Special exhibit at MCAG until next week

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

By Karen Hall


A local artist's works are on display until March 4 at the Marshall County Art Guild's gallery on the south side of the square in Lewisburg.

Tané Miller poses beside one of her works in the MCAG gallery, where she is the first artist to have a special exhibit.

Tané Miller, who lives in Chapel Hill, is the first artist to have a special exhibit at MCAG's new location at 123 West Commerce Street.

"She's our guinea pig," said Guild President Tina Lilly. Special exhibitions will be held four times a year, Lilly said, and the Artist of the Month program will continue as well.

Miller grew up in Texas, and for 24 years she has been traveling full time, serving in missions and music ministry. This has taken her all over the world, from Alaska to Africa.

"In my years of travel, I loved to look at landscape," Miller said. "I have a passion for landscape. It's been a joy to me to study. I paint what I've seen."

She works from photographs she's taken, but has just started doing a little painting outdoors as well. The picture that faces visitors as they come in the gallery door depicts her back yard in Chapel Hill, and the landscape was painted from life, while the deer was taken from a photo.

Other paintings depict all sorts of landscapes, from the verdant hills of England's Lake District, to rocks and cactuses of the Sierra Nevada in the American West, and an old farm on Highway 99 near Chapel Hill.

Though she loves landscape, Miller also hopes to do more figurative work, and there is a lovely big picture of Guatemalan children in the exhibit, displayed alongside the photograph she based it on.

Miller says she tries to paint a little every day, and works hard when she is home between trips.

She is a self-taught artist, who had her last formal art lesson when she was in seventh grade.

Miller got into teaching art classes by accident. She kept taking her pictures into Hobby Lobby to get framed, and was invited to teach there.

"I love teaching," she exclaimed. Her students learn composition and color and "how to have eyes to see a landscape." In spring, Miller says she sends them out to play "the green game" -- counting how many different greens they can see in a landscape. She also teaches them to notice how landscapes are made up of geometric shapes, often triangles.

Lilly met Miller at Gallery 202 in Franklin, where her work is also on display, and at first contacted her about giving some art classes. Then, when she found Miller lived in Chapel Hill, Lilly said she decided to ask Miller to be the first artist to have a special exhibit at the gallery.

"She's only been painting for two years," Lilly exclaimed. "It's incredible."

Plans for future special exhibits include photography club members, and children's art work.

"We don't want to take away form the Artist of the Month," Lilly said.

MCAG has 54 members now, and they are so pleased the Guild has a permanent home on the square.

"There's all this talent in the county," said Lilly. "They had no one to talk to, or place to go do their art." Now the artists' work is on display in the gallery, and they can bring their materials and work all day in the upstairs studio in the company of other artists.

The gallery has an extensive series of classes, Lilly said, ranging from quilt making and jewelry to acrylic painting, and many are already fully booked with a waiting list.

MCAG is doing everything it can to make it easy for Marshall Countians to own original art: the gallery offers a 90-day layaway plan, and Lilly is planning an exciting fund raiser for May 10 that will result in all the VIP ticket holders going home with an original 8-by-10-inch work of art. The name of the artist won't be known until the picture is in its new owner's hands, so no one can play favorites.

Stay tuned for more details of this Build the Guild event and Secret Art Show, which will spill over from the gallery into the adjacent Public Square Park.