Welcome to The Ink-spired Life: Creative Chats

Sometimes you just know when you are about to meet somebody special. There’s a sort of sense that permeates your soul.  A sense that I call “creative peace.” I have been fortunate enough to have had some recent chats with local artists. Each one of the gifted people I have spoken with have each inspired me and my creative mind in one fashion or another.

Join me on this journey as I add inspirational colors of warmth, wisdom, and wit onto the blank canvas of life by sharing the stories, tips, and inside glimpses of the creative minds I have been blessed to have met. Peace and Live Creatively!  – Jason

Today, I would like to introduce you to two very amazing people, Sue and Vern Miller.

Sue Miller is professional artist and art teacher. At one point, Sue had about 130 children and adult art students who each benefited from her passion for painting. She was strongly influenced by her father, Tony Pacheco, who was a professional musician, artist, and teacher. Sue started off her artistic journey as a commercial graphic artist with such companies as Mars and Shelby’s.

Sue’s art has been featured on everything from book covers to magazines. She has become the “Norman Rockwell” of magazine covers such as Wisdom and Pathways Magazine.  Her artwork is currently licensed by such companies as Heaven & Earth Designs.

Vern Miller is a professional musician, songwriter, composer, and teacher. Vern taught guitar and instrumental music for over thirty years in South Orange and Maplewood Public Schools, from which he retired to pursue music on a full time basis. In the 1960s, Vern was a member of the band The Remains.  He toured with The Beatles in 1966. Yes, those Beatles!  Vern’s music has been recorded on many different US and international labels.

From the minute I approached the front door of their charming A-frame home on the shores of Lake Shawnee, I knew I was about to enter a special world. Their home is also the heart of where they produce, explore, and share their creative minds. Upon entering this delightful home, you’ll find Sue’s art studio on the left and Vern’s on the right. An arrangement, as Sue told me, “where they each have their own space yet can be inspired from each other right across the hall.” For me, a feeling of tranquil inspiration permeated the air in their home on the day that I visited. (Not to mention the smell of delicious apple pie and freshly baked cookies).

These two delightful souls, along with their loving pup, Sadie, and their visiting swan friends, have all come together in a peaceful setting.”Being on the lake got us in tune with nature,” Vern said to me. This is definitely evident in “Funtasy. Fun-To-See Art,” a book that Sue and Vern collaborated on together in 2008. Sue’s fantasy style artwork of fairies, angels, and sea nymphs surrounded by delightful critters and flowers are so beautifully accompanied by Vern’s words of warmth, wisdom, and wit. Each turn of the page left a warm smile in my heart.

When asked about what inspires creativity, Vern told me, “Inspiration is everywhere — even in things like the hissing sound of a radiator. You need to be keep an open mind.  Creativity takes courage. You need to break the fear of rejection. Perseverance and confidence are key.”

Speaking of perseverance, The Remains filmed a documentary about their band which was directed by award winning TV director Michael Stich. Vern still performs with The Remains as well as the band Shakey Ground.

Sue finds her inspiration in such things as angels and nature. “Angels are comforting.  They give you a sense of peace.”  These were feelings that I got from Sue as we chatted.

Her love of nature is exemplified in her paintings — especially in her swans.

“Swans are the international symbol of peace,” Sue said. She loves swans so much that she recently dedicated her heart and soul to a cause to help save the Mute swan from extinction.

“In such states as New York, New Jersey, and Maryland, Mute swans are being killed for sport. The excuse to kill them is that they eat too much vegetation in lakes,” Sue said. “In reality, the Mute swans can help to alert us about problems with the environment.”

For me, being able to share our imaginations and creativity for connecting with each other is one of the greatest gifts we have been given.

Sue and Vern have and are continuing to do this by sharing their passion for art and music.

Their work speaks volumes about who they are — their love of life and their compassion for all creatures whether large or small.

I walked into their home a mere acquaintance, but left feeling like a life-long friend.  Sue and Vern are beautifully creative and inspiring souls inside and out–and, this my friends, is truly what The Ink-spired Life is about. Peace and Live Creatively!  -Jason

To find out more about Sue visit the links below:



To find out more about Vern, visit the links below:




Click here to listen to a sample of “Dreaming in Water” a relaxing and meditative musical composition by Vern.

Images provided by Sue and Vern Miller

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Jason is an architect, artist, and creative thinker who is from and currently lives in Jefferson Township. Born with a pencil in his mouth, Jason has always been passionate about exploring his creativity through art, architecture, and photography. His goal is to be an “ink-spirational" guru and help others to connect to their inner selves and the world around them by using the power of art and creativity for positive inspiration, motivation, and change.