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“River Journey” abstract lyrical expressionist british paintings jenny meehan

Come and meet me this year at the Kingston Artists’ Open Studios!
KAOS OPEN STUDIOS 10th/11th and 17th/18th June 2017 11 – 5pm at Studio KAOS 2 , 14 Liverpool Road Kingston KT2 7SZ
It’s no time at all! So pop this in your diary and make yourself a nice day out. Walk by the river in Kingston, Stroll in the park, walk along the studio trail, pop into a little cafe! Meet KAOS (we are a lovely bunch of creatives) and take a look at what we love investing ourselves into! And if you are someone who does collect art, be it just a few pieces or many, make a good choice and visit the artists direct…You can talk with us and find out more about the work in a way that you wouldn’t be able to do in a different context.
There are  over 90 artists showing work!  I am showing at KAOS 2, along with 8 other artists:
Sandra Beccarelli, Cressida Borrett, Lizzie Brewer, Caroline Calascione, Ikuko Danby, Bali Edwards, Yuka Maeda, and Anna Tikhomirova! See you there!

http://www.kingstonartistsopenstudios.co.uk/

 

Snails in the Studio

Still recovering from my knee replacement surgery, but getting around a bit more now.  The snails may well be moving more quickly than me!

abstract expressionist collage painting jenny meehan jamartlondon snail in the studio artists studio paintings

the snail in the studio jenny meehan abstract painting

 

 

This  painting-collage includes the munch marks of the snails who share my outdoor studio with me.  A market stall steel frame covered in reinforced heavy duty translucent tarpaulin is excellent for the purposes of working in when the weather is not too cold or damp.  I share this wonderful space with my snail friends.  Who also work slowly but very steadily, munching away at my painted cardboard samples of colours and textures and excreting them into multicoloured snail poo and card combinations.  There is none of their waste matter on the collage-painting but some of the card with the munch marks on it.  I find the effect quite attractive.  Sometimes very good things come from the most unexpected places!

I titled the work “Snail in the Studio” after my fellow workers…As interested as I am, in colour, which must satisfy something in them. They devour and work their way through the painted cardboard samples and they do add something to them!  I decided not to fight with them, but just go along with what was happening, so the painting offers them a place in my work!  There are a lot of images of knights fighting snails in old manuscripts, I have discovered. As those familiar with 13th and 14th century illuminated manuscripts can attest, images of armed knights fighting snails are common, especially in marginalia.

Different people have many different theories about what the image of a knight fighting a snail might be symbolising. The Continuum Encyclopedia of Animal Symbolism in Art says:  “The snail was a symbol of sloth and of those who are content with things of the material world at the expense of striving for the spiritual”.  I don’t quite get that one, because the snails in my studio are far from slothful.  They are manic and move very fast indeed.  They are industrious and ravenous beasts! They are certainly concerned with material things though.  Great consumers!  So if consumption is the point, then they may be symbolic of appetite I think.  And the knight to slay the fleshly appetites might be a possible route to go down.

Another idea might be that snails love to eat bark, paper, cardboard,  and similar materials. As far as the monks go, (bearing in mind their books would often be stored in damp places, maybe cellars or similar) I am sure they were very much aware of the risk of damage to their manuscripts/books from snails, and it makes a lot of sense for them to maybe depict this battle against potential destruction of their life work. Snails would be a suitable “enemy” for a bookish monk, bearing in mind their main occupation was producing manuscripts.  Maybe, including the image of the knight fighting the snail, would be a way of asserting that the word and the message of the text, recorded for continuity to be passed through the ages, would overcome any decay or destructive influences.  And also, this would resonate with their own very practical battle of protecting the work from snails eating it!

The “Snails in the Studio” painting includes my little nod, to the snails.  The studio tent is certainly a place of contemplation…As well as paint, I pray and meditate in this set apart space.  I reflect and review, sometimes read, and drink tea as much as possible. It is my holy place, my mini monastery, the place most available to me when I want to focus in on the inner room of my life.  And this is the best place to paint in, because of it being a dedicated space.

The snail — the archetypal slow creature, paradoxically endowed with implacable destructive power —might represent the agonising impossibility of accomplishing all that we hope to, because of the limits of time, and the knight  could teach us that we must nevertheless battle against the snail despite the inevitability of defeat.  I like this idea very much indeed. The reason being I think that in the context of my knee replacement surgery, and the long recovery and rehabilitation process, I am constantly facing the reality of not being able to accomplish all that I hope to, because I cannot rush time… I cannot make it go faster and I cannot speed up the process of recovery.  I am subject to time and it is only time that will reap gradual improvement. My giant metaphorical time-snail is felt to be very big at the moment!  So it’s a slightly different angle on time… but still orientated around the desire to achieve being confounded by the pace/passage of time!

In heraldry, the snail has a fixed meaning of perseverance and deliberation.  Certainly need plenty of that at the moment!

Thinking of snails in relation to reading, “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan” is now in an abridged form.  You can get to it by following this link, and the link is also on the side bar of this blog under “Pages”.

https://jennymeehan.wordpress.com/abridged-version-of-the-very-patient-knee-replacement-story-by-jenny-meehan/  It is still pretty long, so skimming may be a good idea!

Here’s a happy image of me walking around. With crutches I can now walk for a whole 40 minutes!  That’s more than I could do before the knee replacement!

walking after TKR

walking after TKR

 

 

Health Care

I have an ongoing interest in healthcare.  Earlier on in life I worked for ten years as a dental nurse.  It wasn’t planned.  Just a matter of leaving my DATEC Diploma in Art and Design course at Richmond Upon Thames College before the end, disillusioned and despondent.  Needing to leave home quickly.  Needing somewhere to live.  Needing money to be able to live.  So away with the art and into some nursing.  There was a Dental Surgery in Hampton Wick and as it was nearby and familiar (because it was were I had my own dental check ups!) I went along.  Didn’t expect to get the job.  Didn’t like it very much at first, but in the end, got rather enthusiastic.  Trained.

Looking back it was a very suitable job for me.   A good move.  What is more, it enabled me to go to University later as a mature student in my late twenties, as it was just the right kind of job to have while studying at the same time.  No work to take home.  And plenty of work available.  And enjoyable.  I did enjoy dental nursing very much indeed. And the whole role of nursing is such a valuable one.  It makes such a difference to a persons experiences when they feel vulnerable, afraid and anxious.  It is nice to help people in such situations.  To calm and reassure them.

I was very pleased to be part of “The Art of Caring”  http://www.artofcaring.org.uk/ in 2016 and went along to several events celebrating  International Nurses Day which reminded me what an important profession it is.

For 2017 “The Art of Caring”

The Theme
Although your art/photo should respond to the theme of Caring/Care we will be giving special attention to those artworks which respond to the theme of Sustainability. This is because the worldwide theme for International Nurses Day in 2017 is Nursing: A voice to lead – Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Sustainability
The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance
Or your interpretation of the theme…….
The Exhibitions
The Art of Caring is split into two clear exhibitions.
The first is at St George’s Hospital (3rd-12th May 2017) where printed postcards of your artwork are displayed on the walls of the hospital to help celebrate International Nurses Day. This is an inclusive exhibition.
The second is at St Pancras Hospital (July-October 2017) and uses a mixture of original artworks and printed postcards. Works will be selected by Arts Project curators Peter Herbert and Elaine Harper-Gay.
With my knee replacement experiences of needing care and treatment, the value of those working in healthcare was brought afresh to me.  As part of my experience I began to be aware of other forces at work, and realised that my experience of the health service was affected by many different ebbs and flows.  I discovered the Kings Fund, and the discovery was very helpful. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/six-ways
Quote from the link:
“In The King’s Fund report Thinking about rationing, Rudolf Klein and Jo Maybin describe a useful framework for understanding the different ways in which access to high-quality care can be limited by commissioners and providers, building on earlier work by Roy Parker. Their typology outlines six ways in which patients can be affected by financial pressures and provides a useful means of examining what is happening in local health systems.
  1. Deflection
  2. Delay
  3. Denial
  4. Selection
  5. Deterrence
  6. Dilution

The first five categories relate to restrictions on access to care, the final category (dilution) relates to reductions in the quality of care.”  credit: written on 31 March 2016 Ruth Robertson

NHS financial crisis, elective surgery joint replacement rationing, TKR graphic art, graphic image knee joint,abstract knee replacement design,abstract artwork knee joint, © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

NHS financial pressures knee replacement jenny meehan © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

So you see above my contribution to the theme “Sustainability”.

On the theme of knee replacement surgery,  the recovery and  rehabilitation from my surgery which was on the 8th March is certainly a marathon.  But I’m doing my exercises!  Getting there slowly.  My experience of being cared for in hospital was amazing! It couldn’t have been better! So impressed!   I wrote a lot about it in “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan” which is on a separate page of this blog.  Look to the right hand side under pages and you can follow the link to it there if knee replacement surgery and patients experience of it is of interest to you! As well as the full version, which had colour coded text to help selective reading, “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan” is now in an abridged form.  You can get to it by following this link, and the link is also on the side bar of this blog under “Pages”.

https://jennymeehan.wordpress.com/abridged-version-of-the-very-patient-knee-replacement-story-by-jenny-meehan/  It is still pretty long, so skimming may be a good idea!

 

Here is the introduction to the full version, as a sample of the reading experience.  I do go on!!!!!

Full Version of “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan”

Warning!  This is VERY long.  For the abridged version of  “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan ” follow this link: https://jennymeehan.wordpress.com/abridged-version-of-the-very-patient-knee-replacement-story-by-jenny-meehan/

No Problem/Moving On abstract art print by Jenny Meehan jamartlondon.com bright bold motivational art for physiotherapy experience personal mobility challenges, jenny meehan,

No Problem/Moving On sign of the times series jenny meehan

Do you like this print?  Buy it, easily and safely, through Redbubble.com:

https://www.redbubble.com/people/jennyjimjams/works/20507601-no-problem-moving-on-geometric-colour-abstract-print-by-jenny-meehan-jamartlondon-com?asc=u

Introduction to “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” by Jenny Meehan

Before I start, or should I say finish, bearing in mind that this post at the beginning, is the post at the end of the story, even though it is not the end of the story, because it is also the beginning…

You are clear on that, yes?  !!!

Never mind! It depends which way round you choose to read this!

You will need patience to read this story.  But I am needing so much patience myself, and it’s a good thing to cultivate.  So it might be useful for you to bear with me.    “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” will be added to, probably in a couple of months time, as I am still writing it periodically.  So, here is the full version of “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” as it stands on 4th April 2017.   If you want a much shorter read on a patients experience of knee replacement surgery and recovery, then I have posted some extracts from my story as part of a post I made for April 2017. And there is the abridged version!

Warning! This present version is VERY long! (Around the length of a PhD!) It has some text in a different colour, so that if you are not interested in exercises or mental meandering, you can be aided in your reading by knowing which areas to skip over with ease. Information I’ve found in the expanse of the internet will often be in sea green. Text related to physiotherapy and exercises will be in orange, and mental meanderings will be in blue. You can then jump right over those in your reading if you wish.  Even if you do that, it’s still a good two hour read! But I couldn’t bear to cut the text out, and didn’t think it right to, even if not of interest to the majority,  because if you are considering a knee replacement, I can tell you now, you will need to make yourself interested in exercises and mental meandering, because it is likely you will be doing a fair amount of both! And you will need patience.

If you do prefer a shorter version then follow the link to the abridged version: https://jennymeehan.wordpress.com/abridged-version-of-the-very-patient-knee-replacement-story-by-jenny-meehan/

I have called this “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” as it features a chapter of my life which, while it is still ongoing, (my knee replacement surgery was recently carried out on the 8th March 2017), was one of those experiences where time takes on a new dimension, and patience, as a virtue, does come into its own. The story as it stands at present, covers the time period from January 2017  to a couple of weeks after my knee replacement surgery,  but  it alludes back in time, (rather a lot!) as I recall the past, and try and make some kind of sense from it.

I think I have realised that what often happens in life, is we are very patient, but not out of choice, rather out of desperation, and a hope that something will change.   In some situations, patience is not a virtue.  Sometimes we wait, hoping, wondering, worrying, and being passive, but could be taking some action ourselves. We can wait too long for a change to happen and in the process of doing so, cause ourselves and others, a lot of distress.  We sometimes have some control over what happens, even if only a small amount, and we need to take it.  It might be the smallest of actions. A change of mind, or of direction.   A few questions asked.  An attempt at trying some new venture, or seeking any small thing which might help, clarify, or educate.  We might need to question something, and challenge it, rather than accept it.  We might need to raise our expectations both of ourselves and of how others treat us.  We may need to find faith in the process, where we currently harbour only doubt.  Just sitting there and waiting, while sometimes the right thing to do, isn’t always the right thing.

Waiting is not the same as patience.  Sometimes you can be patient, but choose not to wait.

I have been patient, but I did not want to wait, because I felt the timing for having knee replacement surgery on my very arthritic  (I prefer the term “screwed up”) right knee was ripe.  Now the knee replacement surgery  is done, and the story and journey continue, and indeed, I know in my heart of hearts, it was right to have this surgery now.  I’m a “young” knee replacement recipient, at just 52,  so in the decision for a knee replacement at this point is also embedded the prospect of revision surgery in the future.  It will take a long time to reap the benefits fully, but I am already reaping them now, just a few weeks post-operatively, and all the distress of the last two years can fade into the background.  This hasn’t happened quite yet, as you will see from my narrative, but it is happening, and it is happening in the light of me having a life which I can now walk through, with some chance of regularly being able to walk for an hour, and probably even more.  If this expectation seems a little low, and it probably is, it is because my expectations with respect to my quality of life shrunk before my eyes, and this alarming experience was made all the more alarming by the thoughts which were sown in my mind that it was reasonable simply to accept what was happening and live with it.  I did not accept these ideas in the end, though I toyed with them for a while,  and felt a certain amount of pressure to accept them.

I hope my writing about my experience, and sharing some of the thought processes I went through, will help someone else in some way.  Every person’s situation is different and everyone’s knees are different.  The knee is the largest load bearing joint of the body, and this, for me, is as well as being a simple fact, is also profoundly resonant psychologically.  Because my story is one not just of the problems with this load bearing joint, but the psychological load bearing which my knee has brought me into. The struggle involved in  making a decision to have elective knee replacement surgery, and the need for determination and faith at a time  when I was  already pretty discouraged and distressed.  (Anxious and depressed, at times, in the end!)  And it is a story of patience.  When feeling the pressure.

Patience is power.
Patience is not an absence of action;
rather it is “timing”
it waits on the right time to act,
for the right principles
and in the right way.”
― Fulton J. Sheen

Patience is  born from our inability to control much in our lives, and while we by our very natures, like to be in control, the reality is that while we exert control in some areas, we find ourselves in this vast pool of life, subject to all kinds of forces, influences, situations, people,  and experiences which we do not have any control over at all. Or very little.   Sometimes we did have control of an area of our life, at least in part, but did not see it, either because we were unwilling or unable to. Sometimes we were simply subjects, and didn’t have the power or ability to change things. We are broken, and lack insight at times to recognise what is going on. We misunderstand others and we misunderstand ourselves.  I think often the hardest person to understand in our life is ourselves, and we are also often the hardest person to get along with!

In this quest for understanding and getting along with ourselves, we  encounter our broken parts…our injured internal limbs, which stop us from moving as freely as we would like to move.  This “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” which orbits around my personal experience with osteoarthritis of my right knee and the decision for getting my knee surgically treated, is a personal narrative, first and foremost, which might be of interest to other obese 52 year olds who are considering elective surgery.  Or others, of other ages, who are not obese, but who are considering knee replacement surgery! It might be interesting for anyone working with patients having knee replacement surgery, or “TKR”s, as they are often termed.  (Total Knee Replacements). It’s not the usual type of patient account/diary/story of TKR, as I let myself dwell in waters deep; a little theological here and there, a bit philosophical, a little bit practical, with some research and some emotional angst as well.  It’s long. You’ve been warned!  It has many extra miles in it, and like my life at the moment, cannot be rushed through!  Recovery is a slow process. But gives me a lot of time to write!

My experience of increased pain and disability due to osteoarthritis in my right knee was something which came upon me rather more suddenly than I could ever have imagined, and it changed my life dramatically from the beginning of 2015 onward.  With my knee replacement surgery in March 2017, the journey is not over, but it is significantly altered, as is my life, which is  already much better.  I am not sure how unusual such a rapid deterioration of a knee joint is, and I do not have the means to judge my own experience in a comparative way, with others,  but I imagine that my previous injury to the knee in 2010, no doubt contributed to the state of the knee being quite as dire as it was.   Well, whatever the whys and wherefores, this is my knee replacement story as it stands (rather nice and straight!) at the moment. I have kept my narrative centred on myself, and not included all the wonderful, lovely people who have helped me through this time.  I prefer to keep confidentiality unless specific permission has been given by people I write about, but one of the fantastically valuable aspects of my experience has been the way I have realised how much God can bless, work, and use people, working in hearts, minds, words and understanding, to knit together, in a healing way, the wounds we all carry and experience in our lives. It’s been a wonderful last few months.

I trust you’ll get something worthwhile from it, if you are patient enough to read it, that is!  Though I have packed it into some form of organisation, also strays this way and that, meandering, in the style of my usual blog “Jenny Meehan, Contemporary Artist’s Journal – The Artist’s Meandering Discourse”.    Written from my perspectives as a Christian, aspects of my faith are shared as they are an integral part of my life, and my understanding of my experience is that it has very much been a matter of me learning to trust God, to wait patiently, and to expect good things.  But trusting God, waiting patiently, and expecting good things, are not passive, and do not preclude taking actions or making decisions.  Indeed, the power and ability and strength to take action, comes from “Waiting on God”. The timing, the principles, the way.  As I quoted earlier, but will again, because it is of the essence of what I have learnt through this experience:

“Patience is power.
Patience is not an absence of action;
rather it is “timing”
it waits on the right time to act,
for the right principles
and in the right way.”
― Fulton J. Sheen

As a believer in a marvellously mysterious Creator, yet one also intimately involved in our lives, (if we wish this to be so), I can see how I muddle through things, often rather blindly, and in my stumbling around, often make things quite hard for myself.  However, through all this, God manages to work, and writing this story also means I can look back and be reminded afresh of this time.  Whatever happens with my knee replacement in the future…that great unknown… nothing can take away the rich and rewarding aspects of this experience.  Though it certainly has not been easy, this experience  is one through which I have made progress, and also gained more faith through.

Sometimes when writing, people dedicate their writing to others, and I dedicate this piece of writing to the wonderful people who have been part of this experience; the friends, family, and NHS staff, my surgeon, and all those who made it possible for me to get where I am at the moment.  Anyone who has helped me in any way.  You know who you are!  And I also dedicate it to my knee, which though it found the pressure too much to bear without some reformation, still continues to bear my weight, even while traumatised and healing.

It’s early days.  But I’ve come forward miles already.

Here goes…Be patient!

Most recent entry is first. “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan”  can be read either way, from the present backwards, or in chronological order.

Well that’s the introduction!  If you are brave enough to read it, you may find you enter your own experience of being a knight fighting a snail, because it does go on!!!!   I am hoping it might be of use to those who do have a knee replacement operation.  It’s very helpful to read of other peoples experiences. 

Meditation Garden

Very pleased to see what is happening in the garden at the moment!

 

abstract graphic art, geometric design, contemplative christianity artist christian uk, british female contemporary art, colourful graphic garden design, art print to buy simple piece, jamartlondon.com © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

sign of the times series jenny meehan

And I have spent quite a bit of time pottering around in the garden, which is very enjoyable!  Plus doing what I am able to do for the:

Forthcoming Kingston Artists’ Open Studios for 2017

jenny meehan lyrical abstraction british 21st century emerging artist contemporary, london based female artists fine painting british women artists jenny meehan, christian art contemplative spirituality art, contemplative meditational aids for reflection through art and painting, jenny meehan jamartlondon collectable original paintings affordable,

“No Fear” painting by jenny meehan abstract lyrical expressionist british paintings jenny meehan

 

“No Fear” is one of the paintings I plan to bring along and show as part of this years Kingston Artists’ Open Studios.

Interesting among  other things for the combination of some of my more graphic strands of working, for example, the “Signs of the Times” series (of which “Meditation Garden” is one) but this time happening in paint, with, quite literally, a more lyrical edge to it.  Plus the joys of action painting!

To simplify one’s painting from time to time is a helpful habit.  It tends to get over involved if you are not careful.  That is OK to a point but it can be a slippery  slope to lost perspective.

 

Emily Carr Quote:

Emily Carr. Carr said “Art is art, nature is nature, you cannot improve upon it… Pictures should be inspired by nature, but made in the soul of the artist; it is the soul of the individual that counts.”

© Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

Above “Dear Life” photograph by Jenny Meehan © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

 

Well, because of all the time I am spending with my knee surgery rehabilitation, I am going to finish promptly, for a change!  Do come along and see me at the Open Studios if you can.  Feel free to email me and let me know if you are coming and introduce yourself when you visit!  Remember:

KAOS OPEN STUDIOS 10th/11th and 17th/18th June 2017 11 – 5pm at Studio KAOS 2 , 14 Liverpool Road Kingston KT2 7SZ
It’s no time at all! So pop this in your diary and make yourself a nice day out. Walk by the river in Kingston, Stroll in the park, walk along the studio trail, pop into a little cafe! …Visit several studios and meet lots of artists! You can talk with us and find out more about the work in a way you wouldn’t be able to do in a different context.
There are 90 artists showing work in total. I am showing at KAOS 2, along with 8 other artists:
Sandra Beccarelli, Cressida Borrett, Lizzie Brewer, Caroline Calascione, Ikuko Danby, Bali Edwards, Yuka Maeda, and Anna Tikhomirova! See you there!

http://www.kingstonartistsopenstudios.co.uk/

 

About Jenny Meehan 

 Jenny Meehan (Jennifer Meehan) is a painter-poet, artist-author
inspired by contemplative practices including prayer and mindfulness,
Christ-centred spirituality, various psychoanalytic themes
and trauma recovery processes.
See examples of her painting at jamartlondon.com

Flagging this years Artists’ Open Studios Event first!

Come and meet me this year at the Kingston Artists’ Open Studios!
KAOS OPEN STUDIOS 10th/11th and 17th/18th June 2017 11 – 5pm at Studio KAOS 2 , 14 Liverpool Road Kingston KT2 7SZ
It’s no time at all! So pop this in your diary and make yourself a nice day out. Walk by the river in Kingston, Stroll in the park, walk along the studio trail, pop into a little cafe! Meet KAOS (we are a lovely bunch of creatives) and take a look at what we love investing ourselves into! And if you are someone who does collect art, be it just a few pieces or many, make a good choice and visit the artists direct…You can talk with us and find out more about the work in a way that you wouldn’t be able to do in a different context.
There are 90 artists showing work in total. I am showing at KAOS 2, along with 8 other artists:
Sandra Beccarelli, Cressida Borrett, Lizzie Brewer, Caroline Calascione, Ikuko Danby, Bali Edwards, Yuka Maeda, and Anna Tikhomirova!

See you there!

http://www.kingstonartistsopenstudios.co.uk/

And now that’s flagged up, for the time being, what have I been able to do in the last few months painting wise?  Not very much!  But I have been writing!

Introduction to “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” by Jenny Meehan – A Patient’s TKR Account

In March 2017 I had knee replacement surgery on my right knee. Painting involves a lot of walking and standing, so rendered slightly out of action for a while, I took up my pen, and applied myself to some writing.

Writing has been part of my work for a long time, though mostly being used for my artist’s journal, writing statements to accompany art works, and a little bit of poetry. Writing “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” kept me focused over a challenging time, and is a very long patient’s account of knee replacement surgery, or TKR (total knee replacement) as it is often termed.

Though it is not finished yet,  I am posting it here in  “Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal – The Artist’s Meandering Discourses” for the time being.  It is on a separate page to this, the main part of the blog.  Look around, and hopefully, if I have worked out how to do it, you will find a link to click on! The writing is finished,  apart from the weekly updates, which I will put in later. There are two versions, the full Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan and the abridged Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan.  So take your pick.

Link to abridged version here: https://jennymeehan.wordpress.com/abridged-version-of-the-very-patient-knee-replacement-story-by-jenny-meehan/

If you plan to read “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” I need to warn you it is VERY long.  The nature of time does change when you are suffering, but I do not want to make you suffer. Instead, you can  scroll.  And bypass any part which you don’t wish to bear with.  “If only life was like that!”, I am thinking.  However, it is often in the harder and more challenging parts of life that we learn and grow the most.  That has been my experience, at least. I am aware that some peoples interest won’t stretch into the depths of the full narrative, so the abridged version may help in that respect.  If you would like more detail on exercises, the psychological and emotional challenges, and practical information useful to someone having  knee replacement surgery, then there is more of that in the full version!

Link to full version of The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan https://jennymeehan.wordpress.com/the-very-patient-knee-replacement-story-by-jenny-meehan/

As not a lot else has been happening apart from my knee replacement extravaganza,  I will include in this post a few little excerpts from “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” a bit later on.  At the current time, I am resting, exercising and recovering from what is a major surgery.  In  June this year I am taking part in this years Surrey Artists Open Studios/KAOS Kingston Artists’ Open Studios on  13/14th, 19/20th from 11-5 each day.  I am part of Studio 2, which is at 14 Liverpool Road KT2 7SZ along with 8 other talented artists; Sandra Beccarelli, Cressida Borrett, Lizzie Brewer, Caroline Calascione, Ikuko Danby, Bali Edwards, Yuka Maeda  and Anna Tikhomirova. So at some point in the  next month I need to prepare for that!  Hopefully in a few months I will be more mobile and stronger.

abstract lyrical expressionist british paintings jenny meehan

abstract lyrical expressionist british paintings jenny meehan

“Simple Piece/Crossing Over” painting.  This will be one of the paintings I show at this year’s Kingston Artists’ Open Studios.   Look forward to seeing you there!  Come along and maybe even visit a few of the artist’s studios.  There are over 80 artists taking part this year. Our biggest ever Open Studio event yet!

The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story Extracts

Below I have selected some extracts from “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story”.

“I think I have realised that what often happens in life, is we are very patient, but not out of choice, rather out of desperation and a hope that something will change.   In some situations, patience is not a virtue.  Sometimes we wait, hoping, wondering, worrying, and being passive, but could be be taking some action ourselves. We can wait too long for a change to happen…and in the process of doing so, cause ourselves and others, a lot of distress.  We sometimes have some control over what happens, even if only a small amount, and we need to take it.  It might be the smallest of actions. A change of mind, or of direction.   A few questions asked.  An attempt at trying some new venture, or seeking any small thing which might help, clarify, or educate.  We might need to question something, and challenge it, rather than accept it.  We might need to raise our expectations both of ourselves and of how others treat us.  We may need to find faith in the process, where we currently harbour only doubt.  Just sitting there and waiting, while sometimes the right thing to do, isn’t always the right thing.

Waiting is not the same as patience.  Sometimes you can be patient, but choose not to wait.”

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“I hope my writing about my experience, and sharing some of the thought processes I went through, will help someone else in some way.  Every person’s situation is different and everyone’s knees are different.  The knee is the largest load bearing joint of the body, and this, for me, is as well as being a simple fact, is also profoundly resonant psychologically.  Because my story is one not just of the problems with this load bearing joint, but the psychological load bearing which my knee has brought me into. The struggle involved in  making a decision to have elective knee replacement surgery, and the need for determination and faith at a time  when I was  already pretty discouraged and distressed.  (Anxious and depressed, at times, in the end!)  And it is a story of patience.  When feeling the pressure.

Patience is power.
Patience is not an absence of action;
rather it is “timing”
it waits on the right time to act,
for the right principles
and in the right way.”
― Fulton J. Sheen

Patience is  born from our inability to control much in our lives, and while we by our very natures, like to be in control, the reality is that while we exert control in some areas, we find ourselves in this vast pool of life, subject to all kinds of forces, influences, situations, people,  and experiences which we do not have any control over at all. Or very little.   Sometimes we did have control of an area of our life, at least in part, but did not see it, either because we were unwilling or unable to. Sometimes we were simply subjects, and didn’t have the power or ability to change things. We are broken, and lack insight at times to recognise what is going on. We misunderstand others and we misunderstand ourselves.  I think often the hardest person to understand in our life is ourselves, and we are also often the hardest person to get along with!”

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My experience of increased pain and disability due to osteoarthritis and the degeneration of my right knee was something which came upon me rather more suddenly than I could ever have imagined, and it changed my life dramatically from the beginning of 2015 onward.  With my knee replacement surgery in March 2017, the journey is not over, but it is significantly changed, as is my life, already, much better.  I am not sure how unusual such a rapid deterioration is, and I do not have the means to judge my own experience in a comparative way, with others,  but I imagine that my previous injury to the knee in 2010, no doubt contributed to the state of the knee being quite as dire as it was.   Well, whatever the whys and wherefores, this is my knee replacement story as it stands (rather nice and straight!) at the moment. I have kept my narrative centred on myself, and not included all the wonderful, lovely people who have helped me through this time.  I prefer to keep confidentiality unless specific permission has been given by people I write about, but one of the fantastically valuable aspects of my experience has been the way I have realised how much God can bless, work, and use people, working in hearts, minds, words and understanding, to knit together, in a healing way, the wounds we all carry and experience in our lives.”

 

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“...But the most important thing for me as a Christian is a recognition of the need to trust in an eternal loving Creator with myself. With ALL of myself.  Including my knee!  This isn’t easy.

This involves trusting other people, and receiving the ministry of love as it comes in its various forms.  Sometimes those forms are clear and obvious, and seem desirable and are much wanted by us.  Sometimes those forms come by way of difficulties, challenges and even hardships. But within all things, the careful eye and heart may be able to detect the hand of God, working diligently away, weaving together the discrete parts of our broken lives and healing all wounds with His (Her) own wounds.  Because, if we choose to believe in a loving, compassionate, and intimately involved Creator, who cares, loves us, and want the VERY BEST FOR US, then we can have faith, hope, and love, and trust that in ALL things God works for our good.  This is what I have learnt. And I  thank Christ for the work of the cross and the love of God, revealed so beautifully, in so many people who have been part of this journey.  A journey only just begun. “

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It is a hugely challenging situation to find oneself  entertaining long term disability in the knowledge that something CAN be done to treat a key component of your problem (knee surface/bio-mechanical factors), but that” something” is  presented to you as needing to be avoided at all costs.  Maybe for an older patient, in their 60’s, the thought of needing to delay knee replacement surgery for five years in order to possibly get away with just one surgical procedure may not seem quite so daunting, and might be worth weighing up say five years of suffering in order to balance it out with a possibly avoided second revision surgery later on.  Just possibly.   But for a 52 year old, the prospect of waiting takes on a rather pointless aspect. Knee replacement surgery, though a major operation, is routine, tried and tested, and effective for the majority of people.  If someone does not want to delay the surgical treatment of their knee joint, as long as they understand that the prospects of further surgery are likely to be part of their experience, then there is no reason why surgical treatment in the form of knee replacement should not be presented to them as positive move in the right direction.  It is not an emblem of final defeat.  Or something negative. It is a wonderful surgery which can give people back their lives.  Even if it does need to be re-done.”

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“I cannot deny I found the psychological and emotional aspect much harder to accept. All the questions and insecurities. I began to wonder if I was seriously expected to accept the changes in my quality of life. Was it seriously realistic to plan my life around my knee to such a degree? Was it right that I should be expected to do this?  Did I have a choice in the matter?  In theory, the answer was yes.  But in practice, was this the same?  Being obese and 52? Did this change my situation? Is the knee replacement procedure really a procedure of “limited clinical value” or is it rather that my life, which could be potentially  transformed by accessing knee replacement surgery, is of limited value?  Because if it mattered, surely knee replacement surgery would be being presented to me in a more positive light? As an option for my problem to positively consider.   No one I spoke with said anything positive about getting a  knee replacement  apart from a few people I know who had had knee replacements or knew someone else who had had one. Later on (or earlier on, depending which way your read this), I include a quote from the 2012 Briggs report. I am asking myself now if the “limited clinical value” idea has a leg to stand on.  Ho Ho!  If it does, I trust, that if unable to stand, it might at least be presented with knee replacement surgery in a positive light.  Actually, second thoughts, let’s not afford it that opportunity, and just cut the blasted thing off! “

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“Physiotherapy after Knee Replacement Surgery

The community physiotherapist came today and is very nice.  She tells me I am doing very well and reassures me with respect to my quadriceps going on strike.  They will come back.  She shows me an exercise where I do little squats.  It is amazingly hard work but feels great because I can feel the inner quadriceps muscle in a very obvious way.  Possibly pain, but feels more like a burn and a strong pull.  To me this, while it is not pleasant, does offer a reminder of the presence of the muscle, so this is quite motivating.   Certainly not agony. (I did take my pain medication a couple of hours before she came).  When I try the seated  I am pleased with the visit.  She checks various movements and gives me lots of useful information and advice.  I am very grateful for this input.  Left to my own devices,  it would be very easy for anxiety to set in, and the encouragement is needed at such a time as this!

Doing stretches (flexion and extension) dotted all over the day.  Really helps to have an ice pack (even a not completely icy ice pack!  The cooling is still helpful) handily.  I stick it on after doing a few stretches here and there.   ICE was one of my main methods of pain management before the knee replacement operation.  After it, ICE application is a constant task!  Every two hours or near enough for a full blast ice pack.  And after that I still use the pack when slightly thawed about 20 minutes later.  It is still cool and effective.  I have plenty, around six, so I can do this no problem.  I do push the knee a little bit, so there is an ache when I bend and extend it. But I only press into it for a very short while, and I don’t push into it more than three of four times, and then, just a bit. Then stick the ice pack on, and ache is gone.  I wouldn’t call it pain exactly. Well, it is really, but I choose not to think of it that way.  It would be pain if it hung around for ages, bothering me and popping up at the most inconvenient times.  That was a pre-operative experience.  Pain is frustrating and tyrannical.  Ache is work, and worth the effort because it will get me somewhere.  There is a slightly stingy pain along the incision, which feels a bit like a zip, but it’s no worse than the sting I had when I cut my hand when washing up.  That kind of stingy scab healing feeling! It’s kind of numb too. Very strange feeling!”

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There is a lot in “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” about physiotherapy after TKR (Total Knee Replacement).  This is mainly because for the first few weeks my whole existence gravitates around exercises, resting, and basic self care!

Another extract:

My main concern with the exercises is that I don’t get discouraged and that I continue to do them.  Continuing to do them means that I am careful NOT to wear myself out, and careful to make sure when I do them I do them to the best of my ability.  It means that, though I am a very sociable person, I am restricting my visitors, as I mentioned earlier. Otherwise I will get too  tired.  I can also some of the exercises at the same time as seeing people.  Seated heel slides and sitting in front of my static exercise bike while pedalling are the ones that most lend themselves to conversation without drawing a grimace on my face.

Rather than have distinct exercise sessions of a long duration, I am tending to organise the exercises I do around the usual activities I need to do.  I am also grouping them now into bed (lying down) based exercises, chair based exercises, and standing based exercises.  When I get into the different basic positions, I then have a string of exercises I can do from my location/position/necessary activity.  This works well.  It is piecemeal, but does have a nice informal pattern to it.  Sometimes I just do one exercise.  Sometimes a string of three.  Still working out which ones are best where, and when.  But I think it will come.  I am only doing a few repetitions.  And I have noticed that as I gradually move around more, just every day movements involve me using my operated leg in ways which stretch and challenge its strength.

The one thing I  AM doing religiously is making sure I am alternating  my knee regularly from bent to straight.  Icing and resting it.  Getting up each hour, or near enough.   And now having a short walk in the garden.  The operated leg is still quite swollen around the knee area, and this does make it hard to bend.  I am so pleased with the straightness of it.  I have to put my mind to remembering to work on the bend also.  It often feels very stiff because of the swelling, but does seem a little easier to move than it did last week. At hospital, the physiotherapist’s last words were something like “Make sure you reduce the swelling” and I have that hanging in the air.  Hence the considerable efforts of ice and elevation.  It seems that exercises are pretty much all I have to write about currently. That’s the main focus of life at the present time!

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I felt very despondent today. Fine for most of the day, but very tired.  It was the end of the day, my pain medication was wearing off, and I decided to try to do something very difficult with my operated leg at the moment by trying to lift it up and down off the two pillows I was using to support it while icing.  It was a case of wrong timing, wrong movement (trying to do something which I already feel demoralised with) and bad pain management, as I had forgotten to take my pain medication on time.  This meant that the whole experience has left me feeling low. And slightly anxious, worrying that my quad muscles will not return to action as they used to. As I tried to lift the leg, supporting it with my hand, it was just that little bit too painful and unhappy to tolerate. But still I insisted on doing it ten times.   I have to ask myself why I thought this was a good idea.  What am I trying to do here?

It was because I thought I SHOULD be able to do it, but at this early stage, and not yet having had my physiotherapy follow up appointment, what would I know?  Who says I should?  Why did I insist on giving myself a hard time with it at a time which is the least optimal time of day for me?  Why did I try and do it at all?  It is far out of the range of things which I can do “just a little bit”.   If I want to do exercises or movements I find more challenging, I should choose something that I can do to a small extent, and work on that.  And I have to bear in mind what my leg has been through.  It is so tempting to think that things should be easier and happen more quickly.  But it will take a long time for my leg to get back to full working order.  And I have completely discounted all the things it can do, and am just focusing on what it cannot.

I would be better off simply sticking with lots of quads sets and not worrying about things.  There is also a “Discharge Line” which I can phone with concerns.  I will see how things go, but I can phone this if need be.  That is what it is there for…patients with concerns.  This is NOT something I need to deal with alone.  I will wait for a week or so, but will call in a week or so if no improvement at all, providing  I have not been contacted by the community physiotherapy service.

Sorry leg.  Sorry knee.   I will try and be nicer to you. I will give you some things you can do well tomorrow, with a little bit of challenge, but not too much.  I need to keep myself positive, and in order to do that, at what is a difficult time for my whole being, I would be wiser to take things a little more gently.  As long as I keep the range of motion in order, I am sure the strength will come back in time.  My whole body is very tired and recovering.  My quad muscles were struggling BEFORE the surgery. I must not forget that.  I really must be patient.  And everyone is different.  Just because the exercises are in the booklet, it doesn’t mean I should be able to do all of them at this stage.  It is VERY early days.  I think tomorrow I need to resolve to give myself a bit of a “day off” apart from a few very gentle exercises.  Because I am quite fragile, and it is amazing after surgery, how what would have been a little discouragement, turns into something quite heavy, which can make you despondent.  And how easy it is to start becoming anxious when tired and despondent.

Really important to keep on top of the pain.

Really important to rest and not stretch myself too much.

Really important to leave any concerns about rehabilitation to the professionals.

Really important to be patient, patient, patient.  And if any hint of frustration, more patient!

Tomorrow I will have a bit more of a focus on the walking, as I am VERY good at that, and STAND up nice and tall!!!!! With my VERY straight operated leg.  I will have a celebration of LEG STRAIGHTNESS DAY.

And also work on flexion a bit too.

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Alongside the focus on pain management and exercises, I include other considerations which were part of my experience.  For example, various subheadings include:

Having Someone to Look After you After Knee Replacement Surgery

Infection

Sleeping after Knee Replacement Surgery

Walking in the Early Days after knee replacement Surgery

RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)

The Pesky Oxford Knee Score and the Younger Patient

The Pesky Oxford Knee Score and the Younger Patient deserves a quote:

“I don’t like the Oxford Knee Score. That did not serve my interests well at all.  Full stop. Not when used as a tool to assess  supple “young” patients suffering from osteoarthritis with a high pain threshold who cannot walk very far or straighten their leg properly. Or patients with a positive outlook who tend to underplay their ever increasing restricted quality of life. (Anyone in mind, Jenny?) Oxford Knee Score problems I can think of:  The score time range is “in the last month”.  Four weeks is no time at all! Especially not with knee osteoarthritis, the symptoms of which vary immensely depending on  your activity levels.   And the Oxford Knee Score relies on the patient possessing an accurate picture of their situation.  Which they may not have. When someone becomes slowly and gradually disabled and their pain increases and their mobility decreases, all kind of coping mechanisms come into play, and one of those is DENIAL.  So when filling out an Oxford Knee Score, it is easy for a patient to put something which is more optimistic than their experience really is. Because you want to believe it!  Looking back I can see that I did that.  The Oxford Knee Score is too limited in scope to be used to make important decisions about if someone merits consideration for surgery or not.

Clinicians themselves wouldn’t just take it as it is and use it in an arbitrary way. Well, some might, others not.  They use their professional judgement and experience. But time is short, and the Oxford Knee Score  is quick and easy to use. But systems designed to save money would use it in an arbitrary way. Because then the more subtle aspects of patient care and accurate assessment of an individual situation can easily fall by the wayside.  There are many confines and restriction on what is possible in life.  That’s just the nature of things. We all live within them.  I think my experience has been one which has brought much closer to me the value of the NHS, and given me intimate personal experience of how much it does matter that it is given the funding that it needs.

I am not at all alone in my experience of feeling that I was expected to carry on longer than I felt able to in managing my situation without surgical intervention. The desperation I felt before being placed on a surgeon’s list is something I will never be able to accurately put into words.  I am thankful for the experience now, but  this is because I can look back on it and glean some wisdom and knowledge from it.  It has certainly made me more patient as a person. Patient with myself, with others, and with my knee!   I can feel thankful because I have received the treatment I needed which I was not able to access through any other means.  And when all is said and done, I think the surgical intervention was timely enough. It was just in time, for me.  When the ball got rolling, it rolled very quickly, which was a huge relief.  The hard bit was getting it started.   When you look back, and see the hardship, it does not seem quite so hard from the present vantage point, at least.  I lost out on a few opportunities and found the experience challenging and difficult.  In the light of potentially being able to walk for two hours, (though this is still a very long way away), it seems worth going through anything to open up the possibility of long term improvement. “

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I also  consider my experience bearing in mind the factors of not only being “young” in knee replacement surgery terms but also of being  obese.  Which is a nasty word, but unfortunately, even though I am slimmer than I have ever been, does still apply to me even at this present time, with my BMI being just over 30!

“I think, in reflection of my own experience,  I feared that being obese was effectively going to mean that I could not access knee replacement surgery.  I had realised that my excess body fat was basically stealing away my mobility several years back, and had already sought to try and increase my activity levels which, ironically, then highlighted the problems with my joints.  I did have a kind of personal revelation that I didn’t want to be restricted from fuller mobility by my physical body, and a diagnosis of osteoarthritis in  2015 was helpful in this respect.  A definite reality check.   You overload your joints with too much to  carry and this will make things worse.  So relieve the pressure and loose some weight.  That was an important place of realisation, and logical and sensible in every way.  That is when my desire to work on losing weight started.  I did my research, and had a fairly full appreciation of the clinical reasons why being overweight and having knee replacement surgery, both during surgery and with respect to the longer term outcomes, is something that does need to be addressed by a patient.  It could, quite unsurprisingly be argued, that in my case, the fear and anxiety were put to good use.  I really could not bear the thought of not having my knee treated surgically because every fibre of my being was telling me that this was the treatment I both wanted and needed.  My anxiety  was something which helped to cement my own application to weight loss, and helped to focus me in that direction.  However, I am very aware that for another person, this fear and anxiety could plummet them into despair, and they may not have the resilience and persistence that I had.

People need a lot of support to lose weight.  I certainly had a lot.  Not everyone has that support available.  For some people, having the surgery and understanding the need to look after their “new knee”could be something, (if properly educated and then supported after their surgery) that could potentially motivate them into continued weight loss and greater activity levels.  Some people will simply not be able to lose sufficient weight before having knee replacement surgery.  It would not be realistic for them.  Their pain and disability will stand against them just that little bit too much for them to make progress.   Even with my weight loss, which I am very pleased with, my symptoms did not improve.  I swam three times a week, accessed various public health programmes, and brought myself a stationary bike.  These options may not be there for many people.  I am still technically (just) in the obese category.  But I am mighty sure that it is going to be much easier for me to continue the weight loss I have started, once I can walk around for a few hours at a time!” 

Along with the rather more questionable subtitles, for example “The biggest poo I have ever done in my life”  and quite possibly too much emphasis on urination, there are some more refined matters I cover, for example:

 Making Life More Pleasurable When You Have Pain After A Knee Replacement Operation

Which includes thoughts on:

Mindfulness

Here is some text from that section:

Before Knee Replacement: (Often when doing yoga and praying)  I don’t know what professionals would recommend, but I would try breathing deeply in and out with full lung breaths for generally relaxing my body, which tends to get very tense when there is pain anywhere in it. I would also, when doing Yoga, send the breath into the area of pain and accept it, which isn’t easy. I didn’t force my body to do anything that was too painful, but there is a point at which the pain can be gently worked through,  or at least born with. If there is just some pain, but not too much.  Dwelling with the pain, as long as not too much, was quite confidence boosting because I came to the understanding that I could live with it.  And also, I was often surprised how, when not allowing the pain to stop me from moving, I was able to do, over time, much more than I expected. Well, certainly where Yoga was concerned.  Not the case with walking around sadly.  Or the periods of continuous pain. Pain at night is also harder to manage than during the day. However, learning to manage at least some of this pain in this way was helpful to me.  The more methods one has of managing pain the better.  I also used distraction techniques and redirecting my mind, as well as giving attention to the knee when it was hurting a lot.

Post knee replacement I am finding, (at the present time, at least), that I am using the same techniques during those times when the effect of the medication starts to wear off, and yet it is not quite time for the next dose.  It is also  handy  for the times when I am exercising and feeling pain, but it is at a pretty low level (mild) and I sense that it is not quite yet time to stop the exercise because of it.  I have a handy app called ” “Just Relax” which was free from the internet and it has different pieces of very relaxing and repetitive music on it.   The inviting titles on offer are: “artistic”, “autumn forest” “convent” “fresh morning” “heaven” “inspiration” “meditation” “om chanting”.

I am also meditating on pieces of scripture. I did this prior to surgery, in particular Psalm 112 verse 7 (because I am somewhat prone to “catastrophic thinking!”)
7 They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

My lovely husband read this out to me and it was very helpful.

Post surgery my favourites are:

Acts 17:28 New International Version (NIV)

28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[a] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[b]

Footnotes:

Acts 17:28 From the Cretan philosopher Epimenides
Acts 17:28 From the Cilician Stoic philosopher Aratus

Psalm 147 v 3

He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.

(I chose this one as I meditated on the vocation of nursing and how divine love may be expressed towards us through the care and attention of people who choose to serve in this way)

1 Peter 5 v 7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 

I also write about how I use:

Movement

Tens Machine

Massage

along with the

Pharmacological Management of Pain

I write quite a lot about how I am managing the pain in different ways.  The pain was not as bad as I expected it to be, going on some of the things I had read before my TKR.  But it was so well managed in hospital and I felt confident I could manage it at home too, which I did. I write endlessly about exercising, but please understand, doing exercises when you have had major surgery on your knee is a major achievement!

Next, a somewhat longer quote from the time in hospital.  I think I will include a lot of the text at this point.  It was such a great experience!  Also, to read the whole “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” is quite a marathon.  The time as hospital is “the main event”.  So I will quote all of the text from my patient knee replacement journey I think, starting with the day I leave the hospital.  I won’t put it in italics.

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Day four – (Saturday – Post knee replacement surgery) The time between walking out of the hospital and walking in the front door…Plus the rest of the first day at home!

It is a very bright and very sunny day! Walking away from  the hospital on my crutches today, was one of the most wonderful things that I have done for ages. I could actually feel the positive difference in the way I was walking on day two after the operation!  And felt the difference in the leg, even when not walking, in  the post-anesthesia care unit.  Obviously a lot of pain killers came into play, and still are.  But it is the way that my walking has changed which has affected the whole way I am holding my body. It’s an amazing experience!   I can straighten my leg properly and it has changed the way I move forwards… I thought this would be the case, but actually experiencing it is fantastic!  It feels better and easier to walk (obviously with crutches!) than it has for TWO years! If I could fly I wouldn’t…it is better to walk! THANK YOU! everyone who has helped me,  for getting me started on my journey. Now a lot of rehabilitation, but walking in the right direction now! At last!

I worked very hard on my extension, even on day one, by pushing my knee back into the bed.  And I have carried on, of course, with increasing the flexion.  I really did not expect it to be so good so early.  On discharge my extension was 0 and my flexion 85.  At pre admission my flexion was 110 and extension 10.  Amazing!  I now need to continue with all the exercises I have been given and develop strength in all the necessary parts! It is a full time job but worth investing in! It was amazing to see the post op X-ray.  It is heaven to look at the now very good joint space.  Which is nice and even! Now the exercises are likely to be more beneficial to me walking.   Completely different from the the X-ray in November 2016, with the tiny gap between bones on the medial side.  That was dramatic too, but in the wrong way.

It is easy to get slightly over excited and do too much and so I am doing my best to pace myself and make sure there is also plenty of resting going on.  The physiotherapist I saw on before leaving today reminded me to reduce the swelling as much as possible and ICE… so the freezer is ready and rearing to go!   I have sat down and worked out when I plan to take the various medications I am on, and am considering saving the morphine for “special occasions” if desperate.  I feel much better about using the Co-Dydramol and  Ibuprofen without the morphine if possible.  I did have a couple of small doses of morphine today, but though the very drugged feeling is undeniably VERY pleasant, it seems better to take a  path of avoiding it and managing pain in other ways, as I have been used to doing so often prior to the knee replacement operation.

It certainly pays to prepare.  Very handy to come back to things like there being a stair rail and an electrical socket by the bed for charging appliances like computers and phones.  All these little things count a great deal.  My husband is being wonderful and it is great to be in the home environment.  In the evening I tried out things like using the stairs and even tried out my exercise bike.  I wasn’t expecting that on my return home.  I sat a chair directly in front of it and did several rotations of the pedals all the way  around!  Did about 20!  I am also surprised with how strong the leg feels.  I did make sure my legs were in pretty good shape before surgery, but it is clear that the surgeon has done a most excellent job, because, among other things,  knee doesn’t feel like it has been very disturbed.   I am sure if I had watched the operation I would have seen the sawing, drilling and hacking, (!) and known other wise, but quite clearly I have been in the hands of a very skilled and artful surgeon with a great team.  The knee is pretty swollen now, but it was quite shocking to me how LITTLE it was swollen on day one of the surgery.  It looked like no one had touched it! It swelled up rather a lot when I put the TEDS on it, and also I wonder if the “inner range quads” exercise (which has always been an exceptionally hard one for me anyway) may just have been pushing things a little bit too far just right at this stage.

I have adjusted the timing on my medications to fit in more with the home timetable, but the Fragmin has to be at the same time, which handily, is six pm.  I did buy myself some topical anaesthetic which does make the injection painless.  I am sure I could brave it but when you are managing pain as part of the rehab it is rather refreshing to have something so simply and charmingly rendered painless!  I am currently, as I write this, plugged into the TENS machine and this is great at dealing with the pain I now have which is rather refreshingly surgical in nature but still needs a bit of attention.   I would like to keep the night time as well managed as possible and so am having the medication which used to happen at 10pm a bit later at 11pm.  Gosh, it reminds me of when you have a baby and need to think about the feeds you give to try and get a good night’s sleep!   The knee hurts right now because it is bent to 90 degrees or near enough. I have  not checked it, I’m just going by appearance.  When I finish writing this I will go and ICE it, elevate it, and give it a rest.   I think I will try and keep any morphine consumption, if it happens, for the night time.  Because everything often gets more desperate at night and can seem worse.

My final sentence has to be, that without good form, good function is very limited. Now I have some opportunity for walking around as I once used to.  I will need to work very hard.  But at least I will get somewhere.

 

Day four in hospital – ( Saturday – Post knee replacement surgery)

I will do two entries for this day.  One for the time in hospital and one for the time at home.  It is a special day for me, and the beginning of my new adventures in life with a newly resurfaced knee joint.  I am hopeful all will continue to go well.  There could be complications later on, but let’s not expect that.  I will do all in my power to help things work out well. It’s a step of faith.

This is my paper diary entry for the day:

10am  I didn’t have any morphine yesterday but am thinking I might have some today possibly.  I would prefer to try seeing if elevating and icing is enough but decide to wait and see how the day pans out as it may be that if I am a little more active the pain levels may increase.. They are very good at managing pain and I am regularly asked if my pain levels are 1, 2, or 3.  Most of the time it has been moderate which I am used to anyway.  To be honest the pain is, while certainly part of the package, much better than the pain experience pre-operatively because  pre-operatively you know that the pain is going to get progressively worse while this pain experience will get progressively better.  Even if you still had a little bit of pain, it would still be better than living in expectation of a worsening state of knee joint and steady decline, with expectation of further decreased mobility and increased pain.  It may be I think that I could go home today.  My operation was Wednesday and now it is Saturday which would make it four days.  My day of fainting twice was the day when I felt the most “out of it”.  I am pleased that I experimented before the operation how to get my leg up in a raised position using pillows and with the hospital bed it is even easier.  Shame that I cannot take the hospital bed back home with me!   I have found that after the initial ice pack application it is very pleasant to take the ice packs out of the sleeve and use them to gentle massage the knee upwards towards the heart.  The “Hydration Station” is naturally the highlight of the day as it brings a lovely cup of tea.   The routine of the hospital is something I find quite pleasant and the staff changeover times are the busiest. It is actually very nice to wave bye bye to one lot of smiling people and welcome another, and they really are all very smiley which is important and does make a very big difference.  

1pm It is one o’clock on Saturday and I will be going home at some point later on today. WOW!  Amazing!  I am walking on crutches  to the freezer in the Physiotherapy room to collect my ice packs every 2 to 3 hours.   It’s a great mixture of a bit of exercise, a bit of rest, and more exercise and more rest. The rest is very important – I can feel my heart pumping away and the blood pulsing in my neck.  I do feel quite dizzy and get tired pretty quickly.  It certainly is important to pace oneself.  Even as I sit here writing I feel extremely tired.  I did also have a small dose of morphine today which does help push me through the time when the pain gets too close to the edge, however it is basically under control and feeling  it is under control is FANTASTIC! 

The Physiotherapist said yesterday that the surgeon said it was “Definitely worth doing”.

 

“Definitely worth doing.” This helps a lot, because my gut instinct was correct.  My Asda nightdress was a good choice for the hospital stay! On the front it has:   “MRS” noun/miss-us/def: always right”.  It’s good to know once the surgeon got in there, that my knee was clearly in need of it’s crown! I wish I could see a photo of it.  Or even watch the whole operation.

My time at hospital finished at around 3pm.  My husband picks me up, and I walk out of the building in crutches. Annoyingly I have forgotten to get him to take a photograph of this significant moment!

I can tell you this…I have more potential walking out of a hospital with crutches than I did walking in without them.

Because, though the rehabilitation and recovery process for knee replacement is a long and hard one, compared to years of pain and disability, even one or two years to get things sorted is relatively short.

Hey! Now I am in good form!  My knee joint is in good form!

Now all this exercise has a chance of paying off!

See the next post for the rest of the day!

 

Day three in hospital – (Friday – Post knee replacement surgery)

The paper diary entry for day three is, as follows;

Mmmm, yes, realising that the initial day one was a bit of a high.  At first I just had a bandage on and not the TED. When the bandage came off ( I wrote this referring to the day before) and the TED went on and I think various drugs are wearing off and all of a sudden the knee is huge.  I was so impressed with how little it was swollen before.  Now the swelling makes it very tight and stiff.  Still moving it as much as possible.  The surgeon popped in to see how I was getting on yesterday and just at the exact time I fainted.  It was lovely to see him though, even in the middle of a faint and he looked pleased with how things were. – regarding food.  I started off ravenous but now – bearing in mind I haven’t been to the loo for a while the appetite has gone a bit.  The physios I saw yesterday on day two are lovely and it’s great to have their support.   I decline the morphine I was offered last night.  I am wondering if that may not have helped with the fainting though it might not be related.  I asked for some ice and I elevated my knee several times last night which is a better way of managing the situation rather than just using pain relief alone, The pain I feel at the moment is surgical pain which at the present time at least is fine. I am still taking Co-dydramol  and Ibuprofen and this seems to be enough. I would really like to see the xray at some point. My bed is in a great place right by the window.  I have a fan and a breeze comes in through the window – I feel a lot more comfortable with it being so cool and breezy.  I put some relaxing music on my tablet when I iced my knee last night and that was very good for relaxation.  Did a poo today – Well done! Really lost all dignity now!  And what is more, not only the commode but the actual toilet.  Walking to another room has been the most exciting thing that has happened to me in a long time.  Physio told me to ice every two hours for 20 minutes at a time.  4.30pm  Feel so much better now I have got some  ice packs and plenty of them.” 

Other features of the day which I remember looking back:

The awful moment I realised that my night dress was rather short.  And was quite possible exposing a very small amount of my bum when walking.  Not much.  But even a little is far too much.  I only needed to lean forward a tiny little bit!  (Which you do with a walker!)  Oh dear!   I put my shorts on when I realised!  Possible now I no longer needed the beloved bed pan! Rather awkwardly I realised this when the patient opposite had visitors. On my return journey from the toilet.  Having already exposed my rear end on the outward journey!  Oh well, it could have been worse.  I would not to have liked to be a visitor when I used the commode.  There are some things you just don’t have control of in life.  Your response to laxatives is one of them. Thankfully my commode experience does not happen during visiting hours.  Now I understand why someone might want a private room.  Never occurred to me before!

Another key moment:

The wonderfully fit moment of putting on my bra. Suddenly felt very active! I think earlier on I mentioned the importance of knickers.  Bras are also very important for a woman.  I thought pretty carefully about this beforehand, and went for an active wear sports bra.  Yes, I know I won’t be jumping up and down on the bed quite yet, but they are very comfortable and easy to leave on all the time.  No digging in or itching or catching.  And, as always, the psychological aspect is important.  I FEEL active in my sports bra!  I knew I would feel pretty knackered and I was wondering if this choice of bra would make me feel more active.

Ho Ho!  I know I am pushing it a bit there, but even a tiny weeny little sporty inkling of a feeling can go a long way when you are bedridden.  I am not sure in retrospect, if the sports bra did make any difference to efforts at moving my leg, but the top half of me did feel more sporty as a result.

 

I found a very funny video on You Tube in the last few days, which did crease me up.  All about “active wear”!

 

My version:

Lying in the hospital in my active wear!

Walking on the walker in my active wear!

Got a knee replacement in my active wear

Yeah!  Active wear!

Getting there!

I’ll  walk a mile in my active wear! 

Give me six months in my active wear!

With a knee replacement,

and a bra

Yeah! 

I’ll just keep on walking 

in my active wear!

 

And there was also the heavenly moment of having a shower.  This was amazing!  Wanted to stay there all day.

And the food is great.  The mashed potato is lovely.  The spotted dick is delicious.

I don’t particularly want to go home.  Happy to stay a few more days!  It’s great!

 

Day two in hospital – (Thursday – Post knee replacement surgery)

It appears my main preoccupations in hospital are the food and cups of tea, which are very good, and what comes out “the other end”. Let me apologise for this in advance.  All I can say is that at times like these, we are reduced to our most basic level, as rendered dependent on others, with very little else to occupy our minds.

The paper diary entry for day two is, as follows:

“I have done a lot of wee – getting quite good at using a bed pan – I didn’t sleep that much in the night but dozed on and off while doing some of my exercises -foot pumps and bottom clenches.  I am so pleased with the way my drip has been put in.  It is very comfortable.  The unfortunate lady across from me is very constipated and it all sounds very awful.  I decide that I will take a senna tablet which I have in my bag as soon as I get up in the morning even though it says you take them at the end of the day.  I do remember from my Caesarean Section that the drugs can make you constipated – I might just restrain myself with the food so that my bowels don’t have too much work to do – at least I have been to the loo – I did eat quite a lot yesterday – I can feel my stomach moving – Neil did a great thing yesterday and brought me a pack of various cut fruit; melon, strawberry and mango.  Surprised I have not seen the physiotherapist yet – really keen to be able to go to the loo by myself, for pretty obvious reasons. “

Then the physiotherapists do come! Just after I have written the above!

Whoops! The physiotherapists do come and when I try to use the walker I faint.  Apparently this is quite common – Still taking the morphine and other drugs. Bit disappointed I cannot get up to go to the loo myself” 

This is all I write for my second day. I faint on both occasions when I attempt to use the walker.  My blood pressure is low. I do feel pretty washed out. Both fainting occasions are kind of mixed up in my mind, as I look back and I am not sure exactly what happened when.  So the bits I remember here may not be in the right order!

When the surgeon kindly comes to see how I am doing, it is at exactly the time that the physiotherapists are with me, and I have just tried to stand up using the walker. Then  I start to feel dizzy and begin to faint! Again!  And the “Hydration Station” lady is there, offering me something sweet to eat! It is rather enticing, with some unusual colours in it…Very odd.  Green and orange. It is valiant attempt to keep me in the land of the living.  I say to the surgeon “I don’t think being sick on you is a very nice way to thank you for what you have done”   I also say “Thank you so much I am very grateful”. But I don’t quite finish the sentence because as it tails off,  I have fainted!  When I come round I have a little oxygen mask on my face for a bit.  I gradually perk up. The other two patients in the section of the ward I am in look worried.  I think they are more worried than I am.

I don’t feel great.  But, I do feel grateful.

I can also remember the physiotherapist telling me at one point that the surgeon said the operation was “Definitely worth doing”

Yes, it definitely was.

I can feel the difference already, and I cannot even walk yet.  But I can stand up straight! My body knows things are better, even with the trauma of the surgery to contend with. I cannot quite believe how obvious the difference is. My legs feel the same length for the first time in ages. It’s a great feeling!

I am a sensitive soul.  Horrified by the experience of having my walking ability so dramatically reduced prior to surgery.  Not quite able to believe that from walking for three hours non stop at the beginning of 2015, I was reduced, for large periods of the last two years, to a walking duration of between ten and thirty minutes. Latterly, just ten minutes of what I would term “reliable” walking time, meant that I begun to need to shut down vast areas of my life. Yoga and swimming kept me going activity wise. But this is not practical in terms of mobility. And certainly not possible to be a busy household manager, artist, counsellor and teacher with such restrictions.  Even my standing time each day steadily reduced.  That was quite devastating, as I need to stand to paint.

So, “Definitely worth doing” it was. Even without seeing inside the joint, which I would love to see, there isn’t a shadow of doubt.

Thinking about walking now, come to think of it,  I cannot remember if I did any walking on this second day.

I guess I must have later on in the day.  I did feel pretty dizzy and not too good.

But inside, I am elated, and over the moon.

Sorry about the muddle of tenses!

I am still over the moon as I write this, retrospectively!

 

The time between coming round and the rest of the time in hospital.  Which is a long time, even though not that long. Or is it? I am not sure, as I am too drugged up and “out of it”!

Rather pleasant as waking up goes.  I am sure that Monday mornings seem a lot worse sometimes.  I am in PACU and a very lovely nurse is making sure I am OK.  The staff are so caring and lovely, and I feel very well looked after. I have some air tubes in my nose which is rather nice having fresh air streaming right where you want it the most.  I feel quite out of it and the lower part of my body is numb but the nurse explains what is happening very clearly and explains the different reasons for why I am feeling the way I am.  This is very helpful and I feel very relaxed indeed.  After quite literally lying around for a while, I begin to feel quite perky and even have some brown toast and marmalade about 3pm.  Amazing!  Nice tea too.   I think the operation took around an hour and a half but I did not check exactly.  Just lying there knowing it is all done is fantastic.   It is all very restful and quiet, and resolved.  I have had my surgery.  I wanted knee replacement surgery and I got what I wanted.

But I got more than that.  I was treated in a wonderful place by brilliant people who showed dedication to their vocation in life and did their work most excellently.  This is worth a huge amount, and for me as a patient, is a very positive experience in itself, because it is a wonderful feeling to be well cared for.  And this in itself can make the whole recovery process a million times more successful, I am sure.  Because the way you feel about things affects how you feel about yourself and how you feel about yourself makes a big difference to how you treat yourself.  You are kinder, more patient, and more caring, if those around you are also kind, patient and caring towards you.  It is just easier for your body to respond positively to an experience if the positive input is there.  I saw so many smiling faces I couldn’t quite believe it.  And it was FUN to ask the porter to drive the trolley just that little bit faster, and maybe do a few swerves through the corridors.  Unfortunately he did not oblige, and it was not a patch on Chessington World of Adventures.  This is my only complaint about the experience.  The trolley ride, which I thought would be a highlight, was most disappointing!  I was hoping for a little bit of screaming!

I did write a few small entries in my diary while I was in hospital.  I can just about read it!  This is what I wrote on this day:

“I am in PACU and it is a dream – not quite sure how long it will go on for because the pleasantness is lots to do with the pain relief I am sure – So doing foot pumps and buttock clenches – Everyone has been lovely – My leg doesn’t look nearly as swollen as it did when I injured it in 2010.

4.pm Just done one litre of wee – very pleased with myself- pain is making a gentle entry – at 3.30pm I took 2x Co-dyramol plus Ibuprofen.  It is very peaceful and restful here.  I have made a few texts and Neil my husband phoned – I am glad I did not have a catheter.  Looking back on when I went to the theatre it all feels very relaxed – they sedated me very gently and I felt like a baby.  The surgeon popped in PACU and told me it had gone very well and definitely needed doing as the bone was very worn which is quite helpful to know because X-rays and symptoms don’t tell the whole story and for the surgeon to say that is a good piece of information to have.

(slowly and gradually more  feeling returns to the leg)

 I can actually straighten my leg better than I could before and I can feel the difference already which is encouraging – It is also surprising how natural my leg feels – it feels quite strong – I wasn’t expecting that. It doesn’t look that swollen though admittedly it is all covered in bandages!  All the staff here are lovely and all kind, caring and contented. I have felt my temperature rise a few times but feel fine.  The anaesthetist was amazing at putting the drip in – I told him that a wasp would cause more distress. “

The amusing thing about what I wrote here was, I completely forgot the bit about the surgeon coming in.  It was only when I looked in my paper diary when I got home and read it that I remembered that it had happened.  That kind of shows you how “out of it”  I was!

I then continue:

” 17.00  I am now in …….ward.   I can smell the dinner cooking and I had some tea and toast at around 2pm and I am feeling quite hungry. “

That is it for that day! My further account which though I wrote it when I was home, I have kept in the present tense:

When I get to the ward I find I have a lovely bed right next to the window.  It is fresh and breezy which is very helpful.  My nurse is fantastic, and rather handsome, which always helps.  He is surprised that I have already had something to eat, and I get an unexpected dinner which is very tasty. The rest of the day involves lots of people with very smiling faces being very nice to me.  I was slightly worried about the possibility of death,  ( a very small risk, but there none the less) and wonder if I have died and gone to heaven, (I jest).  So it is rather a bonus to find myself in the land of the living, but having a rather pleasant time.

Things do take a downward term when introduced to weeing in the bed pan.   It takes considerable nursing skill to manoeuvre mine as I am “weeing for England”.   I have to agree.  Having large fibroids (I have three, one the size of a small melon at one point)  does press against the bladder, which kind of contributes to the need to urinate as well.  I am drinking lots of water because I am VERY  thirsty. I am very glad I do not have a catheter, very pleased about that indeed.  Worth enduring the bed pan and a rather wet bottom for the freedom to do something independently.  Well, erm, a little bit independently.  However little, that little bit is worth a lot when you cannot do anything at all.  This is quite a humbling experience.   Someone collecting your bedpan for you has replaced Jesus washing the disciples feet for me in my imagination.  It has now become Jesus emptying your bedpan.  Makes washing feet look slightly upgraded in the humility stakes, though it had its context too, which I don’t fully appreciate, no doubt.

The time between the journey to hospital and lying on the trolley.

I want my husband to take a photograph of me on the trolley before being rolled into theatre which he cannot understand.  But here it is!  As you can see, I got slightly confused…Had the lilo for the swimming pool on top of me.   No, it isn’t a lilo, but a rather lovely inflatable blanket which keeps you all warm and cosy.  It really was rather lovely. Indeed, the matter has caught my interest.  I am told the operating theatre is very cold and indeed, every now and then I feel an icy breeze not far away.  My cubical is near to the theatre. How exciting!

I did a bit of research at home, as I found my entry into an unexpected polar region fascinating.  I used to be a Dental Nurse years and years ago, and so do have an underlying interest in medical matters, underneath all the arty business!  So the “Laminar Flow” operating theatre I was about to star in was something to look into, even though I would never actually see it myself, being “out of it”.

Up until the 1950s in the UK (and elsewhere) Surgical instruments were usually “sterilised” in boiling water baths either in the operating room,  or in a room next to it. Powerful extract fans would remove the steam. In doing so, they would create a negative pressure on the operating room and air from nearby areas would flow in to replace it. That air could be contaminated with whatever was colonising/infecting nearby patients.

Then they began to realise something…

Shooter RA et al. Postoperative wound infection. Surg Gynec Obstet 1956; 103: 257-62. Contaminated air was being drawn into a theatre from adjacent areas. When this inward flow was reversed “This was followed by an immediate reduction in the bacteria in the air and by a striking fall in the incidence of wound infections from 37 out of 427 clean operations to 5 out of 532”. There are other, similar papers from that era.

Getting very into things now…

Aerobiologically, the things that generate most airborne contamination in an operating theatre are the staff. The most common unit of contamination (colony forming unit – “cfu”) is a microcolony on an airborne skin scale. That microcolony will contain between 1 and 1,000 bacteria. (Microbial numbers are a critical factor in initiation of infection). A significant purpose of operating theatre ventilation is to prevent airborne bacteria from settling-out in “the wound”.

(and also, obviously, the instruments!)

There is a big difference in the microbiological standards achievable with Laminar flow:

Microbiological standards for working ORs • Conventional – less than 180 colony forming units per cubic metre of air • Laminar flow – less than 10 colony forming units per cubic metre of air.

However, just when you thought everything was simple conflicting evidence appeared, showing that there were increased levels of infection with Laminar flow,  with various theories as to why this was the case.   (Gastmeier/Hooper observations) They then realised that patient body temperature was key, hence me being wrapped up so warm and cosy.  (As an aside, being so warm and cosy is very nice for the patient and makes you feel all warm and snuggly inside!) (Much better than “Ready Brek”!

Maintenance of patient body temperature (“normothermia”): There is an established link between perisurgical hypothermia and infection. The high level flow of air in a laminar flow canopy will reduce patient body temperature far more than the airflows at the same temperature in conventional ventilation.

Another aspect:

There is currently uncertainty about whether laminar flow is better or worse than conventional ventilation 

I imagine this is one of those ongoing debates which is, by nature, ongoing and up for opinions either way.

All the above italics are from:

http://theific.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/016.pdf

Anyway, back to the day itself, and away from my interest in the operating theatre:

I am DELIGHTED to find I have charming pair of shortie style pants to wear.  I cannot tell you how pleased I am about this.  I think I mentioned in an earlier post how important it is to have a pair of knickers on.  There you are about to be rolled into the operating theatre, at your most vulnerable point in life (or one of them) ready to meet the surgeon’s knife, WITHOUT A PAIR OF KNICKERS ON!   We have all had dreams of going to school or work and suddenly finding to our dismay we have no pants on.  This is a classic nightmare.  There must be a reason for it being a classic nightmare.  Hence, the joy at meeting an unexpected pair of knickers at this point in my life cannot be stressed enough!  They were quite nice.  Enough of them to be there, but no more.

So here I am, ready to roll.   Let the show begin. I am warm, cosy, and happy in my knickers with a nice warm heated lilo on.  What could be better!  I am doing a crossword with my husband.  The nurse, surgeon and anaesthetist all come and go.  When the surgeon pops in, the only question I can think of is “How long will it take?”  He says it will take  an hour and a half.  I feel strangely peaceful.  I can thank God for  peace at this point,  as I have not been drugged. I am glad to be here, and very grateful for surgery. This is quite clearly a well oiled machine.  But not any sense of lack of human care, I hasten to add.  As the wheels get rolling….Off I goooooooooooooo!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The entries in “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” up to this point include much merry rambling, including the horror of cutting myself on a glass while washing up, which got me very worried as I feared my surgery might be postponed,  and angst on the journey up to London, again, because of worries about surgery being postponed:

Please, don’t sneeze on me!  I want my surgery!

On the train I am praying that people with colds are not nearby.  Someone sitting  a couple of people along on the long seat on the train emits the most horrendous, chesty, loud and unhealthy sounding cough I think I have ever heard in my life.  Someone just to the right of me, facing me, coughs into her hand, I think.  I dare not look up in case I see the hundreds and thousands of droplets spraying from her mouth head towards me with vicious facial expressions of the kind you get in toilet cleaner adverts,  which want to make you fearful of placing your posterior on a toilet seat without pouring lashings of disinfectant down it.  A man on the opposite seat coughs in a more self contained way.  Gracious, this journey in the rush hour is a dangerous venture.  I think I should be wearing a surgical mask myself.  I MUST NOT GET A COLD!” 

I make the most of the writing opportunity by adding lots of additional entries.  Here is one I wrote on  psychological considerations:

 

Psychological Considerations B+

“I have popped this in as an “extra” rather than a “time between” entry.  I am glad of the time I have waiting for my surgery now, as it is an opportunity to settle my mind and emotions and start to invest mentally in the journey ahead as well as sort out the practical matters.  And so this “Psychological Considerations” is very important.  I have heard how important having a positive mindset is for a good recovery and I can believe that it makes all the difference. That and being able to draw on the support around oneself, and being kind to oneself, and patient.

It’s of interest to me that from the reading I have done on the post operative period of knee replacement surgery, it’s  a rocky road, with many ups and downs.  And the downs can be considerable.  It’s understandable to me that after any surgery the body and mind must have had rather a beating, and the surgery is a trauma to the body, even though it is one for healing intent.  All the energy needed for recovery must leave someone drained and feeling vulnerable.  I do remember after my C-section being extremely drained and sometimes very low in mood.   I think I will need to decide to be very kind and understanding to myself over the post operative period.

It seems that people have days when things are good and they feel positive, and other days when they feel discouraged.  A helpful approach may be for me to keep the long term goal in mind.  For this reason I have chosen to leave deciding whether the operation was worth having or not to ONE YEAR after it.   This might seem a very long time, but based on my experience with my knee so far, a year is not very long at all.  It took SIX months for things to start to feel better after the initial rapid deterioration from August 2015 – February 2016.  That was then short lived, and another rapid decline soon followed on a few weeks later.  A little step up, in the state of the symptoms at the beginning of September 2016 followed, and then another rapid decline.  It seems to be the very nature of knees that they are unpredictable!

I am thinking about all the surrounding tissues and the whole body, and what is involved in walking.  There is a lot of healing that needs to happen after a knee replacement. And a lot of different forces at play in the leg and the whole movement of walking.  While it has been a horrible experience to find my walking ability so badly messed up, I do not expect things suddenly to be problem free.  In some respects I feel I will need to start all over again.  But the good thing is,  I will have some opportunity for long term progress.  That clearly wasn’t an option before, and wasn’t going to happen without surgical treatment.

The realisation that my journey starts all over again, could be discouraging I guess, but I would rather take the experience so far as being a learning one in terms of patience with my knee.  And perseverance.  And persistence.  I needed persistence to get where I am at present for sure.  Psychologically I feel a world away from how I did before being placed on a surgeon’s list.  I was starting to dip into some areas of depression I think, though I would rather term the experience desperation, rather than depression.  The reason for the helplessness and powerlessness I started to feel was that it was a reaction to finding myself in what appeared to be a helpless and powerless situation. The situation of wanting and needing my knee treated surgically, but not having confidence that I could get treated.   The thought of spending years of my life on hold for a knee replacement IS an unbearable thought and is bound to contribute to low mood.  Just add an extra dollop of pain here and there, plus the general experience of chronic pain, and mix up an unpredictable knee which starts to monopolise every area of your life, and the anger and frustration, if turned inwards (which it easily can be) does contribute to depression, This sneaks in upon your life,  initially just as  little waves running towards you, but ones which can gradually start to feel bigger and bigger.

Though depression is rather more like a complete drowning experience, which I why I prefer to term my experience over the last few months as desperation, as it is more accurate!  (I am fortunate to have my own experience of moderate depression and anxiety seven years behind me now.)   Let’s just say that, before being listed for surgery, it was like standing at the edge of the sea, with water up to your knees, and knowing that when that giant wave comes crashing towards you, you cannot run away, or move very easily at all, because your ability to move is severely impaired!  You will get knocked down, and knocked back, by the very things which used to cause a certain amount of excitement and fun.  Because now, rather than leaping up in the air and screaming as you bounce through the water, and laughing as you fall down, you find you cannot get up when you fall,  and the games you used to play seem a lot less fun. You have to choose to make them feel like less fun, because, because of your knee, you cannot play them anymore.  And life becomes smaller.

If having your quality of life diminished by lack of mobility and pain is unavoidable, then you have to adapt.  If it can be treated in some way, it becomes torturous to suffer when you suffer needlessly. I think I realised the insanity of this situation…I did not want put my life on hold, or to delay treatment because I might need revision surgery later on.  I could never quite get out of my mind my years working as a Dental Nurse and I kept imagining the imaginary scenario of a Dental Surgeon telling a patient that they should think about not having their tooth crowned because it might need to be re-done ten or fifteen years later on.  “So, let’s just leave it, wait for it to get worse, and just eat soft food or eat on the other side of your mouth for the next ten years. You can have some pain killers and just make sure you eat more carefully.”  It never happened.    And though a knee replacement is of considerably more magnitude in so many ways compared to a dental crown, the basic principle is the same.  Knee replacement is major surgery, rather than minor.  I realise that, of course. Potentially serious risks and more invasive surgery.  I don’t minimise that. It should be very much wanted and needed.  But if it is… and you want a chance of living your life to the full again. WHY wait?

I think I recognised those little waves of low mood coming towards me, and I knew if I didn’t get my knee treated, those waves would simply get bigger.  I was struggling with accepting my situation because I realised it was fundamentally wrong for me to accept it.  Why should someone in their early 50’s not have knee replacement surgery when it is clinically appropriate and destroying their quality of life?  I really see no sense in signing up to stay in a situation which relentlessly steals away all that matters to me because I cannot walk as I need to.  There is always the possibility of complications and future problems.  There is no guarantee. But there is, at least, the possibility of progress.  A  chance of some lasting improvement, and after the long and hard rehabilitation process, the smallest whiff of being able to walk for even a couple of hours non stop!  Which is a dream at the moment.  So I reckon it is worth it. Many of my friends have commented on how much better, fresher, and happier I look since being listed for surgery, and they are right.  I do feel a lot better.  The huge burden of a sentence of several years of reduced mobility, reduced opportunities, reduced social and career activities and increasing pain has been lifted, in principle at least.  That itself is a huge relief. I am sure some post operative pain will wipe the smile off my face fairly regularly in time.  But at least I have some chance of working things forwards rather than letting my life shrink backwards.”

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There is quite a lot of retrospective narrative in “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” , and I do churn my feelings and thoughts from the past about quite a lot. This is possibly not that interesting for most readers, but readers in a similar position to myself, who are thinking about having a TKR (total knee replacement) might find it interesting if they happen to be sorting through in their own thinking similar or related issues.  I won’t include much of the retrospective narrative here, but it is there to be read in the full version.

Another interesting day in my patient journey was the open day:

 The Patient’s Open Day Visit

“It’s an anxious moment for L…  as one of the patients  opens the bowels of his experience at the centre…  Though he speaks highly of his treatment and care, things have been a little bit more complex for this particular elderly patient, with more complications than the average patient, and the group of at least 15 prospective patients all detect a slight state of suspension in the air; wondering what he is going to say next and if it is going to put us all off and lead us screaming in the other direction.

Erm, and there was some mention of problems in the physical bowel area…

I think….Prunes.  Put them on the list.

Thankfully, he has a smile on his face, even though his journey has quite clearly be rather more up and down than most.  He can only sing the praises of those involved in his care, and I reflect that indeed, this is what most of us really want to know.  We have no control of exactly what will happen as we stroll,  sometimes painfully and sometimes limping, into the future, and no one can predict how things will go, even with the reassuring statistics and wonderful reputation, plus outstanding results.  But the smiles on peoples faces do tell us something that we do want to know.

To put you in the picture, this is the Open Day for the prospective patients.    We are all in need of a hip or a knee, or even two knees, and as we pass round the models of both hip and knee in the introductory talk, the reality of having these implements in our own bodies comes that little bit nearer.  One lady is rather shocked about the size of the knee replacement components… horrified might be a better word.   Indeed, it is rather large.  Must be a big builder’s knee.  However, knees are pretty large being the main load bearing joint.  Putting my fingers on both sides of mine, I suddenly realise how large it is.

Another man asks a question about lubrication between the joint components.   Ermm..  I don’t think it comes with oil or anything.  Vaseline?  I think to myself.  I don’t think that answer get’s picked up, as it isn’t quite directed to the person leading the session.  But I make a note of it.  As long as mine does not squeak I am fine.  WD40 not needed, I am sure.  As I manipulate the artificial joint in my hand,  it has a wonderful gliding action and I don’t have any worries myself about extra lubrication.  I sure glides a hell of a lot better than the current one inside my body.

Thinking about gliding, one lady asks about sports after the operation, and mentions ice skating, I think from memory pretty soon after the operation.  Silent amazement ripples gentle across the room.  Gracious, I think, I am aiming to be able to simply walk for an hour pain free.  Skating has not even occurred to me.  It is suggested that more gentle and less potentially risky sports might be a better idea. With less risk of falling!

As I sip my rather nice cup of tea, I am comforted.  The tea is good and this is VITAL to my recovery, I do know this for certain.  It was rather nice of it to be made for me, and I confess that I am not actually capable of refusing an offer of a cup of tea.

After the slide show, which is very interesting and informative and spattered with various questions from the group of prospective patients, it is time to do the tour of the centre.   Oh, I must add, the most amusing slide was patient satisfaction. Various different factors all included in this slide, all with very consistently positive score, with a funny, rather sudden drop in satisfaction when it came to the food.  However,  we are assured that is is pretty good, apart from the mashed potato, though some people like that.  Later on when looking around the ward, one patient says the food is horrible but another thinks it is pretty good, though lacking imagination.  Imagination is the last thing I would be expecting in hospital food.  She is quite happy with it though, so if she is, I am sure I will be fine. She obviously has high expectations.  It’s quite an achievement to get imagination in my weekly cooking, and I just cook for four.

As we trudge around, various types of stick in hand, we all squeeze together in the lift, going up, then down, then up again…or is it down?  Not quite sure.  But lots of lift.  I think “germs”, as we share the intimate air together,  Though I was a very good girl, and used the alcohol rub when we entered the centre.  I am relieved that my own cough, which threatens to surface along with its friend, the sore throat, has quite clearly hidden itself deep down in my chest.  Maybe the alcohol rub and the hospital environment scared it and forced it into hiding.  I was worried that I would cough as we walked around, and responsibly conscious of the need to keep any kind of infection away, I took with me a large cotton hanky to whip out, if need be.

The lift reminds me of the one at Borough tube station, and I think how much easier it will be, eventually, to travel around London.

It’s nice to be writing and focusing on the present and future.  I probably WAS a bit unrealistic to expect a Physiotherapy Department to help me on my way towards a knee replacement.  But that is looking back, again.  I have made you listen to my internal angst for long enough.

Smiling faces.

A little less smiley in the Pre- op area.   I do feel sorry, for as we all stand there, just at the entrance of that section, taking just a brief peep inside, there is a couple in one of the curtained areas. One of whom, a somewhat hairy man, is dressed in a theatre gown.  An amazing blue.  Both he, and the lady who is with him, are looking a little tense.  The curtain swishes around them, as they don’t appreciate the audience, and neither would I.  It’s nice to go to the theatre, but there are limits.  I don’t think they wanted quite such a crowd or to be quite such the centre of attention. Not before the show has actually begun.

I ask, as we get back in the lift,  if I will be able to wear my underwear in theatre.  “There is a great feeling of safety and security when you have your pants on.”  I add.  But, I find it is NOTHING at all.  The reaction of the man in the blue gown suddenly makes even more sense.  It is the stuff of nightmares… Having no knickers in public.

As we funnel from corridor to corridor, talking to a few patients here and there, one does stand out.  A man sitting in a wheelchair in the corridor looks young and fresh faced, though he is probably a bit older than me.  He has had his knee operation and says with great conviction;  “It’s the best thing I have ever done.  Don’t worry about it.” He smiles confidently. “You’ll be fine.  You are in good hands.  They are marvellous here.”   I can tell he means it.  He continues on with positive after positive.

That’s a good thing to hear.  He is a great PR man.  I am reminded of the caution about pain when you get home, but, even in the face of that, there is a certain amount of courage to be gained from that man’s conviction. I wonder if he is not really a patient at all, but maybe one of the surgeon’s planted there, pretending to be a patient.  What fun that would be.   It’s silly, I know. And no one would have time for that, however amusing it might be.  But this man is SO positive, so well placed, and such an evangelist for the place, that it wouldn’t be a surprise to find out that he was doing a job, because he was doing a most excellent job of making me feel very confident, and gifting us all with positive expectations!

On a different note, the Wi-Fi is not very good, we are told, unless you pay for it from the unit near your bed.  I make a note to download some things to read.

The Patient’s Open Day visit was well worth it, and a very good use of time.  There was plenty of opportunity to ask questions, and it is always good to meet other people anticipating the same thing as yourself.   Some people had dates for their operation, and others not. The biggest impression I got was that everyone was very well looked after.  “And that IS what you want to know…More than anything else!” I said to a couple of people I was chatting with. “You want to know that the staff will look after you really well, and that you feel cared for.”  They agreed.  As we waved each other “Bye bye” and walked off into the car park, the thought of moving on, just that little bit more easily than before, did promise everything very good indeed.  Even with the pain.”

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The day of the pre-assessment appointment:

 

23rd January Pre-Operation Assessment Appointment

In the dark and early morning the car is covered in glitter…Well, not glitter, but it is good to think about it that way!   You can see I have my positive frame of mind in place.  This is important.  Because ice reflects light and makes things look beautiful, even in the darkest times.  Though the time is not nearly as dark as it appeared before the nice consultant orthopaedic surgeon not just listened to what I was saying, but actually heard it.  There is a bit difference between listening to, and hearing someone, I have discovered.

I’m dropped off at Macdonald’s in Epsom, and will get a bus from there.  The bus which goes right through to the hospital gets there a little bit too early, and the next one is too risky and would possibly mean I get there too late. Timing is everything.  I still feel sad that to get to the point I have feels like it has been “walking through fire”  It is hard being just 52 with osteoarthritis of the knee which makes a sudden, disabling and painful entrance into your life. It is made harder by negotiating a system which basically dictates that at my age I will be treated with physiotherapy and that will work and I will not be needing to see an orthopaedic surgeon or be needing to talk “knee replacement”. (at previous hospital). I am rambling on about this, in order to get it out of my system so that I am in a place where I can move forward without looking back.  So apologies in advance for any repetition. I need to harp backwards a bit from time to time. It’s still early days.

Having worked with exercise and pretty much everything else I can think of on my knee since August 2015 I have tried to go along with the general drift away from surgery.  And it is the case that one needs time to get one’s head around the situation.  But when pain and disability completely dominate your life, start robbing you of the things you love, and you realise your self that things are steadily getting worse and not better, it dawns that if the choice is between carrying on as you are (which involves not being able to walk for longer than ten minutes reliably, among other things) or having your knee TREATED….It’s then that suddenly clarity dawns, and you realise that it is insane for someone my age with my activities and aspirations, to decide to live such a restricted life unless there is no other option.

The problem is felt rather intensely when you realise this, and then need to start putting it across to others,  in order to change the direction of your treatment.    I struggled with this, because of a sense of swimming against the flow…Because of my age I think, (too young for a knee replacement?) and because of my awareness of policies which, (rightly, in one respect), are in place to ensure that people do not have knee replacement surgery that they do not need.  The difficulty for me has been putting across my own need for definitive treatment, (surgical!) and believing that it may actually be met.  On some ears my plaints have been heard, and very well indeed, and on others, some strange thing has happened which seemed to take what I was saying and pop it off somewhere else, in a more convenient place.  A place which did not include the surgical treatment of my knee. Hence the feeling of not being heard at times I think.  And the feeling that my quality of life has not mattered quite as much as it does.  I am STILL mulling it all over!

However, I got through in the end.  It has been frustrating at times.  Some people “get it” straight away. Most people, actually.  Normally, the people who know you well, and who see how your life is affected by pain and disability, who care about you, and are able to say what they think (without any other obligations or responsibilities which need to be met) will be very helpful to listen to, because they will speak common sense.  So, while I feel things have been a struggle, and possibly harder than they needed to be in some respects, I recognise that I have learnt a lot about listening to others, listening to myself, and the need for perseverance and assertiveness, if you happen to be in your early 50’s and needing (and wanting!) knee replacement surgery.  I have learnt that people can be very compassionate, but are often also very restricted by external factors which they have no control over.  The most important people involved in decision making with respect to my care and treatment didn’t have any hearing problems, which is something to be very grateful for.

Well, I have digressed, as per usual.  The Pre-Op Appointment was fine…Nothing very exciting.  I did a “naughty” thing by putting my urine sample tube on the patient reception desk (Oops!  I should have known better)…not good for infection control. (Don’t worry, I only used to be a Dental Nurse and it was a VERY long time ago!) I did offer to wipe the surface afterwards.  (Well, it’s nice to know infection control is so tight. Very positive).

The waiting room is full of people much older than me.  That’s good.  Makes me feel younger.  And such fellowship with all those walking sticks everywhere.  Rather novel.  Suddenly, instead of being the only one in a  room with a stick, I am among fellow stick bearers, and what is more, some bearing sticks far more impressive and medical looking than mine.  Even a WALKER!  Wow!  The business.  (I do not mock.  I will have my walker time post op.)

I had chosen my distinctly non-medical “Leki Wanderfreund” walking pole for the trip to the hospital, as I did not have much walking to do, and so the crutch was not necessary. So feeling elegant and as little disabled as possible, under the circumstances.

Filling in the Oxford Knee Score as I wait in the waiting area, I do my usual thing, and end up realising I have slightly under reported the effects of my knee, but this is the effect of a positive disposition I think.  I am an optimist, rather than a pessimist, at heart. I focus on the positive, realising I need to do this naturally, because the brain itself tends to graduate to the negative, for some annoying reason.   I completely forget that for a lot of my journey to the hospital I have been worried about my knee giving way (because it has been in it’s “out of joint”mode for a couple of days) and I also mysteriously forget that frequently it does not feel stable.  Regardless of this,  under the question “Have you felt that your knee might suddenly �give away� or let you down?”  I tick the box  “Sometimes or just at first”.   Which is generous of me.  (Well, you know, I love my old knee, decrepit as it is.)

As for the “Let you down”…Yes, it lets me down all the time, however, I don’t think it means that!  Knees “Let you down” when you have to organise your whole life around them, and they don’t promise to take you anywhere without moaning and complaining, with threats of punishing pain in the evening if you don’t abide by their rules.  Think… tyrannical child, and you will get my flow. Think, you need to change (or better, just forget) the plans of your life, or you WILL be let down, because you will have to either come home early, or simply cancel what you have planned. A few  “Days Out” which last just one hour or two at the most, end up being memorable for all the wrong reasons. And realise that whatever you do,  your knee might just say “I don’t feel like it today.” and so you cannot predictably tell what you will be able to do, either in respect to work or leisure.  You can go ahead and aim to do what you can regardless, which is pretty much the best thing to do, but the adjustments in your expectations gradually fashion your life which you notice over time is basically shrinking, simply because you are completely fed up of your knee “letting you down.”

Does it mean that?    I don’t think so.  But this is what it means. REALLY means

But this is an interesting matter. The Oxford Knee Score, as far as I am aware, was designed as a post operative measure/tool.  I am not dead certain, but I think so.   There also seems a great deal of difference between assessing a person’s situation over a period of ONE MONTH only and before they have had an surgical procedure,  and how things are longer term. Or shorter term after an operation.  It certainly is not a quality of life assessment tool. It should include something along the lines of “Has your knee made you feel depressed and is it dominating your life in an unreasonable manner” maybe!

I think there must also be issues for younger patients as myself, in the respect that our bodies may well be more supple, flexible, and able to adapt than that of a more senior person.  This can  render some of the questions (I am thinking of the  washing one!) a pretty invalid waste of  time.  Bear in mind, I can do more than touch my toes.  (very supple and super hips!) I don’t need to involve my knees very much at all in getting down on the floor if I use yoga moves to help me.   The Oxford Knee Score probably needs a little attention to improve it I think.  It is a patient perception gauge questionnaire also.  Subjective.  I can appreciate it’s usefulness on one level.  But also it’s limitations.

I expect I will be needing to fill one out after my knee replacement surgery, but I know one thing for sure; it should certainly not be used to judge the success of the surgery or if it has improved my life or not.   It shouldn’t be used to assess if the surgery is worth having.  It doesn’t have anything about desperation, frustration, depression and anxiety in it, for a start!  It does’t have anything about desperation and frustration in patients who fall through the net of it’s questions, even though surgical treatment  makes a lot of sense and needs discussing positively.

As part of my experience, I have done a little bit of surfing the internet.  It is the only surfing I am able to do.  So if I find things which catch my eye, as this narrative unfolds, I will be posting snippets now and again.

“procedures of limited benefit”  What????????????? A knee replacement.  Are they sure? What on earth is that all about?

This is an interesting section of the Biggs Report:

“However, to date there has been no formal approach to
the British Orthopaedic Association (BOA) the Orthopaedic
Specialist Societies, or the British Orthopaedic Directors
Society, who are ready to engage fully and help solve these
problems.
Procedure lists have been generated by PCTs and circulated
to GP practices with advice on “procedures of limited benefit”.
Again lists vary and demonstrate very little consensus or
joined up thinking. These include procedures such as THR
and TKR, two of the most effective surgical procedures
in all the surgical disciplines. Again these lists have been
generated without discussion with the orthopaedic community,
leaving some patients, especially the elderly, confused and
disadvantaged.
In April 2009 the DOH introduced Patient Outcome Reported
Measures (PROMs) for a number of surgical procedures.
These included THR and TKR as well as surgery for inguinal
hernia and varicose veins. PROMs are measures of a
patient’s health status or health-related quality of life and
are typically short, self-completed questionnaires, which
measure the patient’s health status or health related quality
of life at a single point in time. They contain both condition specific
(Oxford Hip and Knee Score) and general health
questionnaires (EQ-5D). Using the results from these
questionnaires it has been suggested that THR and TKR are
not as effective as they clearly are. Much of this was derived
from selective use of the EQ-5D data results. What must be
clearly understood is that patients, who suffer from multiple
co-morbidities such as multiple joint degenerative arthritis, or
heart disease and diabetes, may not see a huge increase in
their overall quality of life following these procedures. However
when asked specific questions about the joint replaced,
patients find the results very satisfactory indeed. Spinning
disinformation about joint replacement in this way confuses
patients and puts them at a disadvantage in the future for it is
well known that earlier intervention for osteoarthritis of the hip
and knee using THRs and TKRs results in better outcomes for patients.”

http://www.gettingitrightfirsttime.com/downloads/briggsreporta4_fin.pdf

Back to the Pre-op Assessment.  All went well.  Lovely ladies seen. Blood, urine, swabs, heart, blood pressure, weight, height.  All of that.  Then off back home.  Done.

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The tail end of “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” covers my visit to an osteopath, which was a new experience for me.  I plan to return soon, as I found it very helpful and effective.  I am sure my new knee will benefit. I will include the tail end of my patient account here, not including the osteopath part.  If you have managed to read this all and want to read more, there is more to be read!  But this is no doubt plenty for inclusion in this ongoing artist’s journal.  It’s more than enough of a taster of my writing!  Here’s the section at the beginning (or the end, depending on which way it is read!)

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Diary of a Patient’s Experience of a Knee Replacement Journey…

This “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” is something written for me to look back on more than anything else.  Bit of a liberty to put it here.  However, my knee is my knee, and the art of a surgeon is surely art.  People often refer to a person getting a “new knee” but the knee is not new… It’s resurfaced, with a post and some other bits!  It makes me think of my days as a Dental Nurse, and all those crowns we used to do, though of course, it is more complex in lots of ways.  It is major surgery…and not just a minor operation.  I am very aware of that. A lot more complexity, and a lot more disturbance all round.

I have realised that if I want to write anything more about my knee, I might as well do it now, before the forthcoming knee replacement operation!  I have done a fair bit of reading around the subject, and I will try and include links to interesting articles on knee replacement matters as well as rambling on about my own experiences! I am writing this part now (I am in January 2017 at present) but will publish it later, probably well after my knee replacement.  So it will be written in the present tense but published at a point when then, technically,  it should be written in the past tense.  It is more like a diary then. And old news!  Yet the present tense is nice and fresh, so I won’t change it.  But I also like to write with a little bit of distance between my experiences, rather than right in the midst of them.  So even these dated entries, written in the present tense,  are likely to include some writing in the past tense, as I tend to enjoy a  retrospective narrative.

There is a fair amount of looking backwards going on. Sometimes we have to look back in order to move forwards.  The main notable event which I don’t cover in this story is my consultation with the surgeon, with whom agreement was made and on whose list I was firmly and very happily placed in November 2016.  Then the nature of time changed for me, and it flew by.   Before then, it dragged.   It’s amazing the difference between the four months from November to March 2107 and from June to October 2016.  The former seems like no time, but the latter seemed like eternity.  I think many patients in need of treatment could  relate to this experience of time in relation to waiting.  And also to many of the emotions I have shared here. It’s cathartic for me to express myself.  Though I will re-cover some areas again and again!

So, for January 2017  “How is your knee?”

I am keeping any  knee aggravation and inflammation down as much as I can, but the cost is that I cannot walk very much at all.  I can do ten minutes, and sometimes more.  Some days are quite good, and other not.   But both standing and walking, even just round the house, demand payment at some point.   It is just too restricting.  Ice, TENS, Meloxicam, massage, breathing, relaxing, Yoga, Prayer, Mindfulness.  All are very good.  And now I still continue to do my exercises, but have become a little more gentle and selective about what I do, the symptoms are a lot more manageable.  Exercise is very important, but there is a delicate balance to be kept in the process I think. I am not walking much at all in terms of walking being a form getting anywhere!  The good part of this is that when I do, in five and ten minute stretches,  I am able to walk very nicely, unless some random lapse occurs (which does happen…Hence sometimes needing even a crutch, rather than a walking stick!) At other times I can walk without a stick even, for a little while at least.

I have given up trying to make sense of what is happening to the knee day by day, which is helpful! I am at liberty to do this because it does not bode any drastic further deterioration, I  imagine.  I think the relief of having forthcoming surgery has made the world of difference.  It has taken away the biggest pain, (well, in the chronic sense, at least)  which was that of what felt like a life sentence  of severely restricted mobility, with the added torture of the fact it could actually be treated, sandwiched between the distinct impression that, as far as possible, I should endure it needlessly for the sake of avoiding surgery.  Yuck.  I did my research.  And weighed things up. This didn’t seem right at all.

I am keeping things down in terms of aggravating my knee, but getting as much non weight bearing exercise as I can. Walking around the house is necessary, but does get very painful over the course of a day and sometimes even right at the beginning of it.  I can swim for an hour, which is pretty much keeping me sane and happy. Because it is great to move swiftly with no pain. When anyone asks me about my knee, I just say “it’s fine”.  I don’t need it to take up any more of my life and focus, as it has done that already.  And going on about pain and disability is mega boring when you have been experiencing it for a while.  I have no interest in that at all.

However, I guess it may be slightly confusing for someone to hear, when asking about my knee, (knowing that it is causing me problems),  “It’s fine” and then be told I am having a knee replacement!  The reality is, though, that even though I am wonderfully supple, (thanks to Ballet at a young age and Yoga later on), have worked on my whole body, which has done a fine job of compensating for the knee issues in many ways, and have, (though it has not been easy at all), psychologically worked my way through paths of pain reasonably well…The reality is that my life over the last 15 months has been restricted and affected in a way which is unbearable for me.  And I feel a lot better now knowing that the bone aspect of my knee will be addressed. The progression of osteoarthritis in my right knee has been very rapid, and this may be unusual. But X-rays along the way have clearly shown the rapid decline. It seems foolish to hold some vague optimistic idea that things will improve long term.

I realised, after going through various stages of thought, emotion, research and understanding, that is it insane for someone of 52 years of age, with ambitions and aspirations, responsibilities and the activities which I am involved in, to watch that all sink into stagnation because of just one knee.  Not being able to walk as I used to (walking is my main form of transport) has been the most distressing part.  Though this varies, and a stick or sticks can help,  the reality is, that a person needs to be able to walk reliably in life.  If this is not possible at all, not treatable, not realistic, then acceptance must be the path.  However, I realised that for me personally, it is insane for my joint problem which CAN be treated surgically, not to be treated. In my case, I think any aspiration of wanting to hold off surgery for as long as possible is very misplaced.

For someone wanting to avoid surgery, then things may be different.  They may want to, or be content to accept, (or be forced to accept),  a more restricted life.  There is nothing wrong with that, if this is something which doesn’t destroy your soul.  But the major cause of difficulty for me has been the fact I have wanted my knee joint treated definitively for many months,  and yet I have felt that the necessary treatment was not available/going to be offered to me. I can only base my review on my own perceptions and experience. It’s possible I may have had more doubt about my access to surgical treatment of my knee than was there, but it is pretty hard to make a judgement about that, not having access to all the relevant sources of information. It was just a distinct impression.  Sometimes those are quite useful.

I wanted my knee joint/right leg  seen by a specialist a long way back in September 2015, but I made the mistake of not insisting on this.  I should have.  But I adopted a “wait and see approach” without a specialist opinion, which resulted in more anxiety and doubtless more pain than was probably  necessary.  When I did get one in June 2016 (Extended Scope Physiotherapist), the need for a knee replacement at some point was identified.  I thought long and hard and decided that I did want my knee treated in the way deemed most fitting by a surgeon.  Once coming to this point  the need to  see a consultant to talk about the surgical treatment of my knee arose very decisively  in October 2016.  It had been six months since seeing my GP and three since being referred for Physiotherapy, but my knee was continuing to deteriorate and still impacting my life in an unreasonable way.  I’m a good communicator but somehow was not heard.  In the end I lost patience with the hospital I was at, and sought a fresh start at a different hospital under a different NHS trust, hopeful of being heard a little more clearly.  I do not have the financial resources to pay privately, or I would, because it would have been a lot easier a path to walk along. I can only find solace that in the difficulty of pursuing what I wanted, I gained a lot of very useful inner strength, which is an asset to have, and useful experience.

I am not unhappy now, because after consulting with a surgeon in November 2016, and being heard, as quick as lightning,  I am now listed for surgery, for which I am overjoyed.  People keep referring to it as “The light at the end of the tunnel”…This has been used four times!  However, I do not see it like that at all.  For me it is simply a beginning.  It will involve hard work, again, on my part.  There are risks… I don’t know what the outcome will be.  I am simply relieved that I have been able to work my way into a place where surgery has been offered to me.  The thought of being able to walk around for a whole hour is what I hope for.  At the beginning of 2015 I could walk for three hours, non stop.  This seems a world away from me right now.  In chronological time, my journey from rapidly deteriorating knee function and pain (from August 2015) to surgery has been relatively short. (19 months) Well, not short exactly, but short compared to how long some people endure the pain and disability for.  But it doesn’t feel that way to me. It feels long.  VERY long.  When you are distressed, desperately trying to improve things, and hoping like mad they will get better, but this does not happen, every month feels like a very long time!

I need to make sense of what has happened so far.  Even though I look forward to a new kind of start and the past  seems a bit miry now, I do finding writing about it helpful. I believe I was patient, and reached the end of my tether in June 2016, ten months after my knee symptoms kicked off in style. I think a big factor in the rapid deterioration of my right knee is related to it’s past injury in 2010.  I slipped very badly on an icy pier but didn’t get it treated at the time.  I never quite felt this past injury was taken into account as much as it needed to be in relation to the likelihood of my knee condition getting rapidly worse, but my gut instinct told me that it had a lot of bearing on the matter.    I “went the extra mile” and choose to persevere further, exercising more patience, even though this was difficult.  But I lost it in the end, and that wasn’t a bad thing! Sometimes patience is not a virtue.  And patience is not passive.  It has an element of waiting to it.  But you can be patient and active.  I think that my time of “hanging in there” did turn out to be positive in the end, because I wasn’t just passive, but did engage in everything I could possibly do to improve the situation with my knee.  But with the patience, also comes the need for good sense, and wisdom.  My knee joint was struggling, and so was I. Things were not getting better, and could not get any better. There were short phases of small improvements, but they were always followed but a further, and more noticeable decline.  This meant that any “better” never had a chance of ever being good enough!

Knee replacement surgery was not something I expected to be part of my life, but it is something I am very glad of, though of course  there is some concern, because I don’t think surgery is to be taken lightly at all.  I am mostly (still) sad and upset about how difficult it has been to be a patient with a chronic long term issue, ie osteoarthritis,  who simply wanted an aspect of the problem (my knee joint) treated in a definitive (surgical!) way, but who felt this could not be possible because of the current elective surgery rationing which clearly is happening. I suspect it is happening more than most of us are conscious of.  Feelings are not always reliable, but my instincts normally serve me very well in life, and I do not think that they were incorrect. I had to fight very hard with my own expectations, and make sure I moved them from what I felt I could not expect to get, to what I wanted and needed mattering enough for it to be taken seriously. “Taken seriously” means being given the opportunity to have a knackered knee treated surgically, in my book.

My own instinct and feelings have, possibly, both helped and hindered me..  Aware of being both a “young” and “obese” patient, I felt it was likely that deferring me away from surgery might be something I would have to quite literally come up against.  The deterioration of my joint was more rapid than I expected, and I was aware of the long term nature of osteoarthritis, and the fact that many people trudge on through their lives with it for many years without wanting, needing, or expecting it, to be treated surgically.  I think the battle, (and it has felt like one), has been not just external or internal but both.  It has been with myself, in terms of expectations, faith, and just the encounter with disability and pain, and also with my experience of finding myself within a health system which is overstretched just that little bit too much, and therefore needs to send as many people away from it as soon as possible. When you start swimming against the tide, and start expecting more than the system is designed/managed to give, you feel the pressure.  When you realise what you want is not on the wider agenda, even though you need it, it does then start to get rather worrying. You do feel the pressure. And things are harder anyway. When you cannot physically get where you want to go all of the time!  You don’t want extra grief!

This pressure,  is itself,  something for both patient and clinician to manage. It cannot be easy for either.  I am sure that the current state of affairs within the NHS health service must be exasperatingly difficult for all those  who work in it.  I don’t feel surprised I found things so difficult, this “being a patient” matter, because things are always harder for you when your life has suddenly changed in a way you did not expect.  It’s devastating.  And all the good intentions in the world, from individuals themselves, do not actually change the general flow of the system, or what it can and cannot offer.   The reality is,  for someone who is  (comparatively!) “young” in terms of being a knee replacement patient (I think the average age for knee replacement is around 65 years of age -ish), but whose knee has steadily deteriorated at quite a speed, (and who therefore has, clinically rather more of an “old” osteoarthritic  knee), the feeling that you MAY be expected to grin and bear it for another few years,  does creep up on you with reliable certainty, especially in the current climate. And a FEW years for a 52 year old, isn’t really a few years if the objective is to avoid revision surgery, and have say, 8 years of your life severely affected by  pain and lack of mobility.

So it all starts to feel very uncomfortable, this delaying knee replacement surgery business.   It does not make sense to my way of thinking. If I want to loose  years of active life to pain and disability, I would rather have that at the end of my life, than at this point of it.    I understand there are important surgical considerations, and surgical treatment does bring dilemmas for both patient and surgeon. There are  financial cost implications for CCG’s.  (I cannot miss that consideration out, can I!)   However, I do not think that these dilemmas should be a reason to dissuade people from knee replacement surgery if that is what they really want and there is sufficient clinical evidence, plus disabling/pain symptoms, which merit it.  Last year I was dissuaded from it in fairly subtle, yet very present ways.  But, whatever other considerations come into play, it is my  knee, and I am the one who has to live with it.

Quality of life is a pretty major thing. Correction.  It is everything!  In the end, it is the patient themselves who has to take a very good look at their quality of life,  and decide if they can accept the effects of their knee on their life, or if surgery is the right way forward for them.   It may not be logical or possible to encourage people like me (fat and in their early fifties!) in the direction of surgical treatment of their knee, even if it could potentially transform a life. Well, not within the NHS system at least.   Because knee replacement is an elective surgical operation but also costs the NHS money. And money is too short.  Oh, I do now feel more passionately that the NHS needs investment in! I have learnt how much it matters to me!

But money matters aside, if you choose knee replacement surgery, you do need to want it.  REALLY want it. It’s pretty demanding recovery and rehabilitation wise.   And you may need a lot of persistence and determination in the process.  With stretched resources, the provision of  elective surgery, for example, a  knee replacement operation, for a 52 year old female, with BMI over 30,  is bound to be something which attempts will be made towards discouraging.  Not everyone will be discouraging. But there may be a general climate of discouragement. Put it this way:   I understand a little of the funding restrictions and different policies.  They exist, and are in place.

I started out with avoidance of knee surgery on my own agenda also.  For a short while.  Yet, as things began to change, and my knee condition and symptoms deteriorated, the gravity of daily pain and never ending disability became clearer and I  began to get more of a grip on the reality of my situation. I was very grateful for the physiotherapy input I received. But doing everything in my own power still was not enough.  So then, the general flow away from knee replacement surgery began to feel rather insidious.  If my knee joint needs treatment, which it clearly does, based on the X-ray, among other things, then why am I being steered in the opposite direction?  Is this because having a knee replacement is really not going to be a good decision for me, or is this because resources are so stretched?  Why, when I tell the physiotherapists at the hospital about how my life is impacted,  am I strangely heard, but yet not heard?  Why am I communicating that I am at the end of my tether, and insisting that I want to see a consultant to talk about knee replacement surgery, yet more physiotherapy, (though I have been doing daily exercises for well over a year) is proposed?  Or why is it suggested that I wait a few years, (as if I had the liberty of effectually wasting two years of my life, putting all my creative activities on hold, just for the sake of I do not know what?).  Why am I basically told by someone else, who knows nothing about my life, work, and normal activity levels, that my knee “does not affect my work”?  Or that I could “take a taxi to deliver” to pick up art work, or that, though I cannot sit without pain with straight legs (to do the Yoga I love so much), that the simple answer is that I “just don’t do it.”

Maybe I would like to be able to sit with straight legs, and no pain?  Maybe, at only 52, it would be nice to have my knee treated in a way that it can potentially yield some improvements? Maybe it would be good to be able to walk around as needed each day.   Maybe that matters to me. Crossly, I wonder if the basic idea is that 52 year old women don’t actually  have much of a life worth bothering about. It is the logical conclusion. I am slightly dazed with disbelief when I look back on it.  At the time, I simply felt I did not matter. There is some room for my anger to exist here.  I can still be patient and have feelings of anger!

I have no doubt of the good intentions, and as I said before, was willing to try out some more exercises.  But these responses are not realistic answers for someone who cannot walk for longer than ten minutes reliably, and whose life is now blighted with  (avoidable) pain and disability. Even though I am disappointed about some of the responses I got, there were also positives, and I appreciate the help I did receive, and the input I received which it was in my power to effect, I did so, and most gratefully.  I can appreciate If I were working within the system, I would possibly  say the same kind of things if it was my job.  Anything said was intended to be helpful and certainly wasn’t a case of lack of care.  I think my experience was simply because of limitations. One has to work within the system and the system is too much stretched. And, though I was not prepared or willing to accept certain limitations on my quality of life, it may be that many other people would accept those limitations.

Anyway,  in the end, because of my  own abilities with communication and analysis, I was able to put my situation across in a way that got heard, in the end.  But this was not easy at all, even for me.  I needed to produce my own review of the situation and make my own assessment as to what was really going to serve my own health and well being in the best way possible. It was not right to accept how things were. I feel concern for those not able to do what I could do. To disregard, or even underplay,  quality of life, is certainly  convenient in the service of cutting down the availability of knee replacements offered on the NHS.   At least I did get  where I was coming from across in the end, but it was hard work.  The general experience was, regrettably unduly difficult, I feel. However, I did learn a lot through it.  Sometimes that is what happens when situations are challenging.  We find something inside ourselves that we did not know we had.

It is significant, I think, that neither my own GP, or the surgeon to be, have in any way been un-supportive of my own choice and experience, and I have felt they completely understood my perspective and respected it. I feel they both have a good measure of where I am coming from.  Boxes must be ticked and forms filled in, and some delays come through crankiness in the system, and little things  do go wrong from time to time, making more delays.  But as I practically fell onto the desk of both of them, (one in tears of desperation and the other time grimacing with frustration!)  there has been no discouragement or lack of receptivity with respect to the impact of my knee on my life.  The sticky mud I encountered really does appear to be something which is related to the previous hospital.

That past hospital experience (not  the hospital I am under the care of now) did not work out for me.  I lost faith, trust, and patience, in the end.  When resources are stretched,  the rationing of knee replacement surgery comes into play in a big way. I understand this.   I also think it worth tempering my words with the consideration that it does take some time too open oneself up to opting for knee replacement surgery.  Though I found my experience  unnecessarily difficult, and  would have appreciated some encouragement towards getting a knee replacement, rather than discouragement, I think, all things considered,  the struggle was worth it. I learnt a lot through it.  Knee replacement surgery isn’t something to rush into.  But surgical options of treatment shouldn’t be denied to people who do need and want them.  And quality of life is VERY important.  That is pretty obvious really.  But it does not appear to suit the system at all.

I feel I may have already gone through the hardest part of the process, which is getting to the place where surgery is offered. But I may need to review that thought in the future! If you have read this, then thank you for bearing with me, for I need to turn it over in my mind.  I found it hard. Life was a struggle.  I might need to turn my experience over a few times before I can finally completely let it go!

For reading today, I read this…Could not resist!

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/868379  If you cannot get to it via the link, just copy and paste the title and you can read it.

When a Knee Replacement Specialist Needs His Own New Knee
Ira H. Kirschenbaum, MD

Here I quote the Editor’s Note:

Editor’s Note: Ira H. Kirschenbaum, MD, chairman of the Department of Orthopedics at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, Bronx, New York, has performed over 3500 total knee replacements. When Dr Kirschenbaum needed a new knee himself, he kept a diary from a perspective he had taken for granted that he understood: that of his patients.

Despite being an expert on the procedure he was about to undergo, much about the experience leading up to the surgery was unexpected, which Dr Kirschenbaum recorded in his diary. Part 1, presented here, offers his thoughts before and immediately after the procedure. Part 2, coming soon, includes his reflections on postoperative pain management.

And the wonderfully irresistible title is: “My Knee Is Now Your Knee”!

Part two is here: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/869491_3

The link does not always seem to bring you straight into the article, but you can access it in other ways, either by copying and pasting some of the editor’s note above or try this link:

https://www.braceworks.ca/2016/09/17/treatment/when-a-knee-replacement-specialist-needs-his-own-new-knee/

I also enjoyed (if that is quite the word!) reading this blog diary of a knee replacement:

http://www.barder.com/3942 Brian Barder writes delightfully…

 

 

As per usual, skimming is order of the moment…because the writing just goes on!   I have a new camera which is very exciting and will be better for cataloguing my work.  I am rather behind on this, and have quite a lot of photography to get done.  But with the knee replacement operation very soon here, I have to keep lowering my expectations of what I will achieve in the next few months.   I have various things in the pipe line as  per normal.  And the Kingston Artists Open Studios is coming up in a few months:

KAOS OPEN STUDIOS 10th/11th and 17th/18th June 2017

Our 7th Open Studios Event will feature over 80 artists in studios across Kingston!

It’s no time at all!  So pop this in your diary and make yourself a nice day out.   Walk by the river in Kingston, Stroll in the park, walk along the studio trail, pop into a little cafe!  Meet KAOS (we are a lovely bunch of creatives) and take a look at what we love investing ourselves into!  And if you are someone who does collect art, be it just a few pieces or many,  make a good choice and visit the artists direct…You can talk with us and find out more about the work in a way that you wouldn’t be able to do in a different context.   I will be showing a mixture, including a recent series of paintings which are 20 x 16 inches on hardboard.  The look deceptively simple.  But they are the fruit of many dedicated years of working with paint non objectively and have a level of refinement that is characteristic of my expressionistic paintings and an attention to surface and light which has taken years to develop.

Here is one, actually my personal favourite!   I have it facing me right now in the living room.

abstract lyrical expressionist british paintings jenny meehan

abstract lyrical expressionist british paintings jenny meehan

Painting by Jenny Meehan “Simple Piece – Crossing Over” © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

“Is Art Just Rip Off?” written by Roger Lewis

(Roger Lewis writes this article in response to the “Rogues’ Gallery: A History of Art and Its Dealers ” by Philip Hook)

In my various ramblings over the internet I often research things about the value of art, because what people understand as “value” is a very interesting matter.  And as an artist I am interested in why one person will consider art worthwhile and another not.  Value is an elusive thing.  How surprised I was to find this article on the internet.  It’s written by Roger Lewis, who brought some happiness into my life by purchasing one of my paintings a few years ago to add to his collection.   This was a good encouragement to me, as it always is, when another person sees, responds, and wants your work to the extent that they decide to buy it.  The joy in this for me is not the money paid (though obviously needed) but it’s the faith placed in the work you have done.  That someone has recognised a value in it is the most precious transaction.  Because how ever good I believe my work, and however much faith I have in the purpose of it, I want it to to have a purpose far beyond the perimeters of my studio space.  The main value in people buying my paintings, if they should ask to do such a thing, is that they relieve me of an item which is taking space up needed for another painting.  Not just that, of course. I jest.  It is that they bring the work into another context, for encounters hopefully with other people, (Oh, please, never buy a painting and put it in a cupboard). (Of if you do, never tell me about it, because you have imprisoned any life that might be experienced by the work’s existence). Value is the meeting of artist and buyer, in discovering that something worthwhile has been done, and that the experience of it can be shared and enjoyed.  Value is the recognition that there is another dimension to life and experience which lies far beyond the business of buying and selling art.  And it’s the desire that investing in that is worthwhile simply for that.

Yes, I am romantic at heart.  Much too much, but that is how it is for me.  But success as I define it is based on what I have written above.  It is nothing to do with profit in the money sense of the word.  It’s a about enlarging our souls and if someone relates to a painting in such a way as they want an ongoing encounter with the work, then this is an amazing and wonderful thing to happen.  Both people are happy.

Er, they may go off it, yes.  But that happens with all things in life.  But anything good and offering sustenance in life is a good thing.

My romantic aspirations are one thing.  But I don’t want other people taking the words from my lips on the eternal virtues of a painting and then demanding a ridiculous amount of money for it. So it was with great pleasure that I enjoyed reading Roger Lewis’ article.  He has articulated several things I have not been able to but have wanted to.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-4185476/Is-art-just-rip-off.html

“On the face of it, art ought to be the cheapest thing going, as the outlay is minimal: pens, pencils, paint — or, in this day and age, unmade beds and pickled fish. 
What makes it desirable, though, what creates the eye-watering price tag, is the compelling sales pitch of the dealer.”

Indeed, so there is some sense in heading  to your local artists’ Open Studios Events or arrange to visit their studios, if you want to collect art!  The dealer may not have your best interests at heart.  They are running a business, after all.  Yet the country is full of self representing artists who need more space to make more work.  And need sufficient money for their materials.  Don’t let illusions of relative status affect your desire, or let anyone fabricate them for you.  Because what makes something desirable in the truest sense of the word comes right from you very own heart.  And that desire will stick with you, and not be a passing fad or temporary creation which someone else has created for you in order to release you of some cash.  So, again I say, pop that KAOS Kingston Artists Open Studios in your diary!

Another related read:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/06/rogues-gallery-review-history-of-art-and-its-dealers-philip-hook

 

Imagined Worlds Exhibition

This fantastic  touring exhibition is now at its second venue http://artatruh.org/exhibitions/temporary-programme/:

imagined worlds coleridge kubla khan inspired art exhibition somerset imagined worlds exhibition alph the sacred river coleridge kubla khan jenny meehan

imagined worlds exhibition alph the sacred river coleridge kubla khan jenny meehan

The work above “Alph the Sacred River” was selected as part of this art exhibition. More information:

 

IMAGINED WORLDS ‘IN XANADU DID KUBLA KHAN…’

Event Date and Time:
Monday, 30 January 2017 – 8:00am to Thursday, 27 April 2017 – 8:00am

Event Description:
Imagined Worlds’ features the work of twenty contemporary artists inspired by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s visionary poem Kubla Khan. The exhibition curated by Somerset Art Works on behalf of The Friends of Coleridge Society is part of a programme of events timed to coincide with the bicentenary of the poem’s first publication.

The artists have drawn upon different facets of Coleridge’s or their own imagination to create a diverse array of works including painting, drawing, printmaking, collage and photography as well as film which is available to view online at http://artatruh.org/exhibitions/temporary-programme/central-exhibition/

The Friends of Coleridge Society is grateful to the Arts Council England, Somerset Art Works, Somerset Film, Sedgemoor District Council, and many other supporters for their help in enabling the celebrations to take place.

Event Location:
RUH Central Gallery, Ground Floor (Zone B)
Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, Combe Park
BA1 3NG Bath
United Kingdom

I cannot remember if I put these images up on here before but better late than never!  These were from the previous venue. Exhibition was curated by Jon England in collaboration with Somerset Art Works.  All the following images of the exhibition: Photo: Jon England

imagined worlds coleridge kubla khan inspired art exhibition somerset

imagined worlds coleridge kubla khan inspired art exhibition somerset

imagined worlds coleridge kubla khan inspired art exhibition somerset

imagined worlds coleridge kubla khan inspired art exhibition somerset

imagined worlds coleridge kubla khan inspired art exhibition somerset

imagined worlds coleridge kubla khan inspired art exhibition somerset

imagined worlds coleridge kubla khan inspired art exhibition somerset

imagined worlds coleridge kubla khan inspired art exhibition somerset

imagined worlds coleridge kubla khan inspired art exhibition somerset

imagined worlds coleridge kubla khan inspired art exhibition somerset

imagined worlds coleridge kubla khan inspired art exhibition somerset

imagined worlds coleridge kubla khan inspired art exhibition somerset

What do artist’s do all day?

Maybe paintings like this one? !

 

dark night of the soul abstract painting jenny meehan jamartlondon

dark night of the soul abstract painting jenny meehan jamartlondon© Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

I titled this painting “Dark Night/noche oscura” primarily because things have been harder for me since the condition of my knee deteriorated, and that experience of deterioration,  (while certainly not an experience of depression, but rather of desperation and challenge), has been a path of uncertainty, and of not knowing the way ahead.  Maybe an amount of not understanding what is going on, and a difficulty in getting to grips with the reality of my situation. Some times in life, things seem more predictable and we feel more secure.  Other times we are thrown all over the place.  So when I looked at this painting, having worked my way with tenacity through the process of it’s evolution, a fight into the face of darkness and unknowing seemed to be it’s main root.

Dark Night of the Soul (Spanish: La noche oscura del alma) is the title given  (though not by the poet himself) to a poem  by 16th-century Spanish poet and Roman Catholic mystic Saint John of the Cross. Saint John of the Cross’ poem narrates the journey of the soul from its bodily home to its union with God. The journey is called “The Dark Night” in part because darkness represents the fact that the destination, God, is unknowable.  The “dark night of the soul” does not refer to the hardships and difficulties of life in general, although the phrase has generally been taken to refer to such trials. The nights which the soul experiences are the necessary purgations on the path to divine union. There are several steps in this night, which are related in successive stanzas. The main idea of the poem can be seen as the joyful experience of being guided to God. The only light in this dark night is that which burns in the soul. And that is a guide more certain than the mid-day sun. This light leads the soul engaged in the mystic journey to divine union. ( text adapted from Wiki…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Night_of_the_Soul

“Dark Night” is often used as a way of referring to a person’s spiritual crisis.

 

 

Debris painting by Jenny Meehan

Debris Painting by Jenny Meehan © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

Not much to say about this one, except that the interest with solidity and fluidity, continues.  While debris is often used to refer to rubbish or waste material, I titled this painting more thinking along the lines of loose natural material, breaking and being scratched into, with varying degrees of solidity.  My interest was to create something which had a feeling of brokenness, but also conveyed suspension and holding together. The disintegration of the solid matter having a kind of dynamic and positive feeling to it, rather than being a simple matter of decay.

 

waterfall abstract painting jenny meehan

waterfall painting jenny meehan© Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

“Waterfall” by Jenny Meehan © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

Sharing this, for I have just cut it into two pieces.   It is now “Waterfall One” and “Waterfall Two”.  I need to now frame it.  I will make a few adjustments.  This painting was somewhat inspired by my looking at the “Waterfall” painting by Arshile Gorky at Tate Modern.  

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/gorky-waterfall-t01319       take a look.

“Gorky was born in Armenia, but was forced to flee Turkish persecution, and in 1920 settled in the USA. His early work was strongly influenced by Pablo Picasso and the European Surrealists. In the summer of 1942, Gorky spent three weeks in Connecticut making drawings from nature. He went on to produce a series of paintings that refer to natural forms. In this painting, amorphous shapes and drips of liquid paint suggest the fluidity of the waterfall.

Gallery label, August 2004″

Mine is a somewhat more blocky type matter, but I kept the whole things quite loose.  This was a discovery for me, that I did not need to hold everything neatly together.

“Gorky was a quite well known but rather derivative painter for 15 years before he found himself in about 1943,” wrote Alfred Barr, founder-director of the Museum of Modern Art. That small waterfall he found on the Housatonic River, New Milford, Connnecticut, and the flowers and insects he came upon at Crooked Run Farm, Virginia, fed Gorky’s appetite for animation within ground cover. Suddenly he flourished.”

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/feb/06/arshile-gorky-painting-william-feaver

Nice quote from Arshile Gorky:

“Abstraction allows man to see with his mind what he cannot physically see with his eyes… Abstract art enables the artist to perceive beyond the tangible, to extract the infinite out of the finite. It is the emancipation of the mind. It is an explosion into unknown areas.”

Read more about Arshile Gorky here:  http://www.theartstory.org/artist-gorky-arshile.htm

 

So What Does “Asana” Really Mean?

I found the following text here:  https://www.yogatraveltree.com/blog/article/sanskrit-101-real-meaning-asana

and was very pleased, as I had been playing with the idea of titling some of my paintings with the word “Asana”.

“We’ll start with the term “asana” which is part of most of the Sanskrit pose names. “Asana” is defined as any of the yogic postures or movements, but literally translates to “seat.” It’s said that originally the only posture in yoga was a comfortable seat taken for long periods of mediation. Eventually the other postures were developed to help find ease in sitting for so long, and to assist with opening the mind to a meditative state. The postures are used to increase hip flexibility so one can sit crosslegged, and to stimulate the chakras and nadis (allowing for energy body throughout the body). “Asana” is a very thought-provoking term, since thinking of each posture as a place to find the meditative “seat” or state of mind brings the practice away from just the physical movement and begins the journey of the mind looking inward. It also reinforces the idea that a practitioner should try seated meditation in addition to practising postures.”

Each painting may also be an opportunity to find a meditative “seat” or state of mind.  I have several earlier paintings which I called “Resting Place” and they featured a block/still area which served as a point of resting the eye…or seating the eye maybe, in one (normally fairly central) area.   I very much like this idea of the painting, as a whole, as an “asana” or point of entry to a journey of the mind, as it looks inwards.   So the looking ourwards bears a kind of inner reflection, a reflective state.   A painting, while it does contain dynamic movement in the way that it stimulates the eye and mind, is also beautifully still.  For looking at a painting to be appreciated as a kind of meditative pose being taken by the viewer has a lot of appeal to me.

Boat House - Romantic Expressive Abstract Lyrical acrylic painting by surrey south west london painter artist jenny meehan imaginative internal landscape

 

The painting above “Boat House”  was for a considerable time also titled “Resting Place”.  In the end I settled with the “Boat House” because of the strong aspect of reflection in water which really makes it stand apart from the other similar experiments I did at the time.  Around 2012 ish.  This painting is ready to find a new home I think.  We are now five years down the line.  Because of what happens when you take photographs of paintings the blue looks much stronger than it is in the flesh.  The red is also a little more prominent.  The playing around with more solid areas and then areas of fluidity turned out to be a feature which continues to fascinate me.

So What DO Artist’s Do All Day?

Well, if they are mothers and housekeepers, domestic bliss will keep them busy. (!!!!) They do all that they can to avoid their domestic tasks, and spend as much possible time as they can developing their art working!  But, other work cannot be avoided.  Indeed,  the challenges of balancing one’s time between the work of an “artist”  and the work of “everything else” is a healthy tension.  It’s helpful to keep perspective, and also distance, in any creative activity, is a great blessing.  It is very convenient for me that my work base is also my home.  I  can flit between the intensely creative, to the simplest mundane tasks, and both contribute to the other in some way.  The constant effort of letting go is a good one to employ. In order to paint, I need to somehow ignore the piles of domestic tasks which surround me.  It is hard, takes will power, and a very  focused attitude of mind.  On the other hand, to be able to release myself from the intense involvement in a painting, and do a bit of washing up, or work in the garden for a while is also very helpful.  There is always a certain frustration with respect to limitations on time, however this is less of a problem now the children are older.

So, for a start, throw out the impression (possibly) given by the title “So What DO Artist’s Do all Day?” that they might be wondering what to do. For a large number of artists, the time they invest in their art working is hard won, in one way or another.  It is pressed between the other demands of life.  Unless on a creative retreat or residency maybe.  Many artists have multiple roles in life…Artist is just one of them.  And art working is just one strand.  But they may still choose to define themselves primarily as an artist. And the greater or lesser amount of their time spent on their work in no way makes them less or more of an artist. What an artist does “all day” may be for a small part of the day, among all the other “normal” things (!!!!!) that occupy people.  While some artists may pride themselves when they reach of point of describing themselves as a “Full Time Artist”, there is no real merit in that description, I don’t think, because defining yourself as “an artist” is more about an ongoing mission/vocation.

So, don’t worry about dreaming or wishing you could be a “full time artist”.  If you are an artist, every part of  your  being abides in the whole of your life, and in every little thing you do.  Your whole life and all you do in it,  is essentially the raw material of your art working, and will influence what you create, if you let it.  The way your time is allocated, is the way your time is allocated, and no more or no less than that.  You are not more or less of an artist if you need to spend more time doing things which seem less related to your art work creation/activities.   You will call yourself an artist, if you decide that this definition is something which most aptly describes what matters to you.

Here a another read on the topic.  The Myth of the Full Time Creative Artist!  

http://skinnyartist.com/myth-of-the-full-time-creative-artist/

This is a very good read.

This “Don’t Fall For The Part-time Artist Versus Full-Time Artist Trap”.was also a good read:

http://theartedge.faso.com/blog/94055/dont-fall-for-the-part-time-artist-vs-full-time-artist-trap

Adds another dimension that I had not thought through with regard to the whole “art business” model.

A Reflection

I realised recently, that from an external perspective, unless one already knows a professional artist,  it might be hard to appreciate the nature of “work” for a fine artist.  This is the only explanation I can come to as I mull over the words “But it doesn’t affect your work” (with reference to the state of my knee) which was applied to me a while back.  I may have misunderstood.  I will get over the shock of hearing this, I am sure. Though how a lack of mobility cannot affect every single area of a person’s life, I am not sure.  And how some areas might be considered more worthy or less worthy of attention, I am not sure either. And how anyone could say that to someone else, when they do not know the person, or know nothing about what they spend their time doing, I do not know either.  It was a mistaken assumption, for sure.  (I have ranted!)

But we all make mistakes. Sometimes ones which cause annoyance!  And it makes me remember the look of bewilderment on a young lady’s face at a recent art networking event I went to.  Myself and another Mother-Artist were talking about the challenges of balancing the domestic sphere of activity, child rearing, and our art practice, and in the conversation we referred to “Keeping the house”.  This phrase was a complete mystery to the younger lady…She said “What do you mean? Keeping the house?”.  She looked bemused and confused and said “What is there to do?”.  It’s amazing, but I shouldn’t be surprised because I think thirty years earlier in my life I would have had no idea or no appreciation of what household management and housekeeping involved.  The whole idea would have been alien to me. We are often very lacking in awareness of the work which our mothers (usually mothers) do because we take them for granted.  And also, probably, I would have had no appreciation of the way that the person who spends more time based in the home often tends, by natural default, to then take over the main responsibility of running the show. Which, depending on their partners occupation, and various other factors, can mean running everything. We slip into roles.  They just happen.

But I don’t think what is happening with the whole matter of women being strongly encouraged/expected to enter, (even when their children are very young),  into external workplaces, at the expense of the work which happens in the home, really helps younger people, or anyone, gain an appreciation of either the importance, nature, or value of work done in the home/stemming from the home base. The implication is that home based work is something that is easily left, and of lesser importance, when in reality they are of equal value to society.  The only difference between work done in the home and work done elsewhere is that they are carried out in different locations, and one tends to be paid and the other not. (Well, there are other differences, depending on the job titles which might be coming to mind, but potentially there are also no differences, just a merging of potential job titles!). The actual activity varies from person to person, depending on their situation, but there is a lot of overlap in terms of what is actually done/the effect on society.  Investment is a word we tend to associate with money, but time and effort are the material of investment.

I reflect, then, that there are many people who are not part of the labour market, but who do “work” very hard, and with a sense of purpose and drive, which is the very same purpose and drive, which might fire them ahead in any paid career. Many people in this category might be termed “retired”, I guess, but may have nothing retiring about themselves and their outlook or their manner of going about their lives. Or they may be caregivers of various kinds, or just be pursuing a vocation which doesn’t fit neatly into a box or is slightly unconventional. The main thing is that voluntary work, or activities which do not profit in the financial sense, (or aim to in any way), are still work. And profitable work.  But the profit is not monetary.  It’s not spiritualistic. It is not materialistic either.  It is to do with the soul, the heart, the centre of being, and those experiences and moments in life which touch us to the core, and ultimately make us who we are.

Passion and involvement are what is needed to “work” in the truest sense of the word. To coin that familiar phrase “It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it” Maybe “work” is, ultimately,  those activities we do in life which are rooted in love, passion and maybe even a sense of mission.  So “work” may weave it’s way through our many aspects of life…it is not limited to a single compartment of someone’s life.  It is, maybe that which we apply ourselves to in a dedicated and determined manner, in order to reap benefit, for oneself and for others.  In order to contribute to our society in some form or other.

Basically, work is life!

Consider also the words of the Lord Jesus Christ

Mark 8:36 King James Version (KJV)

36 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

As a mother, I can also testify that the unpaid work of mothering (fathering and indeed, parenting roles by any person…gender regardless, but I have to speak as I am) is extremely important for the soul of our society, and is horrifically and destructively attacked by the capitalist and materialist systems/prevailing consciousness we are subject to, in my opinion.

The whole trend of equating money with value is pretty gross basically.  Thankfully a lot of people do see this, recognise it, and speak about it.  We kind of know it, deep down I think.   But the currents are strong, and pull us sometimes away from our very selves, and away from the source of our being.  A person, whatever their occupation, and regardless of what they do or do not do,  is no less valuable than any other human being.  We work at life, and do not understand or fully appreciate each other, or our own unique trials and triumphs. Though we work at doing so, hopefully.  It is not for us to judge…Though we tend to, by habit.  We judge ourselves and others.

It’s worth adding, also, that if someone is free to involve and invest themselves in unpaid work, this should not stand against them either.  The assumption that because someone is presently at liberty not to need to earn any money, and that this state will go on forever, is also mistaken. We all need to work, and our work is what we work at.  It is the matter of life which matters to us.  What we invest ourselves into.  Our mission.  Sometimes the activities people do “for a living” are that which provide them the financial resources they need.  But sometimes the activities people do “for a living” are not related to the financial resources they need but are still none the less related to their living, their experience of living, and the quality of life. What IS work and what is not work?   In the end, work is what matters to a person and what they invest themselves into.

I think I have digressed rather, as is my habit.  For I did start with “What do Artists Do all Day”. So I had better get back to that.  One thing did lead to another! I am still slightly reeling, but it is an overreaction on my part.  I do realise this.  An artist’s work is not a conventional “job” in the way that so many peoples work activities are.   I am in charge of my own work schedule in a way which is very helpful when disabled with knee osteoarthritis. There is some flexibility there.  However, in so many respects, the effects of a lack of mobility have the potential to be just as destructive for someone in my position as  for someone who is employed in a more conventional work context.  In terms of one’s future, one’s potential. one’s personal development, and basically one’s fulfilment in life, if your mobility is affected, then your opportunities in life ARE drastically restricted.  Every thing is impacted.  Don’t worry.  I’ll get over it!

Back once more to “What do Artists Do all Day”.  Well, away from the emotional and into the practical.  While clearly there is a lot of variation, and this variation is wonderfully interesting, some of the practical tasks which are carried out by artists of a similar type to me, might include:

Creating original work, and also prints and reproductions of their work.

Carrying out commissioned work

Being involved in selling their work, as much as time allows.  This may be through Open Studios events or Studio visits.  Artists need to sell their work because if they don’t, then end up having no room to live in anymore! They need room to create more work!  And money for resources. (Some might be in a position of having someone to do this for them.  Most don’t though!)

Involvement in community art projects and sometimes teaching and education.

Maintaining a website and creating an internet presence.

Researching and planning art works.

Sourcing materials and developing relationships with suppliers

Keeping in touch with what is happening creatively around them. This includes seeing exhibitions, meeting other artists, and keeping eyes out for future opportunities for good working relationships and interesting projects.

Networking, through private views, and other events

Administration, correspondence, and creating publicity

Project planning

Writing proposals for galleries, competitions or artist residencies.

Writing funding applications (public and private)

Applying for residencies, competitions and other opportunities.

Liaising with contacts, gallery owners, curators and other artists

Curating individual and group shows

Writing press releases, and writing/speaking about your work

Maintaining a portfolio

Documenting your work

Skills needed are (as well as artistic talent/ability)

determination and commitment, with passion
self-belief, without an over active ego, but with a good dose of humility
good writing, verbal communications skills and presentation skills
self-promotion skills and confidence
technical ability and interest in materials and experimentation
an ongoing orientation toward professional development
organisation skills and the ability to meet deadlines
research skills
ability to work independently and with others
stamina and a willingness to put in long hours
flexibility and a constant attitude of readiness to learn
a lot of self motivation!
ability to grow and develop your work and practice through increased self-awareness
curiosity and interest in what is happening in the world around  you
Self motivation, determination, discipline, and perseverance are very important.

 

Have I written enough for March?  Yes.

I need to go into the garden and look at the shooting shoots shooting up into the air.

Do a last tiny bit of gardening before my knee replacement operation, being VERY careful not to cut or damage my legs in any way.

And I need to pray.

“By prayer I mean not that which is only in the mouth,
but that which springs up from the bottom of the heart”

John Chrysostom

 

Knee Replacement Operation Coming Up Soon!

Ah, it is coming up soon.

It is major surgery.  It is routine surgery.  I try to keep the two thoughts in balance!

And how interesting this journey towards surgery has been for me.

How grateful I am for the understanding and care I have had from the professionals I have been involved with.  Yet how aware I have also been of the influences which have been at play. Influences which constrain people, however understanding they might be.  Think…FUNDING and CCG.  Influences which affect all concerned, and subtly affect (I found in my experience) a patients belief, faith and understanding with respect to knee replacement surgery and how realistic an option that might be for them. Think…IS THIS AN OPTION FOR ME AT ALL? I am a sensitive soul. This may not have helped me in some ways, and I may have been better off oblivious.  But it is not my style.  Artists’ do tend to be rather sensitive to the currents of cultures they inhibit.  And I cannot help thinking that if I had not been so persistent, I would have been deterred by many factors,  and chosen to delay knee replacement surgery. But I had a pretty big sneaky feeling, which as time progressed grew less sneaky and far more obviously sensible, that for me personally, it would be insane to delay knee replacement surgery bearing in mind the disability and pain which have now become part of my life. The experience has inspired me to such an extent, that I plan to write another page on my blog completely dedicated to my knee journey story.  But as I am not ready to do that quite yet, then I share this little finding with you…  It is from the BOA, see   https://www.boa.ac.uk/publications/boa-letter-to-the-times-rationing-of-hip-knee-replacements-30-01-17/

The Times
1 London Bridge Street
SE1 9GF
Dear Sir,
I read with interest your article on rationing by CCG’s of hip and knee replacements – an issue which is so
important to many of our patients. It is unfortunate that a number of myths continue to be perpetuated in this
debate, some of which you have focused upon in your article. There are many further pieces of information which
support your comments.
Firstly there is robust evidence that having a BMI between 30 and 40 does not increase your risk of a poor
outcome following either hip or knee replacement. Indeed there is some evidence that this group of patients is
actually the ‘happiest’ with their outcome. If your BMI is over 40 your complication risk goes up marginally, but if
you have an uncomplicated outcome you are as happy with the outcome as thinner patients.
A hip replacement costs £7.50 a week and 90% of hip replacements will still be in place having required no further
treatment (beyond 15 years in many cases) at the end of a patient’s life. Patients prior to a major joint
replacement will attend their GPs, on average, a couple of times a month. Post joint replacement they need to do
so only a couple of times a year.
The Oxford hip and knee scores were not designed as a pre-op screening tool to eliminate large sections of the
population from a qualitative life improving procedure: they were designed as a tool to measure outcomes in
large populations and not in individuals. There is evidence that timely surgery has the best effect on patients’
general health, the implication being that if you wait, their general health deteriorates. There is also good
evidence that although patients with a very bad score pre-operatively may make greater improvements in some
respects, they tend not to reach such a high level of functioning or such a low level of disability after their
operation as those who start off with a lower level of disability.
Using the well-intentioned aim of an overall improvement of the populations’ general health as a justification for
limiting access to very effective treatment is neither acceptable nor ultimately cheaper. In an era where patients
should be fully advised as to their options and choice of treatment, this stance will inevitably lead to endless
appeals and a further waste of resources to deal with them.
The Department of Health says there is no more money. This is an assertion which can easily be challenged as in
the UK we spend much less of our money on health care than do most of the developed western nations.
However, if the government is absolutely adamant that they will provide no more funding, there are two things
that should be considered before such arbitrary rationing. Firstly, the enormous increase in NHS management
costs, which have at least tripled in terms of percentage spend over the last two decades, needs to be cut
radically. Secondly, if some form of rationing is deemed essential, it should not be targeted at treatments that
are cost effective and will help maintain the fitness and independence of patients. This clearly applies to total hip
and knee replacement as two of the most cost effective treatments available across the whole of health care.
Preventing patients accessing these life enhancing treatments smacks of moral bankruptcy.
Yours sincerely
Ian Winson FRCS
BOA President

 

Well said!

I personally thank the wake up call of knee pain due to post traumatic osteoarthritis in my right knee.  Yes, I really do, because it has provided a reality check in terms of me recognising how damaging being obese can be for me.  It is very true though, (with respect to my obese status …and I am still just above 30 BMI! Nearly under!)  I was, with various modes of support, able to utilise my experience of pain and disability pre-operatively but I am highly aware that this would not be the case for a lot of people.  Being overweight or obese isn’t good for the body in many respects, and the little bit of lay person’s research I did on the recovery from TKR did reflect this general principle, but it is interesting that the letter above references a BMI of 40…Much greater than the BMI of 30 which seems to feature in the CCG’s I looked at.

Indeed, when I look at my still just over 30 BMI body, which is several stone lighter than it was, I think most people seeing it would not realise that I am technically obese.  And, when it comes down to it, loosing weight HAS NOT reduced the pain and disability I experience.  My knee has had phases of being better and worse, but the general trend has been a steady but gradual deterioration.  Weight loss may have helped a bit, and lessened the load, quite literally.  I am certainly going to keep the weight off to make sure my knee replacement has the maximum chances of a long life.  And I plan to loose a couple more stone in addition, to keep up the good work.  Exercise is now a way of life for me.

NHS Financial Crisis

Here is the “NHS Financial Crisis” art work I came up with, as part of this experience.  It’s important to me that the load is seen to be born by both clinicians and patients, and not just one or the other.

NHS financial crisis, elective surgery joint replacement rationing, TKR graphic art, graphic image knee joint,abstract knee replacement design,abstract artwork knee joint, © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

NHS financial pressures knee replacement jenny meehan © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

 

Love my painting, but love a bit of graphic art from time to time.

 

 

On the matter of artist’s being sensitive:

“Sensitive people often pick up on the little things in the environment that others miss, see patterns where others see randomness, and find meaning and metaphor in the minutiae of everyday life. It’s no wonder this type of personality would be driven to creative expression. If we think of creativity as “connecting the dots” in some way, then sensitive people experience a world in which there are both more dots and more opportunities for connection.”

This excerpt is from the new book Wired to Create: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, by psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman and HuffPost Senior Writer Carolyn Gregoire.

Nice quote:

“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.”

— Pearl S. Buck

Read the article here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/artists-sensitive-creative_us_567f02dee4b0b958f6598764

 

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Jenny Meehan is a painter-poet, artist-author  and Christian contemplative  based in East Surrey/South West London.   Her interest in Christ-centred spirituality and creativity are the main focus of this artist’s journal, which rambles and meanders on, maybe acting as a personal (yet open to view)  note book as much as anything else.  

Her website is www.jamartlondon.com.  (www.jamartlondon.com replaces the older now deceased website http://www.jennymeehan.co.uk)

Contact Jenny via her website: 

http://www.jamartlondon.com/#/contact/4569980742

Jenny Meehan BA Hons (Lit.) PGCE  offers art tuition.  Please contact Jenny at j.meehan@tesco.net or through the contact form at www.jamartlondon.com for further details.  Availability depends on other commitments.    

 Jenny Meehan works mainly with either oils or acrylics  creating both abstract/non-objective paintings  and also semi-abstract work.  She also produces some representational/figurative artwork,  mostly using digital photography/image manipulation software, painting and  drawing.  Both original fine paintings, other artwork forms,  and affordable photo-mechanically produced prints are available to purchase.

This artist’s blog is of interest to artists, art collectors, art lovers and anyone interested in fine art.  Those interested in British 21st century female contemporary artists, women and art, religious art, spirituality and art, and psychoanalysis and art, will probably enjoy dipping into this Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal.

Art collectors are often interested in the processes, techniques, interests and influences of the artists whose work they collect, and sharing my thoughts and perspectives through a blog is an important dimension of my creative practice.

My main focus is directed towards process led abstract painting, and you can view some examples of this on my website jamartlondon.com.  I encapsulate my painting as being romantic,expressionistic, abstract and lyrical.  Art collectors interested in lyrical abstraction, abstract expressionist, and essentially romantic art, are likely to find my paintings an interesting and exciting addition to their art collection. Art collectors can view a list of exhibitions I have taken part in on my websites exhibitions page; http://www.jamartlondon.com/#/exhibitions/4570944550

Art collectors can see selected examples of my original paintings  organised by year on jamartlondon which gives you a brief overview of the development of my painting over the years:

http://www.jamartlondon.com/#/paintings/4570156802

I am a self-representing artist, whose aim is to ensure  I continue to develop my painting practice in an innovative and pioneering way, rather than attempt some kind of commercial success, and whose aim is also that my work is historically relevant, rather then celebrated in that so called and illusive “art world”.  I hope to add to the number of people who value, collect, and develop an interest in my paintings and to thereby sustain and develop my practice over many years. 

I am also keen that my  art work is appreciated and accessible to as many people as possible, and am aware that not all art lovers and art collectors can afford to buy original paintings or limited edition prints.  For that reason I grant licenses for the use of my imagery. (See Redbubble.com and DACS information below). 

To be placed on Jenny Meehan’s  bi-annual  mailing list please contact Jenny via her website contact page:  www.jamartlondon.com

Also, you could follow the Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal at WordPress and keep informed that way. 

Note About Following Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal 

TO FOLLOW THIS ARTIST’S BLOG SIMPLY LOCATE THE  “FOLLOW” BOX AND POP IN YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.  YOU WILL THEN RECEIVE MONTHLY UPDATES. 

Website Link for jamartlondon:  www.jamartlondon.com 

A selection of non objective paintings can be viewed on pinterest:   https://uk.pinterest.com/Jamartlondon/

Help me continue my practice/art working:

 Jenny Meehan art images on Redbubble and Image Licensing through the Designer and Artists Copyright Society

If you would like a way of helping me in some small way, while benefiting from my art working yourself, then scoot along to redbubble.com where you can buy various products with my imagery on them.  It is a good company and they produce and sell their products with my images on.  I get a small royalty payment when something is sold.  It all helps a little. Here is the link to the pages on Redbubble.com which show prints with my imagery on them:

https://www.redbubble.com/shop/jenny+meehan+prints?cat_context=u-prints&page=1&accordion=department

My prints and some merchandise which uses my artwork can also be purchased safely and easily through Redbubble.com

Here is the link to the main Jenny Meehan portfolio page on Redbubble.com:

http://www.redbubble.com/people/jennyjimjams?ref=artist_title_name

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

All content on this blog,  unless specified otherwise,  is © Jenny Meehan.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts of writing and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jenny Meehan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Images may not be used without permission under any circumstances. 

Copyright and Licensing Digital Images Information – Jenny Meehan

www.jamartlondon.com

Copyright in all images by Jenny Meehan is held by the artist.
Permission must be sought in advance for the reproduction, copying or any other use of any images by Jenny Meehan.

Copyright for all visual art by Jenny Meehan is managed by the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) in the UK. If you wish to licence a work of art by Jenny Meehan,  you could contact Jenny Meehan in the first instance to clarify your requirements. There is a contact form on my website www.jamartlondon.com.  Alternatively you can contact the DACS directly;  https://www.dacs.org.uk/licensing-works

Licensing an image is quick and easy for both parties and is organised through the Design and Artist Copyright Society. (Note, my images are not shown on the “Art image” selection on the Design and Artist Copyright “Art Image” page. This does NOT mean you cannot apply for a license to use an image of my work from DACS… They simply have a very limited sample selection of work in their “Artimage” page!)

I have extensive archives of digital imagery, and keep records of all my art work, so  if you require an image similar to something of mine you have seen on the internet, it’s worth contacting me to see if I have something suitable for licensing if need be.  Use the contact form on my website jamartlondon.com to enquire:  http://www.jamartlondon.com/#/contact/4569980742

About Jenny Meehan (Jennifer Meehan) 

Jenny Meehan is an established artist who has been exhibiting for over ten years, mostly in the UK. Notable exhibitions include, most recently being selected for the Imagined Worlds touring exhibition of artworks inspired by the poem ‘Kubla Khan’ and inclusion in “Building Bridges, the Female Perspective” at Tower Bridge Victorian Engine Rooms in 2016. Jenny has been a keen supporter of various charity art exhibitions over the years including the National Brain Appeals ” A Letter in Mind” at Gallery@oxo, South Bank, London and the “Anatomy for Life” Exhibition for Brighton Sussex University Hospitals Trust in 2015

Selected by a wide range of judges in open submission exhibitions, her work appeals to the aesthetic and emotional discernment of many, and has been displayed in many prestigious galleries. These include the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, in 2015, as part of their Open Exhibition, and the Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, West Sussex, as part of the Pallant House Gallery/St Wilfrid’s Hospice Open Art Exhibition in 2010.

Jenny Meehan’s work has been included in several academic projects and and publications including “Speaking Out – Women Recovering from the Trauma of Violence” by Nicole Fayard in 2014 and the ongoing “Recovery” Exhibition project – Institute Of Mental Health/City Arts, Nottingham University, also in 2014. While her romantic, lyrical, expressionistic, abstract paintings offer a contemplative space free from cares and concerns, other strands of her practice engage with subjects ranging from violence, trauma recovery, psychoanalysis, and mental health.

The usual mass of discrete title topics all messed into one…Just the way I like it!

Transgender, Gender & Psychoanalysis (Freud Museum and the SITE conference: Fringe event art exhibition)

 

 

pen and ink on torn paper unique print by jenny meehan jamartlondon

pen and ink on torn paper unique print by jenny meehan jamartlondon

Looking forward to being part of this exhibition.

Above is one of two submitted art works which were chosen by the curators for exhibition.  “Pen and Ink on Torn Paper” is composed of a digitally printed torn image, but this is effectively a unique original artwork, in that the tearing is unique to itself. So there is no edition as such. It is a “one off” by virtue of it’s torn substrate. It’s the tearing, rather than the print itself, which would is unique to each one, if I decide to make any more. So if anyone does express an interest in buying it, I can make one for them which would have the same image, but would be torn differently.

(Pen and ink were the original mediums of the figures, but they have never existed together in reality! )

And here, below is “Pink Girl”…

 

The SITE for Contemporary Psychoanalysis ,recovery psychotherapy,art psychotherapy,british female painter artist jenny meehan,Pink Girl painting in Recovery University of Leicester Instutute of Mental Health by Jenny Meeha

Pink Girl painting by Jenny Meehan © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

The exhibition is a fringe event which is part of an annual conference…

The SITE is teaming up with the Freud Museum for its annual conference in 2017:

Transgender, Gender & Psychoanalysis

11th & 12th March 2017 at the Freud Museum

EARLY BIRD TICKETS ON SALE UNTIL 15 JANUARY

The Conference Fringe will include a series of events leading up to the Conference…

 

Here is a bit about the SITE, quoted from their website:

The SITE for Contemporary Psychoanalysis is a training organisation and a member of the Council for Psychoanalysis and Jungian Analysis College (CPJA) of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). All graduates are eligible for UKCP registration.

The Site was established in October 1997 by psychotherapists from diverse psychoanalytic organisations who wished to create a training programme and an association that would foster critical, reflective and imaginative thinking about psychoanalysis and its contemporary practices.

In 2010 the Site set up a sister training in Truro, Cornwall. This is now a well established part of the Site, with a successful training, an Introductory course and annual public events.

Here is the link to The SITE for Contemporary Psychoanalysis

And here is the information on the event, of which the Art Exhibition is going to be just one part.  I am delighted that my work was selected for this art exhibition!

“SITE announces collaboration with Freud Museum

The SITE is teaming up with the Freud Museum for its annual conference in 2017.

Transgender, Gender & Psychoanalysis

11th & 12th March 2017 at the Freud Museum

The struggles of people of transgender identity have exploded into mainstream consciousness. By crossing the ‘gender divide’, the trans movement has radicalised the question of what it means to be a man or a woman, uncovering a fertile and conflicting arena in which the emancipatory deconstruction of sexual identity intriguingly flirts with the pitfalls of essentialism.

Such a reshuffling of binary and non-binary categories confronts psychoanalysis with new clinical, political and theoretical challenges that push it out of its comfort zone. How can contemporary psychoanalysis meet the demands and the needs that such challenges yield? What does psychoanalysis have to lose? And what does it stand to gain?

The 2017 SITE Conference in collaboration with the Freud Museum will approach these questions critically while exploring new horizons from which to address the complex issues of sexual identity and gendered positioning.”

Here is the flyer for the SITE fringe “Transgender, Gender & Psychoanalysis” Art Exhibition:

fringe-exhibition-flyer-transgender-and-psychoanalysis

fringe-exhibition-flyer-transgender-and-psychoanalysis

Because my forthcoming knee replacement operation is also due in March,  I will not be able to make even the “short walk” to see the exhibition, as far as I can see, if I have just had the op!  Even now, getting to the venue has an added layer of complexity which I never fully appreciated before my own experience of disability in terms of mobility. On the other hand, If I have not had my operation, I am sure I can work out a way of getting to it. I use a crutch for when I am in London, as I need the extra support using public transport, (all those stairs!) and to enable me to walk more reliably for longer and without aggravating the joint to the point of agony.  Agony is not good.  I am now hoping that maybe the operation will be after this exhibition, and I can both deliver and collect my work at least. But I will need to wait and see.

It is a shame not to know how things will be, but actually it is heaven just knowing that I will have my knee joint treated surgically.   Hopefully they will take lots of images at the private view and I can get a taste of it that way, even if I cannot make the event. Until I am well and truly back walking again, I may have to give pursuing any opportunities a miss.

Labels for Painting Styles

Labels…  Kind of a necessity for me, in terms of communicating how my painting relates to other “movements”.  The good thing about movements is they are normally seen best from a great distance, and also, it is encouraging to look back and see other artists who have been as obsessed as you about particular approaches to art making and art working.  It is also helpful for those who enjoy collecting art…  They can explore different movements and will settle on something maybe over time which they find the most exciting and interesting for themselves in terms of a historical period or style of painting.  There are all kinds of ways that an art collector might decide to focus their collection of art work.

The terms I tend to use for describing my main thrust in painting are bouncing within the realms of the following terms: Lyrical abstraction, abstraction lyrique, tachism, tachisme, action painting, abstract expressionism, art informal, informalism.  But these are terms which relate to particular movements in the past, and serve as a way of describing and communicating what to expect with my own painting, and not anything more than that.  And it is the case that within my own realm of art working, I move between several styles…  This is part of the process of development.  I think I have written about this in a previous post.  It is a bad thing to narrow down artistic creation in order to adhere or fit into a style.  If it happens it will happen naturally, and evolve that way. It will grow and develop, playing and toying with different styles and approaches en route!

It is the case, that when using paint, things now are tending to fall within the bounds of my approach, which is process led and focused on formal elements and experimenting with materials. What comes through is a materialisation, a becoming, of my self.  Which references my life experience and emotional and spiritual journey.  Mostly I like to let things happen, rather than plan.  But there is a lot of unconscious planning which happens I think.  There is a lot of emerging!!!

Historical terms and descriptions of styles are good for searching for the kind of paintings you like, and there are plenty of movements which it is helpful for the keen collector of art to educate themselves in.  My own preoccupation is with the formal elements of the painting, and a process led approach.  My preferred terminology for my own work is that of British romantic, poetic, lyrical, abstract and expressionistic painting.  I like the romantic, because of the way it conveys both individuality and intensity of emotion and the importance of these.  I loved my studies of the Romantic poets when at University, and also of the paintings of Turner, which were studies as part of a couple of painting courses at West Dean College given by John T Freeman, (who I credit, among others, with role of welcoming me into the realms of painting as a way of life/vocational activity!)

This is rather helpful:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Serge Poliakoff Composition: Gray and Red, 1964
Tachisme (alternative spelling: Tachism, derived from the French word tache, stain) is a French style of abstract painting popular in the 1940s and 1950s. The term is said to have been first used with regards to the movement in 1951.[1] It is often considered to be the European equivalent to abstract expressionism,[2] although there are stylistic differences (American abstract expressionism tended to be more “aggressively raw” than tachisme).[1] It was part of a larger postwar movement known as Art Informel (or Informel),[3] which abandoned geometric abstraction in favour of a more intuitive form of expression, similar to action painting. Another name for Tachism is Abstraction lyrique (related to American Lyrical Abstraction). COBRA is also related to Tachisme, as is Japan’s Gutai group.

After World War II the term School of Paris often referred to Tachisme, the European equivalent of American abstract expressionism. Important proponents were Jean-Paul Riopelle, Wols, Jean Dubuffet, Pierre Soulages, Nicolas de Staël, Hans Hartung, Serge Poliakoff, Georges Mathieu and Jean Messagier, among several others. (See list of artists below.)

According to Chilvers, the term tachisme “was first used in this sense in about 1951 (the French critics Charles Estienne and Pierre Guéguen have each been credited with coining it) and it was given wide currency by [French critic and painter] Michel Tapié in his book Un Art autre (1952).”

Tachisme was a reaction to Cubism and is characterized by spontaneous brushwork, drips and blobs of paint straight from the tube, and sometimes scribbling reminiscent of calligraphy.

Tachisme is closely related to Informalism or Art Informel, which, in its 1950s French art-critical context, referred not so much to a sense of “informal art” as “a lack or absence of form itself”–non-formal or un-form-ulated–and not a simple reduction of formality or formalness. Art Informel was more about the absence of premeditated structure, conception or approach (sans cérémonie) than a mere casual, loosened or relaxed art procedure.[4]

And there is lots more to read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tachisme

More Paintings

eternal one painting jenny meehan referencing afterlife

eternal one painting jenny meehan referencing afterlife

Eternal One

arylic painting for sale purchase surrey fine painting on surrey artist network by contemporary British painter Jenny Meehan based in south west london. Acrylic paint, pigments, various mediums and fillers, sand, glass beads, on canvas coated with very thin coating of acrylic resin for protection. Framed and available for sale/purchase/collection.

Painting referencing afterlife, heaven,future,doorways,entrance,exit,rite of passage,dust,clouds,air,vision,Christian,heaven,ascension,spiritual,spirit,supernatural,death, life,journey,light

Time Passes

abstract acrylic contemporary british lyrical expressionist romantic elegiac fine painting alley outhouses lament past rear access roads passageway memory, jamartlondon, jenny meehan, jennifer meehan, © Jenny Meehan, abstract expressionist female painter 21st century, collectable abstract art,

past remembrances, elergy painting poetic mournful lament

Abstract acrylic painting, using glass beads, filler, pigments, pearlescent pigment,sand,acrylic medium.
Process based painting, with subject matter emerging as the painting progresses, so kind of free association process going on through the painting. This resonated as a memory, memory of past walks through the rear access roads in my area and also childhood memories of playing in alleyways.

Non representational acrylic painting with pigments, acrylic medium, glass beads,filler, wax crayon,oil pastel, pigment.

 

Upper Room

lyrical abstraction,abstract expressionist fine painting, british english women artist, 21st century painter female, upper room, christian artist art spirituality, contemplative art, meditative art, romantic abstract lyrical expressionism, abstract acrylic painting christian art sacred symbolism jenny meehan

lyrical abstract painting selected for “Not the Royal Academy” exhibition at Llewellyn Alexander Fine Paintings Waterloo in 2013. For sale.

“Upper Room” (reference, upper room in New Testament, where Last Supper took place)

Non representational acrylic painting with pigments, acrylic medium, sand, glass beads,filler, spray paint, pearlescent pigment, pigment.

 

Update on the current paintings in progress is there is a lot of looking and thinking, mulling and reflecting going on, but not a lot of action.

 

Printing Papers

While not painting, I have been experimenting with inkjet printing on different types of paper.  For some images I wanted duller colours and not the brightness which comes from using an ink-jet paper. I have a new printer which takes some time to get the head around but with a scanner it offers some new opportunities I am sure.  I have produced a fair bit of work but not anything I want to show at this point as still very much under consideration.

I have many different types of paper and have no rule for what I use for what.  Sometimes ordinary watercolour paper is right, other times, just copy paper.  Ink jet paper yields totally  different results to watercolour paper, quite surprisingly so. I should not be surprised, but I always am. There are different grades of ordinary printing paper that can give some of the benefits of photo paper (cleaner, clearer images; brighter colour; cleaner text) but for less money.

Fundamental differences are:

Weight: The amount of mass of a ream of 500 pages of the paper in question before it is cut down to whatever its current size may be.  Paper weight is simply an simple way to measure the density of a paper.

Point size: Point size is a measure of the thickness of paper, unlike weight, which is a measure of density of paper material. Points are one thousandth of an inch, with heavier papers having higher point sizes. Many types of paper will have no mention of point size, but photo papers/cards may include it.

Brightness: Brightness is the amount of light that is reflected off the surface of the paper.  More reflected light mean  a better colour range is achievable, and better contrast too. So the brighter the paper stock, the better, IF brightness is what you want and the greatest range of colours.   Brightness is measured in values from 0 to 100. For instance, you can  buy fine quality reams of typing paper with a brightness of 90.

Whiteness: Easily confused with paper brightness, “whiteness” is the shift in colour of the paper, for example white can lean towards blue or much warmer red.  There are icy, bluish, and cool whites or whites which lean towards cream.

Paper stock: Related to point size and weight, various densities, thicknesses, and paper qualities have various names, like “Newsprint,” “Cardstock,” or “Bristol.” Many photo papers are heavier weights, often in an attempt to recreate the feel of old style photo prints on light sensitive paper developed with photo chemistry.

Coated Paper:  (for photo papers) They are coated with a layer of chemical bonded to the paper, intended to allow inks to be absorbed more accurately, creating better quality images.  They can be coated on  just one or both sides. They might be gloss or matte.

 

I don’t always choose to print on coated paper, as what I want the print to look like can vary a lot depending on the image.  Inkjet printers fire ink at pages in small liquid drops and the porous paper accepts the liquid material with capillary action, drawing it out in multiple directions.  This can sometimes be the kind of image I want, and the flow of ink,  though it could be seen as detrimental to the quality of the print, (because the print is less clean and crisp) can also add a softness to the print which is rather suitable.

Coated papers are chemically treated to help the paper be a better printing substrate, well, “better” if crisp and clear is your objective. Ink blots rest on the emulsion in a wet state, but stay neatly put and are also neatly absorbed. Images stay clean, because the absorption of inks into emulsified surfaces is a more controlled process.  As the ink settles and dries, the pigment left behind is effectively locked into the surface treatment of the paper. It cannot have it’s own way  quite as much as it would!

 

 

Prints, Editions, Limited Editions, Numbered Editions – Clarity  or Confusion?

I’m popping this in by way of general reference in relation to the way I have chosen to do things.

There are two main strands to my visual creative practice, one being original fine paintings and the other being mechanically reproduced prints (either digital C-prints or ink-jet prints). I do not often artificially limit my prints in number, but it is safe to say that numbers are very well limited by the amount of time I spend on creating them.

Digital C-prints and ink-jet prints made by me personally are numbered and signed, and I keep my own records, but their number will be naturally limited by nature of my own mortality! “Numbered and signed” prints are NOT the same as “limited editions”. I describe them as “numbered editions”, but the number of prints possible is open ended. This gives me greater flexibility as their creator in that I can make them in a variety of formats and sizes, and on different substrates.

Selected imagery is available unsigned and un-numbered for use on print-on-demand merchandise. It’s no less valuable than any other imagery, but if something leans in that direction and I can share it, then I will. Plus, funding is much needed to pay for painting materials and this facility helps in a small way by giving me a royalty from each sale.

Please do consider purchasing some of my printed artwork as this is an easy and mutually beneficial way help support my creative project.
Take a look at Redbubble.com:

http://www.redbubble.com/people/jennyjimjams

Most of the signed/numbered and unsigned/open edition mechanical prints of my work, are not reproductions of paintings or drawings but are works true to their own medium which is photographic imagery, either originating from a photographic image or from photo-manipulation software. If I think a work in another medium suitable for translation into digital imagery and printing, then I will do this, but not indiscriminately.

I also produce monotypes, using traditional printing techniques and sometimes hand finished digital prints on various substrat

Here is the link to my website jamartlondon which tells you a bit about editions with reference to my own imagery. 

Good Article on an Exhibition I won’t be able to see…STRIKING UP A CONVERSATION: THE BALTIMORE MUSEUM OF ART UNITES MATISSE AND DIEBENKORN IN A GLORIOUS EXHIBITION

Both Diebenkorn and Matisse have worked their magic on me, and so feeling rather sad I cannot see this.  This review makes for a good read though, and gives a flavour at least of what must be a super experience of viewing the works together.. It’s written by Phyllis Tuchman  and POSTED 01/19/17 10:51 AM January 29.

http://www.artnews.com/2017/01/19/striking-up-a-conversation-the-baltimore-museum-of-art-unites-matisse-and-diebenkorn-in-a-glorious-exhibition/

First Visit to an Osteopath – What to Expect

Well, that is the question. There are lots of answers to that, but for me, the “What to expect” is, rather than the actual  encounter,  if I should expect any kind of improvement or result from the visit.  My agenda in going to see an osteopath certainly wasn’t anything to do with avoiding knee replacement surgery.  The bones are grating and banging against each other in a way which clearly isn’t going to be changed by anything at all.  I have been exercising and working on the muscles of the whole leg, and the rest of my body, since September 2015, starting with GP prescribed quad muscle exercises, gentle yoga, swimming, and then individually tailored physiotherapy from September 2016.  It was hard to imagine that any thing further might change in any way at all. Even with trying something new and unexplored, and having an appointment with an Osteopath.

I was not looking for a reduction in pain either.  I have got used to pain being part of my daily menu in life.  I am getting the knee surgically treated because the knee needs to be treated, and the problem addressed in this way.  I am not a medic,  but it has become increasingly clear to me, as I experience the steady and rather rapid deterioration, that things are not going to improve.  The fluctuations in symptoms which do occur, only belie the underlying reality that I cannot walk very far at all, and the I am turning down opportunities left, right, and centre, because I am now disabled and my life is restricted in a soul destroying way, and in a way I cannot accept.   And I don’t want to sign up to an experience of pain and disability any longer than I need to.

But, as an artist, I have a strong appreciation of the importance of balance.  In an abstract painting, the constant alterations to the balance of the work, which are to do with the form/structure of the painting, make all the difference.  So it is simply logical that the same should apply to my own body.  I have been aware of being very “out of kilter”  and also of how a problem/alteration in one joint affects the whole body.  It affects the way I move, hold myself, and the experience of pain also needs to be managed and negotiated somehow.  The whole body tenses up when in pain.  So I did not go along to an Osteopath to relieve any pain.  Maybe that might be an objective after surgery though!!!

Here is a link if you want an answer to the question “First Visit to an Osteopath – What to Expect” in terms of the general experience of a visit to an Osteopath, the examination, diagnosis, and treatment, plus ongoing care: 

http://www.osteopathy.org.uk/visiting-an-osteopath/what-to-expect/

My Personal Experience of Consulting an Osteopath

As part of my knee journey, I felt some time ago it would be beneficial to visit an osteopath.  I walk past the British School of Osteopathy quite regularly.   http://www.bso.ac.uk/   One of the things I had felt surprised about was that at no point in my experiences of physiotherapy had any direct manual work been done on my knee/leg and that this was something which might be beneficial. It just seemed logical.  All those exercises did make a difference to the muscles around the knee joint, and I guess an appreciation of the importance of all the soft tissues and how they are involved did make me think that, even though I will have my joint addressed, it is also important for everything around it to be treated.

I don’t have any great expectations attached to my interest.  I don’t wish to avoid a knee replacement, as my quality of life is too badly affected.  I am fortunate in that I have worked, and continue to work very hard, on my body… The yoga is beneficial, the swimming is beneficial and the physiotherapy was also beneficial.  I have been pulling, stretching, massaging and moving both in and out of water.  I have been working hard for  months and doing all I can, including weight loss, to improve my situation.  I am managing the pain pretty well, though it has to be noted that it has been a lot easier to manage with the forthcoming knee replacement operation well and truly on the horizon.  The thought that I do not have a life long sentence of avoidable pain and disability is a very significant point to make.  I now realise that I will miss my “old knee” to a certain extent… It has been with me for a long while.

Anyway, back to Osteopathy and why I thought I would bring myself along to the British School of Osteopathy and see what happened.  As said, I wondered about the lack of physical manipulation.  The total lack of physical manipulation.  When I was treated with Physiotherapy at hospital I was very grateful for the individually tailored programme of exercises, and I did them very conscientiously every day.  But something about being treated was missing.  People with a long term chronic condition  are in a very different place to someone with a more immediate trauma injury.  The whole experience of knowing that your life will be affected in a very long term way,  is a big matter to get your head around.  But even when you have done your best at that, constantly experiencing pain and disability and knowing this is your daily lot, if it happens to be beyond what you feel you can bear, is depressing and anxiety provoking.  Your WHOLE life is affected, and it becomes more important, that when you are treated, the effect on your whole life becomes an important element of the way you are treated.  More so than if you have something with a clear beginning and end.

So what happened when I went to visit an Osteopath?  Things had deteriorated with my knee at such a pace which did have the overall effect of making me willing to try anything, even if I had not thought about it before.   So I was ready for anything potentially beneficial at all.  I do confess to having dismissed osteopathic treatment, thinking it was probably something not REALLY worthwhile. However, I am pleased to say that the session of osteopathic treatment I had WAS beneficial.   Someone who knows how to pull and push your limb around, and manipulate the soft tissues in theory should be helpful, and it was with this in mind that I went along.   I can now straighten my right leg more than before…  I felt the difference last night lying in bed, and was suitably impressed.  I also noticed some change in how the leg felt when I was swimming this morning.  It does feel more comfortable somehow. It feels straighter.  I did not ask about the details of what she was doing/had done because I did not want to involve my brain and my thinking, or my belief process in the treatment but I just wanted to simply have the limb manipulated and see what happened.

Bearing in mind that I have been working on my right leg for months, and have done what I am able to attempt to increase how straight it can be, including stretching it in the sauna, , plus yoga stretching and standing, and various other activities (with straight leg pressing the back of back of  knee into bed,etc) I am suitably impressed.   The fixed flexion deformity was only slight when noted last year, but all the same,  as far as I understand, it is not a good thing for the knee joint not be able to straighten well, as this I think puts more load on the patella.   From my perspective though, it was simply rather impressive and encouraging that it is possible to manipulate the limb in this way and I wasn’t expecting anything at all. Simply curious and interested.  So it was a positive experience and I plan to come back when I have got the “all clear” after the knee replacement operation, and offer up my leg for some manual treatment.  I do confess to being very keen to ensure that I make the best possible recovery, and that I make the most of my rehabilitation process and get a good outcome from the operation.

As said, I had not considered going to see an osteopath.  But, as I massaged my knee, for pain relief mainly, I felt not only that there had been nothing practically done in the area of physical manipulation, which I was surprised about, (because of the importance of all the surrounding structures), but also that my experience with my knee was effectively a whole body experience. The osteoarthritis, while the right knee has taken centre stage, is part of what is happening for me all round.   The knee joint itself is one part of that.  The best way for me to tell you the outcome is by posting the feedback letter I posted…As I have already written it!

Hello,

I would be very grateful if you would pass on this feedback from my recent appointment

Dear ………

I just wanted to say how pleased I feel after deciding to come along and see what an osteopathic approach might offer me and to see if I found it beneficial.

I had no particular expectations with respect to any treatment, but my own instincts from massaging my own knee and to thinking about the body in general (in relation to art, in fact…as a mechanism which needs balance in order to create harmony) and also my experience of doing Scarivelli inspired yoga over the last year prompted me to come along. I have walked past the other BSO building many times and had never thought about osteopathic treatment up until then.

While I have certainly appreciated the Physiotherapy I received at hospital, I was surprised and disappointed with respect to the absence of any physical manipulation. This just seemed logical to me. I ended up feeling that my knee was not actually being treated. While all the exercises, (which I have been doing for rather a long time) have improved my leg, it was important to me that when I have the bones of the knee treated surgically that I had an optimal state of leg!

After my treatment my leg felt fine, but I wasn’t expecting anything much to be different. However, I am pleased to say that my leg does feel more aligned…and more like the left one. I had noticed that their was something a bit different about the right one in terms of alignment but couldn’t quite put my finger on it… it was to do with the way it moved. I also am pleased to say that indeed, something has been released at the back and I can more comfortably straighten it.

It is a much better feeling to do the necessary exercises having had the structure of the leg adjusted. I have noticed that when I do my sit to stands there is less shaking in the quads…They are still shaking a bit of course, because weakened, but there is certainly less shaking. When I am swimming, it feels I am swimming more efficiently. I was getting a lot of “out of joint” ness (cannot think of a way to put it) when swimming “doggie paddle” which stopped me doing that style, and had just been sticking to the crawl, but so far I can now doggie paddle too.

I am most pleased about the way it can now lay straighter though. It might seem a small thing but it really bothered me, because I felt this cannot be helpful for the knee, and though my walking is much better than it was last June, when the ESP noted “a slight fixed flexion deformity (“right knee movement -5 to 110 degrees with springy end feel at both ends”) it was very good to have you actually addressing the matter directly. I had set myself to attempt to address this myself, as nothing was said or done about it when I then got referred on to another Physio at the hospital. I had expressed my concern about the way it was painful there when sitting in “staff pose” but the response was “Well, just don’t do it then”. But I believe that this is a good and healthy sitting position for me to take, for my whole body, not just my leg, and that I should be able to sit that way if I want to. Plus, I really enjoy the yoga I do and I wanted to be able sit like that! I also stretched the back of the right leg in the sauna weekly and in the pool, and in various other ways I could think of. But it is so nice that it feels less tight and much easier to do now. Thank you very much!

All in all, when I do my exercises the whole leg feels stronger and more efficient, and this is a really great experience for me, in the respect that I can now go and have my surgery knowing that things are as good as they can get in the other structures of my leg. I realise that the surgeon will upset things with the surgery, hopefully as little as possible…and that I will need to start all over with the rehab. But it makes sense for things to be as nicely in place as they can at the start and certainly the way the exercising is more effective is very encouraging. It worried me that even some of the simple post op exercises where so difficult for me pre-op, (ie lying down with left leg bent, then doing a low straight leg lift with the right, involved an awful lot of trembling!) and now they are easier, I feel more confident about my body’s ability to work through the whole experience successfully.

So thank you very much indeed, and I look forward to seeing you post op! What a shame that Physio’s are also not Osteopaths, for I would have been able to access this experience much earlier. But thank you for your treatment of me, and I will definitely be coming back.

Kind regards,

Jenny Meehan

 

Some general information gleaned on Osteopathy:

Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. It works with the structure and function of the body, and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.

To an osteopath, for your body to work well, its structure must also work well. So osteopaths work to restore your body to a state of balance, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery. Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to increase the mobility of joints, to relieve muscle tension, to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues, and to help your body’s own healing mechanisms. They may also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring.

The above is quoted from http://www.osteopathy.org.uk/visiting-an-osteopath/about-osteopathy/

and, a small extract quoted from

 OSTEOPATHIC PRINCIPLES AND PHILOSOPHY
by
Raymond J. Hruby, DO, MS, FAAO
Copyright 2000, 2007, 2014 by
Raymond J. Hruby, DO, MS, FAAO

We can define osteopathic medicine as a complete system of medical care with a
philosophy that combines the needs of the patient with the current practice of medicine,
surgery, and obstetrics; that emphasizes the interrelationship between structure and
function; and that has an appreciation of the body’s ability to heal itself. Based on this
definition, osteopathic medicine defines a distinctive set of tenets which osteopathic
physicians use to formulate their approach to patient care.5
These tenets are:
 A person is the product of dynamic interaction between body, mind, and
spirit
 An inherent property of this dynamic interaction is the capacity of the
individual for the maintenance of health and recovery from disease
 Many forces, both intrinsic and extrinsic to the person, can challenge this
inherent capacity and contribute to the onset of illness
 The musculoskeletal system significantly influences the individual’s
ability to restore this inherent capacity and therefore to resist disease
processes
From these tenets the osteopathic physician derives certain principles for patient care.
These principles state that 1) the patient is the focus for healthcare; 2) the patient has the
primary responsibility for his or her health; and 3) an effective treatment program for
patient care is founded on the above-mentioned tenets.
Thus the osteopathic physician uses a health-oriented and patient-centered
philosophy to implement the principles of osteopathic medicine in the care of the patient.
The osteopathic physician’s goals are to:
 Seek out and address the root cause(s) of disease using available evidence-based
approaches
 Optimize the patient’s self-regulating and self-healing capacities
 Provide an individualized patient management plan that includes emphasis on
health promotion and disease prevention
7
 Include palpatory diagnosis and osteopathic manipulative treatment to address the
somatic component of disease the extent that it influences the well-being of the patient.”

 

Jenny Meehan:  Romantic, Expressionist, Abstract, and Lyrical Paintings

Abstract Acrylic Painting/Markmaking with Colour. Instinctive intuitive process led painting, psychotherapy and art,psychotherapy and painting, British Contemporary female artist painter Jenny Meehan

deluge painting jenny meehan copyright DACS all rights reserved

“Deluge” Painting by Jenny Meehan referencing water,flood,deluge,catastrophe,disaster,trauma,house,home,wind,air.    I don’t paint to commission at all, but I do sell my old paintings when no longer needed for exhibitions, study, contemplation, etc.  This one I am happy to say “bye bye” to.   It has certainly stood the test of time, but needs another set of eyes to appreciate it I think.   It’s been exhibited a couple of times in the UK.

 

jenny meehan well spring rethinkyourmind NHS mental health resource art book selected jenny meehan

Well Spring painting by Jenny Meehan used on the cover of The Recovery of Hope by Naomi Starkey

 

The above painting “Well Spring” by Jenny Meehan.  This painting is referencing; spring, well, water,water spring,rocks,quarry,underground streams,recovery,spiritual and emotional renewal,sunlight,rays,beams,mist,water spray,evaporation.    Very strong painting, which cannot fully be appreciated on screen as there are glass beads used on the surface which bring a lot of added dimension.  This painting was used by designer Alison Beeck very skillfully and to great effect on the book cover of “Recovery of Hope” by Naomi Starkey.  You can take a look at the book cover here:

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-recovery-of-hope/naomi-starkey/9780857464170

Synopsis: We live in the hope of experiencing first-hand the all-sufficient grace, love and forgiveness which are God’s alone, a hope that we may know with our heads long before we feel it in our hearts. Such hope may mean encountering God as consoling presence in the darkness, as well as one who challenges us to respond to his call. That call may prove to be costly but, in responding, we are transformed by discovering and rediscovering that we are known exactly as we are, yet still loved beyond understanding, as God’s precious children. In a series of Bible reflections – and some poems – this hope is explored in different ways, from the yearning of the psalmist to walking the gentle journey of the Good Shepherd’s leading.
Publisher: BRF (The Bible Reading Fellowship)
ISBN: 9780857464170

I have read the book (of course!) and it is very good.  Like a well, it is something I keep dipping into now and again.  Just right.  So glad the painting has served so well for a book cover.  Even better that the book is about something I care about!!!

I am willing to let this painting go also, so contact me if you are interested in it.  I have space problems here, and new paintings are being painted all the time.  So while I would retain this one for personal reasons on the one hand, I don’t think it possible to hold onto for much longer.

 

Acrylic, various fillers, acrylic mediums and pigments, and glass beads , sacred art painting religious, spiritual visionary painting, christ centred poetic visual art, The Comforter/St Julian - Jenny Meehan

The Comforter/St Julian – Jenny Meehan
Acrylic, various fillers, acrylic mediums and pigments, and glass beads

Above we have a painting titled “The Comforter/St Julian”  This painting is referencing the  Holy Spirit, comforter, counsellor, human intervention, divine intervention, figures, help, psychotherapy and painting, past and present, container, emotional container, catastrophe, smoke,fire ,anger, emotional landscape, freezing, burning, meeting.  This painting marks the beginning of a more contemplative path for me in my life and also an embracing of psychotherapy as part of that process of self-development, bound intimately with spirituality, in particular Christ-centred spirituality, which is where my own heart lies most happily.

This painting is also one I am happy to let go of.  It has an interesting surface and is a good example of one of my paintings with a more subtle and restrained use of colour, yet with a strong and dynamic mark making element.

 

47 nelson square surviving houses,jenny meehan psychotherapy art post traumatic stress, painting modernist 21st century female british fine artist. house mind process led painting,guild of psychotherapists art,therapy painting,

Final version of Surviving Houses/47 Nelson Square

“Surviving Houses/47 Nelson Square” is a painting firmly rooted in my early experiences of participating in a psychoanalytic/psycho dynamic process in order to re establish my own foundations which were certainly bomb hit.

This painting is referencing 47 Nelson square, Lambeth, Southwark, London, trauma recovery,Guild of Psychotherapists, Psychotherapy,survival,house,rooms,hope,sun,windows,light sources, insight,mental and emotional ordering,fear,anxiety,safe place, security,warmth home,construction,reconstruction,mind as a building.

This painting is not available.  It’s interesting for me to compare this with recent work which also uses very bold brush work. (See below!!)

Good Read on Copyright Infringement 

 

https://www.dacs.org.uk/latest-news/copyright-uncovered-infringements?category=For%20Artists|For%20Licensing%20Customers|Latest%20News&title=N

Small quote here:

An infringement can occur when someone directly copies one of your works in its entirety or if they use substantial elements of your work without your permission.

What is determined by ‘substantial’ is not necessarily about proportion or size. A small but distinct element of your work can be copied and this could still amount to an infringement.

In previous UK court cases – for example, where an artist has been accused of infringing another artist’s work, or where a company has used parts of an artist’s work on a product they are selling – the assessment for copyright infringement has been made by looking at the similarities, rather than differences.

For copyright infringement to be determined there must be a connection between the infringing work and the original work – the infringement has to be derived from the original. There are ways of establishing the connection by looking at surrounding circumstances, such as availability. For example, the original work could be easily accessed online or in public exhibitions. Additionally, any contact with the infringing party such as discussions to use the work, or even engagement on social media, will help establish that they were aware of your work before making the infringing version.

The test for infringement is done on a case by case basis. If you claim your work has been infringed, you will have to prove this. Once it has been established, it will be for the person potentially infringing the work to prove they have a defence, for example that their work was their independent creation. Copyright infringement is known as a ‘strict liability’ offence, which means that it is irrelevant whether or not the infringer knew or wanted to infringe copyright.
– See more at: https://www.dacs.org.uk/latest-news/copyright-uncovered-infringements?category=For%20Artists|For%20Licensing%20Customers|Latest%20News&title=N#sthash.QixIArcE.dpuf

It’s a very important matter, and artists who are professional in approach should certainly ensure they understand how it works.  I am a member of DACS and find it a very helpful and important organisation.

Busy Paintings

I have been feeling that my recent very full and rather busy paintings, lovely as they are, need a little respite and so have been working the tail end of this year on some which are far less crowded and more simple.  With my usual attention to surface, and working with the pigments which I am particularly fond of, I have sought to obtain a balance between dynamic energy and restfulness.

 

jenny meehan lyrical abstraction british 21st century emerging artist contemporary, london based female artists fine painting british women artists jenny meehan, christian art contemplative spirituality art, contemplative meditational aids for reflection through art and painting, jenny meehan jamartlondon collectable original paintings affordable,

“No Fear” painting by jenny meehan abstract lyrical expressionist british paintings jenny meehan

 

jenny meehan lyrical abstraction british 21st century emerging artist contemporary, london based female artists fine painting british women artists jenny meehan, christian art contemplative spirituality art, contemplative meditational aids for reflection through art and painting, jenny meehan jamartlondon collectable original paintings affordable,

“The Realm of Between/Pushing it a bit” abstract lyrical expressionist british paintings jenny meehan

It has been interesting to experiment with the relationship between quite delicate and intricate variations in perceived and actual texture along  broad and very matt, almost sheaths, of paint, laid down on unprimed hardboard.

 

jenny meehan lyrical abstraction british 21st century emerging artist contemporary, london based female artists fine painting british women artists jenny meehan, christian art contemplative spirituality art, contemplative meditational aids for reflection through art and painting, jenny meehan jamartlondon collectable original paintings affordable,

“Crossing Over/Simple Piece” abstract lyrical expressionist british paintings jenny meehan

Some time of  “less is more” to challenge that part of me which last year was placing daub upon daub of colour.  I am not unhappy with those paintings… not at all, but need to balance out that experience of painting with something different.

Helpful quotes, and my comments,  from “The Art of Buying Art” by Alan Bamberger. The section entitled “How to Look”.
“How to Look
“Looking at art means more than giving casual glances as you pass it by. You’ve got to spend time studying individual pieces.

Indeed… There is too much casual glancing going on nowadays.  We are bombarded with some much imagery.  I also believe just focusing on one small part of an art work is beneficial.  This is partly why I plan to start another blog soon focusing on passages of my paintings.  To immerse oneself needs time.
“Stand up close and focus on small areas of the art. Stand back and look at the whole thing. Stick your nose right up to the canvas or wood or paper or bronze and study the minutest details. Back away slowly and watch how the art changes. Move so far away that the art fades into its surroundings.”

What comes to mind now is the frustration of paying to see an exhibition and then not being able to view the work properly due to too many other people, distractions and also, because one is paying for a single visit, the pressure of seeing everything in one go.  How much better it is then to see exhibitions which do not charge, for then you can go back as many times as you want!

Looking at every element and aspect of a work, and giving it time is essential.

This is helpful:

“If you happen to see something you really like, note what it is, where you saw it, how it looks, and why it attracts you – nothing more. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to return and learn more about it later. By experiencing a little bit of everything that’s out there and taking some time to study it in detail, you begin to acquire strength of conviction and begin to define what really thrills you.”

Strength of conviction is kind of related to confidence.  Confidence that your own experience matters and that that experience is the most important thing about the art work you are viewing.  I had an interesting conversation recently with someone unfamiliar with appreciating non-objective paintings.  I simply said “Don’t worry about what it is meant to be.  What it is to me is of interest, but it is not that that matters.  You have your own experience of this painting and that is what matters.  She was worried that I would be offended if my painting was not what it was for me.  I explained that if it mattered to me I would paint more representational paintings which gave the viewer more direction and prescribed more what the subject matter was.  It would then be rather offensive if they thought my, horse, for example, was actually a man.

But with a completely abstract painting, though I will have my own personal interpretation,  for the viewing, this does not matter to the extent that it should dictate their experience of the painting.  They may find it of interest, and they may ask me what the painting is to me.  But it is what the painting is to them which matters.  They have a huge part to play in the experience of viewing the paintings.  Once they have the assurance that there isn’t some hidden, strange, meaning or concept that they have to “get” in order to access the work, they suddenly find that the freedom to experience it in their own way is quite a liberating and enjoyable matter.  Well, some people do.  Others find they want and need to be told “What it is”.  This is fine, of course.  However, they may have to accept that it is not definable in the way that they would like it to be!!!

I have now settled on the practice of including references (as I have done in this post) for those who are interested in the relationship between my abstract paintings and their significance/meaning for me.  But I would never feel upset if someone did not see what I see.  We all have valid perceptions and what we see is influenced by ourselves, our experience, and our emotions.

Alan continues:
Out of all the millions of art pieces that have ever been and have yet to be created, you will choose to own maybe one, maybe five, maybe one hundred. And you’ll choose them because they mean something special to you and you alone. Now is the time to acquire a feel for where that special meaning lies, and to identify what qualities in art attract you the most.”

Perfectly put.   “Something special to you and you alone”.

I like this advice very much. For those wanting to get into collecting art, it is probably the most important piece of advice to heed. The book  has a lot of advice, and quite a lot of it focuses on art which no doubt considerably more expensive than my own, however, there are many key points and while not a recent book, being published in 2007, I still found it an interesting read.
I have not considered myself how much of a mine field it must be for some people who want to collect art but are not familiar with the various systems (ie galleries, dealers). I think the chapter on buying directly from the artist of most use and of relevance to my own experience. Indeed, the way people buy art has changed a lot. For the majority, I think, it is much easier, more accessible and pretty straightforward. The book includes chapters on buying directly from artists, and also buying art over the internet. I cannot be done with all the speculative buying, “art world” and dealer dealing matters personally. But there are chapters which offer very interesting insights into a realm which lies well outside my own remit. And I cannot help feeling rather thankful that my own work is not being handled by dealers!!!

The so called “Art World”

With no aspirations towards business, profit, fame or financial success, I have mercifully relieved myself of the whole so called “art world”; that world of art, which I have no desire to enter. I am not sure where the boundaries of this mysterious “art world” lie, but I suspect they lie in the imaginations of those who consider themselves part of it.  And if the determining factor of being in or out of it,  is money and status driven, and to do with who you know, then it may be best that I do consider myself an “outsider artist”…if that is what that term means.  (I am sure I have rambled on about outsider art before in this journal.) But I don’t like the whole insider/outsider definition.  We are all inhabiting the same world, in truth.  The aim for the artist could be to see ourselves as continual welcomers…with the aim of continually inviting people in to an experience of our artistic practice which aims to educate and enlighten, enrich and nourish the imagination and hearts of all. Fame and fortune will just be for the very few. And this may be good for them in many ways.  But it is not a good hope.  I focus on people, relationships, and creativity.

I have been thinking about what a “professional” artist is.  I consider myself one. As a professional artist, the idea that in order to be professional, ones activities should be financially profitable, is a huge mistake in my opinion. Professionalism is an attitude and an approach that does not need too be qualified with monetary gain. It’s more about how you go about what you do, and how you think of it.   Things such as exhibiting your work, cataloguing it, having faith in what you are doing, and having collectors and followers who engage with your work are important. Taking it seriously and investing in it in a professional manner. Engaging in training and development.  Being part of groups of artists and networking.  Looking for new projects and opportunities.  Being open minded and receptive to whatever creative currents are weaving their way about the age in which you live in.  Being professional is an attitude and approach more than anything else.  A way of thinking about what you do and understanding the value of it. An attitude of rigour to ones work.  And discipline.

The fact that some activities in life are not termed a “job”, and are rather a vocation, (and caring for others, raising children, plus many voluntary activities come under this banner) does not mean that they are either hobbies, optional for the person doing them, or of lesser importance.  A vocation may not count officially in respect of it not being counted in the “labour market”,  but this does not mean that that it is not work, and should not therefore be valued. Thankfully there are plenty of people who do recognise that vocation in life is sometimes expressed in part through paid employment, be it self-employment or as an employee, but that this is only the case for some, and there are millions of other people who fulfil their calling in life through other avenues.  Vocation can be:

1.
a particular occupation, business, or profession; calling.
2.
a strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career.
3.
a divine call to God’s service or to the Christian life.
4.
a function or station in life to which one is called by God.

Indeed, we are not singular in purpose or vocation.  We have many strands running through us.  At different times they will be developed and come into being and we will be active to a greater and lesser degree.  Sometimes circumstances help, and other times they hinder.  What I was involved in ten years ago is different to what I am involved in now.  But all the strands of my life contribute to who I am, to my art working, and to how I see what I do.

As far as I can see, the majority of artists I have come across are not financially “successful” in the sense that they do not generate an income, from the sale of their work, which is anything near capable of meeting their most basic human needs. They rely on other, often related activities, to help sustain them in life, normally in employment of some kind or being part of a partnership or community which helps them financially. This is one of the reasons I get cross about ridiculous submission fees for artists wanting to exhibit their work.  To treat artists showing their work as some kind of business venture for the artist, which therefore they should be prepared to pay for, it just not the case. (I read this recently, I cannot remember where, and was furious.) The chances of selling your work at an exhibition are pretty low.  There are thousands of wonderful artists, for which I am glad, but even the good ones don’t necessarily sell much work.  It does happen, but only occasionally, for the majority.  And it costs money to take part, even without submission fees. Time, travel, framing… all that kind of thing.  This is not a moan, by the way. That is just the way it is. If I wanted money and that was my aim, then I would do something else with my life.

I have realised that I personally am not able to mix painting with any aspirations of business or profit making.  I have thought about it in the past, but other time commitments have pretty much nipped that in the bud before the bud even appeared!  And I have questioned myself, and sifted out what I really want, from what I do.  A little bit of occasional recompense here and there is always welcome, and helps towards material costs in some small way. (It certainly is occasional! But good when it happens.)  I consider a professional approach from myself in all that I do, as essential to the value I hold in what I do, yet this is simply as far as it goes.  I think what I do is more of a creative mission.  It’s something about me simply being in the world what I feel I am meant to be.  Something which is like breathing and serves the same purpose.  Which comes out with no external aim in mind but the mere act/material of being.  I can accept that, and I like it.  I don’t need anything else to validate it.

But still, it is lovely when someone decides to collect your art.  I am delighted when the chord is struck, and I wave bye bye to one of my paintings.  So much of what artists do (fine artists, I mean) is speculative.  It is a hit and miss matter.  Once in a blue moon you sell something.   That’s always nice.  But certainly not dependable!  Artists should technically  be paid if their work is shown in an exhibition. They provide the material substance of an art exhibition.   I have little hope of this happening, as it is  not the way the system works at all, but when you provide part of the material for an exhibition, you are offering your work for a use, of sorts.  People come to see the art work.  What would the exhibition be without it?

Thankfully, we at least have some options for exhibiting art work with no submission fees, or very low ones.  Unless exhibitions are very big/renowned, charges are not made to people viewing the work, and people don’t consider paying to see an art exhibition as something that they would need to do, unless the artists were famous.  I am all for people seeing art exhibitions for free.  But not so keen on the idea of artists paying for them to do so!  Artists bear many costs when exhibiting work.  We don’t need any more costs!  Artists desire to show and share our work, which is a vital part of what we do.  It’s not about showing what we can do. (Well, I speak personally, but I am not alone in this respect) It’s about opening eyes to new possibilities.  Creative energy.  Visual education.  Opening up the mind and spirit.  Emotionally connecting.  There are some opportunities which don’t have submission fees. Always grateful for those.

Sadly, artists are sometimes used by organisations and individuals as a way of generating money. It is not surprising, and not always the case, but it is good to be aware of it.  It is something to do with some strange idea that having work in an exhibition makes an artist more successful, (in the public perception) I think. It is always nice to have your work  selected for exhibition, of course.  Yet it is simply fortunate if your work gets shown. Nice.  Pleasing.  After all, we want it to be viewed!!!!  But the cost of doing so must be counted, as all costs need to be.  Juried exhibitions generally come down to what the taste of the jury is.  And not a lot more than that, in the end.  Why would it be anything more? It may sometimes be a case of who know’s who, and existing links.  That just happens.  Some themed exhibitions can be more of a quest… and can be interesting in this respect. There is satisfaction in exploring a theme or concept and coming up with something very apt and fitting.  There is a challenge which makes selection more rewarding if your work hits the core of some issue or theme.  Exhibitions for charities are rewarding, in that it is a great way to give to charity and show work.  Artists can bear some costs, but the addition of a submission fee is quite frankly annoying.  Minimal, it must be, if it is made at all.  Certainly under a tenner!  “Admin Fee”… but no more.  And one fee, however many works.

It is a fundamental error, I think, to equate success as a fine artist, with money. With fame, or fortune.   If you are able to invest your time into art working, then you are fortunate even in that. There are many people in the world who have to spend all of their time simply fetching water.  I am highly aware of the blessings and benefits of my own situation in life. I am fortunate to be able to do what I do, and I thrive in it. I overheard an interesting conversation on the train recently.  And it was in this conversation the nail was hit on the head.  “Money is not the same as Value”.  Thank you, to the person who said that.

I value my work.

But as is the case with homemaking, and/or domestic and caring work carried out by people (who happen to be related to those they care for), or who work in many fields voluntarily, fine artists too find themselves in the realms of those who do work, but who are not part of the labour market.  But my main point is, if you are an artist, don’t believe that your only option is to sign up for the “starving artist” or the “financially successful artist”.  The success of what you do can be judged by other criteria.  It is my opinion that success is to do with connection, growth and development.  Success for me is when a painting is done and I look at it, and see it is finished.  When I learn and progress.  When research, training, and education are part of what I do. When my work develops and resonates with a sense of integrity and truthfulness to experience and life.  When someone relates to it, uses it, connects with it, responds to it.  When it’s relevance is something felt by them.  Which brings us neatly back to the earlier quote:

“Something special to you and you alone”.

“Out of all the millions of art pieces that have ever been and have yet to be created, you will choose to own maybe one, maybe five, maybe one hundred. And you’ll choose them because they mean something special to you and you alone. Now is the time to acquire a feel for where that special meaning lies, and to identify what qualities in art attract you the most.”

And I think the artist creator themselves also needs to have this either as their sole focus,or certainly main focus, and preoccupation.  There must be nothing else in the way.  This does not make paintings done for other people any less worthy, but somewhere in the centre of the process there must be a connection which is not comprised.  It doesn’t make anything more art or less art, but, if you want to be a successful fine artist who gets a real sense of reward from what you do, then do what you do in your way, and stick to that. All the time seek to learn and develop.  If you sell and your work is useful to others that is a great bonus.  If it matters to you (and/ or you need it),  that  you have some kind of business/monetary success and you want to develop what you do in that way, then of course,  there is nothing wrong with that at all.  It is an exciting and challenging aim, and many artists want to be self employed as artists.  Often doing something for someone else’s criteria and requirements can open up new and exciting avenues.  It is one path. But just one.

Commercially viable art working is the aim of some artists, and there are plenty of online courses and programmes to follow for those who want to try it out. But being commercially viable is not the same thing as successful.

I like this:

“Society needs artists, just as it needs scientists, technicians, workers, professional people, witnesses of the faith, teacher, fathers and mothers, who ensure the growth of the person and the development of the community by means of that supreme art form which is “the art of education.” Within the vast cultural panorama of each nation, artists have their unique place… The particular vocation of individual artists decides the arena in which they serve and points to the tasks they must assume, the hard work they must endure and the responsibility they must accept… There is therefore an ethic, even a spirituality of artistic service, which contributes in its way to the life and renewal of a people.”

(From the Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II “To Artists.”)

“There is therefore an ethic, even a spirituality of artistic service, which contributes in its way to the life and renewal of a people.”

 

Found this, and will make it some reading:

http://theotherjournal.com/2012/01/16/are-artists-the-high-priests-of-culture-part-i/

 

Ahh, Blow!  Sandra Blow! 

I am unable to walk very far at present… and this means that I cannot pop along and see the exhibition of eleven late works of the British abstract painting Sandra Blow, which is being presented by The Fine Art Society.  I have to keep my walking to the most essential, and while I would like to see this exhibition, it would involve a lot of walking.

The British abstract painter Sandra Blow (1925-2006) was influenced by Italian post-war art and by the American Abstract Expressionists.  I was very delighted to find that the collector who purchased my “London Downpour” also had a work by Sandra Blow, and it was, I have to confess, pleasing to think my work would be hung in a collection which included a piece by Sandra Blow.  There were other names of works mentioned, but only Sandra Blow stood out for me, because I have encountered her painting “Space and Matter” at the Tate, and admired it. Sandra Blow was very occupied with the material of her paintings, and “Space and Matter” involves the use of liquid cement, chaff and charcoal.  She worked in a process led and  intuitive way which I always find interesting.   The term sometimes used is “Art Informel” which was a term coined by the French critic Michel Tapié.  Sandra Blow spent time at “Eagles Nest” which was Patrick Heron’s home and then she rented a cottage at Tregerthen.   She enjoyed the encouragement and patronage of Heron, Roger Hilton, and Peter Lanyon.   (Peter Lanyon’s paintings have had a significant influence on my own approach.)

St. Ives and the sea were great sources of inspiration to Sandra Blow in the end phase of her career.

 

Sandra Blow said “Now I have more enjoyment, and knowledge of what happens when I do what I do. The pressures have gone, the striving to find something. I do work I know is good, and I know how to do it.”

The exhibition at The Fine Art Society is at 148, New Bond Street, London, W1S 2JT.  It runs until 30th January 2017

 

http://www.sandrablow.com/page2.htm

On the Knee …

I now have a pre-op assessment appointment…  Going round the house putting up unfinished paintings everywhere so I can work on them.  “Work on them” in this case will mean looking at them.  I have a tablet and I am going to experiment with using it to help me explore options.  I normally need to stand and walk a lot, applying paint, and then taking it off.  I am hoping that by taking an image and making visual notes I might make some progress on some of the paintings which are nearly done.  However, this won’t be sufficient, as I need to see the actual pigment on the painting, the texture, the exact brush stroke.  But it may help with some decisions.  I will wait and see.

I also have a lot of books I plan to read and look at.

Seems like life will be a mixture of pain management, exercises, some resting and recovery.  Challenging.

“Angles and Edges”  Experiment below, inspired by the whole knee journey!

"Angles and Edges" Knee Replacement inspired art work image by Jenny Meehan. © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

“Angles and Edges” Knee Replacement inspired art work image by Jenny Meehan. © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

 

I read there are seven key cuts in a knee replacement operation:

 

Seven cuts to the perfect total knee.
Brooks P1.
Author information
Abstract
There are a total of 7 bone cuts in a typical total knee replacement (TKR): distal femur, anterior femur, posterior femur, anterior chamfer, posterior chamfer, tibia, and patella. Each of these cuts has its own special science, and each cut can affect the other cuts and potentially the outcome of the TKR. The distal femoral cut starts the overall alignment of the leg. Five degrees of valgus is cosmetically appealing, avoids excessive valgus, and prevents thighs from rubbing together. The anterior femoral cut sets femoral component rotation, which has effects on patellar tracking and gap balancing. In most knees, correct rotation is approximately 3 degrees of external rotation compared to the posterior condylar axis. An important exception is in valgus knees, where this could lead to accidental internal rotation. The posterior condyle cuts, with the tibial cut, determine the flexion gap. Injury to the medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments should be avoided. Anterior and posterior chamfer cuts must avoid these ligaments as well. The tibial cut is challenging. A 3 degrees posterior slope is most typical, and rotation is crucial. Internal rotation is a common error, affecting patellar tracking. Changing rotation on a sloped cut also adds varus or valgus. The patella cut should not be too deep. Component placement should tend medial and superior. If a lateral release is necessary, it should be done from inside-out, with preservation of the blood supply.

This is of interest to me, in appreciation of the art of surgery!  My image has rather random cuts pretty much everywhere; “Angles and Edges” seemed apt though, for this image.   I liked the suggestion of shine in the image.  Light bounces off objects,  and light of course is a natural preoccupation!  So it is an image which alludes to the importance of precision, mathematics and the surgeon’s skill, but rather plays around with the actual object with that joyous and wonderful “Art licenselo” or Artistic License. An image which relates to face, but denotes the distortion of fact.  My fictional image for my real situation!   However, I hope my own knee is very factual indeed!!!!!!!!

I continued to work on the image and then came up with the “Cutting Edge” design, which has a more abstract reference to the figure of a knee replacement but I think retains enough of the structure.  You can see that here;

 

http://www.redbubble.com/people/jennyjimjams/works/24202274-cutting-edge-abstract-knee-replacement-design-by-jenny-meehan?asc=u&c=231599-geometric-abstract-prints

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About Jenny Meehan

I am a painter/visual artist/contemplative/poet/writer and mother, based in Surrey/South West London, UK.
Interested in spirituality (particularly Christ centred spirituality), creativity, emotional and psychological well-being.

I exhibit mainly in the UK, and am a member of Kingston Artists’ Open Studios. I have  trained  with SPIDIR as a spiritual guide/mentor. I am a qualified teacher and hold occasional small groups in developing painting and drawing skills, and general visual creative expression.

Contact me via the contact form on my website http://www.jamartlondon.com if you would like more information with respect to art tuition, and/or if you wish to receive my my bi-annual newsletter.

My artistic training has been through the Short Course programme at West Dean College, Surrey and through local adult art education classes. Professional in approach, I exhibit widely over the UK.

Please note that all images of my artwork are subject to copyright law: All rights reserved: Jenny Meehan DACS (Designer and Artist Copyright Society). In the first instance, contact me, and I will refer, as/if appropriate.
http://www.jamartlondon.com

TO FOLLOW THIS ARTIST’S BLOG SIMPLY GO TO THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN, LOCATE THE “FOLLOW” BOX AND POP IN YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS. YOU WILL THEN RECEIVE MONTHLY UPDATES.

 

figure on uncertain ground print by jenny meehan

jenny meehan fine artist british female jamartlondon

Figure on Uncertain Ground © Jenny Meehan. All Rights Reserved

Figure On Uncertain Ground

This image was created by making a seated figure out of black plasticine, taking a image of this,  and then digitally collaging it on top of two translucent images taken from sections of two of my paintings “Debris” and “Rock Pool”.  ” Definition:  A ground or primer, is the background surface on which you paint. It is usually a coating which physically separates your painting from the support. It is the foundation of a painting, applied onto the raw canvas, paper, or other support.  I have described to you how this work was created to allay the uncertainty.  Yet the body, both material and immaterial, is floating, paradoxically with a sense of stability. 24 x 34cm  #1/25 Limited Edition with image size of 13 x 20cm with slight variations in colour within edition Framed in a black frame

 

pen and ink on torn paper unique print by jenny meehan jamartlondon

pen and ink on torn paper unique print by jenny meehan jamartlondon

Pen and Ink on a Torn Strip © Jenny Meehan. All Rights Reserved

Pen and Ink on a Torn Strip

I don’t wish to offer any text for this, except for this.  I have created this work to be my own recognition that hate violence is a prevalent and deadly issue for transgender communities.  It is also a physical expression of my prayers for healing, recovery, and improvement  in our broken world.

24x34cm external frame size.  Unique Digital Print on Paper  Framed in a black frame  with a black mount and glazed.

Knee, Knee, Knee

My knee, poor knee.  A wake up call to loose weight, and the weight is coming off.  But the pain is near constant and my introduction to the world of chronic pain suffering seems to be just too long.  It has been 16 months since the agonising introduction, which came on holiday in August 2015.  I insisted on carrying on walking even though the ache in my right knee screamed at me, and that was the start of an osteoarthritis “flare up” that never quite flared down.  But that right knee, since my full body weight landed on it in 2010, was  never quite the same again. Such a mistake not to go to A&E.  I think I did not go because of being in shock and not thinking straight.

Feeling like a caged bird.

I go for a  fifteen minute walk, but I pay for it later.

I cut down standing time in the day to just one or two hours maximum, and tried cutting out my exercise session, but that makes no difference.

Most nights I have pain.

But I can swim, and I love this.  If only I could swim around all the time.

I can write, which is good.

I can listen to the wise words which lovely people around me gift me with.

I can hope that it gets treated surgically…

And that makes things better, in the long run.

I do have a pair of socks with “walk” on the soles.

Thankfully, I can now look forward to a knee replacement.  This offers some hope of improvement at least.  Nothing guaranteed of course, and surgery always involves risk.  But a risk I am happy to take, for chance of even a moderate improvement.  What a reality check these last months have been.  How important it is not to overburden ones joints with excess weight.   Weight it was not designed to carry.  But I have been unkind to myself in the past.  Now I can train myself to be kind to my frame and burden it less with excess weight.

 

Interesting read below…. quoted from:

The Nature of the “In-Between”
in D.W. Winnicott’s Concept of Transitional Space
and in Martin Buber’s das Zwischenmenschliche
Laura Praglin

Here is some of the introduction, for a little background:

Introduction
Martin Buber (1878-1965), German Jewish social philosopher and theologian, and D.W. Winnicott
(1896-1971), British pediatrician and psychoanalyst, portray in vibrant detail the reality of
the “in-between”. Although contemporaries, they were separated by country and profession, and
did not know each other. Yet both set forth in their writings remarkably complementary views
concerning “in-between space”–the transitional area, to Winnicott, or das Zwischenmenschliche to
Buber. This is a meeting-ground of potentiality and authenticity, located neither within the self
nor in the world of political and economic affairs. In this space, one finds the most authentic
and creative aspects of our personal and communal existence, including artistic, scientific, and
religious expression.
The creative and moral implications of the “in-between” continue to resonate deeply,
and to claim the attention of recent scholars. Decades after their original contributions, we
witness an ongoing engagement of Buber and Winnicott within a variety of interdisciplinary
contexts. Fields as varied as philosophy, theology, politics, health care, communication, gender
studies, and psychology continue to employ the work of these two thinkers when grappling with
the themes of intersubjectivity, dialogue, and moral responsibility.”

And the section which interests me most, as a creative artist:

“Art and the Creative Process
For Winnicott, life itself is always expressed in symbol, for it plays an integral part in the formulation
and realization of transitional space. Yet, paradoxically, not even an artist creates entirely
new symbols and forms, only, like the child, discovers them. As a result, Winnicott remarks,
“creative living involves, in every detail of its experience, a philosophical dilemma–because, in
fact, in our sanity we only create what we find.”

Such creativity, declares Winnicott–whether artistic, religious, or scientific—is “the doing
that arises out of being.” Using Winnicott’s terms, we may say that the artist, for example,
expresses his/her being by constructing a framed, transitional area in which creativity finds expression.
The artist creates and recreates unconscious processes, and presents these in a manner
which resonate with our shared sense of symbols. By articulating these shared symbols, the artist
invites us into this intermediate area of experiencing. The poet, for example, chooses symbols
and images of a common language, and finds comfort not available in herself. S/he invites others
into this in-between space, beyond the merely private, subjective, or psychological, which serves
as a resting place between inner and outer reality, between psyche and culture. Through art,
therefore, one can move from the private to the social world. Readers find meaning as well, because
they now share in the capacity to articulate experience. Creative expression–through art,
philosophy, religion or mathematics—may thus resolve situations, and allow for new possibilities.
In this way, it is like the child’s experience in imaginative play.

Buber seems to agree that creativity and the discovery of form also occur in the realm
of the “in-between”. Maurice Friedman suggests that Buber views “a work of art is not the
impression of natural objectivity nor the expression of spiritual subjectivity. It is the witness of
the relation between the human substance and the substance of thing. Art is “the realm of ‘between’
which has become a form”: In the creative process, the artist discovers the potentialities
of form, as s/he encounters that which is over against the self. But form itself crystallizes into
structure, and thus non-immediacy:
[The artist] banishes it to be a ‘structure’. The nature of this ‘structure’ is to be freed for a timeless
moment” by meeting the work of art again, lifting the ban of distance or crystallization, and
clasps the form.”

As said, all the above is quoted from: The Nature of the “In-Between”
in D.W. Winnicott’s Concept of Transitional Space
and in Martin Buber’s das Zwischenmenschliche
Laura Praglin

and the full text may be read at: http://www.uni.edu/universitas/archive/fall06/pdf/art_praglin.pdf

WOW..How wonderful to read it put so clearly…The words have brought clarity to my own inclinations and floating feelings and ideas… So glad to have found this.

It is the witness of the relation between the human substance and the substance of thing.  Art is “the realm of ‘between’ which has become a form”.

I could never articulate, or rather define how things are for me in painting so well. Glad other minds can do this!

What a find!

“The poet, for example, chooses symbols
and images of a common language, and finds comfort not available in herself. S/he invites others
into this in-between space, beyond the merely private, subjective, or psychological, which serves
as a resting place between inner and outer reality, between psyche and culture. Through art,
therefore, one can move from the private to the social world. Readers find meaning as well, because
they now share in the capacity to articulate experience.”

“The Realm of Between” Painting by Jenny Meehan 

jenny meehan lyrical abstraction british 21st century emerging artist contemporary, london based female artists fine painting british women artists jenny meehan, christian art contemplative spirituality art, contemplative meditational aids for reflection through art and painting, jenny meehan jamartlondon collectable original paintings affordable,

“The Realm of Between/Pushing it a bit” abstract lyrical expressionist british paintings jenny meehan

 

Thinking on this has clarified for me, among other things, my love of double titles for my work, as above, for example with “The Realm of Between/Pushing it a bit”.  To have two titles introduces a space between the concepts.  It helps to bring an awareness that the painting cannot be summed up, or encompassed, by language, which I like.  That is often the problem with titles. However, it is nice to suggest to others something of the thinking and reflection, of the approach maybe I have had, and people are interested. I always feel disappointed when paintings are titled “untitled”!  But to allude to any sense of the inbetwee-ness  is good.”

It reminds me of what I have read and thought of above, the “transitional space” which though it is not a space between one set of words and another, rather:

“a resting place between inner and outer reality, between psyche and culture.”

and 

“the capacity to articulate experience.”

in that;

“the artist, for example, expresses his/her being by constructing a framed, transitional area in which creativity finds expression. The artist creates and recreates unconscious processes, and presents these in a manner
which resonate with our shared sense of symbols. By articulating these shared symbols, the artist
invites us into this intermediate area of experiencing.

That’s a good space, a good place.

Also my recent clarity on defining myself (for the purposes of publication on the internet) as a “Painter-Poet and Artist-Author”.  Not only does it have a nice alliteration, always pleasing from a language perspective, but it does manage to encompass both the written and the visual aspects of my creative practice, which I do see as holding a very important and dynamic relationship.  And it seems to me that the space between the two is also a place of dynamic tension and creative potential.  Hard as it is to articulate with words, there is a kind of parallel or concurrent-ness which exists between word and image in what I do artistically.

In the end, it’s not about defining anything, but opening up experience.   Such is the purpose of this meandering discourse.  Whatever I write, think, and say about what I do, for the seer of one of my  paintings  it will evoke completely something unique for them, thankfully.

 “Art is “the realm of ‘between’ which has become a form”

Thoughts on Changing Style for an Artist

I have been thinking about my changing style of painting, and am rather amazed as I see my painting go through different phases.  It is as if I am watching it and don’t really have control over what is happening.  Though clearly I do, because it is me that makes the choices.  So there is partial control, just limited awareness!  It is very easy for artists to get screwed up about their work and where it is going, or rather, maybe we just get anxious about where it is taking us and fearful.  One of the good things about not being represented by a gallery is that there is no pressure to produce the same type of work in order to meet expectations.  Or classifications.  Or definitions.  Or all those “tions”!  Looking at an artist, for example, Helen Frankenthaler, when looking over the evolution of her work, the process of development can be seen, and the value of letting it happen appreciated.  This is from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Frankenthaler

“As a whole, Frankenthaler’s style is almost impossible to broadly characterize. As an active painter for nearly six decades, she went through a variety of phases and stylistic shifts.[11] Initially associated with abstract expressionism[12] because of her focus on forms latent in nature, Frankenthaler is identified with the use of fluid shapes, abstract masses, and lyrical gestures.[8][13] She made use of large formats on which she painted, generally, simplified abstract compositions.[14] Her style is notable in its emphasis on spontaneity, as Frankenthaler herself stated, “A really good picture looks as if it’s happened at once.” [6]

Frankenthaler’s official artistic career was launched in 1952 with the exhibition of Mountains and Sea.[15] Throughout the 1950s, her works tended to be centered compositions, meaning the majority of the pictorial incident took place in the middle of the canvas itself, while the edges were of little consequence to the compositional whole.[11] In 1957, Frankenthaler began to experiment with linear shapes and more organic, sun-like, rounded forms in her works.[8] In the 1960s, her style shifted towards the exploration of symmetrical paintings, as she began to place strips of colors near the edges of her paintings, thus involving the edges as a part of the compositional whole. With this shift in composition came a general simplification of Frankenthaler’s style.[11] She began to make use of single stains and blots of solid color against white backgrounds, often in the form of geometric shapes.[8] Beginning in 1963, Frankenthaler began to use acrylic paints rather than oil paints because they allowed for both opacity and sharpness when put on the canvas.[9] By the 1970s, she had done away with the soak stain technique entirely, preferring thicker paint that allowed her to employ bright colors almost reminiscent of Fauvism. Throughout the 1970s, Frankenthaler explored the joining of areas of the canvas through the use of modulated hues, and experimented with large, abstract forms.[11] Her work in the 1980s was characterized as much calmer, with its use of muted colors and relaxed brushwork.[8]”

Also Different Strands…

Some artists also find allowing different strands to develop in their work beneficial.  Using different materials will result in very different work.  I focus most on my paintings on my website jamartlondon.com, but have another strand of mostly black and white work, which is a mixture of digital collage and physical collage which has been steadily developing alongside my non objective painting.  “Pen and Ink on a Torn Strip” and “Figure on Uncertain Ground” which I posted at the outset of this post are examples of this work.  As I have developed and grown more comfortable with the insecurities which come with throwing myself into my work while simultaneously not having a clue about what will happen, I have become more accepting of diversity in my output, and it is the applying of my mind in reflecting on the work in progress, thoughtful consideration with a lot of pausing, and a lot of retrospective examination, which prove to most influential in determining what happens next I think.

Helen Frankenthaler Quotes

Helen Frankenthaler:

“A really good picture looks as if it’s happened at once. It’s an immediate image. For my own work, when a picture looks laboured and overworked, and you can read in it—well, she did this and then she did that, and then she did that—there is something in it that has not got to do with beautiful art to me. And I usually throw these out, though I think very often it takes ten of those over-labored efforts to produce one really beautiful wrist motion that is synchronised with your head and heart, and you have it, and therefore it looks as if it were born in a minute.”

“In relations with people, as in art, if you always stick to style, manners, and what will work, and you’re never caught off guard, then some beautiful experiences never happen.”

Here is a link to one of my favourite paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, Interior Landscape 1964…

https://www.wikiart.org/en/helen-frankenthaler/interior-landscape-1964

There is a selection of other paintings on that page also.

Christmas Design/Print “Holy, Holy, Holy”

This is not new, but I still love it for Christmas time!

This is my card to you for this year and probably for every year to follow!

jenny meehan, jennifer meehan,all saints church angels project design angel abstraction holy holy holy image jenny meehan

all saints church angels project design angel abstraction holy holy holy image jenny meehan

 

Help me pay for materials and continue my art working

Canvas, paint, all costs money.  Exhibitions charge submission fees.  Travel costs money.

If you would like a way of helping me in some small way, while benefiting from my art working yourself, then scoot along to redbubble.com where you can buy various products with my imagery on them.  It is a good company and they produce and sell their products with my images on.  I get a small royalty payment when something is sold.  It all helps a lot.

https://www.redbubble.com/shop/jenny+meehan+prints?cat_context=u-prints&page=1&accordion=department

 

 

TO FOLLOW THIS ARTIST’S BLOG SIMPLY GO TO THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN, LOCATE THE  “FOLLOW” BOX AND POP IN YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.  YOU WILL THEN RECEIVE MONTHLY UPDATES. 

Jenny Meehan is a painter-poet, artist-author  and Christian contemplative  based in East Surrey/South West London.   Her interest in Christ-centred spirituality and creativity are the main focus of this artist’s journal, which rambles and meanders on, maybe acting as a personal (yet open to view)  note book as much as anything else.  If you read and enjoy it, this would be an added bonus! 

Her website is www.jamartlondon.com.  (www.jamartlondon.com replaces the older now deceased website http://www.jennymeehan.co.uk)

Jenny Meehan BA Hons (Lit.) PGCE also occasionally offers art tuition for individuals or in shared sessions.  Please contact Jenny at j.meehan@tesco.net or through the contact form at www.jamartlondon.com for further details as availability depends on other commitments.    

 Jenny Meehan works mainly with either oils or acrylics  creating both abstract/non-objective paintings  and also semi-abstract work.  She also produces representational/figurative artwork,  mostly using digital photography/image manipulation software, painting and  drawing.  Both original fine paintings and other artwork forms  and affordable photo-mechanically produced prints are available to purchase.  

Jenny Meehan exhibits around the United Kingdom.   To be placed on Jenny Meehan’s  bi-annual  mailing list please contact Jenny via her website contact page:  www.jamartlondon.com

Also, you could follow the Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal at WordPress and keep informed that way. 

Note About Following Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal 

TO FOLLOW THIS ARTIST’S BLOG SIMPLY GO TO THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN, LOCATE THE  “FOLLOW” BOX AND POP IN YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.  YOU WILL THEN RECEIVE MONTHLY UPDATES. 

You tube video with examples of photography, drawing and painting

by Jenny Meehan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAXqzMIaF5k

Website Link for jamartlondon:  www.jamartlondon.com 

A selection of non objective paintings can be viewed on pinterest:   https://uk.pinterest.com/Jamartlondon/

Help me continue art working

If you would like a way of helping me in some small way, while benefiting from my art working yourself, then scoot along to redbubble.com where you can buy various products with my imagery on them.  It is a good company and they produce and sell their products with my images on.  I get a small royalty payment when something is sold.  It all helps a little. Here is the link to the pages on Redbubble.com which show prints with my imagery on them:

https://www.redbubble.com/shop/jenny+meehan+prints?cat_context=u-prints&page=1&accordion=department

My prints and some merchandise which uses my artwork can also be purchased safely and easily through Redbubble.com

Here is the link to the main Jenny Meehan portfolio page on Redbubble.com:

http://www.redbubble.com/people/jennyjimjams?ref=artist_title_name

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

All content on this blog,  unless specified otherwise,  is © Jenny Meehan.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts of writing and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jenny Meehan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Images may not be used without permission under any circumstances. 

Copyright and Licensing Digital Images Information – Jenny Meehan

www.jamartlondon.com

Copyright in all images by Jenny Meehan is held by the artist.
Permission must be sought in advance for the reproduction, copying or any other use of any images by Jenny Meehan. Individuals or businesses seeking licenses or permission to use, copy or reproduce any image by Jenny Meehan should, in the first instance, contact Jenny Meehan.

Copyright for all visual art by Jenny Meehan is managed by the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) in the UK. If you wish to licence a work of art by Jenny Meehan, please contact Jenny Meehan in the first instance to clarify your requirements. There is a contact form on my website www.jamartlondon.com

Licensing an image is quick and easy for both parties and is organised through the Design and Artist Copyright Society. (Note, my images are not shown on the “Art image” selection on the Design and Artist Copyright “Art Image” page. This does NOT mean you cannot apply for a license to use an image of my work from DACS… They simply have a very limited sample selection of work in their “Artimage” page!)

Germination Image

© Jenny Meehan. All Rights Reserved, jenny meehan, jennifer meehan, jamartlondon.com,germination seed image,new life,creativity image, black and white graphic image germination,jenny meehan woman female contemporary british artist 21st century,

germination print jenny meehan jamartlondon© Jenny Meehan. All Rights Reserved;

I have just done some framing.  Knee is painful. Knee cap is grating.  But framing brings quick and impressive feelings to the forefront of the mind.  So nice to see the printed image sitting so comfortably in it’s position.

Escape from Death Image

© Jenny Meehan. All Rights Reserved, jenny meehan,jennifer meehan graphic art print,jamartlondon,escape from death deliverance from evil image, christian art and spirituality,christian artist uk based,british contemporary christian art, jamartlondon.com,life and death art image, birth and death art image,

escape from death by jenny meehan graphic print to buy jamartlondon.com© Jenny Meehan. All Rights Reserved

The actual print has less of a colour contrast than how the image shows here on screen.  I altered it a bit for the print so it is more subtle.

Knee Replacement Season

Well, I start a new journey soon into the land of knee replacement.  So I may be working on some digital images for a while rather than working on larger paintings.   I do have some small scale projects I can work on.  The months of December, January, February and March tend to be a little more sedentary anyway.  So it should work out quite well.

Going into hospital has suddenly reminded me of my “real name”… for I am a Jennifer Meehan not actually a Jenny Meehan.  I have used Jenny Meehan since around the age of 18 when I left home.  When people call me Jennifer I seem to loose a few years and am reminded of how I was when living at home in my parents house.  Well, that is one way to loose a few years I guess!  It is odd when you are suddenly referred to with a name you do not use anymore.  Though it has made me decide to use the “proper” form of my name a little more, in addition to the Jenny Meehan which I work with and use all of the time.  The world is full of Jennifers who are Jennys!

I sign my work with my initials which are J, A, and M.  Jenny/Jennifer Meehan is née Jennifer Ann Gray.  So Jennifer Ann Meehan becomes JAM.  Hence the name jamartlondon for my website.  If I used my maiden name, it would be JAGARTLONDON.  That’s not bad, but JAMARTLONDON is better!

Well, that was a pleasant little meandering discourse!

 

Past painting…

Sack of a Great House/Arise, Sleeper

Painting experiment with acrylic,pigments,textures - Jenny Meehan

“Arise, Sleeper, Wake/Sack Of A Great House” Jenny Meehan 2010

© Jenny Meehan. All Rights Reserved, DACS

This painting is an early example of my experimentation with texture in my work.  It may well be the first time I used fillers of different sorts.  That was back in 2010.

Ephesians 5 v14  “This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

 

Jenny Meehan, Oil painting experiment, 2010

UnderPainting for an Oncoming Vision/The River Within  by Jenny Meehan  2010

© Jenny Meehan. All Rights Reserved, DACS

Under Painting for an Oncoming Vision/The River Within is an example of some of my earlier work.  In this painting I was experimenting with glazes.  Oil on board.  In the flesh the painting does radiate light in a very pleasing way.  You cannot quite get that from looking at it on a screen.

 

 

Interesting information on Gloss and Emulsion Paint

Well, you know I appreciate that this won’t get everyone excited, but for me as a painter when I find nice clear information on paint, I am very happy indeed!  Someone mentioned gloss paint to me in conversation and it is not something I have tried, so this maybe something for the new year.

Gloss or emulsion

When we buy a can of paint we expect to be able to apply it with a brush or roller and for it to dry leaving behind a solid film. To achieve this paints are made up of a mixture of different components. Although paints designed for different purposes will have different formulations, they all have some key features in common.
Paints contain a pigment to give colour, including white; a film former that binds the pigment particles together and binds them to the surface to be painted; a liquid that makes it easier to apply the paint and additives to make the basic paint better to store and to use.

The two main types of paint are gloss and emulsion. (My addition, well, not quite, but for domestic household use, yes!)

Gloss Paint
Gloss paint is widely used because it produces an attractive shiny surface that is so durable that it can be used outside. The binder or film former in gloss paint is called an alkyd resin. This is a long chain polymer made by reacting a vegetable oil such as soya bean or linseed oil with an alcohol and an organic acid. The resin is dissolved in an aliphatic petroleum solvent, so that it can be spread easily. When the solvent evaporates, the oxygen of the air interacts with the resin which results in the formation of cross links between the polymer molecules and produces a strong, dry film.
A typical gloss paint formulation
Component Percentage by mass
Alkyd resin binder 54
Pigment 25
Solvent 17
Additives 4
(Additives might be driers and anti-skin agents)
Emulsion Paint
Some paints are emulsions . They are made up of tiny droplets of liquid polymer binder spread out in, rather than dissolved in water. This emulsion can be spread easily.
The polymer is made by the addition polymerisation of alkene monomers such as ethenyl ethanoate, methyl 2-methylpropenoate and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate. These monomers can be mixed in different proportions before polymerisation to form a co-polymer which has exactly the right properties for the purpose it is to be used for.

After an emulsion paint is applied, the water evaporates and the polymer particles pack closely and fuse together to form a continuous film. The use of water rather than an organic liquid means that emulsion paints produce fewer VOC (volatile organic compounds) when they are used.
A typical emulsion paint formulation
Component Percentage by mass
Co-polymer binder 15 to 23
Pigment (white) 20
Pigment (colour) 0 to 5
Extenders 15 to 25
Water 25 to 50
Additives 2 to 5
(Additives might be antifreeze, dispersing aids, wetting agents, thickeners, biocides, low temperature drying aids, antifoam agent, coalescing solvent, ammonia)”

The above is quoted from: http://resources.schoolscience.co.uk/ICI/14-16/paints/paintch1pg1.html

 

I am so happy reading this! Crazy, Yes.  For sure!  Love Paint!

Quotes I like…

This below from http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-language-of-painting/

http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-language-of-painting/

by John Holland

Though it will deeply pain Mr. Gouk, I agree that art is not a language, except in the most metaphorical way. It’s not true to say that, “If art has a meaning, then it must be a language”; language is a particular conception, and all real languages share certain necessary features,such as modular units that must be arranged according to quite strict syntactical rules if they are to make sense. What are the equivalents in painting of tenses, verbs, word definitions? Any metaphorical application of the word ‘language’ to art (or music) is too vague to be useful. Maths, maybe, is the only thing that might meaningfully be called a non-verbal language.

As Gouk suggests, a work like Finnigan’s Wake pushes the rules about as far as they will go before sense breaks down- which is why, by and large, literature has had to ‘retreat’ since then to more conservative forms. There’s no equivalent in Modernist painting.
Art has meaning, but it lies largely outside language- this is why it fails when it tries to operate in essentially verbally structured contexts like political discourse.”

 

Art has meaning, but it lies largely outside language- this is why it fails when it tries to operate in essentially verbally structured contexts like political discourse.

 

Victor Brauner

I have been looking at some work by Victor Brauner recently, who I had not heard of before.  Here is some information on him.

Victor Brauner’s multi-media practice is now most closely associated with Surrealism. During his training at the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest, Brauner had in fact developed an expressionist style, which he later abandoned during his involvement with various Dadaist and Surrealist art publications. It was Yves Tanguy who formally introduced Brauner to the Surrealists and instigated his involvement with the movement. His practice, which included painting, drawing, and printmaking, drew from disparate symbolic systems like Tarot Cards, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and ancient Mexican texts. Brauner asserted that all of his paintings were autobiographical in some way. He led a turbulent life of constant displacement; anticipating the danger of World War II, Brauner reduced the dimensions of his canvases such that each could fit in his luggage for emergency travel—he called these his “suitcase paintings.”  (quoted from Artsy.net) 

And from my reading:

Dialogues; Conversations with European Artists at Mid-Century by Edouard Roditi
An interesting extract:
Victor Brauner interviewed by Edouard Roditi. A small extract from a longer interview.
ER: Do you believe that non formal abstract art can offer an artist a new kind of freedom?
BRAUNER: In theory perhaps, at least as long as it relies on chance to suggest meanings for its formlessness. In practice, however, it generally concerns itself with such problems only superficially and soon degenerates into a style of decoration that lacks any more articulated systems of beliefs, thought and emotion. In any case, such terms as figurative and non-figurative or formal and non formal suggest very superficial categories. An artist such as Paul Klee understood quite properly that he had to try his hand at any style that occurred to his mind, and this is how he managed to leave some works that are figurative and others that are nonfigurative – but all of them equally typical of his very personal genius.
ER So you would not advise an artist to seek too personal a style to which he would remain rigidly faithful in all his work?
BRAUNER : Certainly not. The modern art market requires that an artist specialise and, in the long run, repeat himself too. But what he then produces may no longer illustrate what remains indispensable to him as artistic expression – I mean a sense of adventure, of discovery and perhaps even of danger, of the risk of really making the wrong choice and of losing or destroying himself as an artist. Whenever I face a fresh canvas,I feel like a new man and become an utter stranger in my own eyes. When one faces this mystery of becoming and of self discovery and self-expression as an artist, one can no longer rely very much on what one has already achieved. But this is also why I can never have a very clear long-range plans. I do not want to become a specialist in any strictly limited style or range of subject matter, though I may actually find myself more often preoccupied by some problems or symbols than by others. Nor would I really be able to be such a specialist, even if I wanted. But this problem, fortunately, has never arisen in my life, and this may well be why I continue to feel the need to work and to create, as if I had never yet created anything in the past which I can still recognize as wholly my own”
At the time of this brief interview, Brauner was seriously ill and easily tired. A few weeks later Victor Brauner died and this was his last interview.

 

Interesting with respect to the matter of repetition, and what a wonderful quote:

Whenever I face a fresh canvas,I feel like a new man and become an utter stranger in my own eyes. When one faces this mystery of becoming and of self discovery and self-expression as an artist, one can no longer rely very much on what one has already achieved.

My own experience for the need for constant jumping into the dark, into the unknown, into the not previously explored avenues of the unfolding process of my painting, and how important it feels NOT to simply do something because it has worked well, or is popular, or has some other reason to be done, finds some agreement here.  This may not make commercial sense, however,  I ask myself what matters the most and what I personally think more important.  Freedom is a key not worth throwing away unless it is absolutely necessary to do so.   At the moment I am free to be led by whatever happens next, without needing to know what that whatever will be.  I do find that there are distinctive strands in my work, they resurface again and again; it just happens.  The art is to look back and consider them from a distance of time having passed, to ask if they have any direction to point one to, and to not force any coherence in one’s work, but simply let it happen.

 

Suburban Meditations/Painter’s Development Images…

Once more, a look into what caught me when my camera served as my main tool.  I am thinking of buying a new camera, but so confused by the choice!!!  My extensive archives of imagery lie waiting for resurrection.  But it is nice to look back at what I was looking at (and finding interesting) when I took more photographs more than I painted.  And then I ask myself what the images are saying to me now.   Quite a lot.  Of lovely silent words.

 

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

 

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

 

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suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

 

christian artist uk, women artist british, suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

 

women artist british, christian artist uk, suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

 

Types of metal fixings and neglected structures drew me towards them.  Wood and metal were the main materials I took photographs of.  I experimented with colour images but in the end presented a lot of my photographs in black and white as the kind of control over colour was too limited with photography, or at least, in my case, with using pretty limited types of photographic equipment and not printing the images myself.   I take very few photographs at the present time.  I feel I have so many that I have not utilised and engaged with sufficiently.  So much material that could bring forth so much.  So I have put an end to taking more images at the moment. ( Very occasionally I succumb!)  Sometimes I see something I cannot resist, but it is not helpful to try and do too much. We have too many images.  This feeling probably accounts for my getting lost (willingly) into abstraction!

 

There Will Always be a Point at Which We Will Meet

 

 

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

 

 

Past Painting and Poem :  Bandage Box

 

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

Bandage Box

Gently pressed
fabric
laid over a stretched surface,
soaked in milky balm.
I am tenderly
making, building
a new impression with my mind
whose inner wound cannot be bound
but which seeks
to make
new structure.

Jenny Meehan 2013 (written to accompany the above painting of 2013) 

 

There will be some wounding experience with my knee replacement, but wounding with the aim of healing and repair is quite a different matter to wounding with destruction as it’s intent.

 

 

And Now…

I have been dwelling on similar material recently… Reflecting on the healing process of painting, because it clearly is a healing process for me.  The bringing together, in articulating something, something which I don’t know when I start, but which evolves.  The something which is becoming.  Bringing into being a painting is like realising an emotion…, or maybe not just emotion, something of the heart; a heart connection and an experience felt.  Maybe coming from a memory or experience.  That memory need not be explicit and clear but I can still paint from it.  Paint from its centre, from the time when it started.  It may be from the past but the time doesn’t matter,  The main thing is that it is and that I don’t need to ignore it or push it away. So the whole thing about painting for me is that it is about being allowed to be.  Being and coming into being.  Feeling and experiencing the paint and the material and the process of painting.  And for nothing else to matter.  There is a space in that which is healing. There is a bringing together and a resolution of something within.  There is the fact that it appears and that it now matters.  It always mattered but it could not be seen.  And there is nothing about that painting which is not me.  And there is everything just laid there to see.  Which is rewarding.  And the work has been hard, not easy. Sometimes easy, in a kind of surprise, but often very hard.  But the bringing together of the painting is very rewarding.  I feel engaged in life in a way that is essential to my happiness.  I think I have written about the psychology of flourishing before on this journal.  And that whole thing of “being in the flow” or in your element.   I think some of the recent paintings I have been working on this year may touch on both the experience of flow, of happiness and of healing.  The relief of coming together.

And here is one of  my VERY recent paintings.

This one, “Mending”…It may well acquire an additional title as I continue the phase of contemplation through simple looking for a while.   Sometimes over time a painting speaks of something not so obvious at the time of painting, or even just after it.

But this is “Mending” for now.

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“Mending” uses a mixture of Keim Optil paint, acrylic paint, and household emulsion.  I have also used painted card which is something I have been keen to use for a while.  The substrate is hardboard which has a lovely colour which I have left showing in places.  There are also some areas of paper tape.  The size is just 20x16inches.  This is a good size for such experiments as not too big, and I rather like the aspect ratio.

 

A nice little quote, rather random, but still lovely;

“Conversion, at its root, is not the action performed but the source of that action, the experience of being loved.”
Carroll & Dyckman,  quoted from Inviting the Mystic Supporting the Prophet. 

That is it for now.  Happy Christmas!

 

 

imagined worlds exhibition alph the sacred river coleridge kubla khan jenny meehan

imagined worlds exhibition alph the sacred river coleridge kubla khan jenny meehan

 

As per normal, skim down, as I have written far too much for a single post, but added and added and added!!!!

Imagined Worlds Exhibition – A touring exhibition of artworks inspired by the poem ‘Kubla Khan’ written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1816.

Good news.  My work has been selected for this touring exhibition “Imagined Worlds Exhibition – A touring exhibition of artworks inspired by the poem ‘Kubla Khan’ ”

Imagined Worlds Exhibition – A touring exhibition of artworks inspired by the poem ‘Kubla Khan’ written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1816. This is a celebration by the Friends of Coleridge supported by Somerset Art Works, working in partnership with the National Trust, CICCIC Taunton, and Art at the Heart, RUH Bath.

CICCIC Memorial Hall, Paul St, Taunton TA1 3PF 7 October -12 November 2016 . Special PV 21 October 2016

Mid November – January tbc

RUH Bath Mid January – Mid April 2017

Coleridge Cottage Nether Stowey Mid April – May 2017

I am delighted about this.  Coleridge is a poet I both studied at degree level and very much enjoy.  So pleased to make my own response present in this way.  The work I submitted is here, shown above,  along with the information I prepared to accompany it.
Jenny Meehan is a well established South West London based artist whose art work evolves in a process led way, dependent on both intuition and imagination. She studied Literature at Kingston University and after working as a teacher for several years has spent the last ten years developing her creative practice, which includes painting, printmaking and poetry.
The artwork submitted responds to the water element in the poem ‘Kubla Khan’; “Alph, the sacred river” whose mysterious flow runs through its lines. Resonating with emotional highs and lows and “meandering with a mazy motion”, it carries the listener along with it.
Water is a subject matter which often preoccupies Jenny, occurring as a repeated motif in many of her paintings and prints. An interest in the subconscious and the resulting exploration of “caverns measureless to man” attracted her to this image in the poem.
Other Information
Jenny Meehan
j.meehan@tesco.net
Title of Work: “Alph, The Sacred River 1”
Image sent with email. Price: £ 200
Dimension 36 x 27cm
Medium: Ink jet Print on Cartridge Paper 1/10 Limited Edition

Over the Summer we stopped by outside Coleridge Cottage Nether Stowey.  We had got a little lost but when I saw the sign I took it as an added bonus to see the cottage, if only from the outside!

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coleridge-cottage

It does not seem to be open every day, but a few times a week.  I am very pleased to think of my visual art residing in the same building as the poet himself.   I am very pleased with the way I framed it.. I found the frame over the Summer and instinct told me to buy it…I knew it would be useful.  It works well with the flow feeling of the print.  I am also pleased that there is an illusion of reflection happening.  The photograph here was taken without glazing, yet there is an appearance of reflection which is apt for the piece.  I have now glazed it, and it looks doubly reflective!  Suitable for a poem by Coleridge!

 

 

 

jenny meehan jamartlondon photo black white copper work metal work copper foliage jenny meehan

jenny meehan jamartlondon photo black white

Above:  Copper Fern 1 by Jenny Meehan  (Image of “Copper Fern” by Jenny Meehan)

jenny meehan jamartlondon photo black white copper

jenny meehan jamartlondon photo black white

Above: Copper Edge (Image of “Copper Edge” by Jenny Meehan)

jenny meehan jamartlondon photo black white copper work copper jenny meehan

jenny meehan jamartlondon photo black white

Above: Copper Fern 2 by Jenny Meehan (Image of “Copper Fern” by Jenny Meehan)

 

Ah, October.  Lovely spiders, everywhere.  I walk into them.  Watch them weave. And leaves are changing. Creeping edges of colour; yellow, orange, black, red.  Damp green grass, and the birds sound louder.  I like this time of year. Even the rain.

I planned to start some printmaking, but my right knee, with it’s osteoarthritis, is making everything take longer.  And so time is short; too short to start a new project right now.  I cannot walk very quickly.  I have had a lot of pain in the last few weeks.   I am doing a lot of  exercise, and physiotherapy, and “Better Bones” classes.  But my bones are not better.  It is what is around them that needs attention. My legs are certainly stronger. And I am less heavy.  Let the weight loss continue.  But how I wish I could walk for longer than 20 minutes, without a stick, and without severe pain at the end of it. I do not like this.  It is a miserable matter.  I cry and get cross.  Cry and Cross! There may be a title for a painting there!

So, with domestic work, and various voluntary activities,  plus exercise, exercise, exercise, the time is all used up. But I have managed to make some frames for paintings carried out over the Summer.  Which I quite like doing. And need for next year.  And I have also spent some time discovering more about Bessel van der Kolk…

Bessel van der Kolk

http://www.traumacenter.org/about/about_bessel.php  Very interesting.  Just listened to a talk by Bessel van der Kolk, MD called “Trauma, Body, and the Brain: Restoring the Capacity for Synchronicity and Imagination,” an exploration of how the brain is shaped by experience and how our relationship to ourselves is the product of our synchronicity with those around us.  Wonderful talk, very interesting and inspiring!

I have also been listening to several different talks which I was able to access through an online training summit, all focused on Neuroscience, Trauma, Mindfulness, and Attachment Therapy.  I am a big fan of Margaret Wehrenberg (not personally, because I don’t know her at all!!!) but certainly of her books which I have found very helpful personally, and as she was speaking on one of the sessions, I thought I would sign up for the summit…

Little snippets/notes from listening to Margaret Wehrenberg which I found particularly interesting and helpful…

She spoke on “The Purpose of Worry and How to Manage It” .  Under this banner highlights for me personally were…

how fear and worry are different…

why do we worry? anxiety is a normal condition. it is they way we feel in response to ambiguity.  sensation of anxiety gives us some motivation to look for and identify potential problems and look for them but with a disorder we feel anxiety in the absence of any actual threat or problem…  get into “what if” thinking and worry becomes persistent, disruptive, and robs people of the joy of being alive.

fear and worry distinguished…if there is a distinct threat, basically  something which has an objective observable cause… that is fear and it prompts action, look for a way to escape from what it is that scares us, we can imagine that we would be afraid…that is not the same as worry… worry is persistent however it  never solves a problem where as fear can solve a problem

some people are wired up to be worriers more than others and have not very effective stopping mechanisms or brain shifting capacity… lots of her techniques attempt to equip the person to shift gears manually, and eventually this becomes more automatic with repetition using brain to change the brain.

stress creates conditions of anxiety as an outcome of stress…  so stress reduction is key.    ie body care sleep eat,    causes people to feel generally uneasy..  thinking what could be going wrong…

anxiety is a condition looking for content… asking all the time what could be causing me to have this kind of arousal?  seeking relief, ie with health anxiety..  internet searching!!!    scanning for health concerns.. looking up symptoms and trying to diagnose themselves, does not typically help. Calmness while searching, act of reassurance in seeking, and while online person may feel calm,  but better to respond to the feeling of a needing some reassurance through other ways not internet searching…

people believe if is it is possible to happen then it is probably going to happen….start to behave as if it is going to happen or is even happening right now. But it may only be remotely possible.  Are you worrying about something which is possible or probable? 

do you have a real problem, if so you can plan a way to solve it… so planning is a good tool a real antidote to worry

if you cannot make a plan then it is not a real problem, or at least not yet, so then worry is the problem itself.

 

Well, the above is a little taster.  Excuse the note form.  As said, I use this Journal not as a finished piece of personal narrative, but as an unfolding notebook/journal/record, for my own use as much as sharing it with any interested parties.   If you would like to find out more about Margaret’s work she has a website:  http://www.margaretwehrenberg.com/   The two books I have read by Margaret Wehrenberg are “The 10 Best-Ever Depression Management Techniques: Understanding How Your Brain Makes You Depressed & What You Can Do to Change it” and “The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques: Understanding How Your Brain Makes You Anxious and What You Can Do to Change it”.

I liked very much the writing style of the books as well as the content and organisation.  I read  “The 10 Best-Ever Depression Management Techniques: Understanding How Your Brain Makes You Depressed”  when I was very depressed several years ago, and found the tone very helpful, as not patronising.   I had a pre existing interest in the neuroscience, due to my brother’s head injury, and I found the matter of fact approach, with reference to how the brain works,  good for me personally.  Also, being someone possessing sound intelligence and being of a practical nature, enjoying concrete and material things, as well as theory,  I was glad to find something which suggested that I could manage what was happening to me and that I had some kind of influence over it.  This is always a big step when feeling depressed, however it is a crucial one.  There were so many small and accessible things suggested that one could do.  This was just what I needed.  I never had an expectation of quick and easy answers, and was looking around to access psychotherapy at the time, but as I was unable to access it for six months  I needed something to help me manage things in the meantime. It might not suit everyone, but was perfect for me.

There were plenty of other speakers also. I don’t have the inclination to share any more here, but one of the little bits of information I picked up from another talk was with regard to a term “Window of Tolerance”. “Window of Tolerance” is a term coined by Dr. Dan Siegel, and is now widely used in understanding normal brain/physiology reaction responses, as well in trauma-informed treatment terminology, and in all areas of mental health. Efforts are made to assist individuals to learn how to widen their personal, unique Window of Tolerance, as well as to have methods to stay in the Window of Tolerance via self-soothing and self-regulating behaviours. When an individual “jumps” out, or feels “pushed” out of their Window of Tolerance on the upper or lower sides, the prefrontal cortex is essentially going offline, with only subcortical brain regions (limbic system-emotional brain, and brain stem) staying active, removing ability to think through actions and consequences. Before any type of talking or making sense of a situation can occur, individuals need to find a way back into their Window of Tolerance, through self-soothing and self-regulating behaviours, which will allow all regions of the brain to get back online, and our processing system to function appropriately.

Mmm, as you can see.  I am really into this!

quoted from:  http://www.drmariedezelic.com/window-of-tolerance–traumaanxiety-rela

I found this terribly interesting.  Not quite sure what I will do with it, if anything right at the moment, but wanting to record it here in the Journal so that I will at some point look over it again, and it won’t just disappear in the computer without memory!

This is such a psychological post in the Journal…  I am also interested in numbing!

Numbing is a biological process whereby emotions are detached from thoughts, behaviours, and memories. As I look back into the significant period of depression I experienced, which was over the period  from about 2010 to 2012,  I am aware very much that the numbing I experienced was a traumatic stress reaction, and one which hid what was going on inside emotionally.  It is this, and the feeling of separation from others, because of the emotional disconnect, which makes it all the more distressing.  The impact of trauma is felt very greatly by the person, but is not very easy for others to recognise, because the emotionless-ness hides the distress and masks the levels of stress experienced.   It is efficiently kept to oneself. But it is a sad isolation. Alcohol to self-medicate does not help either.  You cannot deny your emotions on a long term basis.

A Brief Writing on It…

The detachment

The feeling of the

need

to connect

The gap, which imperceptibly widens

The falling apart, within, without

The without-ness growing like a huge plant

Which sucks the water from the soul

This is the abyss in which I have fallen.

 

It’s a long time since I have written any poetry.  Must do some this Winter.  And must put some visual content in this post… I have been doing a lot of research recently and very little painting.  The painting below dates from between 2007 and 2012… (around 2010 I think).  Certainly carried out during those “wilderness years”.  Didn’t like it at the time, but I like it now.

sketch of chessington rear access road jenny meehan

sketch of chessington rear access road jenny meehan

 

Love working abstractly… So interesting.  But great to have something there to bounce off too!

Determined to do some painting, despite the obstacles in the way, the pain, the slowness of walking, the mounting of domestic tasks, the knowledge that as I stand to paint, the end result will be I cannot stand at all in the evening. I must instead tend to my knee with ice, massage, heat, and whatever else I fancy.   Going out to network is out of the question.  I do not anticipate pain coming to me… I am using mindfulness to good effect, however it seems doggedly faithful. And arrives an uninvited guest.  What I will achieve in the future, with this situation of disability is a matter of concern to me, even while taking one day at a time.  So I look back and enjoy what I have done.  I will do more…It just looks like it will be more difficult.  Knee replacement at some point.  Often feel unsure of how long I can keep this up.

Posting Recent List of Exhibitions..

Here is what I have done so far in the way  of exhibitions.  Just skim down quickly if they are not of interest!  Just need to remind myself of what I have done at the moment!

Exhibitions List Up to Date. To October 2016

Imagined Worlds Exhibition – A touring exhibition of artworks inspired by the poem ‘Kubla Khan’ written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1816. This is a celebration by the Friends of Coleridge supported by Somerset Art Works, working in partnership with the National Trust, CICCIC Taunton, and Art at the Heart, RUH Bath.

CICCIC Memorial Hall, Paul St, Taunton TA1 3PF 7 October -12 November 2016 . Special PV 21 October 2016

Mid November – January tbc, RUH Bath Mid January – Mid April 2017, Coleridge Cottage Nether Stowey Mid April – May 2017
“The Art of Caring” ( second exhibition curated by Peter Herbert) at The Conference Centre, St Pancras Hospital, NW1 OPE 21st July – 13th October 2016
KAOS OPEN STUDIOS 11th / 12th and 18th / 19th June 2016 (Kingston Artists’ Open Studios)70 artists taking part at venues around Kingston. Annual event.
Kingston Artists’ Open Studios Taster Exhibition at Cass Art , 103 Clarence Street, KT1 1 QY in “The Art Space” Kingston Upon Thames. 6th – 20th June 2016
“Anagrams” at Kingston Museum, Kingston Art 2016. Juried. Wheatfield Way, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2PS. 29 April 2016 to 2 July 2016

“Building Bridges, the Female Perspective” 8th March – October 2016 organised by Southwark Arts Forum & Tower Bridge Art at the Bridge #7. Tower Bridge Victorian Engine Rooms, Tower Bridge Road London SE1 2UP.

“The Art of Caring” Exhibition curated by Alban Low at The Upper Circle Gallery, The Rose Theatre, Kingston-upon-Thames 12th to 24th May 2016.

2015

CornerHouse Charity Exhibition for “Straight Talking Charity at Cornerhouse Arts Centre, Surbiton, Surrey Nov 30th – Dec 31st

Challenging Behaviour Foundation Charity Exhibition Sun Pier House, Sun Pier, Medway Street, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4HF 3 November 2015 – 29 November 2015

Court Farm Cafe Group Exhibition, organised by Kingston Arts Cafe at Court Farm Garden Centre, Worcester Park, Surrey KT4 7QH October 2015 – January 2016

A Letter in Mind – The Art of Journey, Charity Exhibition at Gallery@oxo, South Bank, London SE1 9PH 8th October until 18th October 2015. My donated work sold for this worthy cause.

Brighton Sussex University Hospitals Trust National Transplant Week 2015 (7th-13th September) public art exhibition in Brighton UK at the Brighton Jubilee Library Jubilee St, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1GE. Items 13 and 14 were my donations.

Jenny Meehan’s donation can be found on page 10 of the following publication:

To bid, go to the Ebay store, here’s the facebook link:

‘The Story So Far’, organised by Acton Arts Forum, at W3 Gallery, 185 Acton High Street, W3 9DJ . From 1 July to 14th July 2015.

KAOS (Kingston Artists’ Open Studios “Selfie” Exhibition in The Art Space at Cass Arts, Kingston Upon Thames. 6 – 14th June

KAOS OPEN STUDIOS June 2015 (Kingston Artists’ Open Studios) at venues around Kingston. Annual event.
“Flying Colours” Joint exhibition of prints, Leatherhead Theatre, Leatherhead (Jenny Meehan and Chris Birch) 3rd – 30th May 2015

“Day of Reflection on Spiritual Homelessness” at St Nicholas Church, Guildford GU2 4AW on 11th April 2015. Six paintings shown as part of a group exhibition.

“Tiny Bones and Lasting Stones of Memory” (poem and painting) shown as part of Holocaust Memorial Day – Keeping the Memory Alive Through Art Exhibition: Kingston University, 16th – 17th March; Kingston Museum, 26 March – 23 April 2015, Kingston College, 24th – 28th April 2015 and at the Council Chambers, Kingston Upon Thames 1st February (Third prize in adult category)

2014 Exhibitions

Holocaust Memorial Day – Keeping the Memory Alive Through Art Exhibition at the Council Chambers, Kingston Upon Thames, Sunday 1st February (Third prize in adult category)

KAOS Exhibition at All Saints Church, Kingston upon Thames
KT1 1JP 11th Nov – 25th Nov. Kingston Artist’s Open Studios Group Exhibition

“Breaking the Chains” (Anti human trafficking) Exhibition at Tower Gallery, Memorial Community Church, 395 Barking Road, London E13 8AL. 16th October – 6th November. Selected

“A Letter in Mind”…The National Brain Appeal’s Exhibition Charity Exhibition) at gallery@oxo, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London, SE1 9PH. 2nd October – 5th October. Selected and donated work sold.

Dulwich Picture Gallery Open Exhibition, Gallery Road, London SE21 7AD 30th Sept – 12th Oct 2015. Juried, (Selection panel headed by Ian Dejardin, and including Rebecca Fortnum, Clive Head, Nicky Hirst and Elo Schuneman).

NewArt@Baker Tilly, Baker Tilly, 3rd Floor, One London Square, Cross Lanes Guildford GU1 1UN 7th June -20th September. Selected

Court Farm KAOS (Kingston Artists’ Open Studios) Cafe at Court Farm Garden Centre, Worcester Park, Surrey. 3rd May – 27th July

Multiple Sclerosis Trust “The Secret Art Show” (Charity Exhibition) Spirella Building, Bridge Road, Letchwoth Garden City, Hertfordshire SG6 4ET. 30th April – 7th May

Artistsmeet Open Exhibition, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire WD3 1EH. 3rd March – 6th May 2014 Selected.

“Drawn Together” Riverside Gallery, Old Town Hall, Richmond Upon Thames TW9 1TP. 1st March – 25th May 2014 Juried.

“Sacred Spaces” KAOS Exhibition curated by Jenny Meehan, Leatherhead Theatre, Leatherhead. May 3 – 31st 2014. Seven members of Kingston Artists’ Open Studios.

“Speaking Out – Women Recovering from the Trauma of Violence” Embrace Arts at the RA Centre, Leciester University, Leciester. 13 January – 28th March 2014. Juried.

“Drawing Inspiration” Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, A-Side B-Side Gallery, Hackney Downs Studios, E8 2BT. 23rd Jan – 3rd Feb 2014 Highly Commended awarded. Juried.

“Recovery” Exhibition – Institute Of Mental Health/City Arts at Nottingham University NG7 2TU Nov 6th – May 2014

2013 Exhibitions

“Recovery” Exhibition – Institute Of Mental Health/City Arts at Nottingham University NG7 2TU Nov 6th – May 2014

Brixton Drawing Project Exhibition. Brixton East, Brixton, SW9 Sunday 6th October.

Orange Tree Theatre KAOS Group Exhibition. Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond upon Thames, Surrey 23rd Oct – 30th Nov.

PARTIA “Collective Nostalgia” at Aintree University Hospital, Liverpool. 1st Oct-1st Nov 2013. Selected.

Court Farm KAOS (Kingston Artist’s Open Studios) Group Exhibition. Cafe at Court Farm Garden Centre, Worcester Park, Surrey. Sept 3rd – November 2013

“Not The Royal Academy” exhibition at Llewellyn Alexander Fine Paintings. London SE1 June – August

“Allotted” Curated Exhibition at The Beetroot Tree Gallery, Draycott, Derbyshire 15th June – 27th July 2013 Selected.

“Lines” Curated Exhibition at The Strand Gallery, London. Selected. June 2013

Cornerhouse Arts Centre, Surbiton, Surrey. Jenny Meehan Recent Work, Solo Exhibition. June 2013

Group Exhibition “Order and KAOS” (Four Painters from Kingston Artists Open Studios). Leatherhead Theatre (curated by Jenny Meehan) 4th-31st May.

Dugout Women’s Inclusive Festival – The Hoxton Arches, Cremer Street, E2 8HD (2nd March 2013). Juried.

Open Exhibition at The Classroom Gallery, Nottingham. Selected. March 23 – April 5th.

National Open Exhibition 2013 at Electric Picture House Congleton, Cheshire. March 9th -30th. Selected.

2012
September – December Alliance Healthcare Exhibition, Alliance Healthcare, Chessington Surrey (SOLO)

The Bog Standard Gallery, Artistsmeet, Watersmeet, Rickmansworth Hertfordshire. WD3 1EH December 2012

The Ark Centre Autumn Exhibition, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG24 9NN. October/November 2012

Artistsmeet Open Exhibition, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire WD3 1EH. September/October 2012

Cranleigh Arts Centre Open Exhibition, Cranleigh, Surrey GU6 8AS June 2012

“Some Kind Of Narrative” Joint Exhibition at Leatherhead Theatre, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 8DN Stephanie Greenslade – Jenny Meehan. 29th April – 25th May 2012. ”

Hidden Artists” Exhibition at Denbies Picture Gallery 2012, Denbies Wine Estate, Charity fundraising event for NSPCC.

2011
Jigsaw4Uinternational.org project “Strong Voices” Event 2011 at The Rose Theatre, Kingston Upon Thames in October. (sculpture and photographs). Charity event.

Cranleigh Arts Centre Open Exhibition 2011 at Cranleigh Arts Centre, Cranleigh, Surrey GU6 8AS June 2011 Juried Exhibition

“Hidden Artists” Exhibition at Denbies Picture Gallery 2011, Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking, Surrey. Fundraising exhibition for NSPCC.

2010
“John Lewis Prize” Exhibition (of shortlisted work) at “The Place To Eat”, John Lewis, Kingston Upon Thames. 8th September – 10th December 2010 Juried Exhibition

Pallant House Gallery/St Wilfrid’s Hospice Open Art Exhibition at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, West Sussex. 3rd June – 2nd July 2010. Juried Exhibition.

Surrey Artists Network Ist Anniversary Exhibition at Otters Pool Studio, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4QG Ist May – 22nd May 2010. Juried Exhibition.

Denbies Open Exhibition 2010 Denbies Vineyard, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6AA January 7th-17th, 2010.

2009
“Doorway” Visual Meditation 2009 (Jenny Meehan and Mary Reid) at St Paul’s C of E Church, Hook, Surrey. February 22nd.

2008 – 2006

Kingston Contemporary Open 2007 (Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey, UK). Juried.

Kingston Contemporary Open 2006 (Stanley Picker Galllery, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey, UK). Juried.

SOLO EXHIBITIONS (Self Organised in Community Spaces)

” Jenny Meehan -Recent Paintings and Prints” Cornerhouse Arts Centre, Surbiton Surrey June 2013

“Paintings – Jenny Meehan ” Alliance Healthcare, Chessington, Surrey Sept-Dec 2012

“Inking Outside The Block” (CornerHOUSE Arts Centre, Surbiton) December 5th to December 31st 2011.
PRIZES/AWARDS

Painting and Poetry – Third Prize in “Keeping the Memory Alive through Art”, Kingston Inter Faith Forum, Kingston University, Kingston Upon Thames February 2015

Painting – Highly Commended – Needhams Open Art Competition 2009, Cambridgeshire, UK. Juried Exhibition.

Poetry – Finalist (second place) in “Literary Mary” poetry competition March 2009

Painting – Highly Commended – “Drawing Inspiration” Competition Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, January 2014

QUALIFICATIONS

BA Hons English Literature (Kingston University, Kingston Upon Thames)

PGCE Primary Education (Roehampton Institute, Roehampton)

COLLECTIONS

Kingston Museum

John Lewis Partnership

Bog Standard Gallery

Private collections in the United Kingdom

 

This is getting to be a rather long post… As often happens…

Walter Darby Bannard, 1934-2016

A lovely write here:

http://www.artblog.net/post/2016/10/walter-darby-bannard/

Notes from the Life of an Artist by Franklin Einspruch, an artist and writer based in Boston.

Sometimes I am caught by what I read, and this part caught me:

I’ll let you in on a secret: the scorn never mattered. Darby lived well. His was a life full of brilliant friends, talented colleagues, and passionate relationships. Throughout it all and up to the end, he painted. When he was painting, canvases tacked to the floor, surrounded by jars of acrylics, and an arsenal of squeegees, brooms, and brushes at the ready, his enjoyment was unassailable. Art rides in on pleasure, he says in the Aphorisms.

The pleasure carries something with it, something very precious to us that is inseparable from the pleasure itself.

I live with that something every day, but I can’t say what it is. No one can. If you have an eye, you comprehend it in an instant; you feel it and you know it. That’s that.

And now that really is that.”

The above quoted from:  http://www.artblog.net/post/2016/10/walter-darby-bannard/   Do take a look and read the whole post.

There is such a lot of distraction.  But I will certainly be taking a look at http://wdbannard.org/ and reading some more!

Researching Family History

I have dug around a bit. Stumbled on this:

Some of my family history

While not possible to trace much of my mother’s side due to lack of information,  I was grateful to find this recently:

Born in Boscombe, Hampshire in 1882, Albert was the son of blacksmith, Colin Gray and his wife Selina. He had an older brother, Colin Bertie and a younger sister, Laura. In 1891 the family were living in Victoria Road, Pokesdown, where they also took in a lodger. They later moved to Hannington Road, Bournemouth. By 1901 Albert’s brother was working as a decorator, whilst his sister was employed as a laundress and later as a dye cleaner in the textile industry.

Albert seems to have followed a similar career path to his sister. By the age of 29 he was a wash house foreman, in a local laundry. This is probably where he met his future bride, Gertrude Harradine. The daughter of a railwayman, she was originally from 104 Palmerston Road, Wimbledon but was boarding in Bournemouth, having found work as a laundress. The couple married at Holy Trinity Church, Wimbledon on 3 August, 1912.

During the war, Albert joined the Royal Field Artillery. He served with the 189th Brigade, part of the 41st Division. This was formed in Aldershot in 1915 from units raised in southern England. Comprising 3 – 4 gun batteries, the brigade was sent to France in May 1916 and was initially based in the area between Hazebrouck and Bailleul. As field artillery for the 1st Army, Albert and his comrades would have fought in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. During this week-long offensive in September 1916, artillery and infantry tried, but failed to break the German line and leave an opening for cavalry attacks. In November the 189th brigade was also involved in the Battle of the Transloy Ridge, part of the third and final offensive of the Somme campaign. Fighting was made all the more harrowing by terrible weather conditions and a battlefield devastated by months of artillery fire.

Promoted to the rank of sergeant, Albert must have shown bravery and determination during his military service, as he was mentioned in dispatches. He survived the war, albeit briefly and died of influenza on 25 November 1918, just two weeks after peace was declared. He was buried at Gap Road Cemetery and is commemorated at Wimbledon Parish Church. His widow continued to live at 28a Wycliffe Road, Wimbledon, after his death.

That widow was my father, Gordon William Gray’s mother. I never met her, as they were estranged.  I don’t know why as it was not talked about.  My maiden name of Gray, yet another interesting journey of discovery!

I had gleaned some of the information myself, but this extract above, which I quote from http://cis.photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/entity/186931-serjeant-albert-william-gray..   contains much more detail than I had been able to obtain on my own.

That’s it, for now!!!!

 

TO FOLLOW THIS ARTIST’S BLOG SIMPLY GO TO THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN, LOCATE THE  “FOLLOW” BOX AND POP IN YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.  YOU WILL THEN RECEIVE MONTHLY UPDATES.

 

Jenny Meehan is a painter, poet, and Christian contemplative  based in East Surrey/South West London.   Her interest in Christ-centred spirituality and creativity are the main focus of this artist’s journal, which rambles and meanders on, maybe acting as a personal (yet open to view)  note book as much as anything else.  If you read and enjoy it, this would be an added bonus! 

Her website is www.jamartlondon.com.  (www.jamartlondon.com replaces the older now deceased website http://www.jennymeehan.co.uk)

Jenny Meehan BA Hons (Lit.) PGCE also occasionally offers art tuition for individuals or in shared sessions.  Please contact Jenny at j.meehan@tesco.net or through the contact form at www.jamartlondon.com for further details as availability depends on other commitments.    

 Jenny Meehan works mainly with either oils or acrylics  creating both abstract/non-objective paintings  and also semi-abstract work.  She also produces representational/figurative artwork,  mostly using digital photography/image manipulation software, painting and  drawing.  Both original fine paintings and other artwork forms  and affordable photo-mechanically produced prints are available to purchase.  

Jenny Meehan exhibits around the United Kingdom.   To be placed on Jenny Meehan’s  bi-annual  mailing list please contact Jenny via her website contact page:  www.jamartlondon.com

Also, you could follow the Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal at WordPress and keep informed that way. 

 

Website Link for jamartlondon:  www.jamartlondon.com 

A selection of non objective paintings can be viewed on pinterest:   https://uk.pinterest.com/Jamartlondon/

My prints and some merchandise which uses my artwork can also be purchased safely and easily through Redbubble.com

http://www.redbubble.com/people/jennyjimjams?ref=artist_title_name

 

 

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

All content on this blog,  unless specified otherwise,  is © Jenny Meehan.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts of writing and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jenny Meehan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Images may not be used without permission under any circumstances. 

Copyright and Licensing Digital Images Information – Jenny Meehan

www.jamartlondon.com

Copyright in all images by Jenny Meehan is held by the artist.
Permission must be sought in advance for the reproduction, copying or any other use of any images by Jenny Meehan. Individuals or businesses seeking licenses or permission to use, copy or reproduce any image by Jenny Meehan should, in the first instance, contact Jenny Meehan.

Copyright for all visual art by Jenny Meehan is managed by the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) in the UK. If you wish to licence a work of art by Jenny Meehan, please contact Jenny Meehan in the first instance to clarify your requirements. There is a contact form on my website www.jamartlondon.com

Licensing an image is quick and easy for both parties and is organised through the Design and Artist Copyright Society. (Note, my images are not shown on the “Art image” selection on the Design and Artist Copyright “Art Image” page. This does NOT mean you cannot apply for a license to use an image of my work from DACS… They simply have a very limited sample selection of work in their “Artimage” page!)

 

 

 

As per usual, I enjoy writing so much I ramble on  for ages, so do skim and skip over content which doesn’t grab you, dwelling only on that which is of your particular interest.  This way, I don’t need to worry about being succinct or structuring my writing more tightly (it serves as exploration for me, and isn’t just written to be read by you.) but can let it evolve as openly and profusely as it will.

West Dean College Visit

A flourish of monochrome images from a recent visit to West Dean College will provide some inspiration for my current experiments with black and white ink, paint, and mono printing.   I have not edited these to cut down time but want them here as a reference I can access easily.  How beautiful is the hand of our Creator God, whose touch never ceases to inspire.

The photographs look nice in colour too, but during the course I have just come back from we worked with black ink on paper, and it is best to stay black and white for a while.  “Drawing in the Garden – Pattern and Place” was a pleasing contrast to my non objective paintings in colour.  The blurb for the course: ” Explore a pattern-based interpretation of the gardens through drawing from observation. Drawing in the garden – pattern and place with Rosie MacCurrach”.  The opportunity to simply do some observational drawing was very welcome, and it is always very interesting and helpful to be part of a group of people being creative.  It is amazing how unique and individual each person is, and the very special characteristics, challenges and triumphs of each person’s drawings were an education in themselves.  A brilliant time.  I will post my work up soon, but still in the whirl of what I have done, and don’t want to share quite yet as I need to continue to work with it.

There are quite a few here, so scroll down rapidly if you don’t want to view them!  The variety of pattern, line, form, texture is immense, and these photographs will serve me as a visual reminder.

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

 

 

Several drawings done, yes, DRAWINGS!  Finally!  Here is one below.  I will be experimenting further with some print making experiments based around the drawings.  That will be the Autumn project.

jenny meehan charcoal drawing west dean college art contemporary, jamartlondon, female british woman artists, emerging art historically significant artist,jenny meehan wordpress journal, drawing garden spiritual contemplation meditation visual art, spiritual growth image for meditation, christian visual artist 21st century

jenny meehan charcoal drawing west dean college art contemporary

 

I LOVE charcoal.  A timely reminder to use it more.  So forgiving, like oil paint.  Cannot wait to get into the studio tent and experiment with some black ink also.  I am going to immerse myself in black for a while.

 

Paintings I like…

I like these paintings very much.

http://www.widewalls.ch/artist/jiang-tie-feng/

Text below is quoted from the above:

“Splendid Watercolor and Serigraphy Works
Jiang Tie Feng was born in Zhejiang Province in China and he discovered his love for visual arts through painting and drawing while he was still a child. Consequently, he studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. In the turbulent 60s and 70s in China, Jiang Tie Feng was asked to create propaganda posters for Mao’s Cultural Revolution. However, at night, the artist was secretly creating his very own artistic style, based on Chinese mythology and Buddhism. My paintings are not only pictures; they are also music and poetry that is bewitching, sweet dreams that are being dreamed, says Tie Feng about his work. The artist is considered one of the best examples of contemporary Chinese art and he is a truly creative painter, who often creates stained glass windows and focuses on the subject of women, horses, birds, and nature as his main sources of inspiration. He created mainly in watercolor and serigraphy and it is known that his masterpiece serigraph edition as well as canvas-based works have been popular worldwide ever since the early 1980s. The artist was also a member of the Chinese Woodblock Association as well as a professor at the Yunnan Art Institute.”

My paintings are not only pictures; they are also music and poetry that is bewitching, sweet dreams that are being dreamed, says Tie Feng about his work.

Sweet dreams that are being dreamed….

 

More Thoughts from other Artists:

” Lisa Yuskavage
Make art that you want to see that doesn’t already exist. Stand by it regardless of the response. Try to get past the desire to have everyone like you.

All positive feedback is not a good sign. It means you are feeding the views that they already like and not going to change how the world sees.”   

quoted from the article on artnet news; 18 Female Artists Give Advice to Women Starting Out in the Art World
“Try to get past the desire to have everyone like you,” and more words of advice.
Eileen Kinsella, July 21, 2016

Like this one too:

 “Marilyn Minter
Find your strengths and develop them! Don’t waste your time trying to do things that don’t come easy to you.

Go with your gut, even if it goes against all rational thinking.”  

and this:

 Mariko Mori
“Never compare your career with other artists. Concentrate on developing your work and believe in yourself. The necessary path to grow as an artist is all different and unique. Trust in your path as every moment is a gift to strengthen your creativity.”

and this one, which I found particularly interesting:

 Adrian Piper
“First, you should be clear about what you are aiming for: (1) public approval, (2) commercial success, or (3) art-historical significance. These three are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and there is nothing wrong with any of them. But my remarks address only (3).

The best means to art-historical significance is financial independence. Don’t even think about trying to earn a living from your artwork, or else you’ll start producing the artwork that will earn you a living. A trust fund will divert your energies in a different way. The best means to financial independence is a day job in a different field. Waiting tables, driving a cab, office work, and teaching are traditional alternatives for artists, but the digital revolution opens up many others. All of them will free you to make the work you are most deeply driven to make, regardless of whether or not anyone else likes it or buys it. That’s the work that’s most interesting and important to you. You won’t have time to waste on producing work that doesn’t obsess you.

Your day job will also free you to be selective about what you do in order to promote your artwork, and with whom. It will protect your pursuit of quality. That’s one reliable path to art-historical significance (although of course not the only one).”

All above quoted from the article on artnet news; 18 Female Artists Give Advice to Women Starting Out in the Art World.  To read the full article please follow the link: https://news.artnet.com/art-world/advice-to-young-female-artists-542609

 

Thinking about my own work, it is art historical significance which interests me the most.   Who put a stamp of approval on this or that work, in terms of the canons of art history may be another matter.  Women artists have not traditionally fared very well in this respect.  I am not very convinced that things have changed that much, but I may be wrong.  It seems that the people you know, the money you have, if you have it, and the circles you move in may have a big part in how significant your art is thought to be.  However, this then leads me on the the fact that it is not individual artists but movements, and what is happening, which determines the course of developments in culture.  As long as one shares what one does, and gets it out there as much as one can, then this will influence other artists.  It is not helpful to have an individualistic view.  What one does in life may not be fully known, or even known as much as it should be, or even deserves to be. But what matters is that one is faithful to doing it, and that one continues to believe that whatever it is within which drives one to create.. this deserves to be followed.

And so, for any artist, the pursuit of innovation and development, the desire for new discoveries which come from persistence in the task of art marking and art working….this pursuit and desire have their own merit.  Indeed, they become the life-breath of an artist.  It is not a simple matter of making an impression on the world one inhabits.  This may happen to a large degree,  and it may not.. It will happen to some extent, even if that extent is not as great as one would wish.   I do pray that the Creator God, in whom I live and have my being, works in the world through the Holy Spirit to bring people into my life and work who will support it, love it, benefit from it, and propagate it.  But for this, I must trust.

I dislike the term “Art World” intensely.  Because that is a small orb in something much bigger.    I am sure it can be very helpful, as well as a hindrance.  Whatever the result of art working, it must just be got on with.  Glorified or not, it is what it is.

Paintings in Progress….

Here is one recently finished!  Yes,  a Mad Moment!  I titled it “Mad Moment/Water Fight” in the end.  I like two titles. Both are right.   The painting did take several weeks, rather than a moment, but it has a good immediacy and can carry the moment part of the title.  And like many jumps into paintings where one tries out new things, it has an element of madness… into the chaos… about it.  During the week that I finished it I let my son and five of his friends have a crazy limitlessness water fight in the garden.  And it spoke of that too..  So “Mad Moment/Water Fight” it is.

jenny meehan waterfight mad moment abstract painting jamartlondon, christian spirituality visual artist female 21st century abstract expressionist spiritual poetry painting poet-painter jenny meehan, contemplative art practice meditation images,

jenny meehan waterfight mad moment abstract painting jamartlondon

 

Bit different on the corrugated plastic….  Wanted to try it out.  This painting took a long time…  still under review, as all my work, for six months.  But feeling pretty settled about it.  Water, water, water.  Seems I cannot get enough of it!!!

I have experimented with using some synthetic organic dye based paints for this painting.  The colours are terribly intense and suited to the mood.  Rather transparent, in the main.  Quite different from my heavier bodied metal oxide, earth and mineral based pigmented paints. Good for a change.

General information about this type of paint…

By the way  Organic simply means “containing carbon atoms,”

With organic pigment, the molecules are made of carbon atoms along with hydrogen, nitrogen or oxygen atoms and organic pigments are further divided into two subgroups:

Natural Organic Pigments- These type of pigments are derived from animal products and plant products.  We don’t tend to use them anymore as they are not very light fast at all.  Nowadays a lot of these have been replaced by the synthetic organic dyes. They are remembered by their quaint historical names, which are often adopted by the modern commercial paint companies to lend romance in their traditional mixtures, for example, one of my synthetic organic dye based paint is called “Red Madder”  but it certainly does not contain any madder!
Synthetic Organic Pigments- Synthetic Organic Pigments are carbon based and are often made from petroleum compounds. Under intense pressure or heat, carbon base molecules are manufactured from petroleum, acids, and other chemicals and Synthetic Organic Pigments have been formulated from these molecules. Quinacridones Phthalocyanines Perylenes Pyrroles Arylamides Metal Complexes: e.g Transparent Yellow, New Gamboge Miscellaneous: e.g Dioxazsine in Danthrone; These are all synthetic organic pigments.

They are not my preferred colours.  I like the earthy feel of earths, oxides, and mineral pigments.  But again, as with the change in ground, it’s important to push forward.  The only way I can learn about these pigments is by using them.

There are other paintings, many of them, around 30 I should think, still currently in progress.  But they are resting for a while.  Various stages.  It’s good to go back to them after a while and see them with new eyes.

 

St Julian Talk at St Pauls Church of England, Hook – Jenny Meehan

Here are the notes from a mini talk I gave a while back:

St Julian of Norwich…

Not a man, but a Woman…. named after the church she was attached to…. ie St Julian, in Norwich.

She was something called an anchoress….kind of a counsellor/spiritual director who spent her time praying and giving counsel. She lived in an hermitage… which is a small stone dwelling with one or more rooms attached to a church, often with a garden too. She lived by herself but also had a maid to look after her practical needs. When people came to see her, they spoke to her through a little window.

She is well known today because she had a series of visions which she wrote about. These can be easily read today and are published as “Revelations of Divine Love”.

She was the first woman to write a book in the English Language

The Medieval times she lived in were very difficult and life were very hard for people. Famine, war, and early death were commonplace and made people very aware of suffering. It was easy to be tempted to view the suffering as God’s punishment, and to see God as vengeful, angry and harsh.

Haven’t got time to summarise her writings here, but her attention to the loving and caring nature of God is very strong, so I will focus on that. When she asks what God means, and what is the most important thing for us to understand about God, the answer she comes to is LOVE.

“From the time these things were first revealed, I had often wanted to know what was our Lords meaning. It was more than fifteen years after that I was answered in my spirits understanding. ” You would know our Lords meaning in this thing? know it well. Love was his meaning. who showed it you? Love. What did he show you? Love why did he show it? For love. Hold on to this and you will know and understand love more and more. ”

As well as her emphasis on God’s love, she also encourages us to Rest in this love and the goodness of God. She emphasises that God is our resting place and where we belong.

God is our rest: his love is endlessly turned towards us and active within us, whether we directly experience this or not. It is enough to turn and face God.
She writes a lot about the nature of prayer, how the Holy Spirit gives us both the desire and shows us the way to pray.
I think what we can learn from St Julian of Norwich is that we are wise to invest our time into making space in our lives for time to pray and wait on God. That if we want to know more about God’s loving kindness, we are wise to ensure we have set aside dedicated times for prayer, for seeking God in all things. This way we will have clear opportunities to really listen to what God is wanting to communicate to us. We might not live in a hermitage, like her, but we can make room in our lives to listen to our Creator.
Julian understood prayer as consciously choosing relationship with God as our rest… in other words, our resting place.. our place of belonging, where we can know and become our true selves.

That’s the end of the talk notes, but I like this quote from her very much:

“Our Savior is our true Mother in whom we are endlessly born and out of whom we shall never come.”
― Julian of Norwich

 

This was the painting “Comforter/St Julian of Norwich” while I painted over the period of researching St Julian of Norwich and thinking about her theological significance for me personally:

Acrylic, various fillers, acrylic mediums and pigments, and glass beads , sacred art painting religious, spiritual visionary painting, christ centred poetic visual art, The Comforter/St Julian - Jenny Meehan

The Comforter/St Julian – Jenny Meehan
Acrylic, various fillers, acrylic mediums and pigments, and glass beads

Now here is an example of some experiments on the computer… A great way to experiment with colour and pattern.  Rather large watermarking, but I think you can get a feel for the designs OK without them being too much of a distraction!

 

Crystal Cluster Surface Pattern Design

This design, shown below,  was inspired by my interest in quartz, one of the most well known minerals on earth. The pattern doesn’t seek to replicate the form, but suggests the cluster of the mineral reflecting light.  The text is from the Redbubble site the work is displayed on..

Jenny Meehan is a British fine artist, based in the United Kingdom. She paints non objective and semi abstract paintings, as well as working with digital imagery. For more of her paintings see http://www.jamartlondon.com

© Jenny Meehan. All Rights Reserved, DACS

My pattern designs and digital files of my distinctive, colourful and textural abstract expressionist/lyrical abstraction style paintings can be quickly and easily licensed through DACS.

 

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

crystal cluster surface pattern design uk jamartlondon

 

If you scrolled down quickly, your eyes would have been shaken in their sockets…If you didn’t, you might like to try it!

 

More Recent Painting

I consider this painting “still in progress” though I have not added anything to it and probably will not.  But after I think I have finished a painting I always leave it about six months and stay open to the fact that it may not be finished.  So sharing it now may be a little premature, however, I don’t mind popping it up here for now.

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“River Journey” abstract lyrical expressionist british paintings jenny meehan

 

It is not possible to see the surface properly on screen, however there is a good sense of flow which comes in the way the broad white bands of paint have been applied and this inspired the title.  It reminded me of “Resting Place” a little, but as I had another painting painted over this painting session which kept saying to me “Harbour”  and this one had more of a sense of movement and flowing in it,  the two seems to compliment eachother, so I preferred a title with both a suggestion of water and of movement in it rather than something more static.

 

harbour painting lyrical abstraction contemporary artist british, female artist jenny meehan london based, lyrical abstraction process led painting,collectable abstract paintings for collectors, jenny meehan jamartlondon uk, art historical relevant significant art british,exploratory innovative paintings, british women artists current today,affordable original paintings to buy uk, collectable paintings original british contemporary painting jenny meehan river journey christian spirituality contemplative art, jamartlondon collectable british female artists 21st century painting, affordable original abstract art to buy, process led abstract painting, romantic expressionist abstract lyrical painting modern art, uk mindfulness art, meditation art, contemplative prayerful art, christian art london, experimental painting, art and spirituality,

Harbour Painting abstract lyrical expressionist british paintings jenny meehan

 

“Harbour Painting” has a lot of contrast between some very glossy areas and matt surfaces which cannot be seen on screen at all but which add another dimension to the simple composition.

As per normal,  lots of bits and pieces here, just skim down and read what catches your eye.  Always write more than I need to, as I enjoy writing.   This journal serves as a kind of notebook for me, written to share, but not just for reading.  So not finely honed as writing!

I enjoyed reading this article in the Guardian…

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jun/10/francoise-gilot-artist-love-picasso?CMP=share_btn_fb#_=_

Emma Brockes interviews Francoise Gilot (age 94)   about her unlikely match with Picasso, her own ambition – and why she’s buying back all her paintings.

There is also a book published about  Francoise Gilot, details here: 

The Woman Who Says No, Francoise Gilot on Her Life With and Without Picasso by Malte Herwig is published by Greystone.

Unable to walk very much at the moment due to osteoarthritis in my right knee.   It’s got worse in the last six months which is disappointing and I also have a “slight fixed flexion deformity”.  Which basically means that I walk slowly and cannot straighten my leg fully.  In 2010 I slipped on ice, and this current situation is related to the past injury. Oh dear.  However, though restricted at present, with Physio things should improve.  Doing lots of exercise and need to loose weight.   Good incentive, as knee replacement on the cards at some point.

Looking backwards…

Suburban Meditations / Painter’s Development

Another peep into some careful looking which is part of my development as an artist.  I changed the images to black and white so that I could focus on the composition and texture.  Colour in most cases, was not the main thing.  I do have some images which I kept the colour version for.

christian artist uk, british women artist, suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

 

 hristian artist uk, british female artist, suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

 

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan, christian artist uk, british female artist,

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

british female uk artist, christian female artist, suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

 

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

 

Water, wood and metal, always attract my attention!

Attention to texture and composition, now such an important part of my current work with painting, sprung from many hours of attentive looking, and continue to inform my experiments.

Interested in this:

The Ideographic Picture

The Ideographic Picture.
“In painting, the trend towards ideographic representation that was first acknowledged in Beaudoin’s Iconograph was furthered by an exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery in January 1947, helpfully named “The Ideographic Picture.” The show included work by nine artists, including Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, Ad Reinhardt, Theodoros Stamos, and Clyfford Still.  Barnett Newman helped to organize the exhibition and wrote the program notes, in which he quoted a definition of “ideographic” from the Century Dictionary; “Ideographic – Representing ideas directly and not through the medium of their names; applies specifically to that mode of writing which by means of symbols, figures, or hieroglyphics suggests the idea of an object without expressing its name.” Ideographic painting was intended to express truths incommunicable through conventional language. The ideographic image, Newman wrote, acted as a “vehicle for an abstract thought complex.” The ideographic painter used the “abstract shape” as a “plastic language” through which to arrive at “metaphysical understanding.”

Quote from “The Culture of Spontaneity; Improvisation and the Arts in Postwar America by Daniel Belgrad.

 

“The definition of ideographic is something that uses a symbol to describe it without a word or sound.”

“An ideogram or ideograph (from Greek ἰδέα idéa “idea” and γράφω gráphō “to write”) is a graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept, independent of any particular language, and specific words or phrases. Some ideograms are comprehensible only by familiarity with prior convention; others convey their meaning through pictorial resemblance to a physical object, and thus may also be referred to as pictograms.”

I looked into the above after reading the following:

http://hamptonsarthub.com/2016/05/04/art-review-will-barnet-paintings-offer-context-to-abex-and-some-questions/

ART REVIEW: Will Barnet Paintings offer Context to AbEx, and Some Questions
May 4, 2016 by Peter Malone Abstract Expressionism, Art Reviews, Mixed Medium, NEW YORK CITY, Painting, Reviews

Quote from the article:

“Will Barnet: 1950s Works on Paper” at Alexandre Gallery is the latest in a string of recent shows delving into less familiar and esoteric aspects of the New York art scene circa 1950. By filling the blank patches of the historical map that once appeared like an aura around the bigger names so often associated with the New York School, the fuller perspective of these shows helps to enrich a narrative that is too easily considered already complete.”

It is an excellent read, and I find the postcards fascinating.   I have a few ideographic experiments of my own hidden away.  They seem best hidden, for some reason.   I think this is maybe because they do feel like improperly formed words, maybe a bit like the experiments of a baby as they babble and accustom themselves to language and using sounds.  Experimental and exploratory sometimes needs to be completely protected and unexposed.  The value of hidden away work should never be underrated.  What artists show to the public is only one small dimension of their work.

 

Christians Practising Yoga

Wonderful quote below from the Christians Practising Yoga website: http://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/

“ARE YOU COOPERATING WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?

As Christians, we believe only the Holy Spirit can move our hearts and make us free to love as we are called. Transformation, both inner and outer, is the work of God’s healing love and grace. All we can do is cooperate. Are you looking for a magic answer, a surefire path to transformation or simply a means to open yourself to Grace?

What needs to be understood is that it is incumbent on Christians engaging with practices like yoga or zen or tai chi to work with these disciplines in a way that is coherent with Christian faith and to apply to their practice a Christian understanding. One of the primary understandings that distinguishes the Christian approach to a spiritual practice or method is that whatever beneficial effects accrue are not due simply to the method or to my persevering effort. They are only means. Transformation, both inner and outer, is essentially a work of God’s healing, life-giving, restorative grace.”

Christians Practising Yoga is an excellent website, I am very pleased that I have found it.

 

Current Paintings and Process 

There are around 15 paintings I am currently working on in my usual piecemeal fashion.  They are in various states, some right near to their end, others just beginning.  As I am currently using acrylics then I have the advantage of quick drying paint to contend with.  Depending on how quick I want the paint to dry, I will choose different days in respect to the weather to work.  If I am mixing pigments with thick acrylic paint and fillers, then I cannot do this on a very hot day as the paint dries to quickly and I need time for mixing and experimenting with different colour variations and manipulating the paint.  So I choose a cooler day, or work at the cooler part of the day, or early  morning.   Conversely, if I want the paint I am using to dry very quick then I will choose a roasting hot day (not many of those!) and be out there in the direct sunlight, on the lawn with the paintings in progress. Often several layers of a painting can get done that way, on a hot day.  I don’t tend to work much wet in wet with acrylics.

It is paradoxical, I feel, that my paintings in acrylic take so long…….the paint is quick to dry but the process is lengthy as I build them up over a long period of time, often a year, sometimes more.  Occasionally a painting happens very quickly and just falls together in a week or so (or even a day!).  But normally I apply the paint sparingly. (in the sense of maybe just one or two colours at a time).   Then leave and wait.  Look and think.  And having put the painting to sleep, (in some dark corner of a room!)  I then take it out again. (This happens 10/ 20+ times)  This is good because I have fresh eyes.  Fresh eyes are very important with painting.  I need to be surprised by what I have done.  I need to forget it, and then have it placed in front of me as if I had never seen it before.  In that freshness and re-encounter, often the next step presents itself quite naturally. I have had not time to get anxious or worry about ruining it.  Because it is “old matter” and needs it’s next input of life so badly.  The risk of change is welcome.  Needed.  I am not so attached to the painting, as I would be if I had only just laid the paint down.  I can view it with more objectivity.  I can see it more as what it is, and the state it is in.  Normally it is easy to move forward with a painting by only proceeding with small steps in a piecemeal fashion.  If it is not, then I will put it away for longer, maybe even a year or two.  Sometimes a painting “goes down the pan”, but it also gets a resurrection!  In all of it, it is the time between the application of paint where the painting progresses, because I am responding to what is there in front of me.  I sometimes spend five or ten minutes just looking at a painting in progress.  Or hang it on the wall for a few days, to glance at.

For an oil painting,  where the paint is slow to dry, I work quite quickly.  The benefits of moving wet paint around bring a new level of flexibility.  The whole painting just swims around in complete fluidity.   I can remove as well as add paint.  And the colours can be mixed many more times.  Yet working quickly is helpful, and stops any sinking too deeply into colour mixing, which while wonderful, needs careful restraint.

Examples of Paintings in Progress will come soon, after a photo session! For now, some past work….

 

Past Paintings Selection

 

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

“Goethe’s Delight” above was painting with Keim Soldalit,  a modern silicate mineral paint.  The pigments used are all either metal oxide based or earth pigments. Earth pigments are naturally occurring minerals, principally iron oxides, that people have used in paints for thousands of years. These natural pigments are found in rocks and soils around the world,  and they are sometimes roasted in order to intensify their colour.  Earth pigments include ochers, sienna, and umbers.  Mineral pigments are pigments that are created by combining and heating naturally occurring elements. They include ultramarine and spinel pigments.  Nowadays ultramarine is made by heating soda, clay and sulphur.

The pigments used in the painting above were used in quite small amounts with a near white base paint. The surface is blissfully matt, which makes the painting look chalky but not dry.  Something I like a lot.  Unlike modern dye based colourants, which are very strong and easily overpowering if not used with care, these pigments are gentle to use and sing out in a clear but also subdued manner.  I kept the iron oxide red very intense by means of contrast.

Bit of history:

(quoted from http://www.scienceclarified.com/Di-El/Dyes-and-Pigments.html)

A revolution in colorant history occurred in 1856, when English chemist William Henry Perkin (1838–1907) discovered a way to manufacture a dye in the laboratory. That dye, mauve, was produced from materials found in common coal tar. Perkin’s discovery showed chemists that dyes and pigments could be produced synthetically (by humans in a lab). It was no longer necessary to search out natural products for use as colorants.

 

Read more: http://www.scienceclarified.com/Di-El/Dyes-and-Pigments.html#ixzz4CbER8SFh

 

 

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

 

“Gentle Leaves” above is a digital print, the result of many hours playing around with Photoshop!  Rather fond of the Fatsia, whose beautiful leaves never cease to delight.  I showed this digital image at the Cass Art KAOS Taster Exhibition this year.

 

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

Above is “Eternal”.  I have used tiny glass beads on the surface of the canvas in areas along with other relief which makes a good ground for resting paint on.  You cannot see from the image but I also use a variety of varnishes and different surface finishes to bring variation into the way that the light hits the surface of the painting.

 

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

“Cove” above.  Based on childhood memories of the seaside, rocks and water, and a suggestion of the sea.   The vibrant cobalt looks slightly over bright on screen, (often reds and blues are exaggerated in digital images) however it is pretty bright in the flesh also, as I mixed a high proportion of pure cobalt pigment into the acrylic medium.  It has some punch.

 

Yoga, once more…

Interesting Yoga Article

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/philosophy/yoga-s-greater-truth/

 

TO FOLLOW THIS ARTIST’S BLOG SIMPLY GO TO THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN, LOCATE THE  “FOLLOW” BOX AND POP IN YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.  YOU WILL THEN RECEIVE MONTHLY UPDATES. 

Jenny Meehan is a painter, poet, and Christian contemplative  based in East Surrey/South West London.   Her interest in Christ-centred spirituality and creativity are the main focus of this artist’s journal, which rambles and meanders on, maybe acting as a personal (yet open to view)  note book as much as anything else.  If you read and enjoy it, this would be an added bonus! 

Her website is www.jamartlondon.com.  (www.jamartlondon.com replaces the older now deceased website http://www.jennymeehan.co.uk)

Jenny Meehan BA Hons (Lit.) PGCE also occasionally offers art tuition for individuals or in shared sessions.  Please contact Jenny at j.meehan@tesco.net or through the contact form at www.jamartlondon.com for further details as availability depends on other commitments.    

 Jenny Meehan works mainly with either oils or acrylics  creating both abstract/non-objective paintings  and also semi-abstract work.  She also produces representational/figurative artwork,  mostly using digital photography/image manipulation software, painting and  drawing.  Both original fine paintings and other artwork forms  and affordable photo-mechanically produced prints are available to purchase.  

Jenny Meehan exhibits around the United Kingdom.   To be placed on Jenny Meehan’s  bi-annual  mailing list please contact Jenny via her website contact page:  www.jamartlondon.com

Also, you could follow the Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal at WordPress and keep informed that way. 

Note About Following Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal 

TO FOLLOW THIS ARTIST’S BLOG SIMPLY GO TO THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN, LOCATE THE  “FOLLOW” BOX AND POP IN YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.  YOU WILL THEN RECEIVE MONTHLY UPDATES. 

You tube video with examples of photography, drawing and painting

by Jenny Meehan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAXqzMIaF5k

Website Link for jamartlondon:  www.jamartlondon.com 

Digital photography can be viewed on http://www.photographyblog.com/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=5491

A selection of non objective paintings can be viewed on pinterest:   https://uk.pinterest.com/Jamartlondon/

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

All content on this blog,  unless specified otherwise,  is © Jenny Meehan.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts of writing and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jenny Meehan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Images may not be used without permission under any circumstances. 

Copyright and Licensing Digital Images Information – Jenny Meehan

www.jamartlondon.com

Copyright in all images by Jenny Meehan is held by the artist.
Permission must be sought in advance for the reproduction, copying or any other use of any images by Jenny Meehan. Individuals or businesses seeking licenses or permission to use, copy or reproduce any image by Jenny Meehan should, in the first instance, contact Jenny Meehan.

Copyright for all visual art by Jenny Meehan is managed by the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) in the UK. If you wish to licence a work of art by Jenny Meehan, please contact Jenny Meehan in the first instance to clarify your requirements. There is a contact form on my website www.jamartlondon.com

Licensing an image is quick and easy for both parties and is organised through the Design and Artist Copyright Society. (Note, my images are not shown on the “Art image” selection on the Design and Artist Copyright “Art Image” page. This does NOT mean you cannot apply for a license to use an image of my work from DACS… They simply have a very limited sample selection of work in their “Artimage” page!)

 

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