Friday, January 20, 2012

getting to know leslie avon miller

in this intensely image saturated world it is a rare occurrence when a piece of art work stops me in my tracks, causes me gasp with surprise and delight,  compels me to linger and drink deep of life and beauty and inspiration.  such is the case with leslie avon miller's 'cracked - a self portrait series'.   

so it is with immense honor that i get to kick off my interview series of strong creative inspiring women with this lovely lady.  leslie is a beautiful artist, contemplative writer, invigorating life coach, kind human being.  she knows what it is to live poetry. 
some things you love:

I like things with a lot of space around them
Soft unfocused light whites and grays

Morning sun slanting through the trees
The sound of a cat purring

Things, in small groups of three
Wooden spoons stained with berry or curry

Lines made by tall grass
Leaves, half decayed

The color of oats, the moon and old bones
Smells of lemons and clean sheets

Crinkled paper that rustles

Falling snow
The sound of the fog horn
My mother’s button box of tin

That there is no answer

  • I wrote this earlier in the year for an artist book I am filling with things I love. The book is called The Color of the Moon and Other Small Things. 

some things you love about yourself (go ahead, brag a little): 
I like that I am a curious explorer of life. I like that I notice small things. I like that I am in love with life. It keeps me reverent. 
what you're working on at the moment:
I am working on some small personal work. The aforementioned artist book, some small collage. I have also just returned to painting after a break for the holidays.

where do you draw inspiration from?
Being alive. The beauty of nature. The patina of age. The work of other artists. Good conversation. Poetry read aloud. Most inspirational to me is the creative dance.

I must also mention tumblr, and pinterest and the blog world. I love the connection with other folks who find similar beauty. I learn to see through someone else’s eyes. I learn to recognize another artist’s work. The gift of beauty and poetry is shared, along with a love of books, of creating, of being. 

what is your creativity nemesis?
Over thinking. (It’s an invitation to the nasty critic who nitpicks….that critic needs to go fold the socks or something.)

and our most effective weapon against it?
I have found that stepping back, perhaps trying something very different for a while really helps bring back that explorer’s mindset. I recently worked with polymer clay. Because I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, it was all exploration. It was very good to bring that experience back to my painting.

something you've learned the hard way:   
At the end of a long studio day, leave it. The painting and I both need a rest. Don’t paint over it. Come back in the morning with fresh eyes. 

would you please recommend a book?
The elements of design; rediscovering colors, textures, forms and shapes by Loan Oei and Cecile De Kegel.

This book is like an artist’s date with one of your favorite artist friends. Full of images that show us how to see the alphabet of our creative language, this book takes us all over the world to see dots, lines, cross marks, circles, textures, grids and patterns. “Look at that! Look at this!” the book says. We see; we learn again to see. I love this book.

favorite natural food to snack on:
Right now it is a cracker with goat cheese and some of the chutney we made this fall from our apples and plums. And always herbal tea. My favorite is African Nectar by Mighty Leaf tea. Unless it’s later in the afternoon, and then it might be a glass of crisp white wine.

when i say feminine you say... juicy

something you need to do less of:  hesitate

something you need to do more of:  follow my intuition

your perfect day:
Today: It’s snowing. The studio is warm. My husband has gone to  
the store and later he will make our lovely evening meal. I have 
the day to create, to ponder, to be. Space, time, beingness. 

thank you, leslie, for your time, kindness and generous sharing of life, wisdom and creativity!

to see more of leslie's work and be inspired by her writings,
please visit her blog, textures shapes color

images via texturesshapescolor used with leslie's permission.


  1. What a wonderful surprise.. my first comment on your blog posts.. and it is a wonderful interview with my best friend Leslie... she did not tell me.
    I met Leslie years ago when she took one of my workshops.. then she took another and we became friends. She is the most supportive, positive friend.. the bonus is that she is a creative open minded artist.

    1. oh, donna, how i love the way our paths are intertwining in this wonderful world of creativity, poetry, connectedness and lives well lived!

  2. "Living poetry" - messy, exciting, invigorating. Sometimes there is a run in with a patch of rough going....which is where the "cracked" part comes in. But we mend. We heal, and sometimes life is all the more beautiful for it.

    Thank you anca, for this opportunity, for your kind words, and for being you, a kindred spirit.

    And thank you to my dear friend Donna, who has has helped me to bring my ability to "see" to a new level.

    1. 'when the japanese mend broken objects they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold, because they believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.' -barbara bloom

      i find this to be exceedingly true of people. you words and your work remind me of this.

      my heart is overflowing with gratitude.

  3. anca and leslie - such a wonderful post. i can see how you two ladies would be very empathetic to each other's work and process. i follow both of you via tumblr and i must add that you both are so inspirational - just looking at the images you post and conversion is like listening to whispers that carry such loud notes. thank you both

    1. how lovely to have you join the conversation, henrietta! welcome in! let me pour you some tea. stay a while.

  4. This is wonderful. Leslie is wonderful.

    thank you

    1. it was pleasure to have her share and a pleasure to have you visit!

  5. what a lovely, delicate inspiring post. I feel the calmness of Leslie's neutral palette and the simplicity of her words through your gentle interview. thank-you to you both. I am inspired!

    1. it has been the loveliest of glimpses into leslie's world.

      thank you for your kind words and gentle presence!

  6. Anca wonderful post!
    I love the work of Leslie!

    1. thank you, ralf! she is a muse!

      always wonderful to have you visit!

  7. Hi Anca,

    I came here through Leslie's blog, what a warm chat you had here.

    1. hello, grrl + dog! thank you for visiting! you speak/bark kindly. ;)

  8. Lovely post Anca. Your introduction says it all! I wanted to add something more and searched through the post for wisdom, but you added that too. Leslie is indeed talented, kind, wise, generous and a good friend. (The Cracked series stopped me in my tracks too).

    1. you do so add beauty and generosity of spirit! wonderful to have you over!

  9. a lovely interview. different from many interview styles. I know leslie's blog and have taken several coaching workshops from her. a wonderful and creative woman. but i did not know you until i read of you on leslie's blog so am quite delighted to make your acquaintance. be well, suki

    1. hello, suki! a pleasure to e-meet you as well! i am new around here and ever so grateful for the warm reception from the wonderful artist community!

  10. What a lovely lady, warm and generous, living the moment. We can all take something from her wisdom. Thank you Anca.

    1. may we never stop opening our lives and gleaning wisdom from each other! thank you for visiting, kate!

  11. so rich
    with quiet poetry
    and wisdom
    thank you both
    so very much
    like finding
    a box of treasure
    and opening it
    all the senses

    xox - eb.

    1. and we are more the richer for your sweet, kind, poetic contribution. thank you, eb!

  12. i'm so glad Leslie directed me here and that you published your to read my way through the rest of your pages!

  13. india, you honor me with your visit and kind words.

  14. What a place of warmth and compassion, vision and love I have stumbled upon.
    Dear anca,
    I have immediately become yours and Leslie's follower after successive bathing in the cleansing pools of your blogs.
    How refreshing to find such tenderness, kindness, intelligence and humility in you both.
    My heartfelt gratitude to you for sharing.

    1. how wonderful to meet yet another kindred spirit in you! i am overwhelmed with gratitude for the warm welcoming in this lovely vibrant online community of artists.

      thank you for visiting and taking the time to offer encouragement! your kind words are a bright highlight in my gray and rainy day. i hope yours is filled with creativity, joy and tenderness!

  15. Wonderful to find your blog .. am following you on Tumblr (neutralnotes).

    And wonderful to find this great post on Leslie. I love all her work and the egg shells are amazing.

    I don't know if she knows it, but finding her work on fb dramatically changed the direction of my work (I "know" her from taking one of her classes) .. neutrals .. (altho not posted on my blog).

    I don't think she actually knows how I found my own "taste" through her!!

  16. hello, jann! i am thrilled by your visit! i have loved your tumblr for some time and now i shall love your blog.

    what a lovely story of the impact leslie has had on your own work! perhaps she would be delighted to hear it. :)

  17. i LOVE this post,
    thank you both!


  18. Hi Anca....what a lovely circular time I'm having....not only your comment on my blog, but Lorraine's (Enchanted Blue Planet), which led me over to Leslie's blog, which led me back to you...what a small and intimate world we inhabit! This is a wonderful interview....I'm so happy to get to know Leslie and am inspired by her philosophy and work! Thank you!

  19. a wonderful interview with an inspiring artist. thank you for your words and vision.

  20. What a beautiful interview!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Ciao Bella
    Creative Carmelina