Evylena Nunn Miller

Evylena Nunn was born on July 4, 1888, in Mayfield, Kansas, and lived in Summer Country, Kansas, until the age of fifteen. In 1903, the family moved to Santa Ana, California, where she graduated from Santa Ana High School in 1906. She entered Occidental College in Eagle Rock for one year, but when the college dropped its art courses, she transferred to Pomona College, Claremont where she studied with Hannah Tempest Jenkins and received a bachelor of arts degree, plus the highest honors in art. A year later she received a teacherís diploma from California State Normal School, Los Angeles (later University of California, Los Angeles), and taught art at elementary schools of Los Angeles County and at Claremont High School. Returnign to Santa Ana in 1913, she became head of the art department at Santa Ana High School and continued there until 1918. During the succeeding years, she also studied at the Art Students League, New York, under John Carlson, and at the Berkshire Summer School of Art, Monterey, Massachusetts. Then, in need of a change, she took a leave of absence and became a pastorís assistant at Calvary Presbyterian Church, Riverside, California (1919-1920).

In 1920, Evylena traveled to Tokyo, Japan, as a representative of the church at the World Sunday School Convention. She stayed two years. While there, she studied the technique of Japanese art with Jippo Araki, head of the Imperial Executive Committee, and exhibited her work in Japan. She also accepted a teaching position in the Presbyterian Mission School for boys in Tokyo. Before returning to the United States in 1922, she continued her world tour visiting China, Egypt, the Holy Land, and Europe, in each country creating a series of works that captured the landscapes and historic sites she encountered.

In 1923, she married Howard Earl Miller, who shared her enthusiasm for art and travel. While living in Los Angeles, she sketched widely, and between 1924 and 1933 produced views of the coast from California to Canada. Then, in the summer of 1934 and 1935, she went among the American Indians of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. In the process, she forded rivers, climbed high mesas, entered ruins, and faced many dangers. Despite the obstacles, she completed forty canvases depicting aspects of life and scenes of the Navajo, Apache, Taos, Hopi, Zuni, Acoma, Laguna, and Jemez. Evylena, who continued to paint California scenes in her later years, was an exhibiting artist from 1917 until the late 1950s.

She returned to Santa Ana, California in 1957 and passed away there on February 25, 1966.

Member: Arrow-Bear Park Association; California Art Club; Laguna Beach Art Association; Santa Ana Art Guild; West Coast Arts; Women Painters of the West; Foundation of Western Art; Los Angeles Art Association; National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors.

Exhibited: (Group): National Art Gallery and Smithsonian Institution, both in Washington, DC; California State Fair, Sacramento; Laguna Beach Art Association; Artists of Southern California, San Diego; Pacific Southwest Exposition, Long Beach; Santa Cruz Art League; National League of American Pen Women; and, in Los Angeles, the California Art Club; Women Painters of the West; Artists of the Southwest; Artists Fiesta. (Solos): Cannell and Chaffin, Los Angeles (1923); Pasadena Art Institute (1925, 1928, 1929); Biltmore Art Salon, Los Angeles (1929); Charles W. Bowers Memorial Museum, Santa Ana (1923).

Works held: Mulvane Museum, Topeka, Kansas; Womenís Christian College, Tokyo; Smithsonian American Museum of Art, Washington, DC; and the YMCA of San Francisco, Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, Claremont College, Occidenal College, and Pomona College, all in California.

St. Gaudens, Maurine. "Emerging from the Shadows: A Survey of Women Artists Working in California, 1860 to 1960." Vol. 3. 2015. Print.
Kovinick, Phil & Marian. "An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West." 1998. Print.