Art and Architecture
Paintings by Michael Miller
GolfClubAtlas.com is pleased to present the paintings of Michael G. Miller, who has painted in a 19th century style both still life and golf landscapes since 1985.
After receiving formal training at UCLA Extension and the Brentwood Art Center, Mike benefited from the ‘one on one’ mentoring of Mr. Gene Mako in Los Angeles. Through these latter teachings, Mike developed an appreciation for the work of 19th century masters such as Henri Fantin-Latour, Jean Baptiste Chardin, Eugene Boudin, Winslow Homer, W. M. Chase, J.A.M. Whistler, Robert Henri, Frank Benson, and John Singer Sargent.
At the same time, Mike worked as the Head Golf Professional at MountainGate CC and then as the Head Golf Professional at Riviera Country Club from 1993 to 1998. The dual career of painter and golf professional merged into one as Mike paints full time now. In doing so, he calls on his experience in golf and his keen interest in golf course design to produce noteworthy golf landscapes. His one-man exhibition in the main gallery of the World Golf Hall of Fame Museum in St. Augustine, Florida ran to great acclaim.
Golf architects Gil Hanse and Ben Crenshaw have acquired his paintings.
According to Hanse,
“The game of golf has been blessed with many talented artists focusing on the beautiful grounds upon which the game is played. In this era the work of Mike Miller is head and shoulders above the other artists focusing on golf. His paintings clearly evoke the feelings of the work of Harry Rountree, capturing tones and moods that pervade golf courses. As opposed to the mainly illustrative work of his contemporaries, Mike is able to put on canvas the subtle shades and nuances that add to the texture and feel of a real golf course. His focus on historic paintings has also resurrected many discussions about the true look and character of a golf course. I love old golf courses and new courses that feel old, Mike paints in a style that is able to capture that feeling perfectly.”
For information on commissioning Mike Miller to paint a specific hole for you or your club, please contact him directly on 765.621.5695. Limited edition prints are also available for the paintings featured below. Final edition prints are signed, numbered and titled, on Somerset Velvet paper, either cut or torn (deckled) edges, sprayed with UV protective coating, packed in clear sleeve with foamcore backing. Mike Miller can reached at email@example.com or through his web site www.michaelgmillerfineart.net.
“”A short par 5 from an elevated tee, MacKenzie followed the classic architectural model of starting the player with the least difficult hole on the course. At the same time, like Thomas’ first at Riviera, this hole provides a grand vista which takes in the surrounding natural beauty of the location. Having the beautiful blue Pacific in the distance is icing on the cake.”.” 30″ x 40″ oil/canvas $8,400
The 14th at Royal Dornoch, according to Tom Watson and probably many others, may be the world’s most “natural” golf hole. Although this view encompasses a benign day, any kind of wind or weather complicates this 454 yard par 4 into something hardly simple at all. 24″ x 30″ o/panel SOLD
A double dogleg par 4 of 478 yards, many consider this to be the best par 4 on the Black course. A tee shot to the right side risks the bordering fairway bunker but affords the best angle to the elevated and very well bunkered green. Also, the 5th green slopes away and therefore is less receptive to a drawing approach necessitated by a safer left side tee shot. This scene depicts and autumn day with some cooler weather causally working its way across the sky. 36″ x 48″ o/panel SOLD
This early view of “the lost hole” at #16 reveals the original 145 yard Augusta design. The green was left of the creek whereas the green is now right of the large lake that has replaced the creek. Naturally, the trees were still young and sparse. The genius of Mackenzie’s bunker design makes for quite a contrast with what is seen today. 36″ x48″ o/c SOLD
The fourteenth ascends to point that overlooks the valley beyond. As is typical of MacKenzie. this is a short par three that has plenty of risk reward. Nonetheless, the painting is concerned more with the setting of Chrystal Downs and the “un-manicured” nature of certain parts of the course. The 14th is a god example of this “naturalness” and reminds the player what great architecture is all about. 36″ x 48″ o/c $12,500
The focus of this painting is obviously the group of trees that guard the slight dogleg right as being the only real threat on this beautiful, but somewhat short par 4. Nonetheless, trouble is still always present for the golfer who takes this hole too lightly. 30″ x 40″ o/c price $8900
Looking back up to the clubhouse from across the bay, this bucolic scene reminds of a genteel and simple past. Cypress Point sits in possibly the most beautiful ground known to golf. Happily, it had the genius of Alister MacKenzie to ensure the course matched the setting. o/p SOLD
A long par 4, this view is focused on the green and the dangerous water hazard left. While Fazio has a certain proclivity for water falls, even here in the desert, this one somehow seems to fit in to the general architecture. A lot of detail is evident in the background as the desert plays a large role in the navigation of the course. 36″ x 48″ o/p $12,500 framed $13,700
This painting attempts to depict a sunny afternoon about to be transformed into a stormy day portended by the “ominous” sky looming over the horizon. The golfer has to either play very fast or expect to get very wet. 30″ x 40″ o/c $12,600
This view from the fairway partially hides the serious danger that lurks in the fearsome bunkers short right of the green. While this is a very inviting and mild setting, a stray shot here can result in some following shots that are anything but peaceful. 22″ x 28″ o/c $4300.00
This “luminist” depiction of #7 attempts to convey that time of day when one has to play fast in order to beat the setting sun. But in spite of the rather dramatic sky, the rustic bunkering and unmaintained areas found in this Coore/Crenshaw restoration are the real focus of the painting. The green and flag, though necessary in the painting, are but small and distant details. (22″ x 28″) o/c at $4300
This “atmospheric” treatment of Pinehurst #2 is in the hope of conveying the low light of late afternoon with the possibility of a change in the weather for the next day. 22″ x 28″ oil/canvas $4300
This painting attempts to capture that feeling shared by golfers of an early morning round with dew on the grass and no players in front of you. While the sky may very well be the main focus of the painting, it is from that “illumination” that all else receives its color. And, insofar that Pinehurst #2’s “naturalness” has been restored, colors have returned to the course. 30″ x 40″ $8900
“Day’s Last Glow” is the result of my late found interest in the beauty of the “Luminist” painting style of the late 19th century. I have come to believe that the Luminists, Frederick Church, Albert Bierstadt, John Frederick Kensett, and the Hudson River school painters lead by Thomas Cole, were the best landscape painters that era (or any era for that matter) had to offer. As I hope can be seen here, Luminism emphasizes atmosphere and play of light while still keeping the integrity of a representative landscape as an integral part of the painting. As I have from the beginning, I continue to insist that golf architecture be rendered faithfully and accurately in golf landscape paintings. After all, it is the art of the great golf architects that golf landscape paintings celebrate and, hopefully, bring to life. I believe there is no better style to accomplish that end than Luminism. 26 1/8″ x 33 1/8″ oil on canvas. SOLD
This “luminist” style painting depicts that time of the day when the light is low and the temperature is ideal for golf. While there may not be enough light to finish the nine, the course is almost empty and you can play at your own speed. A great layout and perfect conditions. Life is good. 22″ x 28″ oil/canvas. SOLD
Perilous Approach – This view was selected as it highlights the very intricate and visually imposing bunker complex situated between the player and the narrow green beyond. Fazio did a great job of creating a bunker that gives the impression that it is separate bunkers. And with the inclusion of the separate bunkers in front, the illusion is complete. All this not withstanding the “perilous approach” shot itself, as going long to avoid the bunkers leaves a very difficult recovery to a green that slopes away. I endeavored to use the low sunlight from the right side to emphasize the shadows and “light up” the bunkers and the depth of the forest behind. 22″ x 28″ oil/canvas Price: $4,300
The gathering light at sun up in this “luminist” style painting seems to create that morning “feeling” every golfer knows. Things are still quiet and undisturbed. There’s nobody ahead of you so the first footprints in the dew will be those of your group. There’s no wind blowing and the greens are holding. 30″ x 40″ o/c retail: $8900
Afternoon Sunlight, the 17th at Pinehurst #2 – The long shadows in the foreground and on the green emphasize the low angle of this particular afternoon. At the same time, the various colors and shading on the trees reveal the different angles of the broken light that comes through the tall pine branches. The front left to back right angle of the green makes depth perception tricky. 22″ x 28″ oil on canvas. Price $4,300
The Serene Setting of Pine Needles #3 – Insofar that the third is visible from the road outside the course, it has become one of Pine Needles most well known holes. And while only a very poor tee shot will bring the pond into play, the natural pond brings a picturesqueness to the setting. The painting is an attempt to capture this naturalness and serenity while at the same time, depicting the “classic” Donald Ross features found in the green surrounds. 22″ x 28″ oil/canvas. Price $4,300
The Sandy Carry on Pine Valley #3 – The starkness of this “forced carry” par three certainly speaks for itself. Add to that the enormous, sharply sloped, saddle shaped green and you have one of George Crump’s most masterful holes. Should the putting surface be conditioned to modern speeds, 3 putts become common and 4 putts become easily possible. 36″ x 48″ o/p price $12,500
“The Imposing and Very Penal Bunker at #16, Pinehurst #2” It is bunkers like this that add drama to a golf hole. And while many at Pinehurst #2 do just that, maybe none so much as this monster at #16. I hoped to portray not only the “imposing” nature of its size and configuration, but highlight the random appearing contours and edges which make the bunker seem quite natural. The shadows in the bunker suggest the surrounding trees while the brightly lit bunker face on the left side makes for a rather dramatic focal point. 22″ x 28″ oil on canvas. Price: $4,300
“Lancaster Country Club” – Aside from the beauty and elegance of this masterful William Flynn design, I selected this particular view of the 7th hole at Lancaster CC because of the variety of compositional elements which are highlighted by the fall colors. The diagonal of the creek, the variety of shapes in the four bunkers, the white tree trunks, the colors of the foliage and the lush fairway grasses all contribute (if the colors are well represented) to a feeling of compositional completeness. If the viewer feels like this scene is authentic, then mission accomplished. 30″ x 40″ oil on canvas. Price: $9,400
Plantation #11 – This is really more of a mood painting than a golf landscape. The attempt is to convey the feeling of early morning golf in one of the more beautiful places on earth. No one around, just the cool morning air before it starts to warm up. The “aloneness” is emphasized by Moloki in the distance and the stillness of the Pacific. This is the kind of morning when the golfer leaves footprints in the due. 24″ x 32″ oil on canvas. Sold
“Pristine Grounds at Friars Head” – Whereas there are more dramatic holes at Friars Club, I selected this one as it incorporates what is so appealing about Coore/Crenshaw designs: the use of existing ground and unmaintained areas. I find myself gravitating to Coore/Crenshaw architecture for the apparent naturalness and ruggedness that they seem to “leave” in their best design work. Here, I found the pristine nature of the location and the way it is seemimgly undisturbed by the golf hole to be very appealing to the eye. 18″ x 24″ oil on canvas. Price: $3,500
“Brora” – Whereas some may find Scottish golf landscapes to be generally somewhat punishing and harsh, this pastoral and peaceful setting at Brora Golf Club is just the opposite. With all the green of the course, farmland and pasture, the buildings with their red roofs make for the perfect contrast. It would seem that this scene has not changed for many, many years. 24″ x 36″ oil on canvas. Sold
“16th at National” – This painting was commissioned by the USGA for their boardroom at Golf House in Far Hills, NJ as they have put on emphasis on holding paintings of courses that have hosted USGA events. What more recognizable scene could be painted than the iconic windmill at The National? While the water in the foreground provides both variety and the opportunity to incorporate more color, the feature that is first noticed is the windmill. And that is how it should be. 26″ x 20″ oil on canvas. Sold
“Sun Dappled Bunkers at Pinehurst #2” – As mentioned earlier, I greatly enjoy painting Coore/Crenshaw designs. And while this is a Coore/Crenshaw restoration of Donald Ross’s masterpiece, the feeling is the same. These architects are able to use the non maintained areas and natural ground to tremendous effect. What a pleasure to paint naturalness instead of manicured green grass and carefully edged, white sand bunkers. Plus, since the “sun dappled” bunkers indicate that there are pine trees next to the fairway, there is no need to incorporate them into the painting. 21″ x 28″ oil on canvas. Price: $4,700
“The Little Seventeenth” – depicts the Hanse/Shackelford restoration of this great “practice” hole originally designed by LACC’s architect George Thomas. Players have about 90 yards from which to hit shots into this green from across the 17th fairway. The hole can also be used as part of a “whiskey route” or to settle matches that end all square. 30″ x 40″ oil on canvas. Price: $8,200
Dangerous Tranquility at Crooked Stick #6 – As the title suggests, this par 3 (can play up to 220 yards) entices the player with a very serene setting, but one that can jump up and destroy any round that may be intact to this point. Even if one avoids the water, left of the green is almost dead, front pin positions require exacting precision and any ball landing middle or deeper will roll off the back. That leaves the dangerous back right pin position as the most accessible. Nonetheless, the prudent player will just try to hit the green and move on. 32″x44″ oil on canvas. Price: $10,800
The Mike Miller paintings below are grouped by decade according to how the holes appeared at that time.
29′ x 40′, oil on panel: Sunningdale Golf Club, Berkshire, England. Architect: H.S. Colt. Constructed in 1922, Colt’s bunkering on the New Course was unlike anything seen in golf then – or now. Redefining ‘natural’, this medium length par 3 of 162 yards features some of the most artistic hazard work ever created. The ‘encircling’ character of the bunkers has the effect of causing the fairly large green to appear smaller to the golfer. Add elements like wind and weather and this is a small green indeed. Nonetheless, the bunkers’ shapes and depths allow for escape if the recovery shot is well played. Sold
36’x48′ o/p A great par 3 of 217-226 yards; the tee shot is usually a full wood over the lake, rough grass and a road. It is often said it is a hole ‘where only God can make a three.’ Architect George Crump is reported to have felt that the green had too much ‘squareness,’ but died before he decided what to do with it. As the title indicates, this painting depicts a windless summer day that would best allow the player a chance at avoiding the abundant areas of trouble. Sold
36 x 48 inches, Oil on panel, Painted 2001. Winged Foot’s 190-yard par-3 tenth was considered by A.W. Tillinghast to be ‘the best par-3’ he ever built. From a slightly elevated tee, the player looks down on this well-bunkered green. Miller has illustrated the hole from the view of a golfer walking to the green, giving some sense of the massive scale of the bunkers and green complex. The Winged Foot terrain is relatively level, so to create these features and build them with a somewhat natural appearance, a great deal of fill was used and talented shapers did some of their finest work here for Tillinghast. The bunkers look remarkably similar today, however, Tillinghast’s original green has evolved into a smaller green than as depicted here in the late 1920s. Sold
36′ x 48′, oil/panel. This view form the rocks left of the famous 18th, depicts one of the great finishing holes in golf before the encroachment of condos and homes on the right side of the fairway. The ever present threat of the rocky beach and blue Pacific is the prominent feature of this hole and therefore was used in this unusual perspective as the central focus of the painting. Sold
24′ x 32′ oil on canvas. This mid length par 3, another example of the genius of George Thomas, features the inspirational concept of a bunker within the boundaries of the putting surface. This painting was done after the excellent restoration of #6 by architect Ron Forse in the 1990’s. The home atop the canyon wall behind the green was omitted from the painting as it only serves to distract from what is otherwise one of the more beautiful views in golf. Sold
24″ x 32″ oil/canvas The very short but very demanding 18th requires pin point accuracy, both off the tee and with the approach. This view from the left side offers the best angle and view to reach the putting surface, although even if reached in regulation, the green offers many problems for a less than well judged and struck putt. It is not a bad idea to stay below the hole with your shot to the green, even if one is left with a chip shot. Price: $4,750