Many thanks to the Admin at Surrey Artists Network, it is lovely to be a “Featured Artist” on such an excellent website.  Since it started just over a year ago, the Surrey Artists Network has grown to become quite a crowd…artists based in and around Surrey are suddenly able to stick their noses into other artists activities,  view others work through the excellent “Photos”  facility, and generally have a lot of fun, and waste a bit of time if they feel like it, chin wagging over the net.  Take a look!   http://www.surreyartistsnetwork.net/

Here in Chessington I am feeling a very strong reflective mood coming on…I’ve just prepared some hardboard with different mixtures for grounds, and I am looking forward to trying out some different surfaces to work on.  I often find that preparing ground is a good activity when I am feeling a bout of spiritual contemplation coming on.  I have come across a very interesting book “Open To God” by Brother Bernard “An Anglican Franciscan and Guardian of Hilfield Friary, Dorchester”.  I do not know if he is alive right now, because the book isn’t new,( my husband found it at a charity shop), but it looks very interesting.  I also have a couple of “Art In Theory” Anthologies which I like to dip into when my brain needs something to chew over.  Most of all, right now, I feel the need for a bit of a retreat, because I have pushed ahead with my painting with great effort over the Summer, and now I have a lot of feelings and thoughts to mull over.

A lot of my oil paintings from the most excellent “Landscape and Figure Painting in Oils –  The British Tradition” course by John T Freeman are not finished but there are a few I have finished mulling over, so here is one of them which has undergone the necessary process of being sent through the computer for viewing over the internet.  John T Freeman is one of the most gifted teachers I have had the good privilege to have stumbled upon.  I can wholeheartedly sing the praise of every tutor I have learnt from at West Dean College, Sussex, come to think about it. I think they are careful, and rightly so, when choosing who teaches there.  It’s a great place, and I love meeting people dearly, and there are so many people who love artistic expression, it’s all a bit heavenly.  Yes, I am missing it.   It is a privilege to go there too.  Though I think the courses do represent very good value, (and I am fortunate to be married to a man who does believe in supporting me in my endeavours), we are not a wealthy household in the financial sense, and my attendence on such a course does mean other important things need to give way. 

Thankfully, next year, though I will not be able to attend the Summer School at West Dean (It is a hefty chunk of cash!) I have £100 off voucher due to the West Dean College “Loyal Lobster Scheme”.  I am saving a bit each month and along with that I will be able to participate in another course next year.  I have wanted to work with lino printing for a couple of years.  My photographic work has over the course of time leant further and further in the direction of blocks of rich colour and I would like to explore this direction using a different printing process to that of photographic reproduction. One that opens up some new possibilities.   And ink… I did try it out this year at the West Dean Summer School in a taster session, and it was POWERFUL stuff! I did not like the smell or the consistency, so maybe that does not bode well, but the COLOUR!  I do feel I want to continue the strands which have emerged from my photographic art, and this is certainly one of them.  I think it’s going to be a useful tool for some interesting work in the future.

One of my experiments carried out at West Dean College, 2010

I am exploring many exciting and interesting ways of manipulating paint and it is opening up lots of expressive opportunities.

Back from West Dean, and other holiday trips here and there, to find the publicity information for “Muybridge In Kingston” on my doorstep.  Very glad to see it too, as I had no knowledge of the “John Lewis Art Prize Photography Competition” which is one of many events going on as part of this focus on one of Kingston’s most innovative people.  Events at the Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston Museum and the Tate Britain, look very interesting and varied, and I will certainly be going to some of them. 

I also just had to enter the “John Lewis Art Prize Photography Competition”.  Though I am focusing on my painting, I do periodically return to my camera and computer, and as the John Lewis competition has its focus around the John Lewis building in Kingston, how could I resist?  My “John Lewis Partnership Foundations 1987  inkjet artwork (which was displayed at the Stanley Picker Gallery “Kingston Contemporary Open” Exhibition in 2007) beckoned me once more.  But to use something I have worked on in the past in a new way is much more exciting, and it’s one of the joys of being an artist…taking something old and making it new in some way. 

But time!  It’s so tight!  A bit like last time around…inspiration comes fast and thick…sometimes pressure can help things along a bit.  I started working today at around 12 noon and now the print is delivered to the Gift List Department at John Lewis, Kingston.  I am very grateful for the fact that I invested in a printer recently, and also that I had some inkjet paper to hand.  It’s hard financially, and always a struggle to work out what is a worthwhile investment…one which will be useful…but looks like past purchases have come into their own this time around, as I would not have had time to get the image printed elsewhere…not exactly as I required it.

The image is called “Years Go By – John Lewis Partnership Foundations 2010” and gets its title from one of many thoughts I had while creating the piece.  Because it contains parts of the previous “John Lewis Partnership Foundations” image  (in the picture frame and the screen) I felt I had to include this in the title.  My awareness of the rapid passing of time as I worked on it, especially with the deadline date being tommorrow, was something I wanted to include, and the passing of  time is also referenced in the image through the text in the store about beds! 

Because the events going on focus on the work of Muybridge, a figure from the past, and a creator of images (both still and moving) with the camera,  and the competition has its focus on the John Lewis Kingston Store,  to use my own past photographic work by bringing it forward in time and setting it within the John Lewis Furniture Department seemed like an interesting way to set up lots of new visual and conceptual  relationships.  I was thinking about people planning the interior of their homes, thinking about the planning involved right from the outset of creating  a new building, (even so far back as the first lines drawn by an architect), thinking about a blank piece of paper…the problems we all have with dimensions….(mine was the my image looked great square, but I wanted it to work on A3, as that was the format for the competition).  People choosing furniture also have to think about how objects fit into physical spaces.  I gave the figure from the 1987 image of the building’s foundations a prominent place in the image…I quite like the relationship between him and the lady at the top right who is looking at a selection of pictures and wondering no doubt which to choose.  I guess I am also hoping that my image will be chosen as part of the John Lewis Art Prize Exhibition which runs from the 8th September at “The Place To Eat” in John Lewis Kingston.  Only time will tell!!!

More information on Events which are part of the “Muybridge In Kingston” 2010 http://www.muybridgeinkingston.com/event.php

Here is my entry…

Entry by Jenny Meehan for the "John Lewis Art Prize" 2010, part of the Muybridge In Kingston events

This is another chapter in the story started by my first image of the foundations of the John Lewis building in Kingston. First image 1987, this one created in 2010. Interior of furniture department was taken last year I think from memory.

And here was the image which was shown at the Stanley Picker Gallery in 2007 as part of the Kingston Contemporary Open Exhibition…

Image of 2007 artwork "John Lewis Foundations Partnership" Jenny Meehan

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