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 painter. Now residing in Cary, North Carolina, Nancy grew up in Tabor City, a small town in the southeastern part of the state, near the coast. 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 constantly looking up at the sky on walks and drives, combining bits and pieces from memories and photos 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 exhibited at Sunset River Marketplace in Calabash, NC and All About Art on Bald Head Island and are available online at UGallery and 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 and the NC Children’s Hospital.
My connection to the coast goes way back and is in my bloodline. 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 paint my landscapes — recreating views seen long ago.
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.
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.
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.