J. Vance Miller
"My office has a sky blue ceiling
and a moss green carpet"
Born: November 12, 1912
Place: Princeton, West Virginia
Born the third of six children to James Arthur and Eva Maude Miller
Married Elizabeth Sue Ellis (Libby) February 13, 1935 at the age of 22, whom he met in grade school
In the 1930's Vance became a salesman for the Maytag Corporation.
In 1943 he moved the family to Baltimore to help work on ships to participate in the war effort.
After the war, they returned to Princeton, West Virginia where he worked as an appliance salesman until 1955.
A gift of a watercolor set started Vance on his love of painting and after much trial and error he painted his first painting in 1944.
Over a period of 20 years Vance and Libby had five children, James Marvin, Nancy Sue (Sayers), Mary Ellis (Campbell), Vance Edward, and Lisa Dawn (Holdren). The children grew up having numerous picnics and hiking trips on creek banks, mountainsides and beside waterfalls so that Vance could paint. He was quoted to say, "to study light, you need to be where light is".
Original J. Vance Miller paintings were produced on window shades that became "canvas" during the lean years of the mid 40's. In 1955 Vance moved the family to Blacksburg, Virginia where he sold mobile homes in the evenings and on weekends, allowing him the daylight to paint. Mrs. Ruth Fisher encouraged Vance to continue his art work. In 1961 they joined together to open The Palette Art Gallery, a non-profit gallery, in Christiansburg, Virginia. After the older children moved away from home, Vance and Libby traveled with their two younger children to scenes that had inspired him in books.
The following are trips that were taken where he painted on location; Yosemite, The Grand Canyon, New Mexico, The Southern Coast of California, The Gulf Coast of Florida, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Vance considered the paintings he did in the Jefferson National Forest outside of Blacksburg, Virginia to be some of his finest work, (and favorite place to be), especially a two mile stretch of Little Stoney Creek in Giles County, Virginia.
Vance is preceded in death by his wife Libby and two of their children. Vance died January 21, 2002 at the age of 89 in Blacksburg, Virginia. He is survived by one son and two daughters, Vance Edward, Nancy Miller Sayers and Lisa Miller Holdren, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Subjects and Style:
Vance was a self-taught artist who dropped out of school at the end of his 8th grade year. He began painting full-time at the age of 57. Many of his early paintings sold for $20.00 or $30.00. They now hang in homes across the country and many are valued between $5,000 and $15,000.
Exhibits and Shows:
Art show debuting his work at Red Sky Gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina (November, 2003)
Honor received by The State of Virginia:
State Resolution HJ 673
Current Galleries exhibiting J.Vance Miller:
Avery Galleries, Marietta, Georgia,
Most information came to me first hand from J. Vance Miller. Some dates and specific information were verified by his daughters,
Nancy Miller Sayers and Lisa Miller Holdren.
Show information was obtained from articles in the following newspapers:
The Mount Airy News
The Roanoke Times
J. Vance Miller, American Impressionist
Other Links to view J. Vance Miller works online:
Gleedsville Art Publishers
Copyright 2009 The Estate of J.Vance Miller. All rights reserved.
All images on this site belong to The Estate of J.Vance Miller.
Reproducing these images without express written permission is strictly prohibited.