New Preston >> From Steven Miller’s perspective, it can take a lifetime — 46 years to be exact — to perfect and complete a painting, and in some cases even longer.

Miller, a contemporary abstract artist, explained that he often will go back to a piece of his artwork several months, and sometimes even 10 years later, to add detail or rework the image in some way.

“You mature as an artist, and I’m also always critical of my work,” Miller said. “It’s been a lifetime ambition and focus.”

According to Miller, he began drawing and painting at three-years-old, and hasn’t tired of it since. Throughout the years he has created “thousands of studies of the human figure, innumerable landscapes and multitudes of drawings based on nature.”

During a recent interview from his home in Goshen, Miller explained that his paintings are primarily comprised of oils on canvas, and, the majority of his images are inspired by the beauty of nature.

“The work I produce is all about saturated color, superb selection of form and things that appear to be simple on the surface having a much larger and much more complex reality,” he said.

Miller went on to explain that he paints in series and is often working on up to three to four pieces at any given time. Much of his work explores “the interplay of new technology colliding with classical ideals,” he said.

Miller’s artist statement is as follows: “Although I received my training based on the principals of the 19th century French Academy, including the study of Old Masters, landscapes, figure painting and the direct observation of nature and can do representational work, I have felt more compelled towards abstracting images in news media including print, the internet, computers, electronic photography and pop culture.

I have done thousands of studies of the human figure, innumerable landscapes and multitudes of drawings based on nature. At the same time I have also taken hundreds of photographs, which led to my involvement with photos taken with the electron microscope. I began with producing series of drawings based on different electron photographs.

From these initial studies I painted my first large format oils on wooden doors, exploring and expanding upon the studies that I had done involving photo-electronic images. It is from these beginnings that I have been continuing my work. I paint in a series of paintings, usually working on from three to four paintings at a time. The initial idea behind these works still holds a strong fascination for me and continues to provide me with boundless inspiration.

The work I produce is all about color, form and things that appear to be simple on the surface having a much larger and much more complex reality.”

Although he maintains a studio in New York City, Miller draws much of his inspiration from the picturesque landscapes he is proud to call his home base, the rolling hills of Litchfield County.

“The countryside and the Litchfield hills have been inspiring to my work,” he said, adding that he has also been strongly influenced by artists such as Joan Mitchell, Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston.

Miller’s more recent works will be showcased this summer in an upcoming exhibition at The Smithy Loft Gallery in New Preston. The collection will be on display inside a beautiful reconstructed barn originally built in the 1800s.

For those that enjoy fine art but may find the cost of an original painting to be a bit out of their price range, Miller has also created an entire line of more affordable products featuring his artwork including cell phone covers, shirts and tote bags. Prints of his work are also available to purchase.

Miller’s artwork can also be viewed and purchased locally at The Byrde + the b, a boutique hair salon that recently opened its doors in Washington Depot. The business is owned by Miller and his husband Scott Bond. In the near future, the pair plans to host openings at the salon as an opportunity for other local artists to also showcase their work.

The salon also features an adjacent retail store, where an assortment of fine art pieces and fashion accessories that Miller has curated from his travels around the globe are available for purchase.

“We pick things that we love and hope others will love them as well,” Miller said of the side project that him and Bond have collaborated on together in order to supplement the offerings of their respective businesses.

On a more widespread level, Miller’s artwork has been added to numerous collections throughout the country; including the University of Virginia’s Bayly Art Museum, the Savannah College of Art & Design Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.

His pieces have also made appearances in a variety of popular magazines, television shows and films including Elle Décor, “Sex and the City,” “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” Swimming With Sharks,” “My Super Ex Girlfriend,” and “Abduction.”

An opening reception for Miller’s exhibition will be held on Saturday, July 8 from 4 to 6 p.m.

The exhibit will then run until August 12. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Smithy Loft Gallery is located at 10 Main Street in New Preston.

Miller’s work may also be viewed and purchased via his website, www.stevenwmiller.com.