Michelle Delees Miller’s life is rich. It is rich because she chooses to look at life like that in general. Since childhood, her observing eyes took in all of her surroundings, where she processes what she sees by writing about her experiences and observations. The writing has always been her way to ‘talk to herself’ and clarify her thoughts especially when she feels overwhelmed. From these clarified thoughts, she unravels the rest of the puzzle into her paintings. Her paintings are a visual depiction of her life, her connection to all things and what makes her feel grounded both geographically and temporally.
Michelle earned a BA in art history as well as a BFA in Visual Arts with a triple major in painting, drawing and printmaking. The combination of the academic and studio degrees taught her to look critically at her own work. ‘Painting from the heart is one thing’, she says ‘ but a painting must have critical thought as well to merit strength and depth’.
Raised in Saskatchewan until she was 10 years old, Miller moved to Vancouver Island where she has now lived for most of her life.
-Written by Yasmeen Beyhum, artist
Which hood are you in?
I live in Victoria on Vancouver Island in the lovely Rockland area of Fairfield. I have a studio in my home and I am a 15-minute walk to everywhere. My friends are all close by too. I have a very tight group of friends and I am extremely grateful for this. Victoria is a small quaint city and everything I need is here. I love to travel and am usually in Europe each year teaching in Italy. But it is always so lovely to come home. My studio is full of windows that look out onto the back yard which is rich with oak trees and vegetation. The light is absolutely biblical in the studio! There is an incredible peace that comes over me when I walk in there each morning.
What do you do?
I am an artist. I teach art privately on occasion and I travel to Italy to teach each year. I am currently organizing an art retreat on the Amalfi Coast (June 10-19, 2023). I paint every day. It’s a wonderful feeling to be excited each morning and looking at what I had created the day before. It’s like running to see a lover you just cannot get enough of!
What are you currently working on?
I just finished a series of personal figurative works but now I am moving more toward stylized imagery that reflects how I grew up and how I feel about being Canadian. It’s a broad spectrum so I don’t want to get ahead of myself by saying it is a series. I paint abstracts, landscapes/botanicals and figurative works that are displayed in categories on my website. Mostly I am known for abstracts but I do float effortlessly between the genres. I also get bored doing one genre for too long and need to shift and learn. I really do need to constantly learn in order for the work to stay fresh.
Where can we find your work?
Locally, my work is available at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria as well as the Tofino Gallery of Contemporary Art. I will soon be having some representation in the new year on Salt Spring Island, BC. I have been represented across Canada and the United States. Studio visits are always welcome too.
You can also visit my website, and you can find Amalfi Coast Art Retreat Details here.