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Sawdust Art Festival acrylic artist, Doug Miller, paints his 10,000th piece

July 24, 2008|By Cynthia Fung

Long-time Sawdust Art Festival artist and exhibitor, Douglas Miller created his 10,000th original acrylic painting this year, which is currently on display at the 42nd annual summer show. The six-by-eight-inch canvas, entitled “In My Studio, the Water Jar in Pot, Shells, and a Painting,” which accurately describes the art piece, represents Miller’s growth and development as a veteran Laguna Beach artist.

Following Picasso’s prolific spirit, Miller has produced 10,158 paintings, and has reached this extraordinary number by dedicating a portion of each day – since December of 1994 – to his painting. Miller, whether sick or on vacation, said this has helped him become not only a better artist but a painter with great insight.

“I gain more fluidity by painting so many. I am faster at what I do. I know what colors to use and often know what the painting will look like before it’s done.” Comparing his first painting to his 10,000th, Miller acknowledges his artwork has become more colorful, alive and detailed during that time.

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Miller’s paintings are inspired by his surroundings, mostly Laguna Beach scenery and his life at the Sawdust Art Festival, and he paints things as he sees them, sometimes relying on one of the more than 750,000 photos he’s taken. “I paint in the now, and I don’t like to paint anything I haven’t seen or places I haven’t been to myself.”

It is the Sawdust Art Festival that has enabled Miller a plethora of passion and creativity.

“The Sawdust Art Festival is what makes it all matter. It has been a big part of my life and has helped me through some very lean times.”

After serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1971, Miller, at age 25, purchased a booth space at the Sawdust Art Festival for $70 from an artist who was moving to San Francisco, where he has sold 8,000 of the 10,000 paintings at the annual summer show and Winter Fantasy show.

Miller describes the moving of inventory as motivational. “They sell like hot cakes, but it allows me to create more paintings and improve my work at the same time.” The 10,000-plus original acrylic paintings have all been logged into a journal where Miller records the start date of the work, title, and name and address of the buyer.

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