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Terry Miller

Graphite artist

studio news

Spring 2017


As the early signs of spring appeared outside Terry’s studio windows, a little package arrived on his doorstep. That package contained several copies of the spring edition of the Journal of the American Society of Marine Artists, of which Terry was voted into membership as a Signature member just a couple years ago. That issue of the Journal contained a wonderfully written feature article on Terry and his work, penned by Charles Raskob Robinson, a respected marine artist and Fellow of the Society. Spotlighting some of the events in Terry’s life that lead him to become a professional artist as well as a bit about his process of work, the article gave some good insight into what makes him tick as an artist.

Another organization that Terry has had an association with for a long time, The Society of Animal Artists, just held their annual spring board meeting in the Midwest. Terry has held a position on the board of directors of the Society for a bit over five years now, and having just returned from attending that meeting, he’s been energized by the comradery and conversation about all things art that occurred during the two days of meetings with his peers.

During those two days, Terry was privileged to be a juror, along with 8 of his fellow board members, for the Society’s 2017 Annual Members’ Exhibition. The selection process for choosing the 120 works to be included in the fall opening of the Annual at the Blauvelt Art Museum in New Jersey, made for a very long day of jurying, but in the end the group had spotlighted the best works out of the submission pool of over 350 entries.

Terry’s been asked, many times over the years, by both young aspiring artists and those who’ve ‘been around the block’, as to what makes for a good competition or jury entry? It’s a question that can be answered in many different ways, but one which Terry has his own, general response to – “think outside the box!”

As trite as that response may sound, it nevertheless has been the mantra that he himself follows when considering an idea for a work specifically aimed at a special jury or competition; a competitive playing field that will, no doubt, be populated by many other fine artists who will be challenging themselves to come up with their own idea of what is going to appeal to a group of jurors selecting a limited number of works for exhibition.

Thinking outside the box can mean skewing a viewpoint when considering a new idea – taking a vantage point in the composition that is not a typical straight-on view – possibly an overhead view as if floating in a balloon or on a cloud; a strong, angular view looking up to a subject as if crawling along the ground. In other words, basically, putting the viewer of the art work in a position where they might have an ‘aha’ moment which helps to add uniqueness to that work and the response to it.

Adding a humorous aspect always will catch an eye, and isn’t that what an artist wishing to have their work stand out from the crowd hopes to achieve? Zeroing in on strong contrasts of light and shadow (especially when the work is more toward the monochromatic end of the scale) or, in the case of color works, making the best use of warm and cool hues can go a long way in making one’s work stand out.

The selection of underappreciated subject matter can also separate a work from all the rest; keying into the mundane which generally escapes the eye in everyday life can certainly command renewed attention or demand more consideration from a jury.

In the end, Terry’s feeling is that it all comes down to looking at those sorts of works, works to be done for jury or competitive situations, as an opportunity to challenge oneself, push toward a goal possibly never before considered, or tackle a subject done over and over with a new viewpoint. He certainly will be making use of those ideas as he prepares new work for upcoming competitions and gallery events.

Terry Miller can be reached at: pencilart1@verizon.net