Last evening I attended an opening at Galeria Casa Diana over on Recreo. Paintings by Keith Miller were the feature. Keith Miller is billed as a botanical and landscape painter wherever you read about him. That seems a slightly insulting pigeonhole after one sees his work, and I have several times before. I suppose one has to convey something of genre when one is trying to interest the public in a painter's work.
To see his work is to love it. It is that simple. I have yet to encounter anyone who does not simply roll their eyes in a loss for words. Except neighbor Fred of course. Even if your taste runs more toward the abstract, you would find plenty of satisfaction in his flowers. His landscapes are captivating, too, particularly for me when they portray areas where I have hiked. The only problem with the landscapes is that they are often hung next to those spectacular flowers.
I lifted this image of one of his orchid paintings from the site that is linked above. Simply for those who have no interest whatsoever in clicking on anything. If he is upset with me for that, I am close by. He can take it out of my hide.
I am only very casually acquainted with him. . .
By the way. The cuteness of my nickname for that Mexican woman has grown threadbare, I think. Henceforth, we shall refer to her here as Adriana.
I am only very casually acquainted with Keith Miller. To him I am simply the guy that is sometimes with his friend, Adriana. I needed to make that clear for the purpose of what comes.
Mr. Miller strikes me as a natural social isolate by temperament. I suspect that he is never happier or more at ease than when he is alone painting. I know that many times he paints into the night and the wee hours of the morning, sustaining himself with a bottle of wine. I do not know exactly how that works. He must have considerably better lighting in his studio than I do here in the loft.
His flower paintings are not small and not huge. They are in a relatively large format. I have found no dimensions on any of the web sites. If I had known that I was going to write this, I would have investigated.
When I am standing in front of one in the flesh, so to speak, I am busy hallucinating. However, after I have walked away from one, the first thing that occurs to me is that the number of solitary hours devoted to creating it must have been enormous. Finally, he finishes that one and then devotes an enormous number of solitary hours to another. And then another.
And then. And then. After he has created several of these, he must step out of that long solitary existence into the social situation that we call an “opening” at which those paintings are displayed. The wine and cheese; the chitter-chatter. The banal. Questions such as, “How do you do that?” It must be jarring. Misery. Torture.
He politely says to me, “Thanks for coming.”
I politely say to him, “Thanks for your work.”
What else is there to say really? There is nothing else to say. You look at the paintings. It is the paintings, only the paintings, that have anything of importance to say. Not me. Not Keith Miller. Not anyone else.
But openings must be done. Unless a painter is independently wealthy, sooner or later he has to sell a painting. That would seem to me to be the case anyway. Or get a day job at the Post Office.