Landscape artist, Nancy Hughes Miller, creates contemporary, colorful, large-scale paintings in her Cary and Sunset Beach, North Carolina studios.

Contemporary Landscape Paintings

Inspired by beauty in the landscape, I seek to capture a bold yet quiet impression of everyday nature — as the colors of sky, earth and water converge on the horizon.

Nancy Hughes Miller graduated from North Carolina State's College of Design where she studied both design and fine art fundamentals. In 2007, after working as a graphic designer for more than 25 years, she fulfilled a dream and became a full-time artist. Now residing in Cary, North Carolina, Nancy grew up in Tabor City, a small town near the coast in the southeastern part of the state. The vistas of this region are reflected in her landscape oil paintings and many other places she's experienced inspire her art. Nancy works from observation, memory and imagination, painting glimpses of everyday nature — homages to the fragile yet resilient environment. 

I am looking around, snapping photos —especially on beach walks— combining bits and pieces to create my compositions. I work with what nature shows me, its simplest elements, experimenting with color, darks and lights, until a sense of movement and atmosphere emerges.

Her contemporary landscape paintings are available online at UGallery and exhibited at Sunset River Marketplace in Calabash, NC and All About Art on Bald Head Island and for sale here in her Shop. She is a member of Raleigh’s ArtSpace and donates to their annual Gala fundraiser. Other groups which have benefitted from Nancy's painting donations include Cary Visual Art, Raleigh's 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, Raleigh's Alley Cats and Angels Feline Rescue Group and the NC Children’s Hospital.

more about my art

through my imagination

Shoreline Morning 48x60 inches is a large contemporary coastal landscape painting

Unspoiled, desolate beaches were the norm before cars, high-rise bridges and condos packed the oceansides with people. When I paint I feel I am recreating scenes from long ago — rare and endangered landscapes with nothing man-made imposing on the view. Only through my imagination is my art possible and I hope I will always find inspiration in the world we have now. I feel an urgent solution must be found to safeguard our planet as a healthy environment is quickly getting beyond our reach.

the marsh landscape and mood

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

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. 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. 

memories of the beach

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

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

the landscape and feelings: Luminism

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

As the Luminists, I strive not to paint the reality of the landscape but 'the state of feeling’ which the landscape produces. I share some of the practices and goals of 19th century Luminists, as do other modern landscape artists, exploring light and its colorful effects on a scene. Elevating everyday nature, I favor compositions with large skies and 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.

finding yin and yang

Nancy Hughes Miller, UGallery.com artist, paints Contemporary Coastal Landscapes paintings

I paint using my imagination, memory and sometimes photographic references. The process involves balancing various components to achieve a pleasing composition. Here, the ancient concept of yin and yang applies as opposites of bright and dark interplay and complement each other to convey a sense of harmony.