In the Studio: Carol Miller

Join us this month as we get to know more about dot-art member Carol Miller.

Based in Merseyside, Carol is a multi-award winning artist, including being the overall winner of the Liverpool, Warrington Contemporary Art and St Helen’s Opens. Her work is primarily imagined rural and urban landscapes which she uses to weave emotional and psychological narratives.

“Often, it starts with a dream, I then let the painting dictate which way it wants to go.”

Which medium do you work with and what do you like about it specifically?

I work with oils, which I like for the enforced slow processes and the ability to layer details; with watercolour, which I love for its immediacy, vibrancy and precariousness. I also love drawing, for which I use pencil and graphite.

Describe your style of art:

Otherworldly imagined realism.

Can you talk us through your process? Do you begin with a sketch, or do you just go straight in? How long do you spend on one piece? How do you know when it is finished?

I taught myself to paint in oils by experimentation, so I’m not a traditional oil painter and do use some techniques I have learnt using other media. I like the ability oils give me to take my time and be more thoughtful. I never plan a piece but usually start with a sky or an image or series of images as inspiration.

Often, it starts with a dream. I then let the painting dictate which way it wants to go. It’s an exciting way to work.

I work on several paintings at once, that way I can ‘leave’ paintings alone for a while and they can develop naturally at their own pace whilst I work on different ones. Paintings can take a few days, up to a few months, depending on the detail.

When I think a painting is finished I will live with it for a while in plain sight. When I can look at it and I don’t want to change anything I call it finished. Sometimes, I’m wrong and will carry on but the beauty of oils is that when that occasionally happens, it can be undone.

When did you begin your career in art? 

I don’t really consider art a career. I have always been creative, I need to create and I can’t see a time when I won’t need to have a creative outlet. I started to take my art seriously and devoting much more time to it about 10 years ago.

Who or what inspires your art? 

I am inspired by nature and my relationships. I am fascinated by skies and how they reflect moods and emotions. I take quite a lot of photographs, on my walks around Liverpool and on long country walks and holidays, I always have a camera or my phone, so if something catches my eye which I think is interesting, I can capture it.

I also find that taking photographs fixes images and impressions in my memory. I use a combination of images and memories to paint imagined landscapes and cityscapes. When I can, I regularly visit art galleries but I try not to let other artists work influence my own voice.

Why is art and creativity so important to you?

Creativity is intrinsic to who I am, so much so that my studio is also my home.

What does it mean to be an artist in the Liverpool City Region? 

Liverpool is in my blood, I was born and raised here and it is always inspirational; it is constantly evolving; a unique and interesting mix of old and new, decay and renovation and it has amazing green spaces. But most of all, it is a city of history, vibrancy and joy.


What are you working on at the moment?

I am really looking forward to starting a series of miniature black and white pencil landscapes. I also want to continue painting more imagined cityscapes, inspired by my walks around the region.

What’s the best advice that was given to you as an artist?

Never compare yourself to other artists. There will always be somebody who you think is better than you will ever be. Be the best that you can be, believe in yourself and most importantly enjoy what you do.

Discover more of Carol’s artwork on our online shop!