Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Area Voices: Tracy Miller discusses art and Holiday Open Studio event Nov. 18

Artists Tracy Miller sitting in front of bold colored paintings of wildlife
Tracy Miller
Brainerd artist Tracy Miller poses in front of her paintings of wildlife.

On "Area Voices," we interviewed painter Tracy Miller to discuss her upcoming Holiday Open Studio event and her history with art.

BRAINERD — “Art is something that can just really enhance your life,” said Brainerd artist Tracy Miller.

Miller has been interested in art most of her life.

“My earliest recollections, even in kindergarten, was that I was always drawing and creating,” Miller said during an Area Voices interview on KAXE. “ ... And I knew by high school that that was what I was going to get my degree in.”

Painting of a deer with bold colors
Tracy Miller
"Prairie Prancer," a painting by Brainerd artist Tracy Miller.

Miller is known for her bold colored wildlife paintings, but her first love was painting horses. “I was just absolutely in love with horses.”

It was her uncle, also an artist, who convinced her she needed to make some changes.

“He said you've got to expand your subject matter into more than just horses only, and so then I started doing dog portraits and eventually that led me into even different kinds of wildlife.”

She was also inspired by her father who was a hunter, angler and camper.

“Just being exposed and out in nature so much that that's really what made me fall in love with all the wildlife,” Miller said. “That's kind of where I stayed and continued to focus all my art.”

She started incorporating bold colors into her paintings because of a previous art project. She used to paint on silk, where the dyes are very vibrant and colorful. She brought that style over to her acrylic paintings.

“I knew that I could do the realism colors, and I could draw them very well, but I wanted to infuse my animals with much more life and personality and more, like, heightened emotion and color.”

She calls her style of panting contemporary Western expressionism. In this technique she creates an abstract first, then gets the hard lines down and continues to build from color and shading. She will then begin to see the shape of the animal that she will create.

She says horses are still her favorite animal to paint followed by bison or buffalo, elk and deer. She’s also added loons to her lineup since moving to Minnesota from Colorado as well.

When asked if she sets aside time to paint or waits for inspiration to come to her, she said she’s inspired all the time. When she gets an artistic flow going, the ideas just keep coming.

She’s also inspired by reading and studying.

“It starts to get into your own mind and you'll go to bed at night and dream it, and you'll go into the studio fresh that day and you'll be really just bursting with ideas.”

The Holiday Open Studio will be 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd. Miller has invited two guest artists as well. One is local Brainerd area artist Patricia Lintner and the other is Paige LaDue Henry from Foley.

There will be paintings, homemade Christmas ornaments, jewelry and other gifts for sale at the event.

Miller wants people to embrace art be part of their daily lives.

“I’m sitting right here in my office and I'm looking around at quite a few original artworks that I've collected over the years, and every time I come to any room in my home and sit down, I discover something really wonderful and new about every painting or print that I've collected. They all tell a story.”

She also encourages people to get to know artists, find out their story, and what motivates them. “I have paintings in this house that are over 30 years old that my husband and I have collected that we absolutely love and enjoy every day.”

Tell us about upcoming arts events where you live in Northern Minnesota by emailing

Area Voices is made possible by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota.

Stay Connected