About Steven Ray Miller
Steven Ray Miller is an accomplished, self-taught artist. He has specialized in watercolor for about 40 years and, in recent years, he has begun acrylic painting on glass. This master of gouache (opaque watercolor) creates impressive pieces that actually resemble photographs.
Miller graduated from Duke University with a dual degree in Studio Art and Psychology. His unique hands-on style — business savvy with a people connection — recalls his work in the 1970s when he manned a traveling art studio truck for the South Carolina Arts Commission, exposing thousands of children to art forms like painting, drawing and print-making. Similarly, the current iteration of Steven Ray Miller, the artist, is determined to show the world his own art, one watercolor or acrylic painting at a time.
Not reclusive or one-dimensional in his approach to disseminating his work, Miller once sold commodity futures in his art; his salesman father taught him well the skills and attitudes about marketing and sales. Credit his mother, who still embraces new skills and has always encouraged him to pursue his art.
To promote his work, his collectors have sponsored numerous art parties. (an estimated 50 in the last 25 years). He also has nearly 2000 friends via Facebook. Simply put, he enjoys showing his work, however and whenever he can. He just doesn’t stop with the gallery displays. Not in a time when art can be seen online 30 minutes after completion.
Miller offers originals in the $1,000s; limited editions in the $100s and framed miniatures for less than $100. His paintings resemble actual photographs, but they are not. Miller calls his style clarified realism, “punching up the contrast and making the scenes very bold.”
Most of the work he shows and sells are gouache paintings or limited edition prints from the gouache paintings. Unlike traditional watercolorists, Miller paints on dry rag paper, using two coats of paint for clearly defined details and saturated colors. In recent years, he has begun 3-D acrylic paintings on multiple layers of glass, painting on the back side of the glass to create a reverse image. Thus, whatever is painted first remains visible on completion. The multiple layers of glass create intriguing shadows and a compelling perspective.
Miller has exhibited throughout the United States in more than 100 one-man shows and in 45 juried competitions. His creations are found in prominent art collections, on television and on the covers of national publications.
In a 1984 juried competition, Nicolai Cikovsky, curator of American Art at the National Gallery of Art, called Miller’s award-winning painting “Pencil Cup Revisited” “a work of tremendous scale … splendid sense of design and coloration which carries marvelously; it recalls Matisse.”
This ultimate compliment for an artist who considers himself “the salesman who also created the product.”
Miller is also, for three years in a row now, Durham’s Best Artist. Read the details about the Best of Durham awards here.
In many of his works, Miller uses hearts, symbols of connection. “I put hearts in my paintings to bring the viewer in for a closer look. Hearts help us to share the feelings of love and hope that connect us all.”