Several years ago, Stephanie Segal Miller picked up watercolor painting. Now, the 47-year-old illustrator jokes she’s a “recovering attorney.”
“It just goes to show you never know where life is going to take you,” said the Atlantic City artist.
Miller’s illustrations from her upcoming book, “A is for Alligator, An Animal Alphabet Book,” will appear next to other local illustrators’ work in the “From the Page — Book Illustrations,” exhibit at Atlantic Cape Community College. The exhibit will run through March 11 in the art gallery, housed in the William Spangler Library at the Mays Landing campus.
Among some of the other local artists being featured include wood engravings by Stockton University Professor Michael McGarvey, a chapbook of poems called “Beyond Hammonton,” by Stephen Dunn, and works by Caldecott Medal and Coretta Scott King award-winner, E.B. Lewis of Hammonton.
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A copy of Lewis’ recent book, a story about the childhood of civil rights leader John Lewis called “Preaching to the Chickens,” will also be on display.
The exhibit will span the gamut in terms of art style and medium.
Art gallery coordinator, Joyce Hagen, said there will also be a few emerging artists, as well as more seasoned illustrators.
“It’s a nice broad mix of artists and a broad mix of style that are related to publications, which is an interesting idea to have for a college campus exhibit,” said Hagen.
Miller herself never went to art school but took some watercolor painting classes and even teaches some classes now herself.
Even then, she was always drawn to the color and character of animals.
“I feel fortunate that I can do something I love — that I found something I love,” she said. “People think it happens overnight but I’ve been looking and exploring my whole life. It was not overnight but it was through exploration and through trying different things.”
With “A for Alligator,” Miller said she still has a few letters left to paint and then plans to either self-publish the book or contact an agent.
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The illustrator has also ventured into custom pet portraits, which has spanned a range of four-legged companions such as a pet wolf and a basset hound/golden retriever mix. Currently, she’s painting a few cats.
“The animals are so gorgeous, the colors, their eyes, and the expression in their eyes are so beautiful,” she said. “Many of my animals, people comment on the eyes.”
Miller’s passion is to simply “paint and to play with color,” and she hopes to publish more books. Of course, a Caldecott Honor of her own would also be a dream.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity as an artist to have my work displayed and to be a part of an exhibit with so many other great illustrators,” she said. “I feel like this is almost a launch for me for the next step of the publishing of the book.”