by Mickey Myers
Bryan Memorial Gallery presents Dianne Panarelli Miller and Her Students in its Middle Room this summer. 25 paintings by Miller and paintings by 9 of her students are included in the exhibit.
Dianne Panarelli Miller, a native of Massachusetts, has been painting since studying at the late commercial art school, Vesper George, in Boston. One of the last graduates of the school (1983), Miller went on to attend the Ives Gammel Atelier formed by some of the former Vesper George faculty, specifically Robert Douglas Hunter and Robert Cormier. Her five year atelier education led her to parlay the classic atelier training of the “Boston School,” including a mastery of oil painting technique, with her own personal style, expressed through the harmony of color and design. When her formal education concluded, Dianne continued.
Painting tirelessly for 35 more years, neither the birth of her daughter nor her employment as a bartender for 17 years distracted her from painting “en plein air,” in natural light, every day. Her tenacious approach has earned her the distinction as “a Copley Master” at Boston’s legendary Copley Society, in addition to numerous awards.
From her mentors, Miller developed a love of teaching and mentoring herself. In addition to teaching classes through the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset, MA, Miller offers private painting instruction and provides opportunities for painting trips both in New England and farther afield, including Florida and Europe. Recently she has returned from painting in Spain with a group of her private students.
Miller originally came to Bryan Gallery’s attention through the New England Plein Air Painters. She joined us in 2016 as one of the students in the exhibition ROBERT DOUGLAS HUNTER AND HIS STUDENTS. Bryan Gallery has been exploring the relationship among students and teachers, particularly when the teacher’s reputation as an artist extends far beyond the classroom. In getting to know Miller, it became clear that her distinct style of mentoring, including almost daily trips to paint outdoors, regardless of weather, up and down the East Coast, was to be explored.
In addition to her work in plein air, Miller teaches and is commissioned forportrait work, and also for wedding in situ paintings. As she has said of herself, “Never one to take the easy way out,” Miller’s boundless energy propels her into a wide spectrum of locations, always working with and encouraging others. She has said of herself that she can hear the voice of her mentor Robert Douglas Hunter in everything she teaches, as she passes on the lessons that re-shaped her life and her art.
Curator’s Note: Dianne Panarelli Miller has painted in many locations in preparation for this exhibit, including familiar situations in Lamoille County, Vermont, where she visited with her students a few months prior to the exhibition. Subsequently she has returned twice for more plein air sessions. She is a friendly figure outdoors in front of an easel, known to carry on a banter with passers-by without taking her eyes off the canvas. She’s also known to paint a passer-by into a painting, which she reports doing in particular at the beach. Beach-goers will pass her and on their return, she’ll say, “By the way, you made it into my painting.” Likewise at weddings, she not only involves the guests by depicting them on her canvas, but also she asks them to make a few strokes of color on the painting, under her direction, so it becomes a genuine keepsake for the new family.
Students of Dianne Panarelli Miller in the exhibit: