Artistic Excellence 2019 | Second Place: Stan Miller


Stan Miller, Charles, egg tempera, 24 x 36.

Stan Miller, Charles, egg tempera, 24 x 36.

IF YOU WERE ever to meet Stan Miller, and he were to ask your permission to photograph you, you could consider it quite a compliment. “When I see a face that’s fascinating, I ask if I can take some photographs,” says Miller. That’s precisely how the Spokane, WA, artist came to paint his winning entry CHARLES. “Charles was visiting a friend of mine,” he says of his portrait’s star, who agreed to pose for a wide variety of shots under his artistic direction. “I thought his face had this universal quality,” adds Miller. “One person might see a strong and courageous person, and another might see vulnerability. I wanted this painting to symbolize the many different ideas people would see in Charles. That’s my intention with every portrait I paint.”

Rendered in egg tempera, CHARLES is just one of many paintings that resulted from Miller’s photo shoot with this model. “I probably did 40 paintings of Charles before I did this painting,” he says. And, as he does for all his work, the artist also completed numerous preliminary drawings and background studies. “Doing a painting the way I do is like building a house,” he says. “You need a foundation and an architectural plan.”

Miller, who has been painting professionally in both watercolor and egg tempera since 1973, is widely known for his portraiture, but he also creates landscapes, and he teaches workshops in both genres around the world. A longtime admirer of artist Andrew Wyeth, he describes himself as a realist. “What makes a realistic painting universally great is the subject matter itself,” he says. “I want to paint subjects that touch people’s hearts all over the world.” Find the artist’s work at —Kim Agricola

This story was featured in the December 2019/January 2020 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2019/January 2020 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

• Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
• Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
• Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook