I am pleased to find that my two paintings “Pink Girl” and “Bandage Box” were accepted by City Arts for the exhibition at the Institute of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham.   The theme for the exhibition this year was “Recovery” and I submitted the two paintings with attached poems, which I hope provide some insight into how I myself interpret the artworks.   I am realising that my ongoing commitment to psychoanalysis is bearing some fruit in terms of my own painting practice… What started as a necessary way of starting to dig my way out of a rather large pit, is now giving me some interesting ways of restructuring a firmer sense of self and also serving as a great way of paying attention to my own emotions in a more reflective and analytical way.  It is therefore also providing interesting insights, and even direction, in terms of my own artistic practice.  The relationship between the working through emotions and beliefs during therapy sessions and my Christian faith and creativity is also quite exciting.  I find I am more disposed towards contemplation;  an activity which does go very well with painting.

I am thrust more towards my own Creator in my need for solace, healing, and insight, but also rather pleased and thankful for the opportunity to have the space to examine myself and my experiences in great depth.   I am grateful for the Holy Spirit, who acts as a counsellor and comforter, and opens the way forward.  Why would we think we need to struggle through life helpless?  It’s easily done, I know this myself.   I think the combination of a psychoanalytical approach to self and identity, hand in hand with the beautiful experience of receiving love through the work of Christ, is quite a good combination for healing. We all have our personal journey of hardship and pain through our lives… We all need the resources in order to move forward and some of us are more able to access those resources than others, for a great variety of reasons.  So there really is no sense of needing to hide the times we seek psychological help…It is quite strange when you think about it, that there is no taboo around breaking a leg, but often a shroud of mystery around other damage that may be encountered throughout our lives.  It still feels a bit odd telling people about psychotherapy sometimes…But also true that my own understanding of its virtues as a practice have changed significantly, and it has become not just something done to sort out mental tangles or blocked up emotions, but something which is, for me anyway, a very beneficial type of work which relates well with my creative art working.

The Exhibition at the Institute of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham is something which has been going on for a few years now, and the blurb on the Institute of Mental Health give some background:

“Since 2009, City Arts has coordinated exhibitions at the Institute of Mental Health in Nottingham in partnership with University of Nottingham. These were; Identity, Visions, Voices, Interiors and Diversity.

This is a successful partnership and attracts national entries from artists all over the UK. These exhibitions provide a platform for artists to express themselves through the creation of visual arts and photography. The work shown regularly confronts preconceptions that may exist in society regarding mental health and often portrays poignant and thought-provoking imagery.”

There is an opening event, details of which are inserted below:

6 NOVEMBER 2013
12.50 – 2PM

You are invited to the launch of Recovery, the 6th art exhibition in the Institute of Mental Health.

Venue: Institute of Mental Health.

The theme of the exhibition explores ideas around recovery from mental health problems. The concept of recovery is now widely used in mental health literature and practice. It may refer to both clinical and personal issues related to mental health.  However, the concept has been contested, and invites further questions: What does the term mean to people who use mental health services and to those who provide them?  Is it helpful?  Who is recovering?  Is it possible to recover and does everybody want to?  Is there another way to describe recovering?  The work in this exhibition responds to these questions.

The exhibition will run until May 2014.

By the time I post this up, the opening will have come and gone I expect.  Due to shortage of money and time, I won’t be able to make it to the opening which is a shame, but I am hoping that I will be sent some images of the exhibition, as I am very keen to see the other work displayed. 

 Jenny Meehan wellbeing and mental health,art and healing, art and recovery, painting and psychological wellbeing,painting and psychotherapy,painting and recovery ptsd,Bandage Box painting on show at Recovery University of Leicester Institute of Mental Health

Bandage Box painting on show at Recovery University of Leicester Institute of Mental Health

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 in Recovery University of Leicester Instutute of Mental Health by Jenny Meehan

I’m pleased with the way they look in the black frames.

Benedictine Spirituality

When talking recently with some other folk at an excellent study session by Chris Chapman at Trinity House, the group I was with recalled the TV programme series called “The Monastery which was shown a few years back.  A good few years back, I found out, and I enclose the link in the hope that I myself will revisit the matter and gradually work my way through the series, as I think I only saw one at the time.   I do use this blog as a form of reminder to myself, being a great believer in the value of remembering!  I’ve been interested in the idea of enclosure for a while, and greatly appreciated the opportunity to learn about Saint Benedict and a little more about Christian monasticism.  I’m not planning to lead my life in quite such a structured way, however, there were many helpful points which I have taken away to mull over, and I certainly would benefit from a developing some structured sessions for contemplation, and contemplation alone.  One precious jewel:
Words from a 12th century monk on the different ways we open ourselves to the word of God, seeking us:

Reading seeks, meditation finds,prayer asks, contemplation feels.
That is to say “Seek and you shall find: knock and the door will be opened for you.”
This means also, seek through reading, and you will find holy meditation in your thinking; and knock through praying, and the doors will be opened to you to enter through heavenly contemplation to feel what you desire.”

http://www.worthabbey.net/bbc/links-youtube.htm

Art News Article on Studio Visits by Ann Landi

http://www.artnews.com/2013/09/30/a-guide-to-doing-studio-visits/

Having selected a few studios to visit this year as part of The Lambeth Open,  I’ve been thinking about what makes a good studio visit experience and what makes it less successful.   Not being able to find the place makes it very unsuccessful, and this did happen to me with one of the artists, which is a terrible shame because the work done on the publicity and provision of maps is most excellent and very well done indeed. Stunningly brilliant even.  These things take a hell of a lot of work. Timothy Sutton who organises the event is only to be admired in my opinion.    But one venue was a pub, which was not clear and made things confusing.  Also, it was only possible to visit during the pub opening hours, which also wasn’t made clear.   But this was a tiny dot on the map, as The Lambeth Open covers a large area, and on a more positive note,  I enjoyed the studios I did get to, and concluded that a friendly, open, helpful and hospitable artist, with plenty of work on show, was probably enough to tick all my boxes.    The Art News article on studio visits by Ann Landi, which I have provided the link to above, is more focused on, as it is billed: “Art-world insiders dispense advice on what you should say, how the artist ought to display the work, and which refreshments to serve, if any” and makes an interesting read for either artists putting on an Open Studio event and also those who enjoy visiting Open Studio events.

On that subject, I am holding my own Open Studio and Studio Sale on Saturday 9th November between 2pm and 6pm, so do email me at j.meehan@tesco.net or use the contact form on my website http://www.jamartlondon.com and let me know if you plan to come for a visit yourself.   Also be aware that I am happy to arrange Studio visits from time to time, and if you would like to come along and see my work, then by all means let me know and I can schedule something in. 

David Park

Here is a quote which struck me on reading by the painter David Park, quoted in an article entitled “David Park California Dreaming” on Leftbankartblog.

He later reflected, “As you grow older, it dawns on you that you are yourself – that your job is not to force yourself into a style but to do what you want. I saw that if I would accept subjects, I could paint with more absorption, with a certain enthusiasm for the subject which would allow some of the aesthetic qualities such as color and composition to evolve more naturally.”

Mm, yes.  Enthusiasm for the subject..the known and recognisable subject, the subject formed and apparent in the early stages of the painting.  I have too many non-objective paintings on the go at the moment to force a sudden change, and that wouldn’t be the right thing to do at all, but reading these words by David Park is a good reminder that there may be interesting ground to be covered ahead, and that all I currently do could be an investment for something which may become more personally revealing.  On the other hand, many of my very non-objective paintings have evolved towards the subject matter…they have leant and pulled and naturally taken on a more definitive form.  I find “it dawns on you that you are yourself” may be something that happens during the process of the painting, even of the most abstract starts…

http://leftbankartblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/david-park-california-dreaming.html

It is a very good read and an enlightening article written by Carl Belz,  Director Emeritus of the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University.  The last two examples of David Park’s paintings, David Park, Rowboat, 1958, oil on canvas, 57 x 61 inches (Boston MFA). and David Park,  Four Men, 1958, oil on canvas, 57 x 92 inches (Whitney) I will be taking some considerable time to take in.

Brixton Drawing Project

More pictures for the Brixton Drawing Project can be seen here:

http://www.drawbrixton.co.uk/drawbrixton/4579589553

http://www.flickr.com/photos/diningroomdrawingclub/sets/72157636428623933/

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Jenny Meehan is a painter and designer based in East Surrey/South West London.
Her website is http://www.jamartlondon.com.  (www.jamartlondon.com replaces the older now deceased website http://www.jennymeehan.co.uk)

Jenny Meehan BA Hons (Lit.) PGCE also offers art tuition.  Please contact Jenny at j.meehan@tesco.net or through the contact form at http://www.jamartlondon.com for further details.   Commissions for paintings are also undertaken at affordable prices.

 Jenny Meehan works mainly with either oils or acrylics  creating both abstract/non-objective paintings  and also semi-abstract work.  She also creates representational and figurative artwork,  mostly using digital photography/image manipulation software, painting and  drawing.

Jenny Meehan exhibits around the United Kingdom and holds regular Open Studio/Studio Sale events.  To be placed on Jenny Meehan’s mailing list please email j.meehan@tesco.net requesting to be kept up to date.  Also, follow the Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal at WordPress and keep informed that way. 

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Geometric Abstract Design Painting in Progress Images

Just working on a geometric abstract design painting for All Glass in Paisley.  Enjoying the experience of using past experiments with textures in a rather more structured way.  I have always delighted in John Tunnard’s paintings and it is certainly interesting working with such a sense of order with both colour, texture and space.  It doesn’t feel too restrictive, there are still plenty of decisions to be made along the way, even though not one gestural mark in sight…Well, a tiny little bit to add variation to some of the areas but nothing that stands out and shouts “Look at Me!”  One of the most interesting parts of this project is translating the design, which was organised using vector graphics, and letting it take a new form in the material of the painting.  There’s no point in trying to copy from one medium to another, as the materials dictate their own directions and there is a need to be flexible and open to change.   This makes what could seem a rather laborious and unrewarding task unexpectedly interesting.

Here are some images of the work in progress:

Geometric  Non Objective Abstract Painting in Progress by Jenny Meehan, john tunnard influenced abstract painting by female British contemporary 21st century female painter designer jenny meehan,english modern painting influence,romantic abstraction geometric acrylic,glass texture surface abstraction, experimental exploratory painter visual artist from britain,jamartlondon,blues purple white grey black coloured painting abstract,

Geometric Non Objective Abstract Painting in Progress by Jenny Meehan

Messy edges everywhere, but while I am still working out the various surfaces, adjusting colours and generally playing around, there is no point making everything tidy at this stage.    I think I will also move away from a totally clinical look even in the final stages, with variations and imperfections playing their own part, though the black and grey areas will be knife-edged, I think.  (The colours are now quite different!  I have done a fair bit since inserting these images in the blog, but will put some more up in the next entry!)

I’ve got an idea now of what I will do with the existing ideas for colour, and also where to take the different areas to in order to create some interesting relationships…  Not sure about the hessian, even when colour is changed, so that may be coming off…  Though very different, diametrically opposite even, from how I was starting my paintings last year, I am enjoying the change in approach, though I don’t see myself sticking to this completely  pre-defined starting point/structure, unless I was working very large, in which case it would be wise.   I  think the process of navigating a way forward probably does come from pushing ahead one way, then reacting in another direction, then melding, then continuing…testing…. Maybe with repetition, deviation and hesitation! And always with reflecting, meditating, responding, analysing and generally waiting for paint to dry.

I am currently beginning to find that the combination of continuing with the reflective and analytical practice of both personal psychotherapy tied in with my faith journey as a Christian is providing many wells of potential directions for my painting, poetry and other work with imagery.  As always, I seek focus through reflection, and seek insight and wisdom as to decisions connected to my paintings and other work.

The Archive of Failure…

How could I resist not getting involved in this interesting project?  !!!!

We all know what it means to fail…

Aaron Head has put together “The Archive of Failure” which I am sure will be amusing and interesting view.

I won’t post mine up right now, as I don’t want to spoil the impact of the publication, but I cannot wait to see the other images included in “The Archive of Failure”

http://archiveoffailure.com/

Thinking about failure, I failed to get my submission of artwork into the Urban Dialogues Exhibition this year.  It’s always worth enquiring as to how many submissions were received and how many artworks were selected.  I did enquire and this was the result:  “This year we received 255 submission of artwork, of that yours was shortlisted to the final 30. In the end we had to settle on 20 artists to show.”     Ahhh, so close and yet so far.   Though it is disappointing not to be able to show something, and the application process and pulling the work together all takes time, I guess I can be pleased to have been among the final 30.  This is the value of asking, because it is too easy to get demoralised when you enter things and don’t get selected.   I really like the Urban Dialogues purpose/project and don’t think this failure will put me off making the effort to enter something next year.  I went along to the  women’s event at the Red Gallery this week and had a  good chance to see the exhibition then.  The best part of my visit was seeing “The Fury Project”.  The discussion was good, but too short, which is a shame because the panel were all very interesting women in their own right and it would have been good to hear more from both them and the other women there.  A “red herring” was thrown in at one point, and this unfortunately did the usual thing that red herrings do…plummet the direction of an interesting debate into the abyss…   It happens so easily and so quickly.  But there was a lot of very good reflection and opinion in the main. Details of the Panel:

Discussion Panel: FEMINIST ACTION – ON THE RIGHT TRACK?
Chaired by BBC Correspondent RAZIA IQBAL
With:
LAURA BATES – Everyday Sexism Project
JULIE SADDIQI – Islamic Society of Britain
DR ALTHEA LEGAL-MILLER – King’s College London
Jacqueline Nicholls – Artist

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

I am very fond of Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, and normally make a visit there when I am in that neck of the woods, which is usually when I am doing some course or other at West Dean College in Chichester.  Rather short of money for attending courses at the present time, and so I won’t be making a trip to Chichester or West Dean for some time…Maybe I will need to give this exhibition of Eric Ravilious  woodcuts, lithographs and blocks a miss, which is a great shame as I LOVE his work.  The blurb for the Ravilious Prints Exhibition taken from the Pallant House Gallery website  is quoted below:

“Our new autumn season kicks off this month with an eclectic array of openings and events, starting with an exhibition of the celebrated painter, designer, book illustrator and wood engraver, Eric Ravilious (1903 – 42). One of Britain’s most popular and versatile artists, Ravilious produced distinctive watercolours, lithographs, and graphics in the 1930s for companies such as London Transport and ceramics for Wedgwood which are hugely evocative of the era. The exhibition, runs from 8 October – 8 December 2013 in the De’Longhi Print Room and includes woodcuts, lithographs and blocks by the artist.”

Eric Ravilious produced a huge amount of high quality work over his busy life, and I get great pleasure from looking and reflecting on his amazing craftsmanship.

Grayson Perry Playing to the Gallery 2013 Democracy Has Bad Taste – The Reith Lectures

The best part of my day today  (16/10/2013) was listening to this!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03969vt/The_Reith_Lectures_Grayson_Perry_Playing_to_the_Gallery_2013_Democracy_Has_Bad_Taste/

Brixton Drawing Project

I love walking around London and spend a fair bit of time exploring, so you can imagine how pleased I was to stumble into Brixton East, 100 Barrington Road, Brixton, SW9 on Sunday to find a beautiful and interesting space, lots of paper, charcoal, pencils, etc, and people drawing, relaxing music, an amazing lavatorium (this is my playful name for a toilet, loo, restroom, etc), and a very nice cup of tea.  (Thank you so much for that! It inspired my artworking!)   I found out that the Brixton Drawing Project, (now in it’s third year, I think) is a week long event and started on the 1st of October, so I felt fortunate to have made it there by accident.   I also bumped into an old friend, unexpectedly, which was lovely and she kindly gave me a home made pastel.  This may not seem very exciting to many, but home-made art materials always go down very well with me; I love using them and I was most grateful for it.    It is wobbly and distorted and full of natural and individual charm…Just like the most interesting people in life!

The Brixton Drawing Project managed to get funded this time around through crowd funding, which is fantastic and meant that they did not need to charge people for taking part.  I feel strongly this is a very important kind of facility and activity to exist, as it connects people, all people…Not just those who might label themselves “artists”, but anyone who may like to play…Play with markmaking, responding, seeing.   Spend time observing, looking, interpreting.  Drawing is a natural and essential activity, I think, and it’s wonderful to have been able to share in the Brixton Drawing Project in a small way.  They held an exhibition of the work carried out on Sunday from 7pm  (mine included) and it was rich in variety, a real delight to see.  Though I didn’t attend from 7pm onwards, there was a lot of the drawing up ready for the exhibition on the walls when I came earlier on in the day, and so I got to see quite a bit of it.  Here are my image of the Brixton Drawing Project when I was there…

Brixton Drawing Project - Jenny Meehan at Brixton East.  My offering, in charcoal.  There is a small figure standing in the realm of a markmaking landscape.  jenny meehan markmaking drawing experimental exploratory,romantic landscape with moon

Brixton Drawing Project – Jenny Meehan at Brixton East. My offering, in charcoal. There is a small figure standing in the realm of a markmaking landscape!

jenny meehan brixton east,brixton drawing project, drawbrixton image

jenny meehan brixton east,brixton drawing project, drawbrixton image

jenny meehan brixton east,brixton drawing project, drawbrixton image

jenny meehan brixton east,brixton drawing project, drawbrixton image

jenny meehan brixton east,brixton drawing project, drawbrixton image

jenny meehan brixton east,brixton drawing project, drawbrixton image

Kingston Arts Salon

Quite a sociable time at the moment, and it was great to view the KAOS (Kingston Artist’s Open Studios) exhibition once more at the Cafe at Court Farm Garden Centre in Worcester Park during the Kingston Arts Salon Networking event.  I think it is very valuable and important for creative practitioners of all varieties, be they into music, writing,  visual arts, drama, dance, etc to mix, because we are engaged in the same wonderful creative adventure, in different forms…These forms can relate in so many interesting ways, and we can learn so much from eachother.

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