About the Artist Matt Miller
Matt Miller is a native of Buffalo New York. He started drawing at an early age and was often seen with pencil, pen, or charcoal in hand. He took several drawing classes at this time, however as he grew and adulthood came upon him, a long hiatus in his art took place. Later, as an accomplished adult, he took up drawing and oil painting with renewed zeal, studying with several skilled local artists, taking classes at a number of local studios and the Rhode Island School of Design. He came across the artwork of David Leffel and became heavily influenced by his work, attending numerous training sessions over the next few years with Mr. Leffel and his wife Sherrie McGraw in California and in Taos NM. Matt’s works can be seen in several local galleries in the Boston metro area.
When I started to paint I was asked by my first teacher “why do you want to learn to paint”. My simple, naïve answer was just “I want to create beautiful paintings”. I then worked on “thousands” of still life paintings and human form studies. I found myself absolutely fascinated by painting people such that the preponderance of my work became devoted to painting people from life. Thinking back upon my work over the years I realize that I would have answered that original question differently at different times as I progressed through the stages of my own development: “I want to capture the human form”, “I want the people I paint to breathe”, “I want to capture realistic skin tone”, “I want to depict weight and dimensionality”, “I want to capture light”, etc. In time, I realized that as I achieved some measure of accomplishment with each of these goals in turn, that by then I was striving to reach yet another plateau of understanding, yet another level of accomplishment. I doubt this process will ever stop – there is always more to learn, more to understand, more to master. And I love every moment of it. So, with all that I have learned over time, all the techniques, all the concepts, with everything put together I find that I have come full circle and can simply answer the original question the same way I started, “I want to create beautiful paintings.” I want my viewers to see and to feel at least some of the awe, wonder, and beauty I see in the subjects of my paintings.
Typically, if I am painting creatively and not strictly a portrait, I will start the concept for a painting long before the model arrives. At this point I am thinking totally abstractly in terms of patterns of light and darkness flowing across the canvas. Like the melody in a piece of music I will have in my head a concept of how I want the light to “play” across the canvas, where and how a secondary “note” will flow through, and what part the “bass” shadows will play or how the darkness will stop or impact the flow of the eye through the painting. With a basic concept in mind, once the model shows up I can spend hours laying out the subject to best capture the abstract concept, in harmony with the subject’s particular form, color, or build. I then mass the subject roughly onto the canvas and as needed, adjust things before I am totally committed. Then I paint in a direct style attempting to capture the unique beauty and qualities of the model in harmony with the abstract concept of the original layout.
Artistically, I try to put all these pieces together to create a work of art that flows across the eye like beautiful music. The works I have created where I feel I am successful at this are what I currently consider to be my most significant accomplishments to date.
In summary, I create art to pull all these forces together and create a work of beauty that reaches out and moves another human being.