Myrtle Creek artist Jackie Little Miller used instant decaf coffee to create sepia-toned painting of animals, which adorned the walls of a Roseburg coffee shop in September.

About four years ago, Miller was working on Christmas gifts for her family when she decided to make a portrait painting of her daughter-in-law from coffee. Her daughter-in-law worked for Starbucks and it seemed like a fun idea.

Miller posted a picture online and friends and fellow artists encouraged her to make more coffee art.

“Everything is kind of a happy accident,” she said. “The coffee is fun and it smells great when you’re painting, but I’d like to be known for my portraits and my more serious stuff.”

Miller’s art can be found throughout Douglas County, including Freed Estate Winery, Mindpower Gallery, My Coffee and Ye Olde Art Shoppe.

Miller created a three-piece collection last year that focused on sadness, rather than the happy family portraits she’s painted before. The new expression came because she lost her sister and her grandson was born with cystic fibrosis.

“Usually when I paint, I paint happy and when I’m sad I write poetry, but I had no words,” Miller said. “It was a heavy year.”

Miller has been painting portraits since 2013 but has been an artist her entire life.

“I decided it was time to try canvas,” she said. “I started with acrylics, but I love portraitures and I was getting frustrated with the blending.”

Acrylic paints are notoriously tough to blend together, especially if the paint dries.

So, she switched to oils and hasn’t had an inkling to go back to acrylic paints.

Miller said she loves portraits because of how different each face is and the emotions that can be seen in someone’s portrait.

But even before she made the switch to canvas paintings, she was drawing, creating murals and using her creativity.

As a young girl growing up in Ohio, Miller added pictures to book reports and visualized stories told by other people.

“I’ve just been an artist my whole life,” Miller said. “I faked my way into good grades.”

Miller and her husband moved to Myrtle Creek in the 1980s and have lived there ever since. Miller even teaches at Ye Olde Art Shoppe in Myrtle Creek.

“It’s just a real sweet little town,” Miller said.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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