Thursday, November 12, 2015

Painting Parent - Christine Miller

How many children do you have? What are their ages?

My son Donny who is 5 yrs old.        


How did your artistic career begin?

My Grandpa, F. J Miller, was a painter.  I remember running into his house, straight to his studio to see what he was painting, then asking him to make room for me to work on something.  He believed in me.  I remember being amazed at the possibility of drawing something that looked real; I was always motivated to reach this goal, since I was a child.  Although I was going to College for Painting, my gift really began when I gave my life to God, during that time my son was born.  I was fortunate to have come across an amazing teacher, Constance Payne who told me drawing what I loved; my son would be the greatest teaching tool and motivation towards excellence in painting.


What is your Parenting/work/art situation?

I am a single mom. Currently I paint about 2 or 3 days a week when my son is with his father.  This past year since I’ve started my business in portraiture, I’ve had steady commissions and still have done my own work.

When do you make time to do your art and do you have a regular art routine?

It is a more regular schedule now that my son started kindergarten this fall.


Do your children get involved with your art?

Yes, my son is the best critic of my work, especially portraits of himself.  He reminds me how important emotion is in the painting.  His first reaction is what he feels, what he thinks the person in the portrait is feeling.  I’ve learned a lot from him that’s been preparing me for the future.


Do they inspire aspects of your art?

Yes, I’ve done so many portraits of him.  My son’s best friend and cousin, autumn, I painted recently and titled ‘Princess’.  I’ve also painted the teddy bears they each had when they were born.  I hope my paintings speak to the value of children.  The faith, honesty and wonder in the eyes of a child are indescribable.  Jesus says ‘Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven’.  My son spends a lot of time with his cousins who call me Aunt ‘Tine’, which also inspired me now to sign my work as ‘Tine’.  Check my website blog for more info


How has having children changed your artwork?

I believe my son, a gift from God, is why I am doing portraits today. If it weren’t for him and the Lord, I would not have continued to paint and grow with such motivation.


How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?

I’m always prioritizing to be most efficient and productive with the time I have, balancing time for my son, my work but most of all open to the unexpected, remembering God’s plan always prevails.


Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?

When he was a baby and slept a lot I used to stay up late and do a lot of work.  As he got older, I didn’t stay up as late.  I needed my sleep for all his energy during the day.  So I work during the day now mostly and when he’s with his father.


How do you encourage your children to be artistic?

I teach him how to draw things he’s interested in and I use drawing, building, following instructions, understanding nature and appreciation of Gods creation as teaching tools for his life.  I encourage the importance of an artist’s skill to help in any direction he takes in life.


Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your children to be artistic?

No, but I think Art is where learning begins as a child.  Drawing everything can help them grow in memory for learning and help them in many different ways.  Motivation, work ethic, knowledge and understanding nature, humility and admiration before our creator, the joy of art in expressing love and enjoying everyday life. I would not pressure him to be specifically a visual artist, but I do believe we were created to be creative, if we understand ourselves and value our individual qualities, they become gifts from God and we can change the world.

Have you seen your children take inspiration from your artwork?

Yes in ways I didn’t expect.  My son seems to have a photographic memory and he is good with math, which I am not good with.  Although I believe it has to do with how I teach him with images and drawing as clues for his memory as he grows in learning.  He picks up a lot from my artwork like being concerned with light and shadow when he’s painting and mixing colors.  He even goes painting plein air with me sometimes and he has incredible focus and patience to work on something for hours whether drawing, painting or building.  He is very unique, driven, creative, caring and smart little man.  It’s a struggle with the public school, which encourages a different approach.  I know he will do great things in his future.


In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or easier?

It’s harder and better at the same time.  With God at the center, I don’t become obsessed with my work that I lose sight of my son or in the opposite case, lose the motivation to paint.  I rely on God to help me as a parent and as an artist.  I only have one child, so it could be different with more but from my perspective, it seems incredibly hard to do, but relying on the power of God, It is a joy, you cant have one without the other.  My son and our life inspire my work and our work inspires him, love and life.

Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?

Some think I am too busy because I am a parent, but I don’t understand what the problem is.  I love the parenting part as well as the painting.  Other people are surprised at how much work I’ve accomplished at my age, as well as being a mom, but I didn’t do it alone but with the help and power of God.  I don’t try to please everyone, but to please God and give Him the glory. 


Are there any other things about Balancing Painting and Parenting that you would like to share?

I believe this is the answer to the struggle and all life’s problems when you put Gods expectations first, you strive to a higher level in your own worth and in others, you know how to love your children through Gods eyes and give God your struggles as an artist.  As artists our heart goes into it and when selling work it’s hard but if you’ve done things for God first then you are not stopped by other rejection.  Everything happens for a reason and He makes it a continuous joy.