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This undated and unsigned mandala was painted in the late 1980's on the raw and unprimed Irish linen canvas that John Miles commonly used. He left the corners of this five-foot square canvas empty, while the soft interior of its outer halo is sprayed with a blue ring of aniline dye. A mass of nebulous structural forms emerge from the edge of the inner mandala with its countless calligraphic spiral and natural structures. And the heart of this mandala emerges from a luminous tunnel of spiraling nebula-like forms, giving the whole composition a soft feminine quality that mirrors the gentle pulse of Mother Nature in her most benign and nourishing aspect.
EXTRACTS FROM JOHN'S JOURNALS
I have gazed at many stars in many skies. I have marvelled at the scale of nature - incomplete as my understanding is. The power of night evokes the love of light, and as I perceive the cosmic stage, a single star moves down from the heavens, closer and closer until I am bathed in colours to which I add my tears of joy.
"Paranoia" - I see the beautiful twigs on the beech trees at the bottom of next door's garden. Suddenly it is as if they have taken on the animosity of people who don't like me. I am sensitive about all those forces, which my spirit seems to conjure up to oppose me. The ultimate fear would be for the whole of nature to gang up against me.
I have reached new depths of illness and despair. There is so much more to do with my art. I am desperate to finish my work before I die, but I am too ill to do anything without dramatic medical help or a miracle. I wonder what would have happened if Art had been my sole life and not marriage, children and Blackie! Perhaps I would be famous and not the broken forgotten being that feebly writes this.
In August 1988 John submitted two canvases for the Welsh National Eisteddfod Exhibition, one of which was 'The Room When No One Is There'. As usual both of his paintings were rejected, but attached to the back of one of these returned canvases was a note from the night security guard, which read:
I realize that this may appear strange, but I feel that I must write and say something about your paintings at the National Eisteddfod.
I have been on security duty for the last two weeks, ensuring that no one walks away with the paintings! So I doubt if anyone has looked at them more than myself.
Sir, nothing that I have ever seen submitted to the Eisteddfod in the last seven years has amazed me more. They are truly superb. Never have I seen so much care and detail in a painting. Of all the works, your paintings I know have been most noted.
Although I am no expert on art, thank you for making these lonely nights on security duty so worthwhile. Keep it up! I hope one day I will be the proud owner of a Miles painting, for I am certain you will be as famous one day as the greatest.
Yours sincerely and thankfully
© text by Robert Beer