Marion G. Miller

Professor Emerita of Art

Specialization
Figurative and equestrian painting

Marion (Bonnie) Miller brings a passion for visual observation to her teaching and her artwork. "What does it mean to observe?" is a question of prime importance for her. "Is there a way to reflect on what painting is in the twenty-first century through the act of painting itself?"

A figurative artist who has been compared to Vermeer and Degas, Miller is well known for her portraits and equestrian paintings. Her paintings of horses and riders have been shown at First Street Gallery in New York and reviewed in NY Arts Magazine. Her portrait commissions have included two poets laureate, novelist John Irving, and several judges; most recently she was honored to receive the commission to paint the official portrait of former Smith College acting president John Connolly.

With each of her paintings, Miller addresses anew the question of "why we paint from life in the twentieth century, when we have the camera." In her painting and advanced studio classes she encourages her students to ask the same question, and to explore the wealth of knowledge to be found through observing and rendering light, form, and color. "The rock bottom experience of art making," Miller says, "is seeing, thinking, and feeling, most of the time in that order." Under her guidance, students learn to master their materials, solve problems of composition and form, and develop their own ideas.

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