Nancy Hughes Miller artist

I segued to become a full-time painter in 2007 after working as a graphic designer for more than 25 years. A graduate of North Carolina State's College of Design, my experience there was eye-opening and multifaceted — I was exposed to both design and fine art fundamentals and history. This unique education, design career, workshops and lifelong self-instruction combine to shape me as a artist. But foremost, my love for the natural world — its awesomeness — inspires me to paint. 

I grew up in southeastern North Carolina and its coastal environment is reflected in my art. Influential are this region's vistas and scenes, where marsh and the Intracoastal Waterway separate the mainland from the barrier islands. My subjects are derived from these familiar views, where the sky looms large and clouds dance over the beach or wetlands landscape. I paint these glimpses of everyday nature mostly from memory and imagination, building on continual years of observation. Working in oils, I explore the infinite variations found in nature's color and light, shapes and forms to create a contemporary landscape in my own style. 

My work is exhibited at Little Art Gallery in Raleigh’s Cameron Village,  Sunset River Marketplace in Calabash, NC and All About Art on Bald Head Island. In addition, it is for sale online with UGallery and here in my website shop. I am a member of Raleigh’s ArtSpace and donate art to their annual Gala fundraiser. Other groups who have benefitted from my painting donations include Visual Art Exchange, Alzheimer's Association of Eastern NC, Project Coming Home, Habitat for Humanity-Orange County, The North Carolina Museum of Art, Wake County SPCA, NCSU Vet School, Cary Academy, Durham Academy, Hospice of Wake County, Durham Art Guild, Prevent Child Abuse NC and the NC Children’s Hospital

about my art

Ancestral lands, coastal settlers

Contemporary coastal landscape oil painting by Nancy Hughes Miller, modern seascapes and marshes

In times before high-rise bridges and condos, unspoiled landscapes were experienced by Native Americans and explorers. My ancestors were early settlers of the Coastal Carolinas region. Sometimes I feel I am channeling these kindred spirits when I create my paintings. 

My connection to the coast goes way back and is in my bloodline. 

The marsh landscape and mood

Contemporary landscape oil paintings by emerging US artist Nancy Hughes Miller colorful and soothing

As a North Carolina landscape artist, I have a love for my state's barrier islands— but not just for their sandy beaches. To me, relaxing and soothing to view are their tidal, salt marshes separating the islands from the mainland. I find them especially inspiring in mid-summer, when the marsh grass turns brilliant yellow-green. I feature this chartreuse-like color in many of my marsh paintings, combined with varying colors in the sky and water. 

I hope my scenes of inlet waters winding to the ocean or those with large clouds on the horizon are a calming influence on the viewer.

Memories of the beach

Quiet Beach Morning 20x40 oil painting by Nancy Hughes Miller, North Carolina USA landscape artist

A lot of families have traditions around their annual week at the beach. They'll rent the same cottage the same summer week at the same coastal community for years and years. Some say my art takes them back to special times and places — a reminder of being carefree and relaxed.

I hope my art connects with people and evokes fond memories of a family beach vacation. 

The landscape and feelings: Luminism

Nancy Hughes Miller paints contemporary landscape paintings of the coast, beach and marsh paintings

I share some of the practices and goals of 19th century Luminist artists as I explore light and its effect on the landscape. As they, I seek to elevate everyday nature with compositions featuring large skies and calm, reflective waters— rendered in a smooth finish without visible brushstrokes. Luminist landscapes emphasize tranquility, depicting a poetic experience of nature or a contemplative perception of nature.

As the Luminists, I strive not to paint the reality of the landscape but 'the state of feeling’ which the landscape produces.