“My purpose is to find creative ways to connect humanity with the natural world, in hopes that it will inspire others to reflect on the value of wildlife conservation.”
Nathan Miller is a realist painter of both wildlife and people. He uses acrylic paints and primarily prefers working with smooth surfaces like gesso board so that every detail is visible. Miller’s work explores elements of design, symmetry, symbolism, and concepts dealing with humanity’s relationship with nature.
The Jaguar is venerated throughout Latin American traditions, particularly in pre-Columbian myths and legends. This piece depicts the myth of the Jaguar Shaman, who had the ability to change into the form of a jaguar. He wears a pre-Columbian jade were-jaguar pendant from Costa Rica. The were-jaguar (half man, half jaguar) is one of the iconic motifs of pre-Columbian civilizations.
Miller believes that humanity has been disconnected from the natural world for far too long. This outer and inner disconnection from nature is causing the world around us to fall apart. While we distract ourselves with our own pursuits, and as we place ourselves above all else, ecosystems disappear. Somehow, we must find a way to reconnect with the natural world, to appreciate the value of wildlife, and see ourselves as a part of the ecosystem. Even among artists there appears to be a disconnect between wildlife art and figurative art. “Are you a wildlife artist or a figurative artist?” Why not both? Miller finds value in all emotional life, and he enjoys depicting that life in different scenarios. In fact, he’s particularly interested in stories that pertain to both animals and people.
The Tale of Waghoba
The tiger has a controversial history in India. However, there are those who call for coexistence. The deity of Waghoba, one which represents big cats, particularly tigers or leopards, has been around for centuries. Those who venerate Waghoba, believe in coexistence. Not only do they believe that Waghoba must be respected, but they believe that he is their protector. This painting represents the concept of co-existence.
“Where do we go from here?,” for example, is a painting that depicts a child standing with wildlife. Like our children, the various species who share this planet with us are innocent. They stand together facing a future that is unknown. The little girl stands with the animals while her bare feet connect with the soil. And while they stand together in harmony with the natural world around them, full of light and life, the roots lead to an unknown place. The child, the bear, the Great Blue Heron and the Spoonbill look pensively to the future, while the fawn and raccoon look to us. The decisions we make, after all, impact their world. Will this child immersed in nature continue to love and stand with the animals as she grows into adulthood? And where do we stand?
“My work is increasingly combining elements of human culture with stories of animals in the wild.”
While some pieces point to environmental issues, others simply portray people immersing themselves in nature.
Even among artists there appears to be a disconnect between wildlife art and figurative art. “Are you a wildlife artist or a figurative artist?” Why not both? I find value in all emotional life, and I enjoy depicting that life in different scenarios. In fact, I’m particularly interested in stories that pertain to both animals and people. Thus, my work is increasingly combining elements of human culture with stories of animals in the wild. Moving forward, I plan to continue exploring traditions from around the globe that relate to wildlife. Each painting will tell a story, and, hopefully, instill in us a deeper desire to reconnect with nature and preserve the many species that make this world more beautiful."
One such piece is “The Voice of Nature.” This piece portrays a young woman deeply connected with the natural world. Like plants and trees, her hair reaches toward the sun. The curls of her hair imitate the curls of vines. She closes her eyes and looks within as she feels, hears and understands the voice of nature.
This piece depicts a young and beautiful woman, hair flowing, clothed only in a warm blanket, sleeping peacefully on a bed of fall leaves. It is an example of a more intimate connection with nature.
Nathan has won numerous awards for his art, and recently he has been published in the Tampa Bay Magazine, Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Online, and the American Art Collector Magazine.
This piece was inspired by my five years living in Nosara, Costa Rica. Nosara is surrounded by nature and has a strong yoga culture. The woman in this painting is surrounded by giant blossoms and butterflies. She finishes her yoga practice and gestures namaste. Namaste is a term that means “I bow to you” or “the divine in me honors the divine in you.” In this case, she is connecting with nature, honoring the divine in the wonders of the natural world.
Over the course of his career, Nathan Miller’s work has become more detailed, and recently, even more complex. When he began this journey, he wasn’t sure what his style would be. He knew he loved to paint, but he really had no idea how his art would evolve. Believe it or not, in high school and even into college, his art was more abstract. He was almost always painting angular African figures with flat shapes and patterns. And, according to Nathan, like so many others, he was intimidated by realism. He would draw realistically, but painting was another story. Painting realistically was hard and time consuming. It was simply easier to find shortcuts and paint in ways he thought were unique or different.
Prize Ribbon (1)
Describe your image
This piece portrays a young woman deeply connected with nature. Like plants and trees, her hair reaches toward the sun. The curls of her hair imitate the curls of vines. She closes her eyes and looks within as she feels, hears and understands the voice of nature.