Cityscapes and country views
This story was featured in the January 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.
For decades the streets of San Francisco have inspired many an artist, and today Cristen Miller is one of them. Miller, a professor of art at the Academy of Art University, says that everywhere she looks in the City by the Bay, she discovers intriguing compositions and subject matter. Among other things, she relishes sunset’s fading light, when lovely shadow patterns fall across the urban scene.
MARKET STREET displays Miller’s talent for capturing San Francisco at this time of day, which is often called “the golden hour.” The linear perspective also drew Miller to the scene—the way the cable-car tracks and power lines lead the eye to an approaching streetcar. “I happened to catch a moment when pedestrians were parting like curtains to unveil a cable car making its way to a stop,” she says. “It made for a strong focal point, especially with the hazy background surrounding it.”
In stark contrast to the bright lights and bustle of the big city, Miller also finds nature an artistic draw, often enjoying time alone in the wild. ASPEN VIEW, which won a top award at last year’s Oil Painters of America national juried exhibition, captures a favorite landscape near her parents’ home in Bondurant, WY, an area surrounded by national forest. “Wyoming has some of the most beautiful untouched country, and I love that feeling of walking into a meadow or an aspen grove and knowing that the land looks exactly the same as it did 500 years ago,” Miller says. “There are so few places like that in the world now.”
The artist says she was inspired to paint the pristine scene because of the bright pops of color from the wildflowers. “I hope that my landscapes convey that peaceful, uplifting feeling you get when you are alone in nature,” Miller says. “I try to convey the subtle feeling of wind blowing through aspens or the way light can transform everyday scenes into something beautiful.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Chloe Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
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