Saturday, August 5
"Baby Bruce", Pen & Ink Sketch, William D. Miller, 1960
This week's theme on Studio Friday is "Your Creativity Roots". I immediately thought of my first moments of being aware of art (standing horror struck to my very bones in front of a Hieronymous Bosch painting, age four or five), my first moments of being aware of the art-making process (the pungent smell of Tempera paint, the annoying waxiness of crayons that didn't let me do with them what I wanted to do) , and my first moments of realizing that I was really good at art in a way that made me different from most everyone else in my class (a seminal moment in kindergarten among the crayolas...)
James Miller at the Family Easel, 1967, New York City
But when I looked at the other Studio Friday entries I found that most everyone else had interpreted the the theme differently and wrote about their family art heritage. Beautifully, eloquently and in some cases quite touchingly. Very interesting. Not unlike my kindergarten realization, this is one of those moments when I suddenly become aware that something I think of as the norm, so obvious as to not need mentioning, is actually a little out of the ordinary! (Just when you think you are all grown up...) Because, in my experience, family just equals art. My parents actually met while taking classes at The Art Students League in New York City in the 1950's. Dad was already a Chouinard Art Institute (CalArts) graduate, working in commercial art to support himself in the big city and my mother was an art-loving R.N. looking for a creative outlet. I believe this picture was taken on one of the summer painting workshops in Woodstock, NY, run by the League.
Beatrice Carlson and Bill Miller, Woodstock, New York, 1956
They got married and had three children, all of whom are artists. Makes sense since we are here on earth thanks to the romantic atmosphere of the Art Student's League! Plus of course, the piles of art supplies lying around our apartment, the towers of art books, and regular visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters and The Whitney. So nature and nurture I suppose. Here is a shot of my parents at a show (Painting=Poetry) I was in at Sherry French Gallery last April. I like this shot even though we are in front of someone else's paintings. Matriarch (my mother), crowned with apples and leaves, flanked by Attendants (my father and me), winged with Painting and Poetry.