more about paintings


I first observed madrone trees in Berkeley in the fall of 1963. They can grow to be sizable trees with smooth sinuous curvilinear trunks. I sketch them,  and sometimes incorporate madrone-based forms in my drawings and paintings. 

Madrone branch



Art is Really Important

Gurdon Miller


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The orange  trash can lid in the madrone limb photo, the orange center of the madrone-inflected painting to the right, the orange circles in the larger painting below, and the orange paint container among the white ones stacked on the studio floor, interact visually with respect to their color and form. The white paint containers and the painting to the left reinforce the circle theme.


two easels

The composition of this photograph, particularly the resonance between the near black corners of the paintings, and of the black curtains in the doorway, and the interaction and tension between the various rectangular shapes, at various angles to one another, creates visual interest which is enhanced by the orientation of the larger canvas to near parallel alignment with the plane of the surface of the photograph.

The curves in the frame of the bentwood chair contrast with, and thereby amplify, the rectilinearity of the furniture and stacked canvases. They also resonate with the curves of the madrone branch.


To the right is a detail from a circular form painting of similar motif, composition, and coloration, to the paintings above. It accentuates the contrast between the blue and orange areas of the painting.

The diagonal brownish-maroon line exemplifies the madrone motif that I sometimes use in my paintings. I mixed the paint for it from several colors, including the near black Dioxyzine purple of the line running along the top of the yellow band. The shared purple color establishes a subtle visual resonance between the two lines.

 Look closely at paintings. Observe variations in the thickness and texture of the paint, whether canvas is visible, painted or bare, whether traces of an underlying sketch or diagram are present. Did the artist scrape off and repaint something? Try to imagine how the artist made the painting. 













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