow artists.  More importantly, however, every person I interacted with during my 6, 7, or 8 trips to their office was friendly, thorough, attentive, and very busy but patient – which I really appreciate these days.  They are a great group of people to do business with.”

Check out Diehls work here or email her at diehlang@gmail.com.

May Artist of the Month: Chelsea Phillips

Chelsea Phillip’s “Meditation Tree”

Miller IDS is proud to announce our May 2018 Artist of the Month: Chelsea M. Phillips with her piece “Mediation Tree.” As the child of parents in the military, Chelsea feels strongly about calling Austin home. She has formed deep-roots in the heart of the lone star state and has established herself as an artist, a mother, and an entrepreneur of her own business, Tiny Tails to You!.  A graduate of the University of Texas with a degree in political science, Chelsea honed her skills as an artist through classes at Austin Community College.

“Meditation Tree” is the result of Chelsea’s greater inspirations: the people, animals, and plants that surround her. She notes that in her images, she seeks to combine people and nature to express a deeper connection to the world around us. Chelsea notes that “Frequently, my own emotions and experiences are expressed in my art, which I use as a form of meditation.”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Miller IDS is proud to highlight a piece focusing on the practice of mediation. With this piece and through her other pieces, Chelsea emphasizes the practice using her art as a form of meditation.  She states that making art helps her deal with periods of anxiety and stress, “the slow, creative process of painting and drawing allows me to become present and in touch with my emotions.”

Chelsea Phillip’s “Whale Favorites.”

Art is an expression that allows Chelsea to feel both more grounded and fulfilled. Chelsea’s piece as well as a small biography will be hung in both Miller IDS locations until early June.

We love hearing positive feedback from the artists who trust Miller IDS with scanning, archiving, and reproducing their pieces. Thank you to Chelsea for this glowing recommendation of our Fine Art Expert, Dana Burton: “Dana and Miller IDS have been amazing to work with. Dana’s ability to match the colors in my original art on the prints people order is spot-on. Dana always works with me to meet my deadlines and is so kind and easy to work with. It makes my day every time I visit or pick something up from Miller IDS, their entire staff is so helpful and fun to talk to. I wouldn’t go anywhere else for print work!”

 

You can find more of Chelsea’s work at her website and on her Instagram at @C.Philly.

April Artist of the Month: Jamie Billman McCormick

Miller IDS is excited to announce our April Artist of the Month, Jamie Billman McCormick. Jamie, though born and raised in Kansas, moved to Austin in 2005 for her first job and has been here (mostly) ever since. A painter and a mixed media artist, she strives to capture modern landscapes and life outside. Specifically, she focuses on public and preserved lands from National Parks to Central Texas swimming holes. As summer approaches, Miller IDS thinks of the places in Austin that warm our hearts and cool us down!!

“Confetti Swimmers”

The piece we chose to highlight represents a quintessential Austin landmark: Barton Springs. The painting, Confetti Swimmers (Barton Springs), was a result of exploration, curiosity, and the realization that the natural spring really is 72 degrees year round. Jamie describes the reasoning behind painting the spring: “I love to paint people swimming and interacting with their environment and Barton Springs is such an mythic, iconic example.” She illustrates the natural draw to the swimming hole, “I think it is objectively beautiful — the color of the water, the trees, the hill, the grass, the retro bathhouse, the colorful swimmers and towels. It is perfect. Also, it is truly so cold, which is maybe what makes it so fun.” Her inspiration is seen through her impressionist-like use of colors that dot the depth of the blues and greens on the canvas. She captures the playful spirit of Austin culture that the swimming hole represents to those who visit.

“Living’s Easy On a Houseboat (Sausalito)”

She describes an early morning swim with a friend that inspired the piece: “It was pitch black and so, so cold. A few minutes after we started swimming this couple came and were just having a swim, jumping off the diving board and laughing and swimming in the dark. And then these two girlfriends came and just plunged in and laughed and then got out and were done…This was all before 6am. Where else does that happen? It is magic.”

 

Jamie happened upon Miller IDS and our fine art specialist, Dana Burton, when she was “in a pinch to have a few pieces scanned” She continues, “…they were so helpful and friendly from the beginning. I always enjoy…Dana at Miller – she is always responsive, patient, and willing to make sure the final product is just right.”  Miller IDS is honored to have such a wonderful and talented local artist trust us to scan and archive the beauty she captured of an iconic Austin landmark.

You can find more of her work and contact information at jamiebmstudio.com and follow her on instagram at @jamiebmstudio.

March Artist of the Month: Bill Rider

Rider’s ‘Buddy Guy’

March 2018 Miller IDS Artist of the Month is none other than the painter and musician Bill Rider and his piece of famed blues musician Buddy Guy. Rider is an exceptionally talented artist with paintings spanning many different styles.  His many interpretations of western scenes, personalities and landscapes has made him a particular favorite to many art lovers throughout the world.

Rider completed one year of art school at Illinois Wesleyan, four years as a technical illustrator in the U.S. Air Force, and three years in the University of Texas Art School.  A beloved teacher, throughout his career he taught Laguna Gloria watercolor classes for 15 years as well as at Austin Community College for 9 years and the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of Austin Professional Artists, a founder of Waterloo Watercolor Group, a member of the San Antonio Art Group, and the Artists Alliance of the Hill Country. He currently owns The Barn at Bell Springs in Dripping Springs and has devoted much of his life to the art world.

Bill has restored 2,607 art projects since 1968, including the Texas Pavilion at Hemisphere Park.  He was the recipient of the Art in Texas Award and his winning painting was purchased by U.S. Representative Jake Pickle. Additionally, two Presidents of the United States purchased his paintings, including President Lyndon Johnson. Click here to see more of Bill’s art and get in touch with Bill, here

February Artist of the Month, Kiah Denson, Displays a Special Flair

We are pleased to celebrate our February Artist of the Month, Kiah Denson. As a born and raised Austinite, Kiah uses the energy of nature and travel to create striking colorful and abstract images that leap off the canvas or page.

She graduated from Colorado College in 2005, earning a BA in Studio Art with a Distinction in Art. Upon graduation, Kiah started her own decorative painting business. After a few years, she began creating fine art again, and has been steadily expanding and exploring her practice ever since.  

Kiah lives in the outskirts of Austin, TX surrounded by green fields, trees and streams. She works primarily in her sunny home studio, and also maintains a space at Canopy where she meets with clients and displays her finished work (by appointment). When she isn’t creating art, she can likely be found wandering in nature or swimming with her furry four-legged sidekick, Kali

Kiah Denson Artist Austin
Featured Print, “What Remains III.”

Kiah states that her “artmaking process is a transfer and release of invisible, internal energy onto a visible, external surface.” Within her work, she utilizes the natural unpredictability and fluidity of her materials to her advantage to “explore various processes, aesthetics and techniques.” She describes the featured piece, ‘”What Remains III”, as initially birthed “as a triptych but became more [part] of a 3 part mini-series. It was the first time I incorporated watercolor into my work, which had previously only been acrylic and ink. I was enjoying the experiment; the watercolors were so mineral-y and unique. I was going for a lyrical, energetic composition that felt light, spacious, and earthy.”  These pieces inspired her to create a collection, “The Little Things,” which debuted at Austin’s own Link and Pin Gallery mid-2017.

 

“What Remains I”

Kiah gives high praise to Miller IDS and Dana Burton, Graphics Specialist for Miller IDS, when she states she doesn’t go anywhere else to document her small pieces. “It has always meant a lot to me that from the beginning she remembered me (and now, knows me) and goes the extra mile to make me and my work feel important. My pieces aren’t very easy to scan, but she works really hard to keep the details from dropping out, gets the whites white and the blacks black, adjusts weird blues and other colors that the scanner doesn’t like much, prints out multiple proofs, and sometimes, if it still doesn’t look right, she’ll adjust even more. It amazes me still that I can get that kind of service and attention for what I end up paying. Worth it every time. Plus, Dana is a genuine, delightful person, and she has even taken the time to come to some of my art events….I’m grateful that people like Dana and places like Miller exist and thrive, keeping the old school vibe alive.”

“What Remains II”

You can find Kiah’s work and story in publications such as Better Homes and Gardens, Austin Way Magazine, Inside Austin, Luxe San Diego. Additionally, you can find her work in galleries in Charlotte, NC, Houston, TX, and Greenwood, MS.

To see more of Kiah’s work and story, click here

Oct / Nov Artist of the Month: Ethan Azarian

Our Artist of the month for both October AND November is Ethan Azarian. His painting, 1870 Our Lady of Guadalupe, is featured in our East 7th Street location right now. 
 
“I live and work full-time as a visual artist in Austin, Texas. I realized early on in my career that it was important to diversify, be open to and embrace the many different ways there are of making a living from creating art. One way to do this was to create a space to exhibit my paintings, so I turned my house into a gallery and called it the In House Gallery, which existed from 1999 to 2014. In 2015 Blue Cow Studio was born. Blue Cow Studio is both studio and gallery space which we had built in the back yard. My wife Melissa and I exhibit our own work as well as host and curate exhibitions with Texas based artists. 
 
Recently I have been concentrating on large public works of art in the form of murals. Some of these murals have been funded through the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division and are collaborations with local elementary and high school students as well as members of the community in Austin. In September 2016 I was invited to Angers, France to create a large outdoor mural with art students at Ecole Supérieure des Beaux Arts. Through these community arts projects (both locally and internationally) I realized just how much I enjoy and am inspired by working with fellow artists and members of the community. I enjoy sharing my artistic process as well as connecting with communities I am working with.
 
In addition I exhibit my paintings in galleries, cafes, libraries and schools. I have permanent works on display at the Robert B. Green Clinic and the University Hospital in San Antonio, Texas as well as the Wilton Mall in Saratoga Springs, New York. “
 
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