the artist's words

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. 

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.

fragile, resilient, inspiring


Through the marsh grass, colors of daybreak flow with the current toward the ocean. I love to paint the wetlands near my coastal home, where the water rises and falls with the tides. I pay homage to the fragile yet resilient marsh ecosystem of the barrier islands. The marsh provides habitat for fish and birds, it buffers the mainland from storm surges, filters downstream pollution and is a place of inspiring beauty.

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. Families have traditions around their annual week at the beach — they 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, 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.