“Pink Girl” and “Bandage Box” Paintings at the Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham

October 27, 2013

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:

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.”


Art News Article on Studio Visits by Ann Landi


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…


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:




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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