Artist Spotlight: Theodora Miller

Artist Spotlight: Theodora Miller

It’s official. We’re fascinated + inspired by this Greek goddess/ Amazing artist. We promise you’ll be blown away by Theodora Miller’s story. After you have a moment with us, go check-out her videos and see and hear for yourself a glimpse of her passion and process.

Becoming an abstract artist wasn’t always in her plan, but Theodora took a moment of tragedy and transformed it into a life of beautiful creative expression. A split-second fall ended in an injury that turned her world upside down. In order to recover and find a way of grappling with intense emotions and a means of communication, Theodora began to paint.

“Painting is an extension of what I’m feeling. What I love about the creative process is that it allows me to expose who I am on the canvas.”

She is deeply rooted in her Greek heritage and as she says, “the sights, sounds and tastes inform the color story.” To think of Greece is to envision saturated blue skies, turquoise Mediterranean waters, the rich greens of olive trees, the sweet pinks of fresh figs, and layers of white-washed architecture. Theodora’s art reflects these vivid colors and textures. The expressiveness and depth of the Greek culture and her colorful life experiences influence and guide her work.

We chatted with Theodora virtually and asked her some random questions to learn more about this beauty, her art, her loves and lifestyle. Take a journey with us and get to know Theodora. We know you’ll be inspired.

Q: Who do you live with?

A: I live in a historic row house with my husband, 14-year-old daughter and our French Bulldog, Margaux. Due to the quarantine, my eldest daughter (who is a senior at Virginia Tech) moved back home and my father came to stay with us also (instead of being in lockdown at his assisted living facility). We have a full house! 

Q: Your three favorite things in your house:

A: An enormous framed needlepoint that took my mother years to complete. It hung in my childhood home for decades. When she passed away, my father gave it to me. It hangs above our sofa in the family room and I admire it daily. It makes me feel like she’s still here watching over us.

We love to eat out, especially at locally-owned restaurants (no chains).  In our kitchen, I painted a large wall with black chalkboard paint and handwrote our favorite spots — the list is now up to 62 restaurants. So when someone asks, what are we eating tonight, all I have to do is point to the board.

Tucked in the corner of our basement, I carved out a place for my art studio. I love being able to sneak away to create without ever leaving home.

Q: Currently dancing to:

A: Luckily for me, my girls keep my music taste current. During this pandemic, we often break out into spontaneous dance parties. There are a few songs on repeat because they put me in the best mood — “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa, “Say So” by Doja Cat and “Sunday Best” by Surfaces, and of course anything from Harry Styles’ latest album.

Q: Best concert you’ve ever been to?

A: Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto tour (July 2012) — It was a totally spontaneous idea. I found and bought two tickets the afternoon of the show and surprised by daughter, Savannah, with her first major concert. We jumped into a car and drove two hours up I-95 to DC for it. It was an amazing multi-sensory show. Everyone in the stadium wore armbands that lit up to the rhythms of the songs. Even confetti dropped from the sky. The best part was during the encore when the band appeared right next to us in the stands to play their final songs. We were awestruck for days. (We loved this story so much, we had to look up the concert … makes us miss the days of live music and confetti-filled concert memories)

WASHINGTON, DC – July 9th, 2012 – Chris Martin of Coldplay performs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The band’s 2011 album, Mylo Xyloto, reached number one in thirty countries. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

Q: Who would you want to play you in your biopic?

A: Whoa, that’s a tough question. I reached out to my son who works in the film industry in LA; his immediate response was Minnie Driver. I love that suggestion! Plus, she was born the same year as me (1970).

Q: What do you collect?

A: Too many things — vintage Greek pottery, evil eyes, garden owls and oyster shells.

Q: You know you can always count on?

A: My husband, George, to call me gorgeous even when I don’t deserve it — it’s his Texas gentleman charm. 

Q: Impromptu talent show, how do you win?

A: I totally blanked out on this one, so I took a family poll. Some of my kids responded with stand-up comedy, while others said definitely NOT stand-up comedy. So let’s go with stand-up comedy. 

Q: Favorite flower?

A: Limelight Hydrangea 

Q:  Book you’re reading right now?

A: “League of Wives” by Heath Hardage Lee. It’s from a fascinating time in our country’s history and demonstrates the bravery and perseverance of women. 

Q: You’re at a coffee shop, what do you order?

A: White Mocha Latte

Q: Indispensable design element:

A: ART!!! It has the most magical way of introducing color, texture and emotion to a space. Being an artist, I love to support other artists. I collect art from female artists to hang on my ever-growing gallery wall in my kitchen. It’s my favorite spot to drink coffee each morning. 

Here’s a picture of the gallery wall in my kitchen breakfast nook. It contains art by female artists that I’ve collected along the way, including two of my paintings and portraits of my greatest creations — my three children (from their much younger years – they are now 24, 21 and 14 years old). 
Art by: Anne Temple, Maria Driscoll, Melissa Carr, Ruth Shively, Rachel Nerney, Kathleen Westkaemper, Theodora Miller 

Q: Color you never get tired of?

A: Turquoise in every shade possible and even better if combined with chartreuse.

Q: Where do you shop for clothes?

A: Pops of color from Anthropologie, dresses from Nellie George and handcrafted statement earrings from Alma’s RVA.

Q: Favorite hotel:

A: The Inn at Little Washington outside DC. I believe that it’s one of the few five star hotels and restaurants. It’s where my husband and I spent our wedding night before jetting to Greece later that summer.

Q: Netflix obsession?

A: Seems like I have had so many lately. I binged right through Peaky Blinders, Call the Midwives and Last Tango in Halifax. Apparently my current obsession is with British dramas. 

Q: Go-to hostess gift?

A: Greek sweets and wine, and I usually throw in a set of my Love Notes or Evil Eye notecards.

Q: Dream dinner party guest?

A: I think it would be a blast to have a double dinner date with Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. I imagine us sitting for hours at a seaside restaurant on a Greek island. She and I would hit it off reminiscing about growing up Greek, while George and Tom compare notes on how drastically their lives have changed from marrying crazy, loud, Greek girls. 

Q: How do you unwind?

A: Taking my Frenchie for a walk through my neighborhood, the historic Fan District in Richmond, Virginia. To know the Fan is to walk the Fan, and I stop frequently to admire the gardens and chat with neighbors hanging out on their front porches. In the summer months, I’ve been known to go foraging for ripe figs in the alleys. 

Q: Favorite places to score finds for your home?

A: In the pre-pandemic days, I loved popping over to local Richmond spots such as Verve Home, West End Antiques and Our Life by Stella’s. Of course, I can always snag amazing items from Isabella’s online shop! (We especially LOVE that idea!)

Wow! We had so much fun discovering more about Theodora Miller. When you watch her video, she closes with an eloquent reading of her favorite poem in fluent Greek, which when translated means “You have the brushes, you have the colors, now draw paradise and jump in.” We LOVE this inspiring sentiment. We all need reminders that we can design the life we want to live. Thanks Theodora for the inspiration. Seeing your art on the wall of ISABELLA always makes us happy.

You can shop for Theodora’s art via our online shop or stop in to see us. We can’t wait to see you!

Wishing you a beautiful week!