Monday, August 2, 2010

The Elegant and Inspirational Work of Leslie Avon Miller

6" x 6" - mixed media on paper

I was originally introduced to Leslie Avon Miller through a friend who had taken a creativity course with Leslie.  She is not only an artist but also a Creativity Coach.  I investigated her work and was taken by the elegant lines and color palette.  I was further impressed and took her Refresh Your Creativity course and will be writing about that next week.

Leslie's work is both elegant and lively.  She often uses black, white, neutrals and a little sparkle with gold and silver.  She walks that wonderful line between Simplicity and Complexity which is so close to my heart.  She incorporates paint, ink and papers into this lively and universal work.


Terry:  At what point in your life did you know at your core you are an artist?

Leslie:  For me, being an artist is part of being an explorer of life.  I've never had a moment of Ah Ha!  I'm "this or that."  I just keep exploring.  Art has been part of my life from the beginning.

Artist Book - Stillness

4.25" x 11" - Mixed Media on Paper

Terry:  Please describe your studio activity...your work habit and how you balance the demands of daily life, work and studio?

Leslie:  My studio activity has been in flux for a few years.  In the last 6 years I have had three temporary studios, with many barriers such as no water, good carpet, or a garage space with no heat, etc.  When I don't have much space to work, I can make small collage on my lap.  My new studio is about ready for me to move into and I can't wait!  Generally my habit is to walk across the drive way to the studio to work in the early morning for a few hours, and then head in to my part time day job.  My idea of a great weekend is to come home on Thursday evening and not leave again until Monday, spending as much of that time as possible in the studio.

Now that I have space to work in I want to offer a collage class combined with creativity coaching.  It should be fun!
Balancing life is about constant motion - some days other things just take over and that has to be okay.


Communication Series
6" x 6" - Mixed Media on Paper

Terry:  Do you ever get into an artistic slump and if so, how do you rejuvenate yourself?

Leslie:  I don't really experience slumps, but I sometimes loose my place.  When that happens all I need to do is be in the studio.  I start to tidy things, putting my hands on tools and materials.  Pretty soon and I am off and running.  If that doesn't work, a good night's sleep will do it.

Terry:  What life event or events have most shaped you as an artist?

Leslie:  My Mom was artistic.  She was also an explorer.  She taught me to see.  She taught me about harmony and balance and the oriental aesthetic.  What was missing for her was a sense of permission.  Between that and her perceived role as a woman of the 50's and 60's she got lost.  More than anything, the sadness of that under expressed creativity has motivated me to create and create and create.  I am a pretty serious student of art.  I study and I try things.  My joy in being a life coach for artists comes from delight in watching artists free up their creativity and express their own unique voice.

Terry:  Is there an on going theme in your work?  If so, please tell us about that.  If not tell us something about the basis of your work that would give us insight into what drives you creatively.

Leslie:  My theme is about connecting with other people to celebrate precious life on this planet.  I come from the point of view of an explorer.

6" x 6" - Mixed Media on Paper

Terry:  What do you like to do for fun away from the studio?

Leslie:  I like to be out in nature.  I love a good beach walk, coming home with rocks and other great finds.  I love the oceans and the mountains.  I come home with a well adjusted attitude.

I enjoy connecting with friends and family.  I love a good artist date anytime.  Kurt and I travel to Canada a few times a year and look at galleries enjoy the city and catch a hockey game.  We consider ourselves part Canadian.  I also enjoy writing.  I think there may be a book in my future.  I like to create beautiful meals.  I feed the wild birds.  I blog.  I love to laugh.  I get together with long time friends and play pinochle.  Life is rich.

-----Leslie writes a new statement for each series.  The following statement relates to a broad range of her work.

Artist Statement

For me, the process of painting is an intuitive and intimate one.  With found tools and materials as well as my hands and fingers, I caress the painting surface, seeking to visualize and share with the viewer this very moment on the continuum of time, just as it slips into the past.  Seeing the painting surface change, responding to the nuances found, and engaging intimately with the work, I fuse personal intuitive expression and awareness of our place in the now.  Using the dominate element of texture, through the unity of subdued colour, this non-objective mixed media work is an on going experiment in the moment.

Leslie in her new studio space.

Beginning August 1 Leslie will have an on line exhibition at Virtual TART.  The show is Brown Paper Bags and Rust.

Thank you for visiting and I love to hear your comments.  Don't forget that next Monday I will have an article on Coach Leslie.  You don't want to miss this one.


  1. Hi Terry, Thanks for this great visit with Leslie. Reading about her process and inspirations is inspiring and her work is always lovely. I look forward to seeing her online exhibition.

  2. Thank you, Terry, for showing Leslie's work; it speaks to my soul.

  3. Thank you Nancy and Rayna. Leslie's work is serene yet strong. An interesting combination. I appreciate your taking time to comment.

  4. Thanks Terry and Leslie.
    I enjoyed getting to know more about Leslie who I met online in the past year. Congrats on your new studio. Your two window views look like paintings!!

  5. I'm an enthusiastic fan of both Leslie's art and her coaching...... actually more than that, I just love her to bits. She has helped me out of a few artist blocks and I can say without a doubt that Leslie is the greatest coach. Can't wait for the next Monday post!Thanks Terry.

  6. Love,love her work!! Thanks for sharing with us.

  7. thank you for introducing new people into the quilt world! her work looks a little like that of Fran Skiles, but much smaller. I can see these pieces as 6ft square quilts!!

  8. Thanks for the interview with Leslie, Terry. Her work has a very nice scale even though they are so small and intimate. I like what she said about making collages on her lap. You don't need a large studio and sometimes just the desire to make work is what is important. The new studio may help her to increase the size of her pieces. A workshop on collage would be great.

  9. Thank you Tom for commenting. I like your comment about desire. I know for sure that Leslie appreciates that insight.

  10. Hi Nancy - It's always an inspiration for me to visit your blog!

    Hello Rayna, Gerri and Elizabeth - its very nice to "meet" you!

    Jane - its been such a pleasure to discover you and your work this year. And now that you mention it, I see those paintings in the studio window reflections.

    Hi Tom - Bigger - absolutely! I have been working on two 12 by 24's as a diptych. But I am looking forward to 36 x 36. I may have to work my way up! It's nice to have room.

    Terry it has been a lot of fun to participate in your interview series. I have enjoyed learning about each artist in this series. One can never know too many artists! Thank you for all your work and enthusiasm for the arts and artists. You are a gem.

  11. Thank you for another great interview, Terry. Leslie is so well-spoken and thoughtful and that comes through in her artwork. I love her new space! I look forward to reading about her coaching next week.

    PS Since Leslie considers herself part-Canadian she must live near the border??

  12. Thank you Rebecca for commenting. Leslie is very sharp and I loved the insights into her thinking. Her new studio looks fantastic and I know she will love "messing it up".