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Extracts from the Journals of John F. B. Miles

1979 - 1981

Night Enters the Kitchen

Posted by Robert Beer on 7/29/2010 10:47:00 PM
A drawing, A1 size, of the kitchen, looking into it from outside in the passage and, significantly, through the bamboo curtains, is underway. Each session so far on this drawing has provided a growing enthusiasm. Each time I have waited for the daylight to drain away and for night to come, only then have I dared to look across at the window to draw this area. I want it to boldly establish a strong effect of contrasted light so that it cocoons a vibrant intricacy and that the drawing (read more)

The Weaver of Dreams

Posted by Robert Beer on 7/29/2010 10:48:18 PM
Swirling mists of energy. The witch is near. Reason is ground to dust. Last weekend I stood in the churchyard at Stoke Gabriel. I looked out over the land down to where the river kisses the banks. The tree was overwhelming in its power. The supports, humanly erected, had rotted with age But the yew was braced with living power. An old man spoke to me of an age of fifteen hundred years But as I beheld the tree it murmured, "Much more". On Sunday 1st April I will apply once more (read more)

Human beings can't stand much reality

Posted by Robert Beer on 7/29/2010 10:49:40 PM
The Devon Guild of Craftsmen rejected my application saying, via their secretary, that the work was too fragile and breakable!! Seemingly this gave the committee a very feeble excuse for ruling out that which they were incapable of assessing. Two days ago I received a letter from the Welsh Arts Council saying that they were having to reduce the number of illustrations in 'Arts in Wales 1950-75', and that my painting 'Synaesthesia - It Will Draw Blood From The Wind' will not now appear (read more)

The Moment of Conception

Posted by Robert Beer on 7/29/2010 10:52:14 PM
'The Moment of Conception' - 1981 This morning I went to meet Mr Leach and the curator of the Torquay Museum to discuss a commission for the large wall above the double staircase. The space is 12' x 10'. It is a very exciting space. I would like to do a triptych but I had to put up with comments like, "Is it the right way up?" when I showed them slides. I said, "Yes, if you had never seen a table and there was this object with four legs sticking up from a flat base." There was a pregnant (read more)

Harbour Rain

Posted by Robert Beer on 7/29/2010 10:52:38 PM
'Harbour Rain' - 1981 Tonight I went down to the harbour equipped with pieces of card, oil pastels, inks and gouache. It was incredible but I dusted down my old doctor's bag, which was in the cellar, and filled it with art materials, just as I did in the 1960's. I paced self-consciously around the harbour for fifteen minutes but at 9-30 I started to draw. The rain started to come down steadily but I carried on, able to work as the oil pastels resisted the rain. I got very wet and (read more)

The Cherry Bath

Posted by Robert Beer on 7/29/2010 10:54:18 PM
I am tremendously excited. The painting -"Synaestesia - The Cherry Bath" is framed in black, and will have either a silver or a gold 'hockey stick' to follow. I have fantastic faith in this painting, whether the Tolly Cobbold Arts Committee reject it or not. I know that it is hauntingly powerful! This painting, of Cherry in the bath, was later stabbed in a fit of anger with a sharp pencil by Cherry. John derived some humour from the fact that the pencil had made a precise circular hole at (read more)

The Spirit of Totnes

Posted by Robert Beer on 7/29/2010 10:54:43 PM
At 1-30 am I commenced a new painting 'The Spirit of Totnes' (6' x 5' approx). I went to London last Wednesday to see the Picasso at the Hayward Gallery. I also saw 'From El Greco to Goya' at the National Gallery and Kurt Schwitters at the Marlborough. I felt strangely subdued and a little empty as I strode around London. The force of Picasso's work got through to me. His 'Minotaur Series' moved me very deeply. The power of man the sexual monster, yet gentle with the sleeping (read more)