A Letter in Mind – The National Brain Appeal Art Event – Brown Wax Sculpture “Thelma” in Water Supply state -” THE UNDERLYING RHYTHM of LECTIO DIVINA” – Spiritual Direction/Formation Interests – “Bright and Breezy” Painting by Jenny Meehan at Dulwich Picture Gallery as part of Dulwich Picture Gallery Friends Open Exhibition 2015

August 18, 2014

A Letter in Mind –  The National Brain Appeal Art Event

“As part of our 30th anniversary celebrations we are planning an exciting exhibition called ‘A Letter in Mind’ which will be held at the prestigious central London exhibition space gallery@oxo in October 2014. For more information about the gallery@oxo click here

The exhibition will consist of visual responses to the title ‘A Letter in Mind’ realised on or in pre-supplied envelopes. The medium is determined by the artist; the envelopes can be drawn on, written in, collaged or even disassembled. The artworks will be priced at between £50-£100 and sold anonymously at the exhibition in aid of The National Brain Appeal.  Only when the purchaser buys the work will the artist’s name and biography be revealed.

We are inviting UK resident artists (aged over 18 on 1st September 2014), designers and illustrators to produce an artwork using an envelope (supplied by us). Students are welcome to apply. Please spread the word about this opportunity to exhibit and be part of The National Brain Appeal’s first art event.”

I have entered something into “A Letter in Mind”… Not sure when I would be notified if included, but the exhibition is planned for October.  Worth considering entering this for a worthy cause.  (addition, yes, mine is in there!)

 

Coleman, A. D. Depth of Field. University of New Mexico Press, 1998.

I’m posting this in again, as I like it so much!

Nice quote, taken from:  Coleman, A. D. Depth of Field. University of New Mexico Press, 1998.

‘If recognition – or, even worse, fame – is your goal,  you are again in the wrong profession.  Modesty is another of the artist’s tools.

If you’re lucky, any recognition you gain will be merely commensurate with your achievement, and any fame that afflicts you will pass quickly, leaving your sense of self undamaged, so that you can get on with your work.

Get on with your work”‘

And, indeed, I am getting on with my work.

Due to my interest in Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Accompaniment,  which involves time to be invested in reading and quiet (and sometimes loud) reflection,  I am making more effort to focus my art working, and this is good, because my general pace is normally quite fast.  This is just right for some times and some types of working… For some phases in the creative process, it is essential to work fast.  I don’t think there is any special virtue in working in a slow manner, but,  I do want to invest more time thinking about what I am doing and why: more time absorbing what I am doing, and also,  I think, a greater appreciation of the value of time spent not always pushing things forward.   It’s quite hard to allow times of retreating as well as moving forwards.  There is so much emphasis on pushing oneself forward, in promoting, in telling others what you are doing, in all that marketing type activity.  Being an extrovert I don’t mind all that, but it is a job in itself, and I am withdrawing a little from all that exhibition organising and hunting around for opportunities for a while.  The writing of this Jenny Meehan Journal I do very much enjoy, and as I use it as a type of note taking device, it serves me well alongside the potential, at least for any interested parties to dip into it here and there, if so inclined.

I first started the “Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal” as  way of keeping my friends up to date with what I do.  I think I felt that many people I knew did not know very much about what I do,  and having the Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal gives people somewhere to look if they want to get more of an idea.  It’s a rather thrown together blog,  for I don’t work on it much:  it’s all rather stream of consciousness!  For that reason, I have no doubt that it repeats and over dwells on certain matters, however, it does the job for me that I want it to!

Thelma – Her Water Supply was Cut Off,  but her Spirit was Strong”

Here are some images below of a sculpture in wax which is now mostly finished,or at least in the final stages.  The images below show it’s first expression/manifestation, but it looks rather different now as I have added a lot to it in order to make it suitable for casting. It’s gone through several phases.. including a female bishop (in celebration of the ordination of women bishops).   At the point shown in these images I was experimenting with the aluminium.   I will experiment and photograph, maybe experimenting with some painting also, and some pigment.  Once I have finished modifying it  so that a suitable for a cast can  be made,  I might translate the sculpture into some other materials.

The story behind “Thelma – Her Water Supply was Cut Off, but her Spirit was Strong”  (which is the title at the stage shown below!)  lies in the experiences of the life model, who, in the midst of the hot and roasting heat we experienced at the end of July 2014, had to endure the stoppage of her water supply!   Her lovely character though didn’t suffer and while I was working on my brown wax sculpture the theme of water emerged… of flow, and of fluidity.  I joked how lovely it would be to have a wonderful fine spray of water falling down from above… I may well play with this thought as I continue.  The sculpture was carried out on a three day course at Morley College taught by Shelley  Wilson. This was a complete joy, as I have wanted to learn about constructing an armature and working with wax for years.  It was a mega big treat for me,  but I have put a little money aside each month and I was very glad to find a course in London which met a long term desire to experiment with these materials.   I do find it very important to try and do one short course each year if possible, or if not possible, at least a few sessions of life drawing.  It keeps things fresh, and makes the mind think of new directions and new possibilities.

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure,  jenny meehan sculpture semi abstract wax contemporary, Thelma - Her Spirit is Strong

Thelma – Her Spirit is Strong Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure

 

 Jenny Meehan  spirit, thelma, Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure - Jenny Meehan "Thelma - Her Spirit is Strong"

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure – Jenny Meehan “Thelma – Her Spirit is Strong”

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure - Jenny Meehan "Thelma - Her Spirit is Strong"

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure – Jenny Meehan “Thelma – Her Spirit is Strong”

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure - Jenny Meehan "Thelma - Her Spirit is Strong"

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure – Jenny Meehan “Thelma – Her Spirit is Strong”

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure - Jenny Meehan "Thelma - Her Spirit is Strong"

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure – Jenny Meehan “Thelma – Her Spirit is Strong”

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure - Jenny Meehan "Thelma - Her Spirit is Strong"

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure – Jenny Meehan “Thelma – Her Spirit is Strong”

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure - Jenny Meehan "Thelma - Her Spirit is Strong"

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure – Jenny Meehan “Thelma – Her Spirit is Strong”

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure - Jenny Meehan "Thelma - Her Spirit is Strong"

Brown wax and aluminium in progress semi abstract sculpture of human figure – Jenny Meehan “Thelma – Her Spirit is Strong”

thelma webImage00004

 

 

 

Well, of course since posting the above images, I have continued to work with the sculpture and the sculpture has taken on more than one life of it’s own.  With the need to fill in some areas due to my desire to cast the sculpture at some point, I then let other ideas emerge.  The sculpture went from it’s very watery focus, with it’s root in the memory of the model herself, and took several other forms…Such is the wonder of modelling with brown wax, I find.  It’s so flexible.  After experimenting with stone carving recently, brown modelling wax couldn’t be further away from stone.

With many gaps filled in, a greater sense of body came to be.  This was a great process…quite therapeutic.   This is what psychotherapy does for me, I was thinking…That patient fleshing out and filling in of my sense of self.  Healing.  A kind of spiritual formation process… and, for a Christ believer, as I am,  all the art working I do is a sacramental practice.  An outer sign of an inward grace.  A sign of Christ’s work, on the cross, and in the world, through the Holy Spirit.  This kind of thinking brought me swiftly to the very topical matter of the ordination of women bishops in the Church of England…but I will save the sharing the other images for another time.

Spiritual Formation/Spiritual Direction

At the heart of
spiritual formation is
becoming aware that
God is everywhere,
learning to ‘practise’
God’s presence, and
yielding to God’s
transforming grace.

David Benner

I found the above quote helpful.  As I go through the process of considering some further training in spiritual direction (spiritual mentoring is a more accessible term, I feel)  I am taking time to try and find simple and understandable descriptions of what spiritual direction is.   The one above is like a delightful potted plant!

I have also found this quote below on “The Underlying Rhythm of Lectio Divina” very interesting.   I won’t go into what Lectio Divina is, (I am only just starting to find out myself anyway) but the text below is particularly interesting to me.   By the way…apostolates (never heard of that before!) is, according to wikipedia:  “An Apostolate is a Catholic organization devoted to the mission of the Catholic Church. In more general usage, an apostolate is an association of persons dedicated to the propagation of a religion or a doctrine. ”  

 

” THE UNDERLYING RHYTHM of LECTIO DIVINA

IF WE are to practice lectio divina effectively, we must travel back in time to an understanding that today is in danger of being almost completely lost. In the Christian past the words action (or practice, from the Greek praktikos) and contemplation did not describe different kinds of Christians engaging (or not engaging) in different forms of prayer and apostolates. Practice and contemplation were understood as the two poles of our underlying, ongoing spiritual rhythm: a gentle oscillation back and forth between spiritual “activity” with regard to God and “receptivity.”

PRACTICE – spiritual “activity” – referred in ancient times to our active cooperation with God’s grace in rooting out vices and allowing the virtues to flourish. The direction of spiritual activity was not outward in the sense of an apostolate, but inward – down into the depths of the soul where the Spirit of God is constantly transforming us, refashioning us in God’s image. The active life is thus coming to see who we truly are and allowing ourselves to be remade into what God intends us to become.

IN THE early monastic tradition contemplation was understood in two ways. First was theoria physike, the contemplation of God in creation – God in “the many.” Second was theologia, the contemplation of God in Himself without images or words – God as “The One.” From this perspective lectio divina serves as a training-ground for the contemplation of God in His creation.

IN CONTEMPLATION we cease from interior spiritual doing and learn simply to be, that is to rest in the presence of our loving Father. Just as we constantly move back and forth in our exterior lives between speaking and listening, between questioning and reflecting, so in our spiritual lives we must learn to enjoy the refreshment of simply being in God’s presence, an experience that naturally alternates (if we let it!) with our spiritual practice.

IN ANCIENT times contemplation was not regarded as a goal to be achieved through some method of prayer, but was simply accepted with gratitude as God’s recurring gift. At intervals the Lord invites us to cease from speaking so that we can simply rest in his embrace. This is the pole of our inner spiritual rhythm called contemplation.

HOW DIFFERENT this ancient understanding is from our modern approach! Instead of recognizing that we all gently oscillate back and forth between spiritual activity and receptivity, between practice and contemplation, we today tend to set contemplation before ourselves as a goal – something we imagine we can achieve through some spiritual technique. We must be willing to sacrifice our “goal-oriented” approach if we are to practice lectio divina, because lectio divina has no other goal than spending time with God through the medium of His word. The amount of time we spend in any aspect of lectio divina, whether it be rumination, consecration or contemplation depends on God’s Spirit, not on us. Lectio divinateaches us to savor and delight in all the different flavors of God’s presence, whether they be active or receptive modes of experiencing Him.

IN LECTIO DIVINA we offer ourselves to God; and we are people in motion. In ancient times this inner spiritual motion was described as a helix – an ascending spiral. Viewed in only two dimensions it appears as a circular motion back and forth; seen with the added dimension of time it becomes a helix, an ascending spiral by means of which we are drawn ever closer to God. The whole of our spiritual lives were viewed in this way, as a gentle oscillation between spiritual activity and receptivity by means of which God unites us ever closer to Himself. In just the same way the steps or stages of lectio divina represent an oscillation back and forth between these spiritual poles. In lectio divina we recognize our underlying spiritual rhythm and discover many different ways of experiencing God’s presence – many different ways of praying.”

Copyright information:

This article may be downloaded, reproduced and distributed without special permission from the author. It was first published in the Spring, 1990 (vol.1, no.1) edition of Valyermo Benedictine. It was reprinted as “Appendix 2” in The Art and Vocation of Caring for People in Pain by Karl A. Schultz (Paulist Press, 1993), pp. 98-110. This article can be found in St. Andrew’s Abbey Website.

 

“Bright and Breezy” Painting Chosen for the Dulwich Picture Gallery 2014 Friends Exhibition

 

Bright and Breezy" Jenny Meehan Acrylic and Oil Painting, jenny meehan abstract colourist expressionistic, modernist lyrical abstraction,female british uk 21st century artist jenny meehan, contemporary painters in uk,

Bright and Breezy” Jenny Meehan Acrylic and Oil Painting
There’s a little memory from childhood of a tuft of a tree growing on the edge of a cliff

 

This painting “Bright and Breezy” has been selected for an exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery this year.  I am delighted, and pleasantly surprised, as there were a lot of entries.

“Thank you for your entry to the Friends Open.  This year 234 artists submitted 573 artworks.  The judges were very impressed by the high quality of work submitted and, due to limited display space, had to make some difficult choices to select work for the exhibition.

I am pleased to inform you that the judges have selected Bright & Breezy for exhibition.”

“Bright and Breezy” is 40 x 60 cm in size.  Painted mainly in acrylic, with a very small amount of oil paint  in places on top (I have checked this out technically, and have experienced no issues with the oil paint applied in small areas/amounts in this way).  Very small glass beads are used in some areas, applied by mixing with acrylic medium. ) The surface is partially varnished in some areas with an acrylic varnish, some areas matt and some semi-matt.   It has some interesting surface qualities, and though I am aware I probably sound very pedantic  about the surface,  it naturally interests( and matters to) me a great deal…it does also affect the way the light bounces off the surface, which matters a great deal in painting!  I am framing it in a natural wood (Obeche) frame, with a little satin acrylic varnish.

I think I have posted this painting up on the Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal before and said a little bit about it’s inspiration from a childhood memory of a view of Combe Martin Bay in North Devon.  The little red and blue tuft of a tree hangs onto the side of the cliff, and weathers all storms.  An image of resilience if there ever was one!  I also love the way that the  rocks in the bay,  (though they will certainly change over long periods of time) are so resounding of un-changeability,  in the way they maintain the same basic structure, even forty years later!!!!  You don’t see an image or picture of the scene in my painting, but certainly the emotional and spiritual impulses were expressed successfully, from my perspective/in my understanding.  For some other viewer I expect the painting will resonate with a different memory and image.. the image sometimes may not be seen, but hovers there in the back of the viewers mind, rather than blatantly on the surface of the canvas.

I will now need to sort out a frame, thankfully, I have become quite a dab hand at constructing the frames for my paintings.  I like to make them myself, not only because of the financial aspect, but because I can have them exactly as I please in terms of colour and form, and also, they are even more part of the painting when I personally make them.

The Exhibition space is very nice indeed, and I am looking forward to seeing all the other artworks on show.

Here are the details taken from the Dulwich Picture Gallery website:

“In celebration of their 60th Anniversary the Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery are holding a special Open Exhibition in the Gallery’s temporary exhibition spaces. This is a unique opportunity for the public to have work shown at the world’s very first purpose-built public art gallery.

569 artworks have been submitted by 230 artists. The Sackler Director of the Gallery, Ian Dejardin, is heading a panel of judges including Rebecca Fortnum, Clive Head, Nicky Hirst and Elo Schuneman, who will select over a hundred pictures to be displayed for sale.

Work chosen will hang in the Open Exhibiton, on show to the public from 30 September to 12 October.  Entrants will be invited to a Private View on 29 September where three prizes will be awarded by the judges.”

Private View: 29 September

For enquiries please contact: friendsexhibition@dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk

The exhibition runs from the 30th of September until the 12th October 2015

http://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/2014/sep/open-exhibition/

I’m looking forward to the private view, though hoping that they don’t just offer wine to drink, but have something non-alcoholic as well!  I hope the painting sells, as I now need to fund an individually guided retreat  next year, and the money would be very handy indeed for this.

 

The “Art and Life” exhibition is on at the moment, and so it is still possible to visit this!  It’s very good!

http://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/2014/jun/art-and-life/

 

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