J.Vance Miller

J. Vance Miller
"My office has a sky blue ceiling
and a moss green carpet"

Personal Information:
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:

American Impressionism
In the early 1940ís began painting with watercolors
In the mid 1940ís switched to using oil paint and a brush
In the mid 1950ís began using a palette knife, believing he could achieve more accurate colors and depth from his oil paints
Best known for landscapes, rivers, creeks, mountainsides
On rare occasion painted florals, consignment pieces, portraits and other still life


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)
Museum Show presented by The Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art May 30-August 23, 1997
The Knoxville World's Fair in 1982
Avery Galleries in Marietta, Georgia
Four one man shows at Lyzon Galleries in Nashville, Tennessee
A one man show at Veerhoff's in Washington, D.C.
Six one man shows at The White House Galleries in Roanoke, Virginia
A one man show at Art World West in Richmond, Virginia
Art show at Hampden-Sydney College in Farmville, Virginia
Art show at The Reynolds Homestead in Critz, Virginia
Fine Arts Museum of Western Virginia
Two one man shows at The Parthenon Art Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee
Several one man shows, The Palette Art Gallery, Christiansburg, Virginia
Commerce Union Bank Award at the Central South Show
Artist in Residence, The Greenbrier Hotel, Lewisburg, West Virginia

Honor received by The State of Virginia:

State Resolution HJ 673
J. Vance Miller Day, January 8, 2003
On the death of James Vance Miller.
Agreed to by the House of Delegates, January 24, 2003
Agreed to by the Senate, January 30, 2003
WHEREAS, James Vance Miller of Blacksburg, an accomplished American impressionist artist, died on January 21, 2002; and
WHEREAS, a native of Princeton, James Miller spent many years in West Virginia before moving to Blacksburg in 1955; and
WHEREAS, James Miller was a successful salesman for Harry Crismond and A and U Mobile Homes in Blacksburg; and
WHEREAS, James Miller delighted in capturing the splendor of God's creation in his impressionist paintings, especially at Little Stoney Creek in the Jefferson National Forest, one of the artist's favorite places to reflect, paint, and enjoy the beauty of Giles County; and
WHEREAS, well exhibited in one-man shows in several states, James Miller was also honored with a Museum Show at the Atlanta-Marietta Museum in Georgia in 1997; and
WHEREAS, an original founder of the Palette Art Gallery in Christiansburg, James Miller will be remembered through his many wonderful paintings in the homes of admirers across the country and abroad; and
WHEREAS, James Miller will be missed by his loving family and countless friends; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly hereby note with sadness the passing of a talented and valuable citizen of the Commonwealth, James Vance Miller; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the family of James Vance Miller as an expression of the General Assembly's respect for his memory.

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:
Roanoke Times and World News, The New River Current, Vol. 5, No. 216
Saturday, November 7, 1992, (Article entitled, "Still painting the town...artist at 80 continues to create scenes of joy") by Becky Hepler, staff writer

The Mount Airy News
Wednesday, October 14, 1987, (Article entitled, "Self-Taught Artist Honoring Blue Ridge Mountains") by Jodi Smith, staff writer

The Roanoke Times
Wednesday, January 23, 2002, (Article entitled, "Artist with an eye for nature dies at 89", by Isak Howell, staff writer

J. Vance Miller, American Impressionist
Brochure produced for The Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art
Shae Avery, owner Avery Galleries, Marietta, Georgia

Other Links to view J. Vance Miller works online:
(Avery Galleries, Marietta, Georgia)

Giclee Printer:

Gleedsville Art Publishers
5 Loudoun St. SW
Leesburg, Va. 20175

> 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.