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.

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.
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

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.
Thomas O. Miles
Sanford, Maine USA

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Rain In Spain......

Well now....
I have no idea where I intend to go with this blogging thing, so bear with me.

I had hoped to talk (or write) about art and how I am involved with it, but I feel this may wander a bit - rather like my mind - as I tend to have about twenty things going on at once!

Until I have something of note to say, please simply check out my website and, hopefully, my art will do some speaking for me.

Let me know what you think, and it will encourage me to write other thoughts down. In the meantime I will try to set aside time from my busy schedule to update this at least once a week (or more often if anyone is interested).

Best wishes


Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Welcome to the TJ Miles Blog

This is the first post on the blog - Many thanks for your interest.