JD Miller, artist and co-owner of Samuel Lynne Galleries, founded Reflectionism in 2001. Reflectionism combines a philosophy of art and a style of painting that is grounded in Asian mindfulness, meditation, and The New Thought philosophy founded in the US in the 19th century, which holds that Infinite Intelligence is everywhere, that spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, sickness originates in the mind, and that "right thinking" has a healing effect. In 21st century terms, Reflectionism is rooted in the law of attraction—the belief that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life. This belief is based on the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from "pure energy", and that through the process of "like-energy attracting like-energy" a person can improve their own life experience. Reflectionists practice the law of attraction in their art by allowing the universe to speak through them, manifesting a reflection of energies onto their canvases.
There are two main components of Reflectionism: following the law of attraction and translating that experience into art on the canvas.
The Reflectionist technique is characterized by a multi-dimensional oil application, referred to by Miller as 3-Dimensional oil. While thick oil has been used since the advent of modern art, the method and technique used by Miller—the thick application of oil using painting knives to create a sculptural element within a painting—is new, and a technique he has taught to his fellow Reflectionists who are expanding the idea and the techniques of this movement of art.
Inspired by the Impressionists’ style, Reflectionists modernized these techniques to form the foundation of Reflectionism. Wanting freedom from academic-imposed norms, Impressionists focused on the overall effect of their art rather than the small details. This meant their brushstrokes were thin, but created with thick paint. To produce their paintings they focused on the reflections and unusual angles that the lighting produced, and the weighted dot-like use of oil their scenes created on the canvas. While this renowned group of artists went into nature to capture and display back to viewers the essence of light, Reflectionists venture into our 21st century world to capture and reflect back their own essence of life.
The core group of Reflectionists, which includes painter and wife of JD Miller, Lea Fisher, is based in Dallas, Texas. Although their artwork is characterized by the 3-Dimensional oil painting technique used in Reflectionism, each artist adopts and interprets this method differently, creating individually distinctive styles. As more artists adopt the Reflectionist philosophy and style of painting, the movement continues to grow beyond its original members.