February Artist of the Month: Larry Stephenson Sr

              

The inspiration for Stephenson’s painting, Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa, CA

Miller IDS is honored to announce our February 2019 Artist of the Month, Larry Stephenson Sr. and his piece, “Firebird.” Founder of Green Builders and CEO of Green Design Builders Inc, Stephenson uses his knowledge of and passion for architecture and design to enhance the viewer’s understanding and absorption of his work. For “Firebird”, Stephenson was inspired by the “exquisite architecture combined with magnificent sculpture” of the Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa, CA.  This building so moved Stephenson that he notes it “pulled at [his] soul to unleash the enhancing of the colors and brilliance in which [he] sees.” Stephenson has worked with Miller for 20 years and continues to bring us incredible thought-provoking art.

               Originally from Northwest Texas, Stephenson has studied and painted his way across the US before settling in Austin. He has studied at Oklahoma State University and West Texas A&M University and studied under artists such as Emilio Caballero, world-renowned portraitist David Rindlisbacher, and Darold Dean Smith. Stephenson’s work draws heavily on moving past the technical and into the emotional joy and soulful fulfillment of his unique vision before placing it on a canvas, thereby introducing concepts of the painting from a new perspective. In his work, he places his soul onto the canvas, creating art that only he has seen, but is made visible for all to enjoy. Moreover, his art is “created primarily and solely for its imaginative, aesthetic, or intellectual content that one’s soul may ponder and enjoy.”

               “Firebird” combines the architectural and urban to understand the interplay between nature and man in Stephenson’s interpretive way. Although the building was not designed by him, Stephenson used this painting as an opportunity to showcase his style to “share a moment, time and place, in history with all those that view [his] work.” Stephenson captures the interaction between metal structure, craftsmanship, and art to show “a painting that would leap from the canvas and pierce [the viewer’s] imagination.” With its distinct contrast between cloudy blue sky, sharp lines, and vibrant colors, Stephenson wishes to bring forth the vibrance of life and give viewers the ability to “take a breath and see the wonders before you.”

Stephenson’s “Villa in the Hills”

Stephenson said this about working with Miller IDS over the past 20 years, “I have been working diligently to establish myself as an artist in the ‘FINE ARTS’. Miller is like family to me, Josh has always taken very good care of me, Dana is a pleasure to work with and very knowledgeable and extremely talented in her area of expertise. I just cannot say enough kind words regarding [Miller IDS Customer Service Representative] Larry Williams. He makes each and every visit I have to Miller very enjoyable, in fact I look forward to every visit I have with Miller because of his professionalism, sense of humor, and his unique personality which makes each and every visit a true pleasure.”

The piece is available to view at both of our locations through the end of February. You can contact Larry Stephenson at lessr@earthlink.net.

January 2019 Artist of the Month: Adrienne Hodge

Miller IDS is proud to present our first Artist of the Month for 2019, Adrienne Hodge with her piece, “Suspension.” The piece prominently exhibits Hodge’s interest in astronomy, quantum physics, and the forces that drive our universe through the subject matter of space. A graduate from UT Austin in 2010, Hodge has taught in Dripping Springs ISD, Leander ISD, Round Rock ISD and is the co-founder of the Moon Gallery & Studio in East Austin. She also teaches adults art classes at the Dougherty Arts Center. 

A native to Houston, Hodge ended up in Austin in the early 2000s when her passion for the visual arts became apparent after she arrived. While attending ACC, Hodge would wander into Miller Blueprint on 6th Street in between classes at the Rio Grande campus. Since transferring to and graduating from UT Austin, Hodge has broadened her style moving from portraits to focusing on atmospheres. She has continued to frequent Miller IDS, having many of her works scanned by our Fine Arts Specialist, Dana Burton.  

Hodge’s “Suspension” stems from her desire to create ethereal environments that pull the viewer into the work. This piece exhibits her artistic evolution as it observes her foray into intuitive painting through the subject matter of the stars and Hodge’s contemplation of her place among them, while also exhibiting her imagination. Hodge notes, “For years, I explored portrait work with space-themed and often symbolic or surrealistic backdrops. In the last year or so, I began shifting my focus to the backgrounds in my portraits as my primary subject matter.” Although she has sold the original to a private collection during the EAST Austin Studio Tour in November 2018, prints of the piece are still available for purchase through her website. 

 Hodge has worked with Miller Blueprint/IDS for many years and says this about working with our team:

“My materials are extremely unforgiving at times, so pushing the boundaries of paper and ink is something I take great pride in. This is something I have in common with Dana Burton at Miller IDS. I first began bringing my art to Dana for scanning and printing three years ago when I was working on a monochromatic portrait series using solely walnut ink… Walnut ink often has either a sheen or a transparency that makes it difficult to capture on film or in print, but Dana is a master of matching tone and hue… People who purchase my prints often remark on how much they love the detail in the raw edges of my pieces that remain visible in the prints and I love how Dana notices and catches these details rather than cropping them off. Likewise, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with all other staff I’ve encountered at Miller IDS. I get my business cards printed and designed at Miller, and I recommend Dana to all of my artist friends.”

               “Suspension” is available to view in both of our stores now through the end of January. Adrienne Hodge can be contacted through her email (AdrienneHodge@gmail.com) or through her website (www.adriennehodge.com).

 

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 for 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