Oliver McTernan “Finding Sense in a Complex World”- Contemplation/Garden of Gethsemane Painting Jenny Meehan, Globus and Chalk Lumps – Psychoanalysis and Artistic Process – Holocaust Memorial Day Trust Exhibition -Artists Hiring Space – Sacred Spaces Exhibition – Clyde Hopkins – Rush Hour Print by Jenny Meehan

March 18, 2014

Oliver Mc Ternan – Finding Sense in a Complex World: The Need for a Spiritual Paradigm

Well, it is along way back now, but on Thursday 9th January I made my way to Westminster Cathedral Hall SW1P 0QJ for an event organised by “Silence in the City”.  (www.silenceinthecity.org.uk)  As part of my creative practice this year (and probably many years to come, I hope) I am going to invest more time into the practice of contemplative Christian centred prayer and meditation, and I was very pleased to find an organisation like Silence in the City who organise regular events with speakers and also with a time of silent prayer and reflection.    To my dismay, I realised I was pen and paperless, but tried out my mobile phone’s swipe facility for note taking.  Urm, it was good, very fast,  but problematic when it got the occasional word wrong!  Returning to correct some errors was essential, and this took a protracted amount of time.  However, I did manage to record a few things!  Silence in the City do produce recordings of the talks they host, so if you are interested then go to the www.silenceinthecity.org.uk website and enquire.  http://www.silenceinthecity.org.uk/

(My notes here are very piecemeal, and miss out huge chunks, particularly when I ended up fiddling around with the mis types of the swype!)

What I came away with, that which stays most prominently in my mind is the importance of keeping open communication with others even when we don’t agree, and the importance of patience and perseverance when there is a breakdown of communication and the potential for conflict.   Oliver is particularly involved in east west relations and conflict resolutions.  I also note his comments concerning the fact that religion has an ambiguity towards violence, and also that peace processes often fail because the religious factor has been ignored.  He stressed the need to understand religious motivations and adopt a mindset which can understand the other in the sacred spaces where we are able to connect with what we find in common.  People can have a spiritual sense of what life is about which is shared, even if there is disagreement over certain matters. There is always a place on a human level where we can connect with each other.    He also talked about how we have grown to privatise our faith, but that faith places an obligation on us to shape the world and to see that each person is able to live in the justice that God intended them to experience.   How we define our spirituality should not stop us responding with sensitivity and awareness to what is going on around us.  This is the real mark of the spiritual.   We tend to try and stay in our comfort zone but need to embrace the unpredictability of God.    It’s very easy to be tempted by reasonable arguments and a sense of righteousness which can stop us from relating with people on a human level.  We cannot circumvent the painful moments in the lives of others.  He noted that the spiritual framework can be symbolised very well in the sign of the cross…  the line travels both horizontally and vertically… relationally it is something which needs to happen both ways.  The divine and the human.

Contemplation  and Contemplation/Garden of Gethsemane 

contemplative pray,garden of Gethsemane, oil painting christian artist painter,spirituality painting expression,expressive abstraction, jenny meehan contemporary female painter

A recent painting… I am pleased with this as it seems to flow in a bit of a stream of my work which I feel runs true to the main current. It makes me feel the way I feel when I look at a painting by Corot, which is good with me, as I love his painting!

It’s on linen, 40x60cm in size, painted in oils. I soon begun to think along the lines of the Garden of Gethsemane, but kept the title more open. Gethsemane means literally “oil press” though, which I find an attractive thought. Maybe I will end up doing what I often do and giving it two titles!  So Contemplation/Garden of Gethsemane.   I think the title of a painting is very important, and sometimes emerges in phases.  I’m starting to rest on the two titles together.  On the one hand I like the title not to reveal too much, because I feel if someone wants it very much, then it would almost need them to re-title it, so what is the point of making the title more particular!  On the other hand, I feel it might be interesting to hint at the meaning of the work for me.  So the general and the particular in a title is good. 

Andy Goldsworthy 14 chalk stones  on the West Dean Estate and “Chalk Lump” painting

As time goes by, my own participation in psychoanalysis, more time spent working with painting, and more focus on centring myself firmly within my faith and Christ-centred contemplative practice, is all contributing to a much deeper and richer experience of life.  Still scattered with the same boulders, some within and some without. Thinking on the boulder, lump and stone theme makes me  think now of my painting “Chalk Lump” painted at West Dean College during a painting course taught by John T Freeman.  Here it is: 

Chalk Lump on West Dean Estate by Jenny Meehan, oil painting british 21st century, british female uk painter semi abstract,semi abstract ivon hitches influenced painting,romantic lyrical abstraction meehan,

Chalk Lump on West Dean Estate by Jenny Meehan
Oil on Canvas

I found out after painting this painting that  Andy Goldsworthy made 14 chalk stones of approximately 6 foot diameter and placed them in chosen locations along a five mile trail on the South Downs between West Dean Gardens and Cocking Hill. (in 2002 I think)  This painting was painted from (or rather, based very loosely!) on a sketch drawn from observation of the scene before me, as I looked out from the front of West Dean and over towards the chalk stone.  I have wondered if I should change the title to “Chalk Stone” to make the relationship with what it was based on clearer, but I like the “lump” because it expresses an emotional blockage and makes me think of a “lump in the throat”  and is therefore more accurate  in that respect.  I have other paintings of Andy Goldsworthy’s chalk stone at West Dean which I painted at that time and also afterwards, because as a motif I like it very much.  Something just there, incongruous but present.

A “lump in the throat” is described in medical terms as “globus”  and it used to describe the sensation of a lump in the throat where no true lump exists. It was once called Globus Hystericus,  and is sometimes also referred to as Globus pharyngeus.  It is related to many things, two of them being stress and tiredness. I am experiencing globus quite lot myself at the moment, and I do think emotional tension and trouble expressing grief and deep sadness may be related to it.  A kind of holding in of emotional tension which needs to be expressed.  Some people experience a lot of trauma in life, from a very young age,  and this can accumulate and cause problems later  if the emotions and thinking are not worked through and faced.  In the process of working through the tangle (via psychotherapy),  sometimes a backlog of grief builds up, and you feel it.  This is my thinking on the emotional “lump in the throat” matter.   It doesn’t worry me…I have learnt to embrace it as part of my experience, and I think, used in the right way, these odd ways our bodies express themselves can be helpful to us if we heed their complaining and act accordingly.  For me, it is more rest, less doing, more chance to allow my emotions to have their own say in things a bit more then they usually get as I rush from A to B and try and achieve more than I need to!

Concerning the  external “stones”, these things will always be here, things which block and get in the way of love, of truth, of the light. But maybe, with a commitment to the truth, to seeking truth, through living with as much integrity as we can, time will wear them down, and we, in some way, may help the process by choosing to love, in and through all.  

On the psychoanalysis/art topic, this looks great…  The text is from the Freud Museum  website and a few other places!

Psychoanalysis and Artistic Process

Grayson Perry in conversation with Valerie Sinason

A celebration of the launch of a Special Edition of Free Associations:  “The journal, Free Associations, is delighted to announce the launch of a special edition edited by Patricia Townsend on the theme of ‘Psychoanalysis and Artistic Process’”

Grayson Perry won the Turner Prize in 2003 and delivered the 2013 BBC Reith lectures. His major exhibition The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman was shown at the British Museum in 2011-12. He has exhibited his ceramics, sculptures, prints and textiles widely for 30 years and has also written a weekly arts column for the Times and made radio and television documentaries. Valerie Sinason is a poet, author, child and adult psychotherapist and adult psychoanalyst. She is Director of the Clinic for Dissociative Studies and Honorary Consultant Psychotherapist to the Cape Town Child Guidance Unit.

The Special Edition includes articles by Kenneth Wright, Lesley Caldwell, Sharon Kivland and Patricia Townsend, transcripts of talks by Grayson Perry, Martin Creed and Valerie Sinason and an afterword by Juliet Mitchell.

More information here:


It’s fully booked now, so I have missed the boat.

The conference ‘Psychoanalysis and Artistic Process – a day of dialogues between artists and psychoanalysts’ took place on 25th February 2012 at University College London.

The speakers were:

Session 1: Kenneth Wright and Sharon Kivland
Session 2: Grayson Perry and Valerie Sinason
Session 3: Martin Creed and Lesley Caldwell

More here:  http://vimeo.com/user11474015


Artists Hiring Out Galleries versus Alternative Exhibition/Gallery Spaces

For those with the cash in their pocket to spend, it is possible to rent a gallery and many people do this.   Many galleries need to hire space out in order to run and it is part of their business.   Prices vary and I thought I would include this useful list for anyone who is fortunate enough to have the cash to spend on such a venture:


It’s worth bearing in mind that it is the space and the services of the gallery you get and usually that is pretty much it.  There may be a little advertising in the organisations existing framework, but it’s up to you to promote your work…So you still do the hard work.   And while giving you a nice platform to display yourself and your work,  and maybe a good venue address for your CV…and good experience of exhibiting…  it is possible to get experience of exhibiting your work in other ways, ie through open studios, art fairs,  and approaching restaurants, hotels, bars, theatres, community organisations and community centres, etc.     These alternative venues may not have the perceived “status” of a gallery in a London setting,  but everyone in the know knows which galleries are hired out to artists in this way, and so no extra value will be placed on your work by showing at a hired space.  The only possible benefit would be that it would demonstrate the way that you value your own work, which is a good thing, and also possibly that you have money to spend on such ventures.  It may also be perceived by those who know nothing of how this system works, as being an endorsement that your work is of particular worth.  So if you are in a position to do it, it is probably worth considering.  However, I wanted to add this into my journal because it is very easy to become disheartened if you are an artist with little or no disposable income…it is easy to feel that doors are closed to you if you don’t have the cash.  However, this is not the case, and one should persist in seeking open doors…They do exist, and if you look for opportunities to show and share what you do, they will come.  You seek them, and you offer your art as a service, which it is.  Be creative!

Arrogance Abounds….

Couldn’t resist showing this.  Sad.  Hard to imagine if this person is looking around them?


Well, as a pleasant change and in order to read something more interesting and intelligent, take a look here:


Leatherhead Theatre “Sacred Spaces”  Exhibition 

Miyajima by Hilary Walker

Miyajima by Hilary Walker

Hilary Walker

I’ve been interested in photography for many years. I like the immediacy of a photograph and how it can tell a story. I think that the relationship between the image and the artist is a subtle one with photography; the photograph itself is often (but not always) very representational and perhaps could be seen as little to do with the artist compared to a painting or a drawing. However, the photographer is very influential in the final result. They choose the viewpoint of the photograph, the scale, colour intensity and contrast, the composition and the main focus of the image. Sometimes I manipulate the original a great deal so that it becomes an abstract piece. With these photographs I kept the realism to the fore to emphasise that this is not about the artist as such, more about the people who use these things to relate spiritually to their world

Forms created by animals and the natural world underlie most of Hilary’s work: in particular the way shape and colour interact with each other. She uses her photographs to create images that can range from naturalistic to highly abstract. Hilary embraces a very wide spectrum of ways to express her ideas creatively. She has produced work using acrylics, watercolour, etching and relief printing, pencil, photography, and most recently, the iPad.

“To me, it doesn’t really matter what medium I use; I don’t specialise in that way. If the medium is right for the idea I want to express or the effect I want to create then I use it, it’s as simple as that.”

She has always been inspired by Japan, both by its culture and the landscape itself. After visiting the country, she has created a portfolio of photographs to reflect the deeply spiritual nature of Japan, its people and culture. Hilary’s work can be found on her website: http://www.hilarywalker.co.uk

Icy Landscape - Jenny Meehan

Icy Landscape – Jenny Meehan

Jenny Meehan

The two process led paintings I am showing stem from my imagination, and reference both present and past visual and emotional experiences. The process of building up the painting is slow, which means on some days I might only add a couple of marks! The analytical reviewing of the works formal elements and time spent simply looking at the work to determine how it resonates emotionally is part of a contemplative practice requiring openness and reflection. This is true of all my paintings, even those more figurative, but especially so with non-objective or highly abstracted paintings. I draw on my own subconscious in an attempt to locate some of my most central concerns, emotions, and thinking. As the paintings develop, subject matter emerges, which you can see reflected in the titles.

I am also exhibiting a black and white digital print which is an example of another strand in my work through which I delight in the pattern and dramatic impact of the natural world and its forms, which ultimately initiate and enlighten the imagination for even the deepest inner thoughts and images.

Human experience, emotion, and my own personal life journey form the centre of my work. The brokenness of human experience fascinates me, as well as the potential for growth and renewal.

After a BA Honours (Literature) in 1994 and a PGCE in 1995 I taught in Primary Education. I now use teaching skills integrated with nine years experience as an artist to occasionally offer tuition in painting and drawing.  I am based in Chessington, Surrey, and I exhibit widely across the UK.

Painting is the main strand in my practice, but I am also involved in applied arts and design, digital imagery, printmaking and writing. I always seek creative and innovative ways to experiment with existing skills and knowledge. Curating and organising this exhibition on behalf of KAOS is part of my ongoing professional development. You can see more of my work and exhibition history on my website: www.jamartlondon.com  and read about my activities on my blog: http://www.jennymeehan.wordpress.com

art at leatherhead theatre KAOS kingston artists' open studios exhibition Geranium Johnsons Blue cyanotype by EmilyLimna

Geranium Johnsons Blue cyanotype by EmilyLimna

Emily Limna

In my original prints I combine hand with digital photographic techniques. I capture the beautiful details found in plant and flower structures through controlling light and composition. My methods include hand drawn monoprints, cyanotype sun prints and digital macro work.

I find the geometric patterns and structures found in flora fascinating. Representing these natural forms with intricate mark making and precise photographic techniques becomes a meditative process. Revealing tiny, hidden details through intricate, hand drawn studies and macro lenses emphasises the beauty found in even the simplest natural forms.

The three cyanotype prints shown are rooted in nature through both content and technique. I select natural forms for their structure and behaviour with light. The tiny veins in geranium petals glow with the backlit rays of sunlight. These sun prints are exposed in my garden. Some are direct photograms and others are using negative transparencies of my macro prints.

In a current project with a local writer I am creating a limited edition children’s book. My images for this publication playfully combine miniature figures and animals with the surrounding world.

Emily is also a teacher and examiner of Art, Design and Photography in London.


Well, “Sacred Spaces” is coming up in May, but for the present time I am having a little well earned break from the organisational tasks involved…I got those done early because I know how incessant it can all  seem.  Apart from a little bit of publicity,  I’m not needing to spend time on it right now.

Sacred Spaces Flyer by Jenny Meehan which promotes the Sacred Spaces Visual Art Exhibition at Leatherhead Theatre in May 2014 organised on behalf of KAOS (Kingston Artists' Open Studios)

Sacred Spaces Flyer by Jenny Meehan which promotes the Sacred Spaces Visual Art Exhibition at Leatherhead Theatre in May 2014 organised on behalf of KAOS (Kingston Artists’ Open Studios)

Which is GREAT!  I have some time to look at other peoples work a bit more!

Starting to invest more time in looking at Clyde Hopkins’ paintings

Before I start, I am no great writer, but writing is enjoyable to me, and at least attempts to put what seems, with painting, the mostly impossible into words…Well, it doesn’t do that,  it cannot, (thankfully) but it tries, in a clumsy way, to put logic this way and that, hopefully in an interesting manner.  I view writing about paintings as tempting, but always likely to miss the point, the point being ON the painting.  Something might be gained though by forcing my brain to use words as I look at a painting, even if what I say falls away, at least I will have invested the time in looking and thinking about it.  My brain is lazy.  It’s just a natural thing!  So over the next few journal posts, I will take the time to mull over Clyde Hopkins’ paintings.   So first comes:

Clyde Hopkins
Your Choice of Cereal (for Breakfast)
Oil on linen
Canvas size: 30 x 25cm

Copyright Clyde Hopkins

Well, that is kind.  My choice of cereal for breakfast.  In our house this is no small matter.  If your choice of cereal is not there, all hell breaks loose, it does, completely.  Maybe only slightly worse is the situation where there is a very small amount of cereal in the packet, but the person before you has scoffed pretty much all of the rest.  So the title, it relates.  How it relates to the painting will maybe need to remain something nice and personal to the painter himself, unless you happen to ask.  This is good.  It is kind.  It makes the start of my writing very simple.  And the painting is kind too.

The colour is kind.  Yes, colour can be kind.  It can relate respectfully to its surrounding colours, yet shine.  It can take up its room, and not trespass on someone else’s room.  This happens with this painting and it happens with all of Clyde’s paintings  (well, those I have seen (on the net) so far.  It is not easy to use so many colours when playing with space on the picture plane.  I have only just started to touch on what a skilful, sometimes painful,  task this can be.  So I am not surprised I find these paintings inspiring.  In my own painting I am tending to prefer soft edges rather than hard edges, but the undulations in this painting are just sufficient to relieve me of any “hard line stress” (invented term!)  that otherwise may creep into my mind as I look at them.

Those tiny little dots.  They call out “crafted”…We are applied, we are placed, with care.  They make a pleasing perceived and actual (though I cannot see from image, I am sure) texture.  It is great to have something hit the eye in this manner.  I think it has an energy of it’s own which works very effectively against the areas of flatter colour, though again, I suspect that, face to face, I would see a lot of what I am missing by just using an image.  There are other more subtle things going on.  But to have the obvious and heightened surface…to have it meet your eye in this way is a great visual sensation.  There are some patterns in this painting, but the regular areas both cover and reveal…they do this by being a covering but also making me think of the substrate underneath, in this case the linen.

More next post…

Baker Tilly in Guildford 

Here is another of the prints from the forthcoming exhibition at Baker Tilly in Guildford.

digital print buy abstract geometric Rush Hour - Jenny Meehan Signs of the Times Series

Rush Hour – Jenny Meehan Signs of the Times Series

I also now have available selected prints from the “Signs of the Times” series on my Photobox Gallery.  The Photobox Gallery is a handy facility for enabling people to buy my prints in a quick, easy and affordable way.  The prints I describe as “Poster Prints” because they are not signed and checked by me, but I am very confident about the quality.  They are in fact  A2 and A3 sized laser prints…So, they are photographic quality…by this, I mean they are printed on archival quality photographic paper using a chemical process, rather than ink-jet prints.  Here is the link to my Photobox Gallery:

Here is the link to my Photobox Gallery:


There are other options for different types of prints on the Photobox Gallery, but at the present time I am restricting the distribution of my work over the Photobox Gallery to just A2 and A2  prints.   However, if you do want something specific, just contact me with your requirements and I am completely free, (thanks to not limiting these images to “limited edition”) to arrange to have prints made to varying specifications and to be signed and numbered.  Prints which come from me personally are signed and numbered, even though not limited in number.

The laminated and mounted  prints which will be on show at Baker Tilly are signed on reverse with both my signatures.  I have two signatures, one is a combination of my initials and the other my usual signature which I use in daily life.  I tend to sign paintings just with the combination of my initials and prints with both.  I also sign my paintings on the back, as I don’t like to put marks on the front of my work.  Sometimes I do with drawings.  But it depends on the work.  I always use my initials signature, for all my work now.  I like the way it can be used on any material, for example, clay and even stone, quite easily.

Jenny Meehan is a painter and designer based in East Surrey/South West London.
Her website is 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 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 produces representational/figurative artwork,  mostly using digital photography/image manipulation software, painting and  drawing.  Both original fine paintings and other artwork forms (prices ranging from between £60 and £700) and affordable photo-mechanically produced prints are available to purchase.

Enquiries welcome.  I have more artwork than I can display on the internet, so let me know if you are looking for something specific in terms of style, function, or subject matter. 

Jenny Meehan exhibits around the United Kingdom and holds regular Open Studio/Studio Sale events.  To be placed on Jenny Meehan’s bi-annual  mailing list please email j.meehan@tesco.net requesting to be kept up to date.

Also, you could follow the Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal at WordPress and keep informed that way. 

Note About Following Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal 

I would be very pleased if you would  choose to “follow” the Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal at WordPress and keep informed of what I am up to this way.   Just press  the “follow” button and pop in your email address.  You determine how often you get updates and you don’t need a WordPress account to follow Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal.  I don’t have a Facebook page as yet, and won’t be on Twitter.  So this is the best way to follow my art practice.  Though I ramble on, I try to organise things for easy skimming, so you can pick and choose according to your own interests quite easily!    

You tube video with examples of photography, drawing and painting

by Jenny Meehan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAXqzMIaF5k

Website Link for jamartlondon:  www.jamartlondon.com 

Digital photography can be viewed on http://www.photographyblog.com/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=5491

Notice regarding my use of images on my Jenny Meehan Artist’s Journal blog:   I always try and contact the relevant artist if I include images of their work on my blog and make clear the source.  Where images are taken from other websites, I make it my practice to  cite the source and normally include a link to the place where the image was found.  When I include images I do so in the belief that this will not cause commercial harm to the copyright holder. I  believe that this is fair use  and does not infringe copyright.  Images are used in order for me to comment and reference them in relation to my own creative and artistic practice.  When I include extracts of text, I also do so with the understanding that again, this is permissible under the widely accepted fair usage terms with respect to copyright.


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