We got crayons when we were young….
I WANTED A PENCIL
Like most kids, a blank piece of paper was an invitation to let my imagination spill out. For me, at age 5, it was drawing dinosaurs, trucks and ships.
I would find myself happily drawing for hours on end. My parents eventually realized being confined to my room for doing something naughty wasn’t really punishment, as long as I had a pencil and paper and my imagination.
Soon I began to play with color. Then every summer I would enter my “master piece” into the county fair, hoping for some kind of recognition. It would be so pleasing when the judges thought my work worthy to get a ribbon. Not always a blue one, but to get any ribbon or a merit star was a real moral booster and I believe to this day, it motivated me to keep creating.
When I was eleven, I had my first art sale, which was a pencil drawing of a clipper ship on the horizon.
The image below is not that drawing, but it was also drawn when I was eleven.
Staying with the nautical theme, it came to be, that I was able to pay for my college education through my art by spending my summers at a marina on Martha’s Vineyard. I got hired to draw owners yachts and sitting on the docks for days on end, I got a great tan and met so many wonderful people.
My first art lesson was when I was a freshman in college….
It was Basic Design and I was introduced to a professor who felt I had a gift for painting and he asked me to take his painting class the next semester. A couple of years of painting classes helped me to understand my potential. We had to earn our credits by taking on the course assignments, so it was’t until my senior year I was able to experiment with photorealism.
I experimented with my first photorealistic piece under the guidance of the same painting professor. After seeing a show in Boston, MA of Richard Estees, I was hooked.
While I was in college, I had a few pieces of my work on display at the Granary Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard. Immediately after graduating, I was offered a solo show there in the summer of 1983. After setting up a studio in my parents garage, I ended up with 35 small pieces. Pencil drawings, pen & ink, water colors, acrylics and oils. They were mostly landscapes from Martha’s Vineyard. Unbelievably, I sold 33 of them! I felt I had my first big break. The gallery then hosted many solo shows of my work for years to come. I now have been represented by this gallery for 40 years.
About 1990, Gallery Henoch in New York began to represent my work. I had to change my direction as landscapes of Martha’s Vineyard really were not going to work well in New York. I began to focus on still lives, and centered on glass objects-mostly preserving jars and marbles. I found them to be very similar to painting water.
I am still showing with them to this day. With the New York influence, I also began to show still lives at the Granary Gallery, but still held on to my scenic roots.
During the 30 years I have been with Gallery Henoch, I found my paintings began to grow in size, complexity and time. A project today can take up to 700 hours to complete. These large time consuming works of art can be quite amazing when viewed in person. I still paint glass objects to this day, but have had a love affair with the Wall Street Journal for the past several years, creating dozens of paintings.
I still paint the occasional landscape and love how it brings me back to a warm familiar feeling from my earlier years. However, still life is my main focus. Hopefully honing my skills within the subject matter that I have been working with for years. But, I am always searching for new inspiration that could translate into a new direction for my artistic fulfillment.
Copyright Steve Mills Art, Inc.