Recently I was accepted for inclusion on  the  Artlyst website, which is a great site with lots of very interesting articles and lots of exciting artists to discover.  I love looking at other people’s work, it’s so amazing the creativity you can find.  I’m very pleased to be included on Artlyst.  See:

http://www.artlyst.com/Jenny.Meehan

I have also finally got around to sorting a profile out on deviantart.com, see the deviant art link below:

http://jennymeehan.deviantart.com/gallery/

All this internet stuff takes time, but it is good for filling up the occasional moment here and there and sometimes reaps a reward.

I did a little bit of a one-to-one teaching painting session with a neighbour recently which I enjoyed and it makes me think I should use my teaching experience alongside the painting.  Though I don’t have a Fine Art degree, which is the case with many painting tutors, I have accumulated a fair body of knowledge over the last seven years with respect to art history and theory, and I have a sound knowledge of painting in oils and acrylics, which while this wouldn’t be mind-blowing for an experienced painter, would give a great foundation to a relative beginner.  Because I have been fortunate enough to be able to participate in various painting courses as part of the Short Course Programme at West Dean,  I also have seen some excellent examples of art/craft tuition, and know that its something which I have the motivation to develop myself.  Apart from one final weekend course at West Dean next year, I now reluctantly have to accept that financially this option for continuing development from other practitioners is now beyond my reach.  Such are the rising costs of living, and the demands of an ever-growing family.

However, maybe if I did a little bit of tuition from time to time, I could help myself in this respect?  Maybe try out a workshop style type painting session and see what happens? Draw out some focused teaching points from issues which arise naturally form a small group or alternatively maybe try out something with a scheme of work? I do need to generate some money, and  I have teaching experience I can draw on.  I have also learnt a lot over the last few years through the experimental approach I have taken with my own painting.   So my lack of Fine Art degree need not be a hindrance.  Teaching people to paint and/or draw, (and it is a skill, a craft) in my opinion, is giving them the tools to say what they want in a way which is not only meaningful to them, but which actually conveys a shared experience which the viewer can access in a very precise and clearly defined way.   It is a spiritual and emotional thing, but with a physical reality which takes time and effort to establish.  The painting/drawing becomes an avenue, an entrance, into an experience, and as the guide, the artist needs to know how to direct the eye and heart of the viewer in a certain way.  There is nothing “arty” about this.  It is nuts and bolts.  You don’t doubt that the person who makes your front door will know the technical skills of his trade, and yet with painting, (maybe because emotion and thought are personal), people can get so bound up in the personal that the exercise of critical judgement and evaluating if something is working or not easily gets lost.

I find I am constantly having to distance myself from my painting.  It is a very peculiar thing, but the more I distance myself the more I learn, the more analytical I can be, and yet, the more intimate I feel with my paintings.  The more they emotionally resound, the more necessary it is for me to take a step back.  The more I allow myself to become lost in the process, the more necessary it is to seek a distant view, a kind of map;  an imaginative assessment maybe, of what is actually formally and physically going on. 

Alongside the actual  analytical/practical skills development,  it is always important to also hold onto a person centred approach,  as is very much as is the case in ANY teaching. It is useful having a Post Graduate Certificate in Education in this respect.  I haven’t forgotten Vygotsky’s theory of proximal development (How COULD you forget a theory like that!)  This cannot always be taken for granted…Not all painters who teach have a person centred approach, as countless people who have shared their own (rather traumatic!) experience with me could tell you, and I include myself in that, (though thankfully I can say that 95% of my experience of painters/artists who teach has been excellent).  Painting is a creative and constructive action.  A vulnerable process.  A means of empowerment and a force of expression which can bring a lot of good to a person, and a lot of pleasure, as well as the pain of struggle, which is part of all life.  So, as I hold these beliefs, (must be strongly, because I keep going on about them all the time!) then I hope that maybe by branching out in the direction of combining teaching skills with creativity, particularly in the form of painting, I can open some doors, at least, to other people who might like to experiment in this way themselves.  I quite like the idea of doing some women only painting/drawing tuition.  Most of the courses I have participated in have consisted mainly of women anyway,  apart from the blacksmithing and woodcarving.  So, when I do start this initiative up, it will be women/female small group or individual painting/drawing tuition.

Very pleased to find out that one of my paintings has been selected for the  Three Rivers/Artistsmeet Open Art Exhibition at Artistsmeet in Rickmansworth.  We took a trip to see the new Oxhey Woods Sculpture Trail today when we dropped off the painting, and walked through the woods in the pouring rain.  There are some lovely carved sculptures, my favourite being the tv and chair, complete with remote control, which no one can hog, because it is part of the armchair.

http://www.facebook.com/OxheyWoodsSculptureTrail

Another nice part of the day was seeing the Folk Art Papercuts by Suzy Taylor at Artistsmeet and also “The Bog Standard Gallery” created by Melanie Boda.  The smallest gallery ever, with some interesting examples of toilet signs!  The irony being that after a look within (you cannot say “around” because there is nowhere to walk!) fifteen minutes later (during our wanderings around Rickmansworth),  myself, husband and children hunted in vain for a toilet we could do some serious business in, without success.  We could have walked back to Artistsmeet I guess, and used the loos there, but we were hunting for some public toilets in Rickmansworth, and saw no toilet signs anywhere, (even though there were the icons marked on my Streetmap print out).   So it seems that Rickmansworth is a place with many many toilet signs but not many toilets!

The painting selected for the Three Rivers/Artistsmeet Exhibition is “Whatever the Weather” which is very apt for the current time.

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This is an interesting interview with the artist Kristine Moran:

http://art-rated.com/?p=544

Well, “Art in Action”.  That always sounds good, doesn’t it.

Had a wild day out with a friend, the highlights being:

Our own contribution to the board with stickers on in The Tanks.    I changed “art” to “fart” by tearing a label into an “F” shape, which is always silly, but appealing to an infantile mind, like mine.  Even more appealing was the general effect,  as it was part of a sentence saying something deep like “How does art influence culture” or something like that.  “How does Fart influence culture” is also a very important consideration.  I can assure you, this is a VERY pervasive matter.  Never underestimate the difference to quality of life that freedom of expression and mutual understanding have on our society.  I suspect our valuable contributions will be removed, but if people are going to make boards and ask questions, and provide stickers and pencils, then this is what happens.  I had a journey on the board with torn stickers and arrows, my friend made a Matissey type torn sticker face,  and we did a few other bits.

Whatever the blurb says about what and why,  Lis Rhodes Light Music was a hit in the moment for us.  As my friend was in a wheelchair we got some great shadow images as I spun her around and around.  This was quite a “happening”.  We went from two figures to one, and there is something very interesting about shadows and form, which is delightful. Fascinating.  I could strangle her in the shadow play, with no harm done!!!! And her, also me, of course!   ( I had also been along to Lis Rhodes Light Music a few weeks before, and seen another beautiful show with children playing in a “who is the strongest?” type drama which I will post up soon when I get the time to take it off the camera.   Here’s the blurb http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern-tanks/display/lis-rhodes-light-music

I didn’t look into it much but there was some kind of performance type thing going on with people chanting and walking etc.  It is soooooooooo tempting to do silly things, like whistle, isn’t it?  There is a kind of interface between the “sacred” realm of “art” and “Joe Bloggs” which is delightful to prod and press, and indeed we did, in several ways…

On a more serious note, we saw the Munch Exhibition and had many interesting and serious discussions about the paintings.

I’m busy making some frames for the Alliance Healthcare paintings and looking around for some  affordable open art exhibitions to enter.  There are quite a few where you don’t have to pay until you get to the point where they have chosen your work, which is much, much better.  And fairer.  It’s important to put work into open submission art exhibitions,  but I don’t have much money available to throw it around regardless of the fact my kids need feeding and broken things need to be mended, and so it just gets crazy when organisers start asking for £20 entrance fees.  If the entrance fee is low, at least it is possible to be able to afford to enter a few each year.  (Maybe £20 is considered little for some people, but for most people, we have to think for some time and weigh it up before popping those two ten pound notes into the wind).

I’m getting lots of emails from Vanity galleries at the mo.  Right pain.  Nothing worse than being told how someone who wants to exploit you, and hopes you have lots of money to throw away in an unwise manner, really likes your work!  Yeah, fine.  Let me give you my cash (Er, what cash?) Well, imagine.  Let me give you my cash.  Yeah, I’ll have that bit of your wall.  Yeah.  Don’t worry, you just take my money, sit down, have a cup of tea, and I will jot your gallery name on my CV.  You’re paid.  I’m not.  Oh, Oh dear.   Well, if someone has thousands, it might be useful for them.

Am I moaning? Yes.  Let me stop.  Here is a recent painting:

london, southbank,southwark,memory painting,thames,river thames london painting,river thames abstract painting,semi abstract urban landscape london,water,rain,buildings,urban view,river thames southbank,emotional lyrical romantic imaginative painting of london,

Just occurred to me regarding the tower, that it might be the Tate Modern!  I painted the painting in a process led way from my imagination and memories slipped their way in as they do, but though I felt very strongly about having the tower shape in there, it has taken until now for it to slot into place in a logical way!  It probably is that.  The Thames was always the Thames, and the amount of water and the title was so apt for the weather we have been having.  Painting this painting felt like making my way through London, as I have been exploring and visiting parts of London, and places in London, which are not familiar to me.  So it’s got a kind of navigational feel to it.  Nearly time to find a boat, navigational feel.  With the amount of water.   It’s very Claude Venard – ish.

Responses so far have made reference to traffic lights, concrete, smog and grime, a feeling of attempting to find ones way through the cityscape, awareness of water and reflections, all of which I am pleased to hear about, because all were in the intention, as it emerged over the course of painting.  It is very interesting and helpful to know what the response is to painting, and for this reason I hope that during the Alliance Healthcare Exhibition people will make comments in the contact book with respect to what the paintings communicate to them.

Just found this on Abstract Critical: http://abstractcritical.com/article/sol-space-and-the-question-of-integrity-in-abstract-painting/#comment-52354

Ah! Great!  Integrity. My favourite word.  I have just read through the article Sol-Space and the Question of Integrity in Abstract Painting once but will revisit it several times, as it looks rich (in a good sense!).  I have a collection of various articles on abstract painting waiting to be read, which I found on JSTOR but they are always waiting, very patiently.  I sometimes wish I did my degree in Painting rather than Literature, because of where I am now, but on the other hand I can, and have, learnt a tremendous amount through contact with other painters, short courses in Adult Education settings, and of course,  the West Dean Short Course Programme.  Plus  three very large books on Theory.    I’d like more formal education in painting and fine and applied art, but it has been seven years since I started on my current path, and my walk is just starting to take off; the direction is setting in there and I am finally managing to make myself focus in more. In the end, words are words and painting is painting.  The relationship between logical thinking and painting is an interesting one, but I find I learn more from focusing on the painting itself rather than anything else. I learn most of my worthwhile lessons that way. Instinct leads the way when painting.  Practical skills pave it.  Logic wanders around on the path, trying to make sense of it, and hoping to put up signs that other people might follow if they want to.

Feeling Foremost…

Just stumbled across this:

http://leftbankartblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/the-color-picture-now-feeling-foremost.html

All hearty.

Thinking of feeling…

Feeling nostalgic, looking through my website blog from around a year and a half ago I found this:

“I’m busy priming boards at the moment and stepping out with a little painting on a slightly bigger scale. Experimenting with colours generally and enjoying the freedom of not working so much with depicting recognisable objects. It’s a necessary phase, and enables me to increase my sensitivity to paint which is important. If I want a picture which looks like whatever, I can always work on a photographic image for a few hours. Though I inwardly stress a little about if I will lose my skill with drawing, (my sketchbook has more text and paint in it than drawing) I feel I have to go in this direction for a while…
The sad thing is, maybe, that this kind of painting I am embarking on may not be thought of as being as clever as something which folk (who cannot draw) esteem? A person who cannot draw (I mean, duplicate and copy something exactly, not in the wider sense of drawing) will always be impressed by a painting which looks very close to the reality they see in their everyday life. And how common the mistake is, to see an artist’s work and think that because they have not chosen a strictly representational route, that they do not possess the skill to produce such an image? Yet for me, delighting in the beauty of the paint I see all around me, in the billions of possibilities, (by me,so far unexplored), wanting to discover, experiment, and create new images which don’t have to stick to external reality with superglue, but rather hover, at various distances in the area between the imagination and the natural world…Does it seem right to bother about this? It is far more important for me to develop my skill with paint…craftsmanship…practical skill…knowledge, and establish a good foundation in working with the material I have chosen to concentrate on, than to bother about how accessible this might be to other people. Once I have allowed myself the freedom to explore, I can then return if I wish to using what I have learnt in a more familiar dialect!”

Or maybe not return? I think now, I may have changed my view, for this abstraction is not apart from nature, it is simply a sharing in the processes of creation. But people do like to look at objects.  So do I sometimes.  But I love the freedom to do whatever, regardless.  And the subjects do tend to push through by the end of the painting, emotive and buried, as they are at first.  They want a body, a material, a place in the outside world.  It maybe is just a matter of order.  I can start to paint with no conscious thought of a subject, but I always arrive at one by the end of the painting.  Or I could start knowing, and have more drawn out at the start.  I plan to do some of that next, and see how it feels.

I’m feeling rather happy with the freedom of starting from nothing though, and increasingly more content to surrender the need to depict from the outset of a painting, in a pre determined way.   I like the uncertainty, and its nice to get a surprise at the end of it.   I also recognise drawing and painting are quite different practices, and it is quite good to develop them apart for a while.  No harm done I don’t think.   Looking at the paintings of Claude Venard (1913-1999) has been immensely helpful to me because I can see that there is plenty of potential for the direction I am going in right now, and also I don’t need to be “clever” about my painting, intellectually.  If a painting is good, it can stand on its own two feet (or four corners) and instead of needing to explain itself to its viewer, it will be simply seen.  Anything else is interesting, maybe, might help make a sale (or not) might provide some food for thought, but however, is an added bonus, and nothing more than that.  If the painting has to clutch onto words around it to work, then something is not right.

What I do value, and wish I had more of, is constructive critique and I was so grateful recently to have a dear painter friend view my Alliance Healthcare work and offer her insights and observations, ALL without fail, were helpful and incisive in a way which helped me over a few hurdles I was encountering.   The rather Claude Venard style painting below (I mean, because of the chunky areas of paint) I am happy with right now, but there is a need for linear elements to come into such a piece of painting to increase the interest.  I want to leave this one as it is, because I think for this one, its state is right for it, but looking at “Trees with Sacre Coeur in the Distance” oil on canvas by Claude Venard I rather like the way that he has used lines to build the area in the top left corner and I love his post cubist composition which however holds a very interesting and strong tension between flatness and form, definition and lack of clarity.

claude venard french painting,trees with sacre coeur in the distance detail colourist post cubist composition expressionist painting,landscape buildings trees subject

Making a big impact, and adding a comforting reassurance to me in terms of my own painting direction, the paintings of Claude Venard are an inspiration. Claude Venard, Matisse, Ivon Hitchens and Turner, all influential.

claude venard french painting,trees with sacre coeur in the distance detail colourist post cubist composition expressionist painting,landscape buildings trees subject

Claude Venard Painting Trees with Sacre Coeur in the Distance

What seems to be happening now in some of the Allied Healthcare paintings I am still working on,  is that FORM is emerging as a natural urge, even though I like working on one plane there seems to be something which pushes against this for me.  I see the painting process very much like sculpture and maybe it is this feeling which tends to bend the singular plane into an illusion of three-dimensional space.  I’ve taken a couple of paintings too far in this directon, and had to flatten them and block them down.  Cylinders and cubes have appeared, but I don’t like them just appearing with no job to do!  I think if I am going to have more form in the work I would prefer it to relate to objects rather than just appear! Maybe next after this Alliance Healthcare project I will indulge myself in some paintings with a more definate starting point and clearly defined subject matter and see if what I have been doing lately has proved to be useful for that approach.

More paintings are just reaching that point where they are resolved, or certainly resolved enough to be able to show them.  However, I don’t line working to a deadline, not with this type of painting work, because I don’t know the target I am trying to hit until very near the end, and, if the end is actually coming towards you, rather than you towards it, there is a certain pressure.  In a painting I think the way forward must always come from your centre and outward, yes, with limitations and constraints, maybe from subject matter or a  known idea, and subject to constant reappraisal.  There needs to be willingness to be flexible, but TIME is just deathly.

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Above some details from some of the Alliance Healthcare paintings.  “Sorrow for Myself”  “Deluge” and “Cove” (Though I have just added a very important mark to “Cove” so it looks a little more resolved right now).

I love taking these images of the paintings after painting as  looking through the camera lens is an excellent way of isolating areas of a painting and looking at the relationships between different marks, colours and textures.

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/House Flood”  Acrylic painting.  It was cathartic, but not in a “let it rip” kind of way, because I work very firmly within formal considerations as well as following my own instincts with respect to what I should paint next.  It started with no obvious subject matter but through the painting process, water came in and what for me is a house form.  I related this to a past dream referring back to my childhood home environment, hence the title.

The other paintings in the slide show are “Sorrow for Myself” (and Cove I will post later once I have retaken a full size image with the additional mark. ) “Sorrow for Myself” ended up showing a figure watching broken pieces being pulled downstream by a small stream of water.  More water!  More rocks!  You cannot see the textures too well, or the pearlescent quality of the stream.  Also the way that the cobalt blue (always resonates of the spirit, for me)  is changed in intensity, not by a change of shade, but by the application of varnish.  The pigment load was so high because I made my own paint,  (for that part of the painting) and this is very, very useful.  I focused on texture and marks mainly, wanting to explore the relationships between texture, mark and emotion.  The setting sun colours have been used in past work, I realise.  The landscape is quite bright, though the figure subdued.  The iron oxide red, I love.  There is bleeding, there is pain. But also water flowing (many glass beads used here, with the white).  Interested, as I am, in psychoanalytical theory I think there is some emotional freezing going on, and maybe this is something I like in using the glass beads, because they are very ice like, and yet, beautiful too.  So reflective and, as I found out with the black area of “The Upper Room” it is very possible for them to convey warmth too, not only coldness.  I hope I haven’t ruined my painting too much by writing about it, however, it is helpful to be able to look at it in this analytical way, because there is something interesting going on.

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