For Theodora Miller, painting has become more than a way to make a living or to find a hideaway from stresses of everyday life.
Based out of Richmond, Virginia, Miller has turned her artwork into a reflection of her personal life, values and identity — including her Greek heritage.
Miller said often reflects on childhood summers roaming the historic ruins of her ancestors. She particularly cherishes Greek virtues and symbols passed down through generations and savors the small moments of wisdom imparted around the dinner table.
One of the aforementioned virtues she values is that of “meraki,” which translates to the act of doing something with soul, creativity or love — the practice of putting oneself into work.
In Miller’s case, she does exactly that.
“Art is a safe place for me to take risks and make mistakes that lead to new pathways of understanding,” she said. “I work on several pieces simultaneously, which allows me to act on impulsive ideas balanced by time for contemplation.”
Shifting between abstract and representational, Miller’s creations incorporate textural surfaces, saturated color and fragments from a late 1800s Greek grammar book. She has also created work inspired by the poems of late author Nikos Kazantzakis — one of the most prominent Greek writers of the 20th century.
Miller explained that her process is “exploratory” — influenced by her mood, surroundings, travels and life events.
“I rarely start with an image in mind,” she said. “Layers of underpainting reveal what the next step will be.”
The Virginia native works mainly in acrylic paint but also combine other mediums such as ink, pencil and collage. She does both larger works on handcrafted wood panels as well as smaller works on paper.
“The variety challenges me and also gives me a chance to continue exploring and enjoying every phase of the creative journey,” Miller said. “Textural surfaces, intuitive marks and saturated colors are my signature elements.”
Miller opened her latest art exhibition on Tuesday at Gallery @ 17 on W. Broad Street in Richmond, Virginia. The exhibition will run from October 1-31, with the first Friday’s art opening on October 5 from 5:00-9:00pm.
She said she is “super excited” about the show, which she called her “most intimate body of work” because it portrays what it has meant to her to “grow up Greek.”
Featured image / Courtesy of Jean Baker Photography
See her artwork
Miller said that her canvas pictured below was inspired by a Greek proverb that her mother often recited to her.
Greek: “Από το μικρό και τρελό, μαθαίνεις την αλήθεια.”
English: “From a child or a crazy person you can find out the truth.”
The following collage includes fragments of a Greek grammar book from 1896.
The following collages were inspired by poems of Nikos Kazantzakis
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