We had the good fortune of connecting with Leslie Miller and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leslie, what role has risk played in your life or career?
What fun would life be without taking risks? One of my sayings is ” you won’t know, if you don’t go”. This phrase started when talking about travel, but it really applies to everything.
When the decision was made that I would carry on with the small art school my mentor had started in this tiny village of Tubac, AZ, my vision was met with, “this town could never support that kind of a program”. I envisioned a workshop center that hosted art instructors and artists, that wanted to study with them, from all over the country. The belief was that our reach was very limited due to our population of 1400 residents and that there were not enough artists to fill multiple workshops each season. What I was proposing had never worked before, here.
Despite others concerns of a viable plan, I took a risk. in 2017 I began reaching out to nationally acclaimed teaching artists and asking if they would consider teaching a workshop in Tubac. Most had never heard of Tubac, AZ Since opening the doors 600+ artists have attend workshops at Tubac School of Fine Art.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a contemporary artist painting primarily in in oil with cold wax medium. I’m endlessly fascinated by the many layers, unique marks and ability to create transparency and opacity, unique to the medium, that hints toward the human condition.
Layers of emotion and color are influential aspects of my oil and cold wax paintings as well as mixed media pieces. Working intuitively and with purpose, each piece ebbs and flows through various layers that could not be achieved in one pass. The same way people are built from many different layers of influence and experiences.
I believe the unique beauty of a person lies where their influences, their values and their experiences coincide. When this is expressed in a painting, I know it is complete.
I tend to be like a horse with blinders on when I am passionate about something. Painting has become that passion over the past 7 years and I am focused on some aspect of art most all day, everyday, to a fault. Balancing work and home is one of the challenges I wrestle with.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Southern AZ is full of beautiful sights, and interesting places, I’d take them first to the Sonoran Desert museum in Tucson, followed by tacos at Seis Kitchen.
Another outing would include gallery visits in Tubac, some of my favorites include On The Edge Contemporary Gallery, K.Newby Gallery, Turquoise Tortoise, Big Horn Gallery, Casa de Tesoro and of course Tubac Center of the Arts, Dinner would be at Elvira’s and feast for the eyes as well as the tummy.
Our favorite activity is a golf cart ride throughout Tubac, enjoying the sights and searching for wildlife. Afterwards we’d have a casual dinner watching the sunset on the Santa Rita’s, on the patio at the Tubac Golf Resort
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There have been so many amazing people who have helped me along in this journey. in particular a few artists have really taken me under their wing and encouraged me in my art journey. Dawn Emerson, Dianna Fritzler, Charles Thomas, Karon Leigh and Barbara Kuzara.