If you are in London this Summer,  take a look at the “Not The Royal Academy” exhibition of original artwork at Llewellyn Alexander (Fine Paintings) Ltd situated very close to Waterloo Station. There is a  varied selection of paintings on show, and seeing them makes me think I really ought to try to enter something into the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition next year. It helps to think that if you don’t get something in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition itself, you could have a chance of getting something on show at Llewellyn Alexander’s “Not The Royal Academy” exhibition instead.


The exhibition of paintings at Llewellyn Alexander is changed around every three weeks, so I think I need to go and take another look soon.  The paintings are representational and taking a quick look at the website it looks like the prices are around the £400 mark in the main.  It is a very pleasant gallery, they are always very welcoming and though the space is quite compact, they always seem to use it well ensuring that the do have quality, fine painting on show, rather than paint squeezed out a tube, with a long explanation of what it means!

Thinking about the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition , and possibly entering a painting in it, it is a lot of hassle for a very small chance of success, but on the other hand, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” comes to mind.  You never know.  It’s all a bit random I am sure, pot luck really, but it is exposure and I have realised that I can save some money by reducing the pages on my website next time it comes up for renewal, so I might just re allocate the money saved to enter the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition next year.  If I paint a representational painting, it might get into the Llewellyn Alexander show, so I might just do that.

I did not realise that there was such an opening ceremony for the RA Summer exhibition until I saw it covered  last week on the second half of the BBC programme  “Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: The Culture Show”  (Missed the first part, as my son wanted to watch The Simpsons!).  Seeing the opening ceremony service proved another motivation to enter, as I thought how great it would be to take part in that service, and have the experience of being part of that tradition.  I would really like that.  Actually having the work on show would be great of course, but for me personally I would get such a kick out of going to that church service.  So next year I think I will start to enter the Summer Exhibition, and you never know, one day, one person might see one painting and have one thought which means one choice, and, the one work might just happen to look good next to another work and be the right size and fit well in the space and have the right frame and just tickle someones fancy in the right place.  I think it probably comes down to that.  So failure to get in is not failure at all.  It is just randomness.  Bearing no relationship to the actual worth of the painting.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I am so near to London, I should throw a piece in that direction each year.  I would LOVE to get to that service.

I have taken a look at the Anthony Fry Works on Paper exhibition at Browse & Darby.  I liked the intimacy that I felt with the work, but felt a bit more excited about the work at Messum’s;  Drawings and paintings by David Tress, and also lovely stone carvings by Dominic Welch.  The gallery is in two parts and it would be easy to walk in and see only part of the exhibition by mistake, but I was told about the other section of the gallery, thankfully.  The painting by David Tress which I found attracted me the most was “26 Kirkstall Abbey (Girtin’s View) 2005, mixed media on paper.  I love the way he manipulates the surface so much, frantic sometimes, with various scrapings, tears and rips.

rippled paper on david tress painting at messums london

This manipulation of paper, along with the equally interesting mounds of paint,  work well together.  In a detail of 26 Kirkstall Abbey 2005, which I show you here, the paper is rippling over the layer beneath quite freely, and it’s all very visually exciting.  I also particularly like “58 Light, Suddenly (Coire Nan Arr) 2011, mainly because I liked the colours he has used and the large areas of very thick paint.

When it comes to paper, I got very excited this morning at the sight of some packaging material.  I opened up an order of printing ink, PVA and foam board and it was packed with this wonderfully textured paper which I was more pleased with than the order itself.  I haven’t grown up much, it seems. This paper is hidden away in a safe place now, for future use, because while I am sorely tempted to start some paintings with collage, I am holding back for now, and attempting to continue on the Allied Healthcare series with paint, glass beads and sand.  There is so much to think about already with the possibilities offered with the materials I am already working with I feel it would be counter productive to add anything else right now.

I have just finished three more of the Allied Healthcare paintings.  Here are some details.

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And here  is one of the finished paintings:

abstract acrylic painting christian art sacred symbolism jenny meehan

I’m very keen about the black area which is full of glass beads and looks warm and inviting for black.  Also like the cobalt blue which is very pigment rich, only a tiny amount of white and not much filler.  (Must try that cobalt out completely neat, in just acrylic binder.)  I’m pleased with the title; it came quickly. I decided on  “The Upper Room” because I felt the image resonated as a building structure, (maybe my mind!) and past drawing work has had a rectangular black area as a void, as a very negative symbol.  However, the glass beads in the black here just added such texture that the black became inviting and warm in feeling.  Not empty.  The lower area hit me as a doorway, an entrance.  The cobalt as a positive spiritual presence.  And so quickly the Last Supper came to mind, (which was, according to the New Testament, an event that took place in an “Upper Room”).  But this place of exit, was also a place of entrance: the coming of the Holy Spirit.  It’s not certain if the upper rooms are the same, (I should think not, because of the numbers of people at Pentecost), however, it matters not.  Jesus Christ leaves, but  promises the Comforter: The Holy Spirit.

This is my response to what I have done.  I like the symbolic strength it holds for me, in my own response.   Well, this is how it resonated with me.  It’s what it embodied for me, its creator.  In other peoples minds it will resonate very differently, without doubt.

Just need to varnish which I will do with a variety of varnishes, matt, satin and gloss, because different areas need a different finish.  It is quite remarkable how much the light, the type of light, and the light direction changes the appearance of these paintings mostly because of the use of texture, glass beads, pearlescent pigment, high gloss areas and very matt areas, and the depth of colour achieved by using very pure pigments (with no fillers just the acrylic binder) in some places.  The intensity of colour possible by using my own mix of pigment with the binder is very dramatic in impact, and I am also very pleased with the warmth of the glass beads mixed in black acrylic.

And TWO other paintings.  They are all happening right now.

abstract internal landscape acrylic glass beads, mediums, expressive imaginative jenny meehan

This is “Awakening”.  Maybe a bit of a boring title, but it seems to suit.  Remember reading “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin years back, and I must re-read that.  Cannot even remember what happens, but she walks into the sea at the end and ends her life.  However, from memory, the short story is all about an awakening of self.  This painting, unlike a suicide, had a kind of breaking through and positive, joyful, feeling.

abstract acrylic contemporary british lyrical expressionist romantic elegiac fine painting alley outhouses lament past rear access roads passageway memory

past remembrances, elergy painting poetic mournful lament

“Time Passes” .  It is so interesting, using texture and those glass beads offering so much interesting experimentation.   There was something very mournful here.  I have happy memories of playing in alleyways as a child, and also a kind of wilderness experience attached to some time spent a couple of years back sketching in the rear access roads in my local area, in the wide passages and alleyways which run behind the houses.   I liked the connections, so I stuck with them.  It was quite enjoyable to have some geometric structures overylaying the texture.  I am currently exploring my own past experiences and some of the thinking which has resulted from them through psychotherapy.  I’m quite amazed at how my memories/thoughts/emotion becomes embodied on the canvas through painting in the way I am currently painting, ( that is, with no pre determined course or subject matter).  A kind of visual free association takes place as the painting progresses. It’s quite hard going at the end though, pulling it together. Though in any painting, it is the case that the last ten percent or so is always the most difficult!

Just been along to visit the studio of Seamus Cuddihy, a sculptor in Chessington, which is my neck of the woods.  And while I really enjoyed looking at his work and learning about the processes involved in the making of cast sculptures, it was the WOOD which “got me” again.  I think I might be requesting another visit when I decide to start making my next woodcarving, or even when making some woodblocks for printing!

Seamus has a great selection of beautiful work on display in his garden and studio.  There is plenty to see and it is well worth a visit.  I am hoping that maybe next year it might be possible for more artist/makers in Chessington to take part in the Surrey  Artists Open Studios.  It cannot be that it is just myself and Seamus in the Hook and Chessington area?  I would be interested in hearing from other artist/makers in Chessington/Hook who might be interested in looking into the idea of taking part as a small group in the Surrey Artists Open Studios in the future.  It might work out well.  It helps if more than one person get together with something like this, because people are more likely to come and visit is there are several types of work on show.  I have been meaning to sort out joining KAOS (Kingston Artists’ Open Studios) for ages, but still haven’t got around to doing it.  Another thing for the “must do” list!

Seamus has a great collection of indoor and outdoor contemporary wood carvings and cold cast bronzes.  I think my favourite is “Self Assured” in which Seamus has managed to express a very strong sense of inner vitality and  centred emotional expression, to such an extent that I cannot remember when I last came across such an engaging sculptural head.  I found myself wanting a conversation with it!

See his website:  www.3dartwork.myby.co.uk

The sculptures are very reasonably priced indeed, many under £200, and it is worth taking a look and making a visit to Seamus’ studio if you have a special occasion coming up, as he does Life Casting (Nothing to do with the theatre!!! – Rather your own body parts used to make a cast… Don’t worry, it can be done while they are still attached to the rest of you!) and also Commemorative Plaques.

I did not realise that it is not only metals that can be used in the casting process but also non-metals like marble and slate.   In fact, most dry materials can be cast, for example ash.  This made me think that if someone had died, you could get their ashes cast using a cold casting technique, and I wonder if this is common place?  I have thought previously of using ashes in paint, because I have heard of this being done, but never quite got around to trying it out.  Plus I didn’t have any ashes around.  Mmm,  we won’t go there.  I am worried about imaginary accusations of being “morbid”, but this is a silly thing, because we all are born and we all die.  I think having ashes in a painting or a sculpture, in the very fabric of it, is an excellent idea.  It seems very harmonious and fitting to me: You can  have the remains of a life in something of beauty. It will  both remind one of the creative power of life, and also the person (or pet) who, while they are no longer right by us, live in our hearts and thoughts through the memories we still experience, and through the connections we make when we sometimes see things which were meaningful and had a special significance, for whatever reason.  Painting and Sculpture are made for such things. I am surprised that more of this kind of thing doesn’t go on!

If anyone wants some ashes in a sculpture or a painting, I guess you now know where you might enquire!

Take this opportunity to visit Seamus at his studio in Chessington, Surrey.

Thinking of painting, I think, for an abstract painting incorporating ashes, “Niche” would be a  meaningful pattern composition wise to follow. I see this dimension and expansion of the meaning here:

niche– an enclosure that is set back or indented

alcove, bay – a small recess opening off a larger room
apse, apsis – a domed or vaulted recess or projection on a building especially the east end of a church; usually contains the altar
cinerarium, columbarium – a niche for a funeral urn containing the ashes of the cremated dead
enclosure – a structure consisting of an area that has been enclosed for some purpose
Below is my painting “Niche” painted a while back now, but one I am enthusiastic about, and which contains lots of visual elements which I can see myself utilising in the future:
nice non objective multi coloured abstract canvas painting expressionistic lyrical surrey south west london painter painting sale buy

Austin/Desmond Fine Art

A few weeks back I  visited the Francis Davison: Collages 1976 – 1983 exhibition at Austin/Desmond Fine Art.

Some of the small studies had something to teach me, and I found myself wishing that my experiments sold at a couple of thousand pounds, but as I am not Francis Davison, it might be worth settling for a little less in the way of financial benefit.    The larger work on show revealed the fruit of many hours experimentation, and it was a rich experience to view the work.  “Orange Arc and Spot in Turquoise & Brown”  “Egypt” “Blass Mass, Blue Angle, White Background”  “Disintergrating Black, Green, Blue Fields”  “Sand Ground with Black,Red,White and Green”.  Say it how it is.  Titles to the point.  I was good, I am glad I made the effort to see this exhibition.

What most struck me was how much like paint the way Francis Davison uses some of the paper.  I was convinced that some of the paper was paint, until I took a closer look.  This is interesting to me because I have thought about using collage in my own paintings and I have been put off mostly because of not mixing the paint with the paper, but  what I saw done here was inspiring.  Not a drop of paint in sight, but very, very painterly collage.  And the contrast between the dissolved type edges with those of jagged cut paper, which spoke sharper than sharp, was delightful.

My words don’t articulate visual things well, but all I can say is if you give this kind of work the time it deserves, then it will teach you a lot.  As I looked at the work I looked for the decision-making process, I looked for the junctures and the points at which I might agree or disagree with decisions made.  This navigational process of working my way through any visual expression has become much more obvious to me recently, so much so that the lack of overt subject matter worries me less and less.  To see an exhibition like this at this particular time, when I am experimenting in a very free manner has proved very fruitful.  I find that I need to remind myself of restraint with colour and never forget the importance of edges, as well as the effect of different sized masses and some of the interesting relationships which can be so easily overlooked.

In Alon Zakaim Fine Art,    http://www.alonzakaim.com    I found three paintings which I certainly will be paying attention to.  The first which took my eye was “Le Bal (1976) Acrylic on canvas by Charles Lapicque.  This reminds me again of the beauty of boldness with colour.   The painting by Claude Venard “Le Phare” is a new discovery for me, as I have not come across this painter before, and I like, like, like!  I am experiencing a tension inside myself right now, with respect to painting completely non objective paintings and yet also feeling the pull of a recognisable image, and this painting is very satisfying to see, because it holds both so well together.  I think it holds an answer to one of the problems I have been tossing around in my head for a while. It’s funny how sometimes you just need to see something for a problem to be resolved. I have spent a little time looking at the  Alon Zakaim website, and the page with an exhibition on Claude Venard included a painting “Composition” painted in 1970 and I practically had kittens looking at this one.  I am so excited to find some painting like this.  It is like looking at the ground in front of me, and seeing, that though I thought I was travelling an unknown path, there is someone before me who has trodden the same path, and has left the grass and foliage pushed back a little which makes my journey a little easier.  I have never felt I was doing anything “new” because I don’t think there is anything “new” under the sun, (as it says in Ecclesiastes,) however, it is very helpful to see another painter grappling with the same issues as I am, and it is heartening too, because I unfortunately do not have the level of critical input into my work as maybe some people participating in a Fine Art Painting degree or similar might receive.  I value the lessons learnt  by those who have walked before me.  There is no need to do a degree, masters, or whatever, if you can attend to the work of others and learn from that.  You don’t need to put into words what the marks of a paintbrush put onto the canvas. But you do need to ask what is happening here? And what does this mean TO ME.

I am so in love with “Trees with Sacre Coeur in the Distance” by Claude Venard that I have printed out a small print which I now carry  around in my purse so I can look at it whenever I want to.  It gives me a tangible lift of heart, and so why not?

Here is some of my own painting, IN PROGRESS,  I must say.  And progress is a little slow right now, as having started around 20 paintings I now find myself at the most demanding stage with all of them at the same time.  I have started to stick little pieces of masking tape on the parts which I am thinking about, because otherwise I forget what I was thinking.  If I can locate easily the areas which I am concerned with, it is much easier to come into the painting after a period of a few days away from it, and I find that with so many other things demanding my attention, this helps a lot.

These examples are not necessarily shown the correct way up,  (or in the right order!) but I am now wanting to spend less time fiddling around with digital images.  Some have masking tape on them right now and many have subsequently changed direction quite significantly.  Other I reckon are nearly finished but I am not rushing anything and want time to think them through. The images are only here to give a little idea of what I working on right now.

Just taken a master class in knowing when to stop….Looking through Google images at the paintings of Ivon Hitchens (my great inspiration in so many ways) has reminded me that I don’t need to tie up every ending.  Take an inspirational look:


Indeed, some open endings in a painting are a good thing.  It is only the need to control that requires a painter to reach the very end of the painting.  I am also reminded of a favourite childrens story “The Magic Paintbrush”, a story both myself and my own children have loved, where the child painter finds that it is necessary to leave his paintings JUST unfinished, otherwise they will come alive and actually become the things that they depict.  So, we need the unreality of non quite completion?  I think so, though maybe not for the reason in the narrative, because if my paintings right now came to reality, they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves.

Visually, the slight sense of just being undone is both a slightly disturbing but also a stimulating one.  A certain amount of discomfort is a natural part of life, and I guess there is no reason why this should not be the case in a painting.  However, I do confess to liking sometimes to be able to read to the very end of a narrative, and the same goes for a painting too.  And sometimes we want the whole to the very detail, the finest detail.  I was thinking about this last night, that final touch moment.  It is a jewel.  So both are true, the open and the closed.  I guess it depends on the particular painting, how far you go.  And the mood you are in!

In some of the recent paintings I have used the PUREST pigment and to very exciting effect.  I took the cobalt (pure cobalt, not a mix) from some of the silicate colourisers I brought discounted last year (an easy matter, to drain off the potash waterglass and take spoonfuls of thick brilliant cobalt from the container) and mixed with white acrylic so that I could use it on the canvas.  It is heavy. Heavy, the weight of the pigment.  It’s very noticeable. (oxides of cobalt and aluminium, PB 28). And though when I have heard people rattling off in the past about the importance of quality, I have to admit that they are right, particularly if your painting becomes such that it depends on the impact of the light bouncing off the surface as a significant feature of the content, as so much non representational painting does.   Well, all painting does, but I think having no pictorial concerns does free one to become quite absorbed in the finer dimensions of paint itself, and I think this is the pleasure for me right now.  I just see what I am doing as getting aquainted with my materials and techniques.

After a little experiment in restricted brush use, (ie only using same size round and flats, though sometimes in bunches of more than one brush) I happily return to my former practice of using a variety of brushes.  I was testing out something I heard someone say which I thought very ridiculous but I thought I would test it out anyway.  They said that you didn’t need lots of different types of brushes.  Well, you do.  And if you want to call yourself a painter, you certainly do.  It’s nothing fancy.  Just common sense.   I couldn’t quite stick to restricted brush idea, but I thought I would give it a try.  Silly me.  It was handy with the acrylics though, in that I have lots of cheap brushes which I could use with complete abandon, (ie, no need to wash, just pick up another one and leave the used one in water).  This IS a good idea.  Easy to use brushes very dry and very wet, which is handy.  However, best with some more expensive spalters and filberts.  And I do wash those, very carefully, because acrylic is a horror for ruining brushes.

Thinking of blues, this is a nice handy run down:


Feeling in need of some structure and clarity in my painting right now, so planning to take a look at the “Structure and Clarity” part of the Tate Modern on Level 5.  Though I initially planned to work on some non objective compositions based on the fundamental forms of construction, I was unable to contain myself within these boundaries, and instead opted to continue to experiment with an evolving organic, process based approach to composition, because I find it more exciting.  However, there is some comfort in knowing where you are starting from, and I think I would benefit from a little more pre determined structure, so I think a visit to “Structure and Clarity” at Tate Modern will serve my imagination well.  I am increasingly aware of how important it is to give myself plenty to think about, and this in the visual sense, not a matter of ideas, but just a matter of seeing and sensing.



Painting below: “Resting Place” Jenny Meehan



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

Again, as always, image only gives an idea.

Though I believe a painter should always seek to challenge themselves by experimenting with a great variety of underlying compositions, I don’t mind working on a series of these internal landscapes, and I think it will be good to have a strand of work which takes a pre determined direction.  So I am quite looking forward to continuing to explore this route.  It seems to fit in quite well with my approach to my work at the present time which is  rooted in an awareness of the intimate relationship between psychotherapy (which I am undertaking at the present time) and painting, which I find is a very interesting way to  think about my work critically. Not the only way, by any means; historical context, the analysis of surface aesthetics, and just straightforward description of the paintings, are all modes of critique which hold interest for me.  But as the creator of these paintings, I’m interested in the unconscious ideas behind my work because I find I discover things, both through the painting process and the final paintings, which bring a clarity to my life, both emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.

non objective lyrical romantic abstraction fine painting visual art british contemporary

“Pillar and Moon” Acrylic paint, various mediums, pigments,  glass beads, sand, fillers.   50 x 70cm on canvas.

It’s interesting to see the influence of past paintings I have spent time with emerging in my current experiments with paint.   Paul Nash is someone whose work I greatly admire.  His use of colour, the romantic feeling, the application of paint, his subject matter.  It’s all very very good.

I’m wondering where I can go and see more of Peter Lanyon’s paintings, and make a note of that today, adding to the rather long list of things I want to research.  I’m getting increasingly used to not being able to keep up with myself, and my acceptance of this tension being “just there”, and something I don’t have to stress out about, is kind of helpful.  Maybe I should use a sketch book more, and just jot things down.  Relieve myself of them quickly, and trust that they will return another day, when I am older and wiser and know what to do with them.

Once again, I am looking at Clevedon Bandstand painted by Peter Lanyon (1964) and Clevedon Night by Peter Lanyon (1964) and getting something from them I don’t bother to define with words, but which is surely speaking something to me, which seems to be going in somewhere.  Which leads me to think that maybe we have a little too much emphasis on  the  Logos.   Because of my own faith, I’m quite interested in the relationship between the visual arts and the Christian faith, and was fortunate enough to stumble on an essay by Penelope Brook, an extract of which I ponder on again:

“The early apologist, Justin Martyr developed one strand of early Christology that became formative in the Church’s attitude to visual imaging: Logos or Word-Flesh Christology.  Because it expressed the two natures of Christ in philosophical terms that could be readily understood within Hellenism, the apologists, in their Christological formation, became preoccupied by the Logos.  Drawing on notions from Greek philosophy and Judaism, Justin Martyr deveoped the concept of Christ as Logos: the revelation of God as the source of all knowledge. The Western Church developed a more literal than philosophical position to the Logos: Christ as Logos meant Christ revealed in the written and proclaimed word: the scriptures and sacraments.  The Eastern Church’s position was more philosophical and incarnational in basis: Christ as Logos meant Christ the proclaimed, written and imaged word.(my italics)  The Eastern Church viewed the visual image, like the scriptures and sacraments, as a valid and effective vehicle or revelation: a door to the sacred.  Overall, the Eastern Church tended to be more philosophical and spiritual in its theologizing and the West more legalistic and literal”   ( She has noted her reference as L.Ouspensky, and v Lossky, The Meaning of Icons (New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1994, 9-22)

I don’t tend to find an awful lot written on this subject, so it was encouraging to find the above, so well put, and timely for me, as I push on with my own work. Unfortunately there are some people who don’t see creative expression of being of much value, unless it is explicitly Christian, by which they mean, (I think?), that is has a cross or an image from a bible story in it.  This is rather a shame, as my life so far has consisted of more than a cross and images from the bible, and I would be worried if that was the only avenue of expression open to me as a person.  It seems also that our Creator has chosen a much greater variety of forms too, to express Himself through, like people and life and creation. So often, and so well, clarified at times, in the creative arts.

Just recieved some information via email on the following, which looks very interesting and I hope to get along to it:

SEMINAR: Sacred Traditions and the Arts
Tuesday 12 June 2012, 18.00 – 19.30 Inigo Rooms, Somerset House (Large Seminar Room SW-1.12) NB: This is in the newly refurbished King’s section of Somerset House and the room is on the lower ground floor.
Speakers: Professor John Milner (The Courtauld Institute of Art) Dr Aaron Rosen (King’s College London)
The inaugural seminar to explore Sacred Traditions and the Arts is a joint venture between the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s and The Courtauld. It seeks to place researchers in dialogue who are working on any aspect of the sacred and visual culture. It is open to all scholars and students who have an interest in exploring the intersections of religion and art regardless of period, geography or tradition.
On 12 June, Professor John Milner will speak on The Godless and the Ikon: Soviet Materialism in Sacred Forms. Dr Aaron Rosen will then present a paper entitled Jewish Artists/Christian Spaces: Mark Rothko and Louise Nevelson. This pairing explores and complicates notions of sacred experience in relation to modern spaces and identity in Russia and the United States in the twentieth century.

I have titled the following painting “Living Water” because I find painting is very much a source of refreshment and revitalisation to me, (as the Holy Spirit is) and for me the two very often flow together.

non objective lyrical abstraction contemporary british fine painting

Thinking about water, I’m rather immersing myself right now!


iridescent medium in acrylic paint example jenny meehan

Here I am, using acrylics most of the time, mainly because of the quick drying and the limitations on space.  They are OK.  But I’m missing my oil paint.  I am also missing using the silicate mineral paint I love so much. Eco friendly, beautifully light reflective and velvety matt.  I miss that paint I spent months last year getting to know and learning to love.   Yes, it has its restrictions, but I am keen to start some more work with it, on limestone I think, this year.  The Keim Soldalit, (third generation silicate, with more applications possible due to product development)  (which I have plenty of), is great on primed rigid hard board, and I have to confess to having quite a few paintings started and on temporary hold, due to this recent set of work in acrylic.

The reason for using the acrylics is that I want the paintings (which are destined for display from September at Allied Healthcare, Chessington) on canvas, and the Soldalit needs a hard substrate, as does any mineral paint, because it doesn’t have the plasticity of acrylic.  Never mind.  What I have carried over from that work last year is a preference for certain colours, the most permanent and enduring pigments  have won me over any dye based types, and it is kind of lovely to have realised where my attractions lie colour wise.  The earths and the metal based colours have gotten right into my being; I spent so much time mixing large amounts last year for the mural, that I cannot get them out of my system. I am not consciously excluding particular colours, but I think I have got to know some of the most essential ones quite well, and lean on them, like old friends.

Because I will have rather a lot of paintings for this Allied Healthcare exhibition, (the space is big), I won’t be able to afford to frame them all.  Even with the very economical frames from Great Art, which I quite like,  it’s going to cost money I don’t have, so I am planning to use stripwood to make surrounds for the canvas’.  I think this will be a good option, even if I could afford to buy frames for all the paintings, because there are some paintings which, as they develop, I can see quite clearly require a very defined but very thin surround, not a chunkier surround, and the strip wood is just the job.   I was initially thinking that I might display the work unframed, but I require a clear division to be made, and using strip wood is the quickest, cheapest, and best way of doing this.  I understand that it is possible  to use black fabric tape also, in order to create neat black edges on the canvas, and that sounds like something worth trying out too.  But I do want a visible line from the front, and Wickes sell both pine and hardwood strip wood, 6x18x2400mm, which will be easily attached to the edges of the canvas with veneer pins.  I guess these would also be easily removable, without damaging the stretchers, in case I need to frame the work “properly” later on.

This sunny weather is proving excellent for the type of work I am doing right now.  It’s  great having paintings drying so quickly in the garden, and the fresh air and sunlight do their job well.  As I work my way through the paintings I have started, they begin to develop their own individual courses, and the last part of the painting, say, around the last twenty percent of the process, is the hardest.  I don’t enjoy the cerebral part of the painting process as much as the beginning, which is founded on instincts more than any articulated thoughts.  But towards the end, it is necessary to work out what has been going on, or at least to have some much firmer idea of the direction I have been going in.  What starts as a happy meander, needs to find a clearer sense of direction towards the end of the painting, otherwise it is impossible not to get completely lost in all the possibilities, and this is too disheartening.  At this point the critical eye, both mine and that of others, is brought into play.  Other people’s responses often help me a lot; negative or positive, it matters not.  In the end, I feel I am just here to learn.

A pre-defined picture image is much simpler!  But it is so exciting, this experimentation. I am learning a lot of things as I try to find ways through the difficulties I encounter.  Nothing radical, but it just helps to know what could open up the continuation of a painting which seems to have shut down.  Things like using masking tape to suggest divisions while I think about if I want to go down that route…So easy to pull it off, no damage done. When I need to move into oils.  With some paintings, acrylic just proves not to be flexible enough towards the end stages.  I need to be able to apply the paint and wipe it off if I change my mind or I want to lessen the impact.  It can be done with acrylics, of course, but because I know the paint will dry so quickly, it puts too much pressure on me to “get it right” which is the last thing I want to feel when I am working in this experimental way.

I am also increasingly aware of the need to view the painting at a very distant distance.  It has always been important, but I’m walking right to the back of the garden and viewing the painting indoors, in dimmer light.  It helps.  Also viewing the painting under spotlights (particularly helpful if the surface texture is a matter which needs assessing) and generally spending longer looking, across a longer period of time.  I am not sure all this effort with respect to the decision-making process is going to be clear to anyone else but me, but I have to work in the way I feel is right, and if it means this, then that is what it means.

Here are some more small sections of the paintings recently completed.  Once I get the time I will post images of the whole paintings up, but I haven’t quite gotten around to that yet!

non objective romantic british contemporary painting lyrical abstraction

Non objective abstract painting sample with glass beads

glass beads and acrylic medium on non objective easel painting

sample acrylic texture colour markmaking experiment jenny meehan

I’m enjoying using glass beads and sand in my painting, and getting more experience with different textures and how I might use them.

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