Vel Miller's house/studio is a chest of treasures that sits atop one of those rolling Central California hills that meander down to the Pacific some 20 miles away. The house, like the artist, is filled with memories of the most important things in life. ..people. .. Mementos of family, mends and mentors who have enriched her life. Paintings cover the walls and sculptures sit atop antique tables draped with cowhide. Your eye can't travel an inch but it encounters some richly painted artifact of the Old West...the things of which Vel's life is made!
In painting and sculpting, Vel concentrates on the more emotional view of the West. Vel says, "The most rugged and strongest people I've known have also been the kindest and most loving. This is the feeling I try to portray. I want the person who views my work to see something they have experienced themselves, or to feel a mood that brings them happiness."
Vel attended the Art League of Los Angeles, studying under Hal Reed and Max Turner. She later taught there. An important "mentor" Joe Deyong, a protégé of Charlie Russell, encouraged and inspired her with his stories and love of the Old West.
Participating in numerous exhibitions, Vel has earned over 40 "Firsts", "Best of show" and "Purchase awards". She has completed several corporate commissions. Her work is displayed in museums and public and private collections internationally. She and her artwork have been featured in "Contemporary Western Artists", several editions of "Southwest Art" and "Art of the West" magazines. She is currently listed in "Who's Who in American Art", "Who's Who in the West", "Who's Who of American Women", and "An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West". Vel was commissioned to do the drawings on Western Horseman's Cowboy Calendars for 1997, 98, 99, and 2000 and has recently illustrated and created covers for several books. Vel was in a show in Sorrento, Italy in September 2000, with The American Women Artist, an artist group of which she is a founding member. The Mayor of Sorrento purchased one of her paintings.
In the fall of 2000 Vel was commissioned to do a heroic size monument for the City of Paso Robles, Ca. The eight-foot high sculpture of a Fireman handing a baby to a Policewoman, titled "Reward for Valor" will be dedicated in January of 2003.
Vel and her husband Warren currently own a Central Coast ranch
where they raise Texas Longhorn Cattle and American Quarter