Friday, December 14, 2007

Confirmation of 'Take 5' Exposicion

I have just received confirmation of the dates
for the 'take 5' exposicion in 2008.
Inauguration date is now -

Wednesday 13 February 2008


Exposicion runs from 13 February - 23 March 2008
Wine Reception 6.30pm on Wednesday 13 February

Monday, December 10, 2007

'take 5' International Art Exposicion

Just back from Ireland doing yet another delivery trip for my galleries. A hectic time as always, more so because of the Christmas rush. Then all this week I've been very busy getting organised for my next exhibition here in Spain. It's a joint exhibition of five artists, all of different nationalities, and is to be held here in Torrevieja, on the Costa Blanca in February.



We have called it 'take 5' and I have set up a separate webpage to use as a link to each artist, namely:

Ricardo Hanna (Spain)
Maurice Murrel Thacker (England)
Rita J Hee (Denmark)
Gabriela Navarré (Argentina)
and not forgetting myself as the Irish contingent.

LINK TO 'TAKE 5' WEBPAGE

An exact date for the launch is still to be confirmed. I will keep you all posted.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New Gallery on board

I now have a new gallery representing me in Northern Ireland. 'White Image' is a contemporary art gallery in the beautiful village of Hillsborough, not far from Belfast. The owner and director Bill Morrison was keen to take my latest works into the gallery and I look forward to seeing what the reaction of local art collectors will be in due course. Bill, many thanks for your interest. I hope this is the beginning of a long and successful business relationship.
To view the website please click on the link below.

White Image Gallery

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hello Danny

The night of the Danny La Rue show has come and gone and the Benidorm Palace was filled to capacity for this one-off event. I was very proud to be one of the guests of honour at the event and thoroughly enjoyed the whole proceedings. Whilst waiting to present my limited edition print as the first prize in the fundraising raffle, it was amazing to see behind the scenes and meet the other stars of the show during the interval.

My thanks go to all the organisers, but especially to Steve Ashley who was instrumental in bringing the whole thing together for the benefit of the Costa Blanca Samaritans. I hope a large amount of money was raised to help keep the phone lines open for a long time to come.


The younger Danny was played by Jerry Lane who wowed the audience with his singing, dancing and costumes, and was accompanied by a plethora of other great talented singers and dancers, too numerous to mention, on this special night. Then Danny came on to much applause. He sang a fantastic range of his own well known songs as well as songs made famous by friends from glamorous era’s long since gone. An interview session followed with radio presenter Beverly Stewart during which Danny regaled us with stories of his younger days. A night of nostalgia and celebration of a life steeped in show business. The show finished with a bang as all the singers and dancers joined together for the grand finale, making this into what must have been the event of the year in the Benidorm Palace’s 2007 diary.

It was a pleasure to chat to everyone concerned and also to catch up with Danny La Rue when he arrived at the after show party. I am amazed at the amount of British (and Irish) talent now living full time on the Costa Blanca.

An experience to remember for a long time to come.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Danny La Rue

'Significant Changes Within' 18"x24" Ltd. Edtn. Print
Raffle prize for the Costa Blanca Samaritans fundraiser event


TJ, Danny and Judy

What a wonderful day I had yesterday!
I had been asked to donate something as part of a fund raising evening taking place in the Benidorm Palace in aid of the Costa Blanca Samaritans on Remembrance Sunday (11th November, for those of you who don't know).

The production arranged for the night is the life story of none other than the great Danny La Rue. Danny has flown in especially to host the night in his own inimitable fashion and it promises to be a fantastic evening.

I was asked to attend by my sole representing gallery here in the Costa Blanca - The Fusion Gallery in Altea, by owner and director Judy Webber to hand over the limited edition print to a 'very special guest'. The coastal drive from Alicante to Altea is spectacular. It was a beautiful day, 2o degrees or so, car windows down enjoying the sunshine, with Michael Buble singing in the background. After a delicious lunch with Judy and Jenny in the old square of Altea I thought, this is one of those perfect days. How can it get any better? Who turned up shortly afterwards as the special guest?
It was Danny La Rue himself!

Danny signing the visitor book

What a character he was! He entertained us for ages with stories of his experiences both on and off the stage, but the time flew and the next thing we knew it was dark. With the business of the day, the handover, completed satisfactorily for the television company, Danny showed a great interest in a number of my original paintings hanging in the gallery.

Before he left he insisted in taking a TJ original home with him to remind him of our time together. Two Irish lads from the opposite ends of the island, meeting up in a foreign land to reminisce about the old country. It's called 'A Gathering Sky' 4"x16"(10cm x40cm)

TJ and Danny with Danny's very own TJ original painting

I will be attending the show in person to hand over the print to the winner on the night. I can't wait to see the show, if yesterdays fun and games were anything to go by. I believe there are a number of limited tickets still available, so phone and book them while you still have the chance!

Link to the Fusion Gallery

Monday, November 5, 2007

A present for Santa Claus

A funny little story that I meant to publish last week.

I was at the exhibition of a Norwegian artist Tor-Gunnar Riise who lives within the Norwegian Arctic Circle and was amazed when Tor had a surprise guest with him...

None other than Santa Claus himself!!

It turns out Santa has a holiday home here on the Costa Blanca. After we had chatted for a while I told Santa that I wanted to give him a present to say thank you for all the presents he had given me over the years. I gave him one of my limited edition prints and he was really touched by the gesture. He told me he would hang it in his workshop to remember me by. Although the photograph attached isn't the 'actual' Santa Claus, I thought it would represent his joy at receiving my gift!

Tor's exhibition was of subtle colourful scenes from the Arctic Circle including paintings of the Northern Lights over mountain tops. Beautiful work. You could feel the shivers running up your spine in his representations even though it was twenty degrees outside. Apparently spring, when it eventually comes, only lasts a week before their short summer takes over. Tor's other paintings described the dramatic changes between the seasons in what must be a barren landscape for much of the year. I wouldn't mind seeing that sometime. I'm not sure I could handle the six months of complete darkness though.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Day Of The Dead

All Hallows Eve has, of course, always been known as the night when the witches and hobgoblins come out to have some fun. This is because it was widely believed that the 31st of October was the night when the worlds of the dead and the living were at their closest point of the year. Whilst we in the north of Europe tend to use it as an excuse to dress up and party, the inhabitants of Spain use their time for fiesta's to welcome the dead into the family again, just for one night.

On November 1st we decided to visit the local cemetery to see the outdoor Mass and spend our time thinking about our own lost family members from years gone by. During my travels in various parts of Europe I have seen some strange cemeteries. So different from what we are used to in Ireland. I thought I would include a couple of photographs of our local cemetery here to let you see how it's 'done' in Spain.

Instead of being put into the ground, the bodies are incarcerated into sections of a wall - each one just wide enough to slide the coffin into - and then sealed up. Visiting family members may have to climb up the ladders provided to replace dead flowers or clean the plaque, depending on where their loved ones are positioned in the wall.

Isn't it strange how we struggle through life, measuring our successes by moving to bigger and bigger houses, only to 'downsize' over and over again as we get older and realize that we don't actually need all that space after all. When we head for the final downsize in life we don't actually need a lot of room at all, just a two-by-two-by-six foot square hole in a wall. It's strange how many 'foreigners' are now buried in our local cemetery.
English, Irish, German, Russian, Dutch, French and Scandinavian to name but a few.
It comes to us all eventually.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A walk in The Park Of Nations



A walk in The Park Of Nations (115cm x 75cm approx.)

I Have decided to put one of my own latest paintings up today for perusal. It's for a potential joint international exhibition here in Spain yet to be confirmed.

It's based on a walk I made recently through my local park in Torrevieja. The park in question is called 'The Park of Nations' and depicts the multi-cultural city in which I live. The small lake in the middle of the park is shaped like the map of Europe and the visiting families can take a boat out on the water and 'circumnavigate' Europe in about five minutes without getting seasick! Often used for concerts and events, it is a wonderful mix of languages, culture and a riot of colours which I find most pleasing to the eye.

I tried to capture the vibrancy and movement of the park in this painting as I felt it while out walking. As usual, the photo doesn't really do it any justice as it's more of a three dimensional piece, and therefore best seen in the flesh.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Flowers in NYC - Artist Marj Vetter



Got this lovely bright picture from Marj Vetter, a friend and fellow artist from Alberta, Canada. Taken from a photograph on a recent trip to the Big Apple. I love the angular look of the buildings and, of course, the colours jumping out of such an urban scene. It just goes to show there can be quiet, tranquil corners in such a major bustling city.

As Marj says - "There's no reason not to have flowers in your home when you live in that city."

Link to Marj Vetter - Check out her other work here.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Vibrant African Art


link to Kudakwashe Gavi

I received an email from an African artist - Kudakwashe Gavi - today looking for advice as he prepares to exhibit outside Africa for the first time. I have pasted his email and my answer, along with one of his excellent images here. His work is wonderful. I think he will go far!

Hallo TJ Miles

My name is kudakwashe, I am a young artist from Zimbabwe in the southern part of Africa,but now I am based in cape town south Africa. Marion Zimmerman gave me your details, she told me that you had an exhibition in June, how did it go? I hope it was good.

The reason I'm writing is that I am looking for an artist that has exhibited at The Marziart Gallery in Germany to critique my work and maybe give me some advice on what to improve or to work on.

I will be exhibiting at Marziart studios next year in October and it will be my first solo exhibition, I am very excited. I have attached some artworks for you to look at. Please, I'm asking you to help me build my art. I will be happy to hear from you, I'm also looking forward to your reply. I was on your website and must say your work is amazing.

Kind regards from Africa

Kudakwashe Gavi


Hello Kudakwashe
Many thanks for your kind comments about my work. My exhibition went extremely well, with a number of sales during the month. Well worth the effort.
I can recommend Hamburg as a city worth visiting if you are planning to go, and Marion will make you feel extremely welcome I'm sure. I think you will have a very successful exhibition with your wonderful paintings.
I don't think you need any advice with the quality of painting you are producing. You have a great mix of colours and movement, and both mixed together create a vibrancy that is exciting to look at. I really like them, especially as colour is my thing.
I think Marion will be thrilled to exhibit your highly evocative artwork.

Good luck for the exhibition next year!!
Let me know how it goes.
Best wishes
TJ

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The loss of a dear friend

I lost a dear, old friend this week in a road traffic accident. An adventurer and man of strong and generous character, Bernard Fison will be dreadfully missed by many. I felt moved to write a poem as a reminder of our travels together. A loss deeply felt.

Bernard

It rained today.
We’d talked
of art trips down to Spain,
the wine we’d drink,
the bread we’d share.
The easels sit anticipating
in the corner now unused.
It rained today.
My world is smaller than before.
What colours we saw
when we sailed north,
hues of blue and green and pink,
in the same sky
at the same time.
Magical!
And all the while
the music played.
The lark ascending
lifted our hearts and spirits.
Singing, as you played
the grand piano,
made grander still
while you were here.
I’ll play the song
just one more time,
and reminisce
the laughter shared.
It rained today.
The clouds are full.
I’ll paint the colours,
and remember.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

The rain in Spain - again!















http://www.hotelcenajo.com/

I really must make time for this blog. I keep putting it back and back on my list of priorities as work piles up and deadlines approach. I was so exhausted the other day that we decided that we would go to an isolated hotel inland just to rest for a night.
The Cenajo Hotel is set amid beautiful mountain scenery and beside the Cenajo Dam (hence the name). Very Italianate in design, it reminded me a little of Portmeirion in Wales - where 'The Prisoner' was filmed. The nearest village was 25 kilometres away.
About an hour after our arrival it began to rain. It rained, and rained and rained and rained, and this was only punctuated by thunder and lightning in between the rain. The photo of the front of the hotel is taken from the restaurant door which was across the striking courtyard.
A great spot to rest and relax as there is nothing to do but eat and drink and sleep, which was perfect for me on this brief trip. If the weather is more clement there are lovely walks and free use of bicycles, indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, gym etc.
But at least I've caught up on my sleep a bit and am back to work a little perkier than I was last week. I can recommend it, and hope to go again soon.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

TJ's 'YouTube' Mini Movie

A short entry today as I have been so busy as usual. Will fill in gaps in the next few days. In the meantime, here is a short movie I created to let people see a painting from creation to completion. It's not very detailed but I did it in a rush one day to test how it would work. Maybe some day I will have the time to create a more detailed movie of the processes involved. Just click on the link below to be redirected to 'YouTube'.



Click here for
TJ's mini movie



PS- bring your own popcorn.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Pacific Yachting Magazine

Yesterday I received a copy of 'Pacific Yachting' magazine from editor Jeffrey Briggs. If you remember, Jeffrey asked for permission to use my words and images as part of an article for his magazine tying in boats and art. Along with Robert Genn and another 13 or so artists he has created a nice feature based around the subject and I thank him for the opportunity to participate.

I'm not sure what range of countries, or areas of the world the magazine is available in apart from the USA, but if any reader of this blog can get hold of a copy, by all means do so.

Many thanks to Jeffrey and Robert for your input and support. It's much appreciated.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

John Connery Exhibition, Galway

A good artist friend of mine has just begun a new exhibition in Galway, Ireland. John Connery has been painting professionally for what must be 15 years or more, though I'm sure he will forgive me if that information is not totally accurate. I always enjoyed John's company whenever I lived in Ireland and have been a great fan of his work for some time. Actually I have one of John's paintings in my personal collection.

Unfortunately, John has been a bit poorly lately, so I'm not sure if he even managed to get to the opening of his exhibition in person. I will hopefully get to see the show when I return to Ireland in a week or so, but in the meantime I have downloaded one of the images for all to see here. John, if you read this, I hope your feeling a lot better soon, and the best of luck with the show!




It's entitled 'The Quiet Man Bridge'. This little bridge situated a few miles outside Galway city was made famous in the film 'The Quiet Man' starring John Wayne. It's my absolute favourite film of all time and one I never get tired of watching over and over again! Can't wait to see it again.


Check out John's exhibition at the Kenny Gallery, Galway. http://www.kennys.ie/

Friday, August 24, 2007

Coney Island, Van Morrison and Art

This week I received a number of responses to an email I sent to Robert Genn in regard to 'Bonus Creativity'. Robert's compatriots used an old image of mine 'Coney Island' as an illustration of my work. One person who responded with an email, John McLean, particularly stood out for me. With his permission I have included his letter and the subsequent replies below.


Dear Mr Miles,
While perusing the 'clickbacks' of Robert Genn's latest newsletter I was surprised and delighted to come across your painting 'Coney Island' which I recognized as the place where I had spent all of my summer vacations as a child (about eight weeks) for the ten years or so between the early 1940's and the early 1950's. I grew up in Belfast and my grandparents had a summer house at Coney Island. Those were halcyon days of leisure, swimming, fishing, lobstering, and playing cricket on the beach when the tide was out. What fun to have them suddenly brought to mind again! I was back in Northern Ireland a couple of years ago, visiting my sister, and went to Coney Island to see some old friends who now reside there year round. The place hadn't changed much - some more and newer houses but the same quiet, peaceful atmosphere. When did you do this painting? I remember very well the house with the added-on front porch. I have some old photos which I have thought of using as material for watercolors, but haven't gotten round to that yet.
Anyway, thank you for sharing this painting, and I hope I haven't taken up too much of your time with my reminiscences.
John McLean, Trenton, Georgia, USA

Hello John
Many thanks for your kind comments! It's so nice to receive feedback on my work, and wonderful to hear your reminiscences about your halcyon days. My brother lives near that area and I painted that particular picture what must be 5 or 6 years ago when I had only been a professional artist for a year or two. I have moved on somewhat in slightly different directions with my art since then, especially since I came to live in Spain. Although I will be in the area again in 2 weeks time with my next batch of paintings for my representative galleries around Ireland. Maybe I should take a look at the area myself and see if it has changed even more in the last few years. It's interesting to hear your comments about the fishing, swimming and lobstering etc. and it brought to mind a song by another Belfast boy - Van Morrison. Not everyone's cup of tea perhaps, but I do feel a sway towards his music, particularly since leaving the country. Your words made me think of the song's lyrics, and just in case your not aware of the piece I have copied it below so you can read it. It sounds just like your memories. If you don't have a copy of the song, you should try to get yourself one. Then get the paints out John - and start painting that scene with the music as inspiration!
Thanks again John for your time, and good painting.
With kindest regards
TJ


CONEY ISLAND - Van Morrison
Coming down from downpatrick
Stopping off at st. johns point
Out all day birdwatching
And the craic was good
Stopped off at strangford lough
Early in the morning
Drove through shrigley taking pictures
And on to killyleagh
Stopped off for sunday papers at the
Lecale district, just before coney island
On and on, over the hill to ardglass
In the jamjar, autumn sunshine, magnificent
And all shining through
Stop off at ardglass for a couple of jars of
Mussels and some potted herrings in case
We get famished before dinner
On and on, over the hill and the craic is good
Heading towards coney island
I look at the side of your face as the sunlight comes
Streaming through the window in the autumn sunshine
And all the time going to coney island
Im thinking,Wouldnt it be great if it was like this all the time.


Hi TJ,
I enjoyed hearing from you and thank you for sending the lyrics of Coney Island. As I read through it more and more memories came back to me - I guess at my age (73) I'm starting to live more in memories! The list was so inclusive of the part of the country that I knew so well -Downpatrick, St. John's Point with it's horn that blew so dolefully through the summer fogs, Strangford Lough where I raced a small sailboat out of Whiterock for a few years before emigrating in 1960 to North America, Killyleagh where there was a fleet of Lightenings that the locals had built themselves, and of course Ardglass which we walked to for shopping and where I loved to go and watch the herring fleet come in on mornings that were windy and rough. Soooo... many memories that the song elicited. I had not ever heard of Van Morrison so went to the internet and saw that he had made a lot of recordings. I will try to hear some of his music. I looked for a CD that might have 'Coney Island' on it, but so far have been unsuccessful. I'll search more when I have more time.I looked at your website and see that you have a wide variety of paintings; I looked mostly at the landscapes, which is what I tend to paint, and enjoyed all of them, though I especially liked Coney Island. How is living and painting in Spain? And, how is painting for a living? In my case I don't think I would be eating too well if I was depending on my art to support me!! I admire you being able to do that.
After sending yesterday's e-mail I was trying to tidy my "studio" (I don't know how it gets in such a mess so fast!) and in the process came across a copy of a clickback you had sent to Genn regarding a critic's comments on your boat paintings. I think I had kept it because the address was Belfast, and because you obviously were an enthusiastic, confident sailor who was willing to undertake the delivery of other people's vessels. I've been an enthusiastic sailor all my life and though I've done some ocean passages, I've never been in command; I don't think I have the confidence for that. So I admire you for that!
Well I've rambled on enough for now, I guess. Don't you enjoy Genn's newsletter and the opportunities it provides to interact with artists all over the world?
With my best wishes for wonderful paintings,
John.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Go Large With Your Medium

When two artists of a similar calibre, one working in oils or acrylics and the other in watercolours show together, people tend to compare them, and quite often the watercolourist can come off worse. No reflection on the artist, of course, simply a case of oils having a more dramatic effect on some viewers. Watercolours can, of course, be used to create dark, foreboding and breathtaking works of art as well, but here I am talking about fledgling artists starting on the rocky road to Paintsville and I am trying to warn them of potential stress along the way.

Now before letters come rushing in to protest at the hard done by watercolour artists, or tubes of gouache are squirted at me by ‘W.A.S.P.’ - the ‘Watercolours Are Supreme Party’ - I am merely stating a fact about the boldness of materials. If you want a light colourful wispy feel to a painting then watercolour’s your man. For bold and heavier work, whether it be textured, layered, watered down, oiled up, impastoed, impregnated, adulterated etc. then for me it’s oils or acrylics.

It really is one of those chicken/egg things. Most people when they start painting, myself included many years ago, tend to go for watercolours first as they think will be an easy way to get started. Untrue. How many times I had paintings almost completed, only to ruin them with a careless stroke of the brush, I honestly can’t remember. The problem then is one of constant frustration that only the most dedicated of artists can persevere with, to get past first base and produce something meaningful that is considered good enough to be put on show.

The secret to watercolour painting is the quality of the drawing. If the drawing isn’t up to scratch, with perspective, balance and content for example, then the opportunity to correct these errors later may not be available and the individual will be back to square one again. Very off-putting when you’re just beginning. However, oils and acrylics, and to some extent gouache, forgive the artists little foibles before he or she actually begins putting pen to paper or brush to canvas so to speak. I changed to acrylics about ten years ago and have never looked back.

Why acrylics over oils? A number of reasons actually. I am an impatient painter. When I am working I don’t want to wait for hours on end before I can get the next layer of paint or texture on the board, I find that my paint dries extremely quickly here in the warm weather, and almost instantly in summer! This is good practice for me as it hones my skills to a point where I have to work fast and with enough confidence to get the paint on before it sets off. It also helps to create terrific textures you wouldn’t get if the paint was put on fresh or directly from the tube.

Acrylics are extremely versatile. Depending on your mood, you can water them right down and use them as an alternative to gouache (opaque watercolour) - or throw dirt, sand, broken eggshells and general kitchen waste into the mix to create textures beyond your wildest imaginations. Note - try not to use any kitchen waste that is bio-degradable as this may leave you with a smelly, oozing mess running down your walls when you hang your finished work! Although in some avant-garde circles this can be misconstrued as art in itself. Here I’m thinking of a pretentious couple who supposedly went into a capital city modern art gallery and raved about the violent red tubular installation in the corner of the room and discussed loudly what they believed the artist was trying to say about modern societal values, in an attempt to show they were ‘cultured and knowledgeable’. It’s a fire extinguisher you plonkers!

Finally, and most importantly, acrylics are more forgiving when you make a mistake. Give it a minute or two and you can repaint the area without running the risk of ruining the whole picture. If you have left raised areas of paint when making the mistake simply take a razor blade or similar implement and gently shave off the raised areas to return it to the same level as before, then recoat with a neutral base colour before changing it to what was originally planned before the mistake was made. Alternatively, just leave the raised paint in place and use it as a texture to enhance the final finished piece.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Room With Many Views

It is always a pleasure to sit in the Casino on the Paseo Alegre in Torrevieja. Over a strong wake-me-up cortado I took in the latest two-man exhibition. The artists concerned, Victor Leal i Francés and Antonio N Serralta, are both Spanish, live in Elche and have been painting professionally for a number of years. I met them both at the opening and discussed their work in more detail.

The paintings being exhibited are mostly locally based scenes of Torrevieja and the surrounding areas of the Costa Blanca, but I was surprised to see a familiar looking coastal scene of Dun Laoghaire from my native Ireland among the brightly coloured Mediterranean scenes on show. I was intrigued to find out why a Spaniard, Antonio Serralta in this case, was exhibiting an Irish scene in Spain. Usually artists use the excuse of capturing the light, ambiance or flavour of the Mediterranean to justify a trip to Spain rather than the other way round. I know I did. Antonio informed me that his son is presently living and working in Dublin and he painted the scene when visiting on a planned holiday earlier this year. I noticed a couple taking a great interest in the exhibition and introduced myself to them. David and Helen Coles, currently living in Torrevieja, are both amateur artists and were very taken with the Irish painting. They said they preferred it because it captured the muted colours of Ireland so accurately, making such a strong contrast to the other works on show.

What I found interesting was the fact that each artist works in a different medium. Francés in watercolours, and Serralta in oils. Instantly I tend to side with the oil painter, which is unfair at times, as the use of oil or acrylic is not always the best option. It really depends on the subject, but I am biased, and I make no apology for that.

That said, the watercolour work of Victor Francés is delicious. Sharply detailed street scenes with subtle colouring and shading in muted warm tones are counteracted with willowy, shadowy, almost wispy natural elements of trees and plantings that appear to be deliberately less defined than the surrounding buildings. There is one painting in particular of the market stalls that works really well. Almost to the point of sensing the smells of the churros frying and the sounds of the stall holders cries for attention, that you would normally associate with a ramble along there on a gentle autumn evening. I always judge a street painting by its ability to make me want to know what is around the next corner. If it draws you in at that level then you’re hooked. Victor has that ability and puts it to good use in a number of his paintings.

The oils of Antonio Serralta are detailed and quite textured, and yet still have a great sense of depth to them that has been captured with skill. In the foreground textures of the seascapes, he has managed to create a feel of where in the landscape he actually painted from. I particularly liked one that showed a slightly confused sea and dark underbelly of clouds, which in turn, creates a nice underlying feeling of movement mirrored in the gently breaking waves in the foreground. The horizon is normally roughly judged to be approximately seven to ten miles away when standing between five and six feet off the ground - the supposed height of the average human being. In this case, it helps to create a depth of field for the cloud cover of perhaps five to six miles, breaking up before they hit the horizon line.

I have always played a game when going into an art exhibition with friends or family. Separate, and then look at each painting on your own without discussion between each other. Take as much time as you like and don’t be rushed by your non-art loving, possibly bored companions, then meet up back at the start and discuss which painting you would buy if you were so inclined to do. It doesn’t matter if you never intended to buy or cannot justify spending a certain amount of your pension, or children’s inheritance, as it’s just for fun. It’s interesting how different peoples taste in art can be when not influenced by those around them. Go into the Casino this week and give it a try for yourself. You may even be tempted to take one home.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Paintings In Flight

As well as both abstracts packed and en route to Northern Ireland as requested, I have finished off four of my more usual style of paintings for one of my representing galleries in the Republic of Ireland.

I have included one here for you to look at. If you want to see it 'in the flesh' so to speak, just call in to Munster Fine Art, County Limerick, Ireland. Say hello to Maureen Delaney for me.

It's a night scene entitled 'A Valued Insight' 12"x16".




Saturday, August 4, 2007

August Abstractions

This week, in between my usual work, I have been creating two abstract style paintings for a venue in Northern Ireland.

Simply named 'Landscape' and 'Seascape' I wanted them to talk for themselves, so I deliberately won't explain any further but leave you, the viewers, to decide for yourselves whether you like them or not.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Plaster-Cast Profanities

Forgive me. It's been two weeks since my last conf...- oh sorry, blog entry. Sometimes I have so many areas to work on at once I find I just get a bit manic and try to cover all bases a little bit every day.

Over the last two weeks I have been working on upwards of thirty new paintings, have completed three poems about my thoughts and experiences, and I have been continuing a series of short stories which I hope to publish sometime in the relatively near future.

Coupled with this I squeezed a morning painting session down by the salt lake with four other artists. I think for me it was important to do this, as I spend so much of my time locked away in my studio. I got such a buzz of having like minded company and for the first time in a long time felt free to paint without restrictions. I completed two paintings during that two hour 'en plein air' session, the first was relatively recognisable if you know the area, while the second was a loose, quite abstract version of the same scene. The lack of restriction for me was liberating and actually fuelled me with more enthusiasm when I got back to the studio. My thanks to Maurice, Ron, John and Mike for the company. We will do it again sometime.

All this done amid the usual daily email queries from galleries, newspapers and the public. To prove I have been busy and not just supping coffee I will let you see one of my latest poems. Your opinions are welcome.

PLASTER-CAST PROFANITIES

Often talked, but last in line,
eaves dropped on deafened ears.
How can we listen with re-turned backs
against the current of lethargy?

Hope against hope is lost

Each day with hesitations on the rise
carbon footprint, blackened earth.
Sun bleached walls leave traced outlines
of shadows sharpened edges cut.

Caustic comments cut deeper still

Alpha male leads from the front.
Shards of momentary madness flicker forth
and cyclic splashes crown the path.
The old have rounded shoulders now.

Contrition is its own reward

Bright colours trumpet times of joy
then fade with lack of sun.
Round holes in squares in rounds again,
in a thousand different ways succinct.

Life’s internal struggle

Pillars brace the frailty felt.
Comments meant to reach on high,
reality is boxed and put away
and bars deny the few a link.

While chained to imperfection

Locked into a fish bowl life,
observations noted down.
Prying out with cushioned force,
left well enough alone, gives all

an elemental peace

The tri-light laws that govern us
reflect a softer seam above.
Mine it well with careful words
lest its gone in emblematic smoke.

A frame on which to hang

Metered moments ticking by, the
click-clip-clock rhythmic beats aloud,
umbrella’d under internal shafts
and netted close, like spiders web

of deceit and incredulity

Pleasing turns of pages beckon.
Strings align and pull together.
Pink overtones lift melodic curves,
all given freely with a sagging love,

a love that knows its bounds

And yet the sadness washes by
while splashed with urban dreadedness.
“Beat the time lordly now boys!”
With processionary pride it takes

a whining, winding path

Baked and desiccated life
awaits the drip, drip, drip effect -
“All hail!” the handbagged letters cry.
“Release our agony!” they plea.

Performance in the key

Spiked enhancement of the truth
impales the lesser class,
table-topped and speared below.
Drawn blood a crimson pool.

Efforts all in vein

Talk of effortless attempts,
waste the best of what is left.
Cost alone prohibits thoughts.
The pressure of old turgid time

rolls on, for all the same

Give a thought as light begins to fade,
a darkness closes fast.
Columns stripe their colours high,
clear indications make the text

an uncomfortable read

Wearily dragged down by banal reports.
Lives drummed into the ground.
Look square, into the oblong light
littered hopes and dreams lay down

plaster-cast profanities

Friday, July 13, 2007

Paperwork!

It's Friday and I have been catching up on paperwork after arranging for my latest works to get shipped back to Ireland this morning. The response to my enquiry about gallery space has been amazing. Artists from all over Europe and America have responded with positive comments and interest. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I have been catching up with my representing galleries around Europe to see how the art world is doing at the moment. All good at present it seems overall, but you can never rest or take anything for granted.

That's it for now. Please continue to send me your emails and information requests. I am always happy to receive them and will do my utmost to answer promptly.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vanity Galleries

In response to a letter from Robert Genn's twice weekly musings at 'Painters Keys', I emailed a reply relating to pay-for-space art galleries. Due to editorial cuts not all of my email could be printed (lack of space etc.), so I have chosen to show it in full here for all those curious readers clicking through from the website. Also, I have included one of my more recent paintings to let you have a look at. It is called Altea Con-fusion (the road rises). Let me know your thoughts....




Dear Robert
It's interesting to hear your comments about paying for wall space in galleries as 'ego' and 'vanity' based. Of course it is! What is an artist if not driven by ego? We constantly put our hearts on our sleeves and expose ourselves - and our insecurities - to either ridicule or adulation depending on your circle of admirers/detractors, of which there are legion.

I have used the pay-for-space type gallery successfully in the past, although not in the Agora gallery, and have come out ahead financially, egotistically, broadened my travel and artistic experiences, and have succeeded in lifting my own profile on the international stage because of it.

Why not? If you hide your light under a bushel of brushes and wait to be discovered, chances are you will probably give up through disillusionment and get a 'real job' again. There are two types of canvas in my art world. I paint on one, but I canvas votes also, by pushing myself constantly into the public realm. As fellow countryman of mine, Oscar Wilde, once said "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."

Yes, it costs money. Yes, it can be thrown in the water if you choose to look at it that way. It's the chance you take. I don't see it that way, however, as I get a bigger buzz travelling to the country concerned and relish all the adventures, artistic or otherwise, I have along the way. For me that is the pay-off. I get to write about it in my blog, I get people talking about me and my work, I lift my profile higher, I collect new collectors of TJ Miles' artworks. The bonus is when I sell a numerous paintings as well. I then have new advocates of my work, who will in turn talk about me in other circles, in other societies, in other languages, in other places around the world. You have to feed the beast to make it hunger again. If you fail to feed it in the first place it cannot recognise what hunger is and will wither and die before it has had a chance to fully come to life.

I have found the pay-for-space style so successful that I am toying with the idea of starting my own gallery along the same lines here in Spain. By renting wall space, I don't consider it taking advantage of struggling artists at all, in fact I think it gives them an opportunity to exhibit in a location, and at a time in their careers where a hand up is better than a hand out. The pay for space idea, in my mind, would be a way for me to cover the rental of premises, which in turn would enable me to exhibit potentially important artists of the future who could have fallen by the riverbank of despair and lethargy because they failed to get that first opportunity.

I am curious to see how many artists who read your letters and subsequent replies would be interested in exhibiting in Spain. With the possibility of throwing in a few days of Spanish history, architecture, art and a holiday at the same time. Please don't think I am looking for a free advertisement here, I'm not. I am very capable of contacting all the artists on the 'painters keys' website and countless others advertising their egos on the web, just like myself. I would just be interested in knowing what proportion agree with my views and would consider my thoughts to have merit.

A gallery owner and long-time exhibitor of my work, and also a good friend of mine, once had a group of teenage art students organise a trip to ask his advice about the art market and how they should go about forging a career. When they came in (always the Irish wit) the first thing he gave them was a clove of garlic each. They looked puzzled until he told them to carry it in their pocket when visiting a gallery owner for protection. The premise being that most gallery owners were vampires and this should protect them from the gallery owners getting their teeth into them too early before they have a chance to establish themselves as individual artists.

The pay-for-space type of exhibition just means your buying a service which, if things go according to plan, you should get back through sales anyway. You are aware the bite in the neck is coming, but it has it's benefits in other ways. A sort of love-bite instead of a full blown arterial letting, shall we say?

With best wishes as always
TJ Miles

Monday, July 2, 2007

Back to the drawing board

I was barely back 24 hours and already orders were coming in from galleries in Ireland for new works. I'm not complaining mind - but the realisation that the month on the road was finally over meant that exhaustion kicked in immediately and sleep became a priority.

News of multiple sales at the exhibition in Germany also helped to kick me back into gear, and I have made a start on my next series of paintings.

Coupled with that, interest in my work has been shown by art lovers from other European countries, independent of any promotional work instigated by me or my representing galleries. Always a good sign. Pre-orders have been taken subject to approval. If any viewers out there are interested in seeing previews of new works just let me know, and I will happily send you a jpeg.

That's it for now. Sitting in the hot sun slaving away. I find it good practice, as my paints tend to dry extremely fast in this heat, and I have to work quickly to blend colours before they cake solid.

Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Home to Dali

Travelling via Cannes and the artisan village of Biot, the afternoon brought me back to my most inspirational place in the world.

Cadaques was the home of Salvador Dali for many years - actually Port Lligat to be precise, which is a five minute walk from the village over the hill. A haunt of artists for many years because of its remoteness and inaccessibility, Cadaques still holds a certain aura and fascination for all who visit.

I could quite happily have stayed forever among the whitewashed houses countered with the view of surrounding hills, blue water and brightly coloured fishing smacks. Mentally I always take a lot of shapes and colours back with me to feed my next collection of paintings.

While there I again made contact with a gallery for a potential exhibition. For me it would be the ultimate location to make a pilgrimage with my works - to the home of the master. Lets see what the future holds for next year or so.

The last evening was spent on the hotel balcony looking down over the boats bobbing in the bay sipping Cava and listening to the cadent water whispering ’dali, dali, dali’ by the shore in homage to the artist.

The Nice life

Travelling down and across to the south of France via Genova, a short stop in Monaco was called for. While there, a super yacht was berthing with attendant crew dressed in corporate livery. The port bristling with bodyguards and bullet-proof jeeps of the rich and famous. Another world into which I could only glimpse.

Onward to Nice, and more art based experiences. The Negresco hotel along the seafront is a marvel. Everywhere you look there are artworks adorning every space. Older, more classical pieces jarring alongside bright, colourful, in your face artworks from right up to the modern day. A truly eclectic mix and a joy to behold. I only wish I could have afforded to stay there.

I was initially disappointed however, to see that the beach was mostly stones and pebbles, but on the second day I was there I think I understood why the coastline gets the name the Cote D’azur.

Normally, when the waves kick up on a windy day the water on a sandy beach gets muddy and confused, but in Nice the action of the waves breaking onto the pebbly beach aerated the water so much that it turned a mix of aquamarine and vibrant blue.

As night approached a phosphorescence became apparent that reflected the colour along the whole promenade. Young people sitting on the stones their laughter wafting along the shore, mixed with the sound of jazz from the beach bars, helped set an idyllic scene. With more gallery contacts made it was time to move on to my spiritual home…

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Italian Job - Jam in Milan

Under no circumstances try to get round Milan’s ring road system on a Friday afternoon. It took me 2 hours to cover 10 kilometres!

Arriving in the Lago D’Iseo area about 7pm meant a break in driving for a while. After what must be the largest pizza in all of Italy - at least 60cm across - so big in fact there barely a table big enough to accommodate it never mind a plate, I was more than ready for an early night.

The stunning area of Iseo, in my mind, can give Garda and Geneva a run for their money anyday. The hills and mountains run steeply into the dark green/black penetrating lake and create a haven for artists and locals alike. I have been here on occasions before and never tire of sitting by the waters edge looking across at the majestic island dominating the whole area.

While here a number of leads made on previous trips were followed up in regard to galleries and exhibition spaces and hopefully will produce significant results at some point in the near future.

Great weather for ducks!

Having left Paris with a number of new gallery contacts, as well as fresh inspiration, it was time to hit the road once more. After a few hours drive we crossed the border into Switzerland and spent the night in Geneva. Another late arrival meant that hunger and exhaustion overtook curiosity, and exploration was delegated to the following day.

However, awakened by the sight of yet more torrential rain meant that the sightseeing was reduced to that of a crawl through heavy traffic on a steamy lakeside thoroughfare. In the grey lake I could just see the famous water jet spouting in protest as the heavy rain tried to dampen its ardour.

Just beside the main bridge, as I prepared to crawl across, the traffic came to a complete halt. As I watched, a duckling and its protective mother came waddling across the road oblivious to all eyes that watched this amazing rush hour spectacle. An interesting way to remember Switzerland, don’t you agree?

After a return crossing back into France, a respite from the rain was only possible by entering the Mont Blanc tunnel. There were various signs indicating the beautiful views of the mountains all around but, sadly the signs were all I could see with the weather.

Having entered Italy, I stopped and looked back at the much heralded viewpoint of the Mont Blanc Glacier. I think I glimpsed the leading edge of it through the rain and mist but can’t be certain that it wasn’t just an optical illusion brought on by a terrible thirst!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Return to Paris

It’s been approximately seven years since I was in Paris. When here before I visited my art heroes in the Musee D’Orsay and looked up at them in awe and longing. I was still a struggling artist at that time and felt that I could never attain the intensity of colour and form shown in the museum.

Another age of this man is gone, and maybe I can now say that at least I am on the first rung of the ladder - still looking up, but at least now perhaps I can observe the paintings with constructive envy and no longer idolatry.

It was wonderful to visit again with such artists as Van Gogh, Monet, Pisarro, Bonnard, Millet et al, as I much prefer the ‘train station’ to the Louvre in content. The building itself is an inspiration for me and for over four hours I wandered between the decades, countries, movements and psyches of my antecedents.

I cannot wait to get back to Spain to work now I am fired up again with enthusiasm. I think it is important to ‘plug in’ to the art charger every so often to reinvigorate oneself, but also to revaluate the direction you feel you are heading in. I often say there are no wrongs in art, just different points of view. If you are passionate enough, and determined enough to push through the hesitancy sometimes felt, then your efforts must be justified in the long run.

The adventure was continued with a visit to Shakespeare and Co. by the Seine to purchase some reading material for the onward journey. The beds between the books were littered with tomes of modern classics and the tap-tap-tap of an old typewriter helped set the scene for perusal of Hemingway and Joyce. Ironically Jack Kerouac’s On The Road came to hand. I wonder what the relevance is there?

Finally the day was finished off with a beverage consumed in the Hotel Meurice frequented of course by Salvador Dali and Gala for many years. As I sat in the salon area I’m convinced that I saw his spirit slip silently past with an entourage of surrealistic elephants.

They seem to follow me everywhere!

Rooftops of Liege



After a late arrival in Liege, Belgium, sadly there was not much time for any sightseeing before catching a meal. What daylight there was showed a city of crumbling grandeur mixed with new architecture rising from the ground in sympathy with the surrounding buildings.

A street side café on a beautifully characteristic cobbled street transported me to the 1940’s - an era I have long loved for fashion and art. Accordion music whispering through the terraced streets set the scene further as a meal was taken outside on the pavement by candlelight.

Then the heavens opened, and thunder and lightning washed the music away with the extinguished candlelight. A quick retreat made across the Place Du Opera to the hotel seemed to beckon the end of the night.

The view from the hotel room had seemed pleasantly atmospheric looking over the rooftops during check-in as it faced away from the main streets, but we were left breathless when all was lit up at night. The scene of the church rising out from the rooftops immersed in floodlit splendour, coupled with the flashes of lightning and rumbles of protesting thunder proved to be a blessing after all.

Sadly the night-time photographs didn't come out so I have included the daytime shots to give some sort of idea of the view, however muted.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Hamburg exhibition begins


The Artist and Director of the Marziart International Gallery Marion Zimmerman, opened the exhibition to a crowd of well wishers and art lovers alike on a balmy Friday evening with an introduction of each artist represented.

There were actually five artists out of the seven exhibiting who turned up on the night. Nationalities ranged from Belgian, Dutch, French, Danish, Indian, Chilean and of course Irish. Much jollity was had over sips of champagne, and a lot of new contacts and friends were made in the international art world. The interest from the crowd attending was wonderful and I spent a lot of time answering questions about the origins of my work and the influences that shaped them.

My thanks to Marion for her attention to detail and I look forward to perhaps having a return exhibition sometime in the future. The exhibition runs until the 5th of July 2007 in Eppendorfer Weg, Hamburg for any viewers of this blog who happen to be in the area in the next few weeks.

A frankfurter in Hamburg

The prophecy was fulfilled as expected when a frankfurter smothered in mustard was consumed by the famous docks area of Hamburg. Bilious, but wonderful. This was of course followed by ‘lashings and lashings of ginger beer‘!

Hamburg itself is more reminiscent of London with its various quarters and suburbs. A very cosmopolitan and modern vibrant city. I have to say, apart from obvious problems with my lack of the language (although almost everybody speaks English!), it is a city I could happily spend a lot of time in. Eppendorfer - the area where the exhibition is being held reminded me of Notting Hill in London with ladies who lunch, chic designer shops and cars to match. It is also a city burgeoning with art and culture.

Having visited the modern art museum near the Hauptbahnhof (central station) I was astonished to find paintings by Otto Dix, Max Beckmann, Paul Klee, Edvard Munch and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. These were artists I have had an affection for since I started painting. What I found was breathtaking though was the fact that my early art was reminiscent of Max Beckmann’s early naïve seascapes. I couldn’t believe the similarity. Previously I was only used to his post war depictions and hadn’t experienced this work before. What was also interesting was the fact that his work seemed to become more involved and less naïve as he progressed through years of experience.

This is also something that people have noted with my own work. I have found it easier never to look at older paintings as reference points to my progress, rather let the skills develop anew each time I work.

Recently I had the opportunity to look at some of my earlier works from a collector of mine and was amazed at the difference a few years had made. It was like looking at two different artists! Yet, the early works had an innocence about them that still drew me into the pictures.

Snowing in Hannover

Note - In case of confusion - the next few entries were made over the space of a few days travelling but due to lack of access to internet connection they have all been uploaded on the same day.

While walking by the Maschsee (a large lake in the middle of Hannover city) under the shade of mature trees to stay out of the hot sun, I was struck by a surreal image of snowfall all around me. It was actually the shedding of floating seeds from plants all around the lake that were carried high in the air by light winds. As they returned gently to earth, the image created was one of a winter scene tempered by the yachts sailed by crew in their summer wear.

Passing by a ruined church in the centre of town, I saw stained glass windows where none had stood for many decades. The church in question was called Aegidienkirche and was destroyed in 1943. Today it serves as a memorial, and artist Inge-Rose Lippok has placed a number of painted panels in the open window spaces to recreate the image of windows in an empty space full of memories.

This is countered by bright colourful quirky creatures called ‘Nanas’ by artist Niki de Saint Phalle along with striking sculptures placed around various points of the city. In my mind, the embracing of such imagery aligns itself very well with the pleasantness and generosity of the German people I have met on my travels.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Scraping the sky with colour


Apfelwein, cold sausage and sauerkraut - quite a combination. Interesting, but not something I feel the urge to try again in the near future.

The skyline, however, was much more palatable on the return to the hotel. Locally it is known as ‘Mainhattan’ as the city was virtually demolished during the Second World War and the city fathers have decided to push forward with technology and modernism with great effect.

A virtual light show brightens the sky as each tower basks in it’s own personality, reflected in the smooth flowing river Main.

Breathtaking!

Monday, June 4, 2007

A hamburger in Frankfurt

Our initial impression of Frankfurt was a strange one. The shopping area could have been any city centre in the UK or Ireland, and yet it was countered with back streets and side streets of non-descript municipal housing blocks. Something I imagined that Eastern Europe was like in the late 1960’s.

The traditional old town seems to have been swallowed up to a degree by bland utilitarian modern blocks that smack of East Berlin in the movies. This is tempered by soaring semi-skyscrapers in the financial district (just a short walk from the centre), but for all the money being pumped in, sadly there is a more than average amount of people lying about drinking and begging on the street.

That said - there seems to be an undercurrent of vibrancy here, especially for the younger crowd with a big clubbing scene, alternative entertainment acts in out-of-the-way places and major groups, musicians and art movements. Definitely still a happening place for Dada fans like myself. Dada being the movement that brought us an anarchic view of art such as ‘Fountain’ the turned on it’s side urinal, or the Mona Lisa with a moustache and the letters ‘LHOOQ’ written underneath (when spoken in French it sounds like it is making a derogatory statement about the lady in question).

Quite accidentally I came across a run-down unremarkable street just off the river filled with run-down shop fronts. Virtually each one was an art gallery! They had the strangest mixture of paintings and sculpture I have seen in a long time. What was so refreshing for me was the fact that these were commercial galleries and obviously had the clientele to appreciate this type of art. Then I realized it was just around the corner from the modern art gallery and it all seemed to make sense.

When I arrived I wasn’t sure about Frankfurt, but I think it’s growing on me.

Time for an apple-wine pub crawl I think….

PS - with reference to today's obscure title - always one to be different - I had to have a hamburger in Frankfurt and, yes you’ve guessed it, I plan to have a frankfurter in Hamburg!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

It’s Saturday - Therefore it must be Strasbourg!

Strasbourg - a stunning city that has grown up over the centuries and has been at the heart of the trading routes of Europe.

After becoming a free republic in the 15th Century, it attracted free thinking reformists who helped shape the city culturally after seeking asylum there. Caught in the middle of warring countries right up until modern times, Strasbourg, as capital of the Alsace region, has had control passed back and forward between France and Germany a number of times in the past.

This has helped create the uniqueness of a city blending history and architecture, along with international culture, languages and art in good measure. After the end of World War II Strasbourg regained its position at the crossroads of Europe when in 1949 it was chosen as the headquarters of the Council of Europe. Since 1979 it has been the base of the European Parliament, and the European Court of Human Rights since 1994.

A must for all who pass through this region. Don’t miss it. Back on the road tomorrow for the next cultural adventure.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Stars In His Eyes



Whilst en route to Hamburg for my latest joint exhibition, we decided to stop off in Arles in the South of France. Art lovers among you will of course remember that Vincent Van Gogh spent over a year in Arles, between 1888 and 1889 and produced his most famous works during that time. Perhaps because of the personal turmoil he suffered during that time, these paintings have become, in my humble opinion, the most powerful paintings he ever produced. Sadly, just over a year later he was to take his own life in tragic circumstances, and a great light of the art world was lost forever. I have always felt touched by Vincent’s work and, along with millions of people the world over, wished I could have known the man personally. As I wandered the streets of Arles, I felt an affinity with a man tortured by instability and yet drawn to a life filled with passion for a lifestyle few can imagine to be all consuming, even to the detriment of his own physical and mental being. I sat in the now named ‘Café Van Gogh’ and imagined him painting the night time scene oblivious to all who passed. Then we wandered along the banks of the river Rhone to find the spot where he painted the ‘starry night’ so wondrously more than a century ago. I am filled with awe at the sacrifices made in the pursuit of his greatest love, and wish I could have been in his company just once before he died. Sadly, the yellow house is no more, but the colour lives on in many of his paintings. Thank you Vincent - for all your encouraging words in my dreams.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Crowds flock to the show to meet TJ

Well - The Homes And Gardens Show is over! An exhausting but rewarding two days of meeting people from all points along the Costa Blanca. My thanks to Judy Webber, director of The Fusion Gallery - www.thefusiongallery.com - for the invite and, more importantly, for her much warranted support over the weekend. Not to mention the unfailing dedication of her second in command Begoña who tirelessly kept up our flagging spirits with a kind word and lots of encouragement. It was also wonderful to see the international artist Eric Zilverberg - www.ericzilverberg.com - again. We have a lot to catch up on and I look forward to meeting up with him on my return from Germany.

I wish to say a big thank you to all who attended and showed an interest in mine and other artists’ works on the stand. Your comments were wonderful and greatly appreciated. Quite often an artist doesn’t get to hear directly from the public as they tend to spend so much time in isolation, so it was a welcome change to get such positive feedback on such a large scale (I estimate we had upwards of a thousand people through the stand over the two days!).

Special thanks goes, of course, to Heidi Wardman of the Round Town News for her perfectly timed article in the paper which brought so many TJ fans to the show. I was overwhelmed by the amount of visitors who had come specifically to meet me and see my latest works in the flesh, so to speak.

Also, I wish to thank a couple of visitors to the show who purchased the limited edition print I donated to the charity auction. Maggie and Pete - your generosity was amazing! I thank you so much and hope you enjoy the picture for many years of retirement to come.

Finally, although the paintings put on show were actually meant to get their first viewing in Hamburg (Judy insisted we exhibit them in the show as soon as she saw them), I have to say the positive reactions received over the images have encouraged me to publish them here for all the viewers of this blog to have a peek at as well. A sort of pre-exhibition if you like. If any of my regular readers happen to be in the Hamburg area in the next week, I would be delighted if you called in to the gallery on the opening night (Friday 8th June) and said hello.

'Breaking The Habit' 50cm x 61cm

'To A Silent Assembly' 50cm x 61cm

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Homes and Gardens Show - Alicante 2007

Next week is the much awaited commencement of the Homes and Gardens Show in Alicante (next to the airport) featuring special guests and presenters of popular UK television shows. The likes of Jilly Goolden (my favourite wine expert!), Kevin Woodford (Ready, Steady, Cook), 'Handy' Andy Kane (Changing Rooms etc.) and Eric Knowles (Antiques Roadshow), will be on hand to give demonstrations and offer advice to interested parties over the weekend.

The Fusion Gallery's director,(my representative gallery on the Costa Blanca) Judy Webber, has taken a stand at the show and asked me to attend in person over the weekend to 'meet and greet' artistically minded members of the public, or anyone else who may feel inclined to say hello to TJ Miles.

If any of the regular readers of my blog are in the area, by all means come to the show and say hello. Perhaps we may even interest you in a new artwork or two.

Show runs from:

Saturday 26th May to Sunday 27th May - 11am until 9pm each day

The Fusion Gallery is at stand 'A5'. Just ask for TJ.

I look forward to seeing you all there.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Short Critique

During this week, while still feverishly preparing paintings for my June exhibition in Hamburg, Germany, I was in renewed contact with an English lady I had met here in Spain last year. Jane had purchased one of my limited edition prints, and we were organising delivery when she told me about her renewed sense of passion for watercolours after I had shown both her and her husband Dave some of my latest works in the studio. I asked her to email me some examples of her recent paintings to look at, which she happily did. I have to say I was really impressed with her work and include them, and the subsequent emails below. Comments from any readers of this blog would also be appreciated..... Jane - over to you -

Hi TJ, Thank you so much for the print. I found your work so exciting, mysterious and inspiring, I wish I could afford an original. I shall certainly keep an eye on your web site for future purchases. Your work inspired me as I said but I am too rigid with my use of colour, probably from my watercolour education at school. I have sent you a few examples of my first attempts and would welcome any comments, positive or negative, because I am just having ago and not attending any night school classes at the moment, time restrictions and lack of appropriate classes. The watercolour of the boat has not come out very well, it is however, one that I really like as it has a translucent quality, which I achieved more with luck than skill. Please don't laugh too much at them!!!!!

Hi Jane, print on its way. You should have it within a few days. Let me know when it arrives, and what you think.

Okay - quick critique on your paintings.....

I like them!


Your use of blended colours in the sky, in the seascape painting, are reminiscent of my Mediterranean skies, and yet there is so much movement in the water and the foreground, a nice contrast.
You seem to like using bold lines and sharp edges (again very much me)....
....yet, the ethereal boat painting seems to move in a completely different direction using such delicate washes.



I think what really works in that case is the well defined reflections in the water, creating depth, and surprisingly, spatial awareness in a painting that has no other reference points in it.



The transparency in the sails is a nice touch, creating the image of a light, misty, warm early morning with a breath of a breeze.



My favourite sailing day memories are made of days like this.

Going onto the winter scene, with dramatic lines and bold use of black and white shading.
Not too many artists would even tackle a subject so difficult, so I salute you for doing such a great job.
Again, great spatial awareness creeps in pulling the posts so far forward, but not too far so as to drown the echoes of the main subjects of the composition, namely the cottage and the outbuildings.



I feel the posts/fence actually help to pull the viewer into the heart of the painting so much, as to want to get in out of the cold and into the cottage in front of the fire!
Vivid stuff!! Keep up the good work! Hope this gives you continued inspiration.
Best wishes TJ

Hi TJ, Thanks for the comments, you made me view my work in a very different light. I am very self critical and never satisfied with my work, it never reaches my expectations! I am doing a painting of one of the lakes at the moment and will let you see it later. Jane

Thanks Jane. Most artists tend to be extremely critical, myself included! But I do feel that the 'lows' always make the 'highs' so much better!

Looking forward to your next work with anticipation.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Equilibrium Interrupted

This week I thought I would subject you all to some of my poetry for a change. Hope you like it....

Equilibrium Interrupted

Like a counterweight unbalanced
and distanced from the centre point
Centri - fugued half beats
offset at orchestration’s core


Like helter - skeltered spirals
and descended to hell’s depths itself
Concentric inward circles known
only in memories now finally left

Like the mind’s eye blinded
and dittoed by the mental degradation
Concentrated by watered down thoughts
oft held aloft by knowing looks and loathing

Like dementia laden bovine
and dented cells encased in cotton wool
Countered words are all around
occulted by the flashes of occasional sanity

Like a Saturday morning head
and the graphic recollection reel
Cantankerous in our deploring
obliterated by mass hysteria’s publicists

Like a painting skewed awry
and amputated dreams cut away from hope
Chastising mental illness robs us
opinions split as wide as the mind concerned

Like a prized melon sluiced
and sold by the pounded portion
Charitable notions abounded
onward step the ignorant footed foes

Like all I have endured entombed
and still no sense of final scene played out
Calling out for help is lost
on the breezes sighing breathlessness

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

New Exhibition starts in Elche

A new exhibition of my limited edition print range has just started in the World Heritage city of Elche in the Costa Blanca, Spain. I have been working in conjunction with 'Artpoints' for a number of months now and have been very impressed with their dedication of 'bringing art to the people'.

Here is a quote relating to their philosophy in regard to art -

"The 'Art Points': A route along the Spanish Levante, composed of selected high quality public locations with a very own character, where the art is exhibited directly to the public.The artists have been selected by our curator, who is himself an artist with an impressive and enviable curriculum vitae, to guarantee quality as well as diversity. The Art points were selected with care with the intention always to offer always the best quality and to bring the art nearer to the public in a dynamic pattern. Our exhibitions run non-stop, are almost continuously open and take place in different places at the same time. Besides the promotion and sale of the art-works, the emphasis lies on creativity in all its artistic expressions."

Many thanks to all involved for their unceasing efforts on the Spanish art scene.

Time to get back to work.........

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Boat Stories and Art

A few weeks ago I sent an email to Robert Genn of ‘The Painter’s Keys’ website responding to an article he had written about boats and art. In response to that story I received the following email.

Dear TJ:

Jeffrey Briggs here. I'm the editor of a boating magazine called Pacific Yachting PNW, based in Seattle, Washington, USA. I've recently been in touch with Robert Genn, of "The Painter's Keys" website, about adapting one of his bi-weekly serials, "Boat Stories," for a feature article in the magazine. Robert has given his permission to my project.

The feature story would combine the thoughtful responses of the artists who wrote in on the subject with illustrative samples of their marine and boat-related art. The short essays - some funny, some meditative, some straight forward - would become a montage of the nature of art and the enduring quality of boats that make them a natural subject for so many artists. The words would be illustrated by the artist' work.

You were one of the artists who responded to Robert. I seek permission to use your words (and others if you would like to elaborate on the subject) and to get a high resolution digital image of one of your marine paintings to illustrate them. Each artists' entry would include name and contact information.

I also run a Contributors column each issue. I would plan on dedicating it to the "Boat Stories" artists. My present plan is to run "Boat Stories" as a feature in the September/October issue of Pacific Yachting PNW.

Best Regards,
Jeffrey D. Briggs, Editor
Pacific Yachting PNW
Note from TJ: I await the September/October publication of Pacific Yachting PNW with interest.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Voices Of The Old Sea

I have been a fan of travel writing for some time, in particular Paul Theroux (I think it is where I got the travel bug from), and have just finished a second reading of 'Voices Of The Old Sea' by Norman Lewis.

It was about a time in Spain after the war when life was simpler, although not necessarily easier. The residents of the remote villages of Farol and Sort, in what is now the Costa Brava (apparently - although I can‘t find them on any map.), struggling to survive with a way of life that hadn't really changed for decades, perhaps hundreds of years.

We tend to reflect that every era was golden. The golden years of the twenties, thirties, forties etc. but it's all too easy to forget the not-so-good times. The daily struggles and trials that people suffered.

Lewis captured a time of hardship and grudging change, as the first tourists began to descend on this area, losing it's supposed innocence to a wider world. Over the period of three summers Lewis visited these villages and documented with loving care the lives of the local fishermen and their families.

While reading, I visualised the locale as it changed before my eyes, and wished that somehow it had stayed cut off from the world.

I wish I could have been there to see it with him.

Sadly, Norman Lewis died a few years ago, but I look forward to reliving some adventures with him again in the future.

It reminds me of Cadaques somewhat, an area I will hopefully be visiting in June on my way up to Hamburg for my next exhibition. I always get inspiration from seeing Dali’s spiritual home place. The Emporda Triangle is calling…..

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Name is Miles - TJ Miles

This week I received an email from Thomas O. Miles from Maine, USA asking about the origins of our joint surname. I thought it a good way to begin this blog in earnest, and with Thomas' permission I am using his email and both our subsequent answers to give viewers some idea of the 'Miles' background.

Thomas - many thanks for your input, I look forward to conversing with you again soon.

Hello,
I was wondering if you knew the origin of the surname Miles/Myles.
My family came from Co. Mayo but originally were from Co. Tyrone. Is it Welsh or Cambro-norman in origin.
Any info would be wonderful. Your art is amazing, you are very talented.
Thank you for any help on the surname.
Slainte,
Thomas O. Miles

Hi Thomas
Many thanks for your kind comments about the paintings.
With reference to the name - I was always led to believe it was of English descent - somewhere around the 'Shires or middle England.
It could tie in with your Cambro-Norman theory - with the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons pushing the native British peoples Westwards towards all things (and places) Celtic.
The fact that there are variations in the spelling could be simply put down to local trends etc. There is also the theory that over the centuries the name was also bastardised from the Irish name of Millar or Miller which was prevalent in County Antrim in the North of Ireland, namely - Ó Muilleoir.
That said, Miller is, I believe, of Scottish origin, apparently from the Clan McFarlane (although I would have the right to wear the Gordon Clan tartan from the other side of my family).
I was also under the impression as far as my own family goes anyway, that my descendants came from middle England as I have said, and migrated during the1700-1800's for financial benefit (the Scottish especially benefiting from free land taken from the locals to encourage trade with Great Britain.
There is a new trend catching on in the last few years for a local language - Ulster-Scots (with similarities to Irish Gaelic) but the truth is that it is simply a modern day political wooden spoon, used by the protestant peoples political representatives (and I use that term VERY loosely!) of Northern Ireland to create a 'cultural identity' to rival that of Gaelic (there are a lot of grants to be had if you belong to an ethnic minority!).
It has to be remembered that Ireland was considered no better than a colony at that time and there to be taken advantage of without thought to the locals (therefore leading to the famine etc.etc. of which you are probably well aware).
In County Antrim's east coast (Scotland being only 20 miles away and visible from some areas of the coastline) the Scottish influence on the dialect is very strong and it is amazing to hear the difference between the far North of Ireland to the far South around Cork, for example - only a distance of 300 or so 'miles'(sic).
I'm sure you are aware also, that in an effort to strengthen commercial links with Great Britain, the Fathers of the city of Derry (in Gaelic I believe it is spelt Doire) changed the name to Londonderry (another political headache for modern generations to fight over! Let's not go there....).
Sorry Thomas! I'm diversifying madly here!
The point being - my people come from the northern Antrim area around Ballymena (again strong Scottish connections - which is why 'Miles' is not a terribly common name in that area, and therefore stands out), but as far as I'm aware, originally came from England as previously explained.Sorry I can't be of more help.
It's a bit vague I'm afraid, but I wish you luck in your search.
If you find out anything of note please do email and let me know, as it would be nice to trace 'the roots' so to speak.
With kindest regards
TJ Miles

Hi TJ
Its been raining here in Maine for a week straight (good Irish weather??)!!
There has been a lot of flooding and its difficult to get around.
You may use our Miles Clan e-mails on your blog if you like, I would be honored.
I have found a little more information on the Miles name, in latin it means "soldier", and it is an english version of the gaelic word "mael" or "moel" which means bald.
The first person I can find with the name Miles is - Miles de Cogan in 1123. Cogan is a parish near Cardiff in Wales. He was a Welsh-Norman born in Glamorgan, Wales and accompanied Strongbow to Ireland in the Cambro-Norman invasion of Ireland. He was granted lands in Cork and Limerick for his service.
There was a mayor of Waterford names Thomas Myles (1752) and a Sir Thomas Myles of Limerick (1820) who was a surgeon and an advocate of home-rule for Irish independence.
The surname miles/myles seems fairly common in Ireland and Britain. You had mentioned Scottish roots on your other side of the family.
My mothers side of the family came from Co. Antrim in the early 1800's, from Carrickfergus. The surnames were Johnson, Jackson, MacLucas, and MacArthur. I have never been to Antrim only Belfast and Tyrone in 1998.
I will keep picking away at the "Miles roots" to see what I can find. I'll have to pick one of your paintings for my home, they are all so good.
Cheers,
Thomas O. Miles
Sanford, Maine USA