Artistic Alchemy 2

Bill Miller adds a splash of color to Paradise Valley with Inspired Oil Paintings


How did you get your start as an artist?

When I was very young, my parents took a painting course at our local community center just for fun, and would work on some of the paintings at home in between classes. As I watched them paint, I found it fascinating and wanted to try. From that moment on, I have always felt that there is something magical about starting with an empty canvas and transforming it into a work of art.

When did you realize that you wanted to become a professional artist?

Although I was a science major in college, went through medical school and eventually began practicing, at each stage I always found time to draw and paint. However, it seemed almost arrogant to think that I could shift between science and art, yet I was entering juried art shows and winning prizes, and people were buying my paintings and asking me to do commissions. So I was acting just as any other professional artist would decades ago, now I am just doing it on a larger scale.

What inspired you to choose oil painting as your medium of work?

Oil painting is highly technical on the one hand and very forgiving on the other. It allows for corrections and improvements, but the proportions of pigment and medium have to be appropriate in each layer to assure a durable surface. From my perspective, the most alluring aspect of oils is the absolutely lovely, flexible quality of color produced by oil pigments compared to watercolor or acrylics.

What types of works do you specialize in?

I love the human form and particularly enjoy portraiture. Painting a portrait is much more than detail, modeling, composition or tonal structure; it is a psychological collaboration with the subject. One particular enthusiasm of mine is that I am eager to work with a client to create the exact portrait that they want, even a fantasy scene. For example, a beautiful client of mine wanted to have a lion in her portrait. I was delighted to collaborate with her to include a lion that she had previously photographed in her portrait.

Where do you find inspiration for your works?

Everywhere. I don’t mean that as a lofty general statement, but it is true that everyday experiences and continuous observation are part of developing new subjects. I particularly like dramatic subjects and a feeling of movement. I also do a lot of work on commission, which are frequently based on photos that I take of a client for a portrait or on photography that they have done and ask me to render in oil.

What makes you so passionate about art?

Many artists regard a blank canvas as daunting. For me, there is nothing more appealing than starting with an empty canvas, setting down an initial underlying neutral tone, and bringing a vivid image to life. Each stage— from sketch to final glaze—has its unique requirements, and each is a rich experience.