Soulful depictions of the earth

November 10, 2004 § Leave a comment

Vague Memories | Terry Miura

Some artists are finding that painting a landscape’s subtleties, rather than specifics, are producing a stronger connection between their work and viewers. California oil painter Terry Miura has learned to allow the viewers room for their memories to be awakened.

In the late 1990s, Miura transplanted himself to a rural location outside of Sacramento, after living for years in New York. He was comfortable with painting cityscapes until he was overwhelmed with the presence and versatility of nature.

“Nature was all around me. There are certain compositional elements in landscapes that I couldn’t explore in cityscapes,” says Miura. “I prefer to work with shapes rather than forms. There is a mechanical perspective that is an integral part of painting cityscapes. You can only distort it so much. It demands too much attention from the viewer, who can’t see beyond the realism. It bothered me. Landscapes are more forgiving. You can move a tree any which way and it doesn’t fall apart in the painting. In the landscape, you can also get greater depth.”

Painting from memory and imagination, Miura believes that landscapes offer viewers a deja vu experience when certain elements are in place. “What makes us unique is that we are an accumulative whole of past experiences,” says Miura. “There are certain memories, whether in pictures or feelings, that we remember when in nature. I try to paint the environment that causes subtle memories without names.”

Miura says that when he shows his landscape work, it will remind some viewers of places they’ve been, rather than specific California scenarios where he gets his inspiration.

“When I show my paintings, a viewer might say to me it reminds them of a place they grew up in Massachusetts. They are no longer looking at the painting, but relating to it on an emotional level. That is a great compliment. If I do it right, it will relate to people on a universal level.”


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