Sally has helped to define scratchboard as a fine art medium; using similar techniques to etching or engraving, scratchboard originally was used for magazine illustration and for products in catalogs. Working with scratchboard allows Sally to layer up rich, deep colors and capture minute details, and her innovation and experimentation with new tools has given her the ability to produce a softer, less linear technique. Join us at the gallery for refreshments and hors d'oeuvres on September 11th and 12th as Sally demonstrates and shares her etching process. Something new and exciting at Marcus Ashley Gallery!
The artist’s most formative years were spent on the New England coastline, walking the shores and woodlands with her father. He instructed her as to the names and biology of the wildlife, flora and fauna they encountered, and she fell in love with it all. Subsequent moves and changes in her life meant she concentrated more on her scientific studies and then on motherhood. Her thirst for learning and love of nature did not die.
During her early career, she channeled her creativity as a graphic artist and designer, a background which still shows in her work. Her move into the fine arts was precipitated by her discovery of scratchboard, over 48 years ago. Her passion for the medium drove her to discover the formula for the addition of color.
This same passion drives her today. Her career in Fine Art Prints led to Collector plates and Figurines. For over 15 years her subject matter was suburban animals, puppies, kittens and baby woodland creatures. Her work was the feature of articles in Plate Collector magazine, American Artist and the book “Everything You Need to Know About Collectibles” under her pen name of Sally Miller.
As her path changed again, so did her subject matter, but not her medium. A return to her small town/country roots in midlife rekindled her second passion, the outdoors and nature. A husband, who introduced her to Texas flora and fauna, inspired her and her subjects took on new dimension. Some of that passion was also fueled by the discovery of a “new” kind of scratchboard. Ampersand Art Materials’ Scratchbord was a brand new medium in 1998. The substantive nature of it compared to the scratchboard she previously used enabled her to manipulate her colors more without warping. She also discovered removal tools and methods as she began experimenting. A union was formed between Sally and Ampersand soon after their mutual discovery. She wrote instructional booklets for them, as well as “how-to” kits, and does product development as a by-product of her experimentation.
In her early years, Sally had followed the footsteps of the majority of wildlife artists and treated her subjects as landscapes with animals in them. Slowly her animals began to dominate. The primary focus is the animal or bird persona or the relationship between several of them. She had rediscovered her design sense and still treats her subject with extreme photorealism, but does it as a minimalist. Her works have impact from both near and far.
Self representing her original work at national showings since 1999, she has won many awards and honors from juried art shows. She has been featured in Wildlife Art Magazine, Art in America and has added Giclee prints to her line of works available. Induction into the prestigious Society of Animal Artists in February of 2009 and Signature membership level in 2012 has started her on the road to accreditation and public acknowledgement of her talents. Her Award of Excellence in 2014 has solidified her position within the Animal Art field. Signature level in American Women Artists has also lent prestige to her works. They have appeared in many museums nationwide. At the inception of the International Society of Scratchboard Artists, she was chosen as one of the first seven Masters in the group. She is now Represented in several major Galleries. 2016 saw the release of a 160 page retrospective book “Scratching The Surface” from Rose Fredrick Press. It follows 50 years of Sally’s work in the scratchboard medium.
Over these years Sally has contributed much time, money and effort through donations to many organizations such as CCA, Ducks Unlimited, Dallas Ecological Foundation, Dallas Safari Club, as well as to her local arts and animal welfare organizations. Giving to causes she has a passion for is fulfilling for her.
Lately, she has grown in her own photographic abilities as well and works exclusively from her own photos whenever possible. Many cameras and gadgets are constantly by her side. Travel to preserves and sanctuaries at home and abroad are frequent. Right in her own backyard, she and husband George are building their own private sanctuary with help from the Bureau of Land Management in Texas. It includes a lake and wetlands plus a pristine virgin woods. Her new studio sits at its edge, overlooking the lake and her beloved wildlife. Already Eastern Turkey, Whitetail Deer, Flickers, Mexican Tree Ducks, Painted Buntings and most common woodland creatures visit their feeders on a daily basis. Life is Good!