~ BIOGRAPHY / WOMEN ARTIST /
“emotion [is] a key factor in the creative process—an artist’s business is to produce for the spectator of his picture the impression produced by nature on himself.”
— Thomas Moran
Much of the evidence of women’s struggle for recognition in the arts has disappeared and so have those who have taken part in them. In the 21st Century, where women comprise fifty percent of the professional artists, we cannot afford to neglect their achievement. Leslie Compton introduces you to one of those women, her Great-Aunt, Evylena Nunn Miller, The Forgotten Artist.
Evylena, was born on July 4, 1888, in Mayfield, Kansas relocating to Santa Ana, California with her family in 1903. Maturing as an accomplished painter, she became a leader among her contemporaries, eager to help artists by establishing scholarships, creating new venues for exhibitions, lecturing, teaching and lending impetus to women’s organizations so they would be recognized among the male dominated artistic community.
Evylena Nunn Miller’s paintings are her view of the world that she embraced as well as her view of life. She mirrors her philosophy of life in her depiction of nature. For Evylena, her life force was her faith and her paintings were acts of faith. She employed the content and symbolism of religious tradition as a source of inspiration.
In painting she expressed her own individual experiences, thoughts and imagination, using her own personal language, (understood by many), a language of mind, heart and hand. It was not her intent to expect viewers to recognize spirituality in her work. The fabric of her private devotion did not overlay her painting, but there is little doubt it contributed to its strength. Landscapes were her particular domain and it was there she was inspired by the Divine Creator.
Evylena Nunn Miller lived a long, productive life. While she rose quickly as a talented artist, this was but one facet of her character. This dynamic woman was a leader among her contemporaries, eager to help other artists by establishing scholarships, creating new venues for exhibitions, lecturing, teaching, and lending impetus to women’s organizations so they would be recognized among the male dominated artistic community.
Among her many achievements, Evylena became the youngest artist to have a painting accepted by the Smithsonian Institution.
“How may we measure Evylena’s contribution to painting? By her poetic record of California’s landscape, by the lives of the Indians of Arizona and New Mexico, or by paintings of the Holy Land? These were all created with the heartfelt sincerity that God’s hand had created, this magnificence while her brush endowed her painting with the integrity of her faith.”
—Mary Anne Lyles, Ph.D., and Leslie Jean Compton, author
Evylena Nunn Miller / Women Artist Biography / Western US Biography Arts & Photography Artists / Painters Women Artists, Individual Artists, History (1920s-1960s)
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