For this artist, the world is her canvas
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."
"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.
Arts & Leisure briefs
The Oregon Wine History Archive at Linfield College has three new projects available on its website. The first is a series of oral history videos about the Oregon wine industry. The second is a podcast to share the story. And the third features the late Jimi Brooks, a graduate of Linfield College who founded Brooks Winery. For more information, go to https://oregonwinehistoryarchive.org/.
Linfield presents 'She Kills Monsters'
The Linfield College theater program will present the play "She Kills Monsters" for its 99th season of plays and as part of its season of "Monsters and the Monstrous." This play is a coming of age story that blends comedy and fantasy. The play is at 7:30 p.m. from March 13-16, with a matinee at 2 p.m. March 17. All performances are in the Marshall Theatre in Ford Hall. Tickets are $9 for the general public, $7 for seniors and college staff, and $5 for students. There is a $2 discount on opening night. Tickets are available online at www.linfield.edu/arts.
Newberg group puts on musical 'King'
Newberg's MCO Productions will present the musical "King," the biblical story of Saul and David, at locations in Newberg and McMinnville. The show features 20 songs, dancing, stage fights and live orchestra. Shows start at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg, and at 7 p.m. March 8-9 and 3 p.m. March 10 at the Baker Creek Community Church in McMinnville.