Creative Pagosa: Makers in the community


Photo courtesy Paula Miller
Pagosa artist Paula Miller is listed in the Pagosa Arts and Culture registry and is a prominent member of the creative community — a MAKER in Pagosa Country. Miller favors painting large abstractions, using large, commercial brushes and thick acrylic paints.

The Pagosa Arts & Culture Project is building a web-based directory of all the creative people and businesses in the community.

By creating this website, it will make these MAKERS easier to find in online search engines and help share the wealth of innovative and talented individuals that call our small town home.

This sort of database is called “cultural mapping” and is being done in communities around the country in order to realize and recognize the value of their creative assets.

The Pagosa Arts & Culture Project is establishing the groundwork for continued collaboration and cooperation and promotional efforts of the combined community. The goal of the project is to establish a solid foundation of cultural and creative individuals and businesses, to create a viable plan for promoting these assets and to promote the Pagosa area as a worthy place of residence for creative people, a productive place for creative business ventures and a desirable destination for arts tourism.

At present, the PACP is also planning an event for fall 2013. The event, the MAKERS Expo and Tour, is set for Oct. 12-13.

To register and be listed in the database, go to

In order to highlight the MAKERS in Pagosa, the PACP will profile its members, giving readers of The PREVIEW a sense of the depth and breadth of the creative community.

This week’s MAKER is Paula Miller.

Q: Tell us a little about who you are, where you were born, educated, your family, growing up and how you came to be doing your creative work?

PM: I was raised in Wisconsin, the youngest of six kids. Art was a big part of my childhood. My mother, grandmother and great aunts all painted, yet I never picked up a brush. About 10 years ago I fell in love with an abstract painting hanging in a New York City gallery. It inspired me to see if I inherited my mom’s creative genes. I bought my first brush and canvas, and have been painting ever since.

Q: Describe the objects you make or the creative work you do.

PM: Everything I create is abstract. I choose colors and shapes that express where my mind is at the moment. Some paintings are emotionally charged reactions with bright, hard-edged swipes of color. Some have soft shapes and subtle shades. My hope is that each painting communicates something different to each person looking at it. That’s what I love about abstract art. It’s an entirely personal experience.

Q: What is your favorite tool or material used in making your work? Why?

PM: I love painting on oversized canvasses, using large commercial brushes and thick acrylic paints. The scale and texture bring life to the work.

Q: Do you have a regular routine or schedule?

PM: I wish I did. I paint when I’m inspired and I stop when I’m not. I’ll go weeks without picking up a brush, and then I’ll create five paintings over a weekend. If I’m not inspired, I can’t fake it.

Q: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

PM: When I was little, my father told me: “It doesn’t matter that you’re a girl. You can be anything you want.” To this day that advice pushes me to try new things.

Q: When you’re not making art, what is your favorite thing to do in Pagosa country?

PM: I love to ski, bike and play with my dogs. There’s no better place to do this than in beautiful Pagosa Springs.

Q: What are your goals for the coming year?

PM: In the past, Wild Spirit Gallery featured my paintings in the Art for the Animals fund-raisers. Together we raised thousands of dollars for a local nonprofit. I’d like to continue using my work to raise money for local non-profits.

Q: What is your dream project?

PM: I can get lost for hours staring at Mark Rothko’s paintings in the Rothko Chapel in Houston. Someday I’d like to paint a huge wall in a public space where my work does that for others.

To view artwork from Paula Miller, visit her website at

This story was posted on March 28, 2013.