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Artist Dee Miller uses items she finds in nature to create unique works of art at her Newberg studio

GARY ALLEN - Newberg's Dee Miller incorporates pieces of nature in her art work, then blends them with paints and other media.

Dee Miller's home studio is unassuming, the only evidence it exists is a small sign outside that reads the name of her studio and gallery: Naturart.

The inside of her home, however, tells a much different story.

Miller's art is everywhere to be seen, sitting on couches and adorning walls.

Behind her piano is a painting she did of a scene from Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Heading into her kitchen is a painting of three pigs.

But it's not the paintings or the piano she's interested in showing people. Instead, she'd rather people witness a type of art she herself had never seen before she started making it. Art made out of things she finds in nature.

"I use everything, every part of it serves a purpose," she said.

Leafs, grass, twigs, weeds, roots, flowers, moss, branches and everything and anything else becomes part of a canvas in Miller's home studio.

Though she's always painted, she said she started doing this particular kind of art about two years ago. After giving herself a haircut, rather than throwing away the hair she decided to put it to use, creating a biblical portrait with it.

"I thought if you can use hair, why can't you use other things?" she said.

That led her to find fallen leafs, which led her to other parts of nature.

"It just happens when you have a canvas in front of you," she said.

Miller's marketing manager, Lucille Mansigh, said she met Miller at an art bazar and found the artwork fascinating. She purchased a piece for $25, but also developed a fast friendship with Miller. Mansigh routinely visits Miller's home with other friends to sing as Miller plays the piano.

"We're lively, elderly ladies," Mansigh said.

And Miller agreed, saying the two women in their 80s were not the "kind of grannies to rock in a chair."

"If I don't have a goal, I feel awkward," Miller said. "I want to give people the joy of being able to create stuff."

She added that she wants people to see her art and realize they can also be creative. To that end, she offers free workshops in her studio to anyone interested in learning how to make Naturart. All a person has to do is give her a call at 503-537-0503 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

"Everybody can (make art)," she said.

Since becoming her friend, Mansigh now carries plant clippers with her in case she sees something that Miller can turn into art.

Miller treats the plants before putting them on the canvas, so they are permanent fixtures. She also paints behind the plants, largely in abstract work.

"What do you see here?" she asks holding up a creation with a golden abstract background.

Right now, all of Miller's works are original, one-of-a-kind creations. She hopes to one day to make prints to sell.

She's also planning to be at the March First Friday Art Walk near the vacant Butler Property for people to see her work. Eventually she plans to sell them, but she's not really sure what they are worth yet. Additionally, Miller has made greeting cards of the same kind of art, but she just gives those away now.

"I want for people to offer something," she said. "It's more than just leafs and flowers, it takes an eye."

"It takes your artistic, gift, honey," Mansigh added.

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