The Studio Tent

Well, it’s just great! I have done loads of painting and it looks a bit more organised than it did in the last image I posted!

Cannot find the recent image, but will post soon, of it all in action!

I have found it perfect… my portable artist’s studio, it doesn’t move around, but I could move it if I wanted to. It’s by the side of the house. It may be simple, and cheap, and it is a far call away from the size of art studio space I would ideally like, however, it works a treat…It’s a bit like a well designed kitchen with everything to hand.

I have just been painting with acrylics in the studio tent…I will save working in oils for the Winter when I will have to remove myself from this wonderfully cheap artist’s studio space and go indoors. I will also have to insulate my acrylic paints and pack them away. There simply isn’t enough space in the house to store them. I have so much art related clutter in the house, that if I have to hibernate some of it over the Winter, then so be it, I am sure I will just move onto the oils and other materials and then return to the acrylic painting and the Studio art tent in the Spring.

There are still a few too many things in it… but it makes it cosy! I have been using it as a prayer tent/prayer space too…lighting some incense and a candle, and praying that I don’t set the whole thing on fire! It is heaven for me to have some space which is my own space… I don’t have a room in the house of my own, and so this, my work and rest place, is also my refuge. I think it keeps me sane…It certainly is great to just go into with a cup of tea and a book too!

Over the Summer my psychotherapy break (of four weeks) meant that I also used the Studio tent for what I light heartedly call my “virtual” therapy time. Psychotherapy without a therapist. It’s pretty good…I spent my two hours in the Studio tent doing a mixture of Yoga (which I am just starting to practise) the Ignatian Examen (which I have been practising for a while), general prayer, and some imaginary conversations with my therapist! I find I need to invest some focus into relaxation…my body is so tense, that I think the Yoga will be very helpful to me, and while I feel fed up of the constant bodily tension, I have got used to it. With some things it’s just a matter of managing and thriving in the way you manage things, grateful for the help and support you have, and willing to receive all the goodness and blessings in life it when they come your way. I am grinding my teeth rather a lot and have started wearing a mouth guard at night, as I don’t want to wear down my teeth any more than they are worn already. They are rather too straight at the front now because of bruxism! Though the way I think about many things has certainly changed because of psychotherapy over the last few years, my dear body seems unable to believe that disaster is not immanent, and so it seems I need to just bear with this physical tension and just learn to do what I can to “let go” and be grounded. Yoga, ( I have only done one lesson!) does seem promising in this respect. I will wait and see!

Back to the Studio Painting/Prayer/Yoga/Study/Examen Tent! The ceiling of the tent is transparent tarpaulin, which lets in loads of light and is perfect. It’s rather good light for taking photographs in also, slightly diffused and evenly coming from above. The tent is situated at the side of the house, so it is fairly sheltered. The front is completely open (if wished)…. currently some tarpaulin hangs there… which means that if I need a very great distance between myself and the painting, then I can easily hang the work on the gate outside, and then view it from inside the tent at a good distance.

When I have worked on paintings on the ground I tend to do that on the grass, as I lie to have lots more space available than there is inside the Studio Tent, however, inside the tent there is enough space for a reasonable view once the work is established and I know where it is going. Sometimes tricky stages and paintings need a good deal more distance and in this case I place them at the rear of the garden and go inside the house and look at them from there! This is a distance of at least seven metres… I need that distance not just physically by psychologically and emotionally sometimes!!! Having it does help, and I am able to assess the work more critically.

Because of the sun it is delightfully warm, and has only on a very few occasions felt a little too hot to work in. In the early days of using it in the Spring it was sometimes a little chilly, however, I have heard many artists, even in rather more sturdy forms of artist studio space, for example the ASC Studios at Hook Road, Kingston, find their space too hot in Summer and too cold in Winter, because often the buildings are pretty basic and the roofing not insulated… So I think my tent not too far off, in real practical terms, to something that I might need to pay for.

Renting an artist studio space is not an option for me right now, but… it hasn’t stopped me solving my problem of a place to work! An unconventional artist space, though it is, I rather pride myself on having problem solved the matter and come up with the idea of using a market stall framework with tarpaulin to create the solution to my current need. It took a fair amount of brainstorming and research, but it is all very much worth it! I was very pleased with the company who constructed the frame for my studio tent, and so I would like to give them a mention. I always think good customer service is worth mentioning…

Here is the blurb:

“We are the UK’s largest and most established manufacturer of market stalls and market stall equipment with almost 40 years of manufacturing excellence to our name. An unrivalled knowledge and expertise of the British market industry is built into every single one of our market stall products.

Whether you’re a new market trader or seasoned professional, we have a solution. Whether it’s a traditional counter market stall for over the counter retail, a walk in market stall for ultimate coverage or a special purpose market stall tailored to suit your specific requirements, we have a solution.” from the website link above.

As you can see they manufacture market stalls. After much thinking outside the box on my part, which ranged from adapting sheds to pop up gazebos, I suddenly realised that the answer to my studio problem was to get a market stall steel frame made, and just like the market stalls, drape this with tarpaulin! It is perfect for an outdoor studio, very affordable indeed, and very versatile! It keeps out the rain and lets in the light… which for painting anyway, is all that I need. It is really strong and well constructed, and the company could not have been more helpful. I let them know my specifications and they came up with a basic design for the framework. I am thinking of having a small extension unit added on to the back of the current one next year… As room for storage. And maybe a table.

The tarpaulin I used for the top and sides was this very strong yet light tarpaulin:

The tarpaulin on the sides is a collection of tarpaulin’s I already possessed… bits and bobs left over from old tents and such like are used for the sides right now. It makes it look rather ramshackle which I quite like, but you could have a much more tidy appearance if you used new clear tarpaulins. I like the gathered thin tarpaulins as they have in insulating effect, and it certainly does provide a shelter. A sheltered place to paint in! It’s a great combination of an enclosed place but very very light…perfect for making judgements about colours. Which is my main thing right now.

The Studio tent is 5 foot wide and 8 foot long…and the cost of the frame when I brought it just over a year ago was only £130…. That must be the cheapest artist’s studio around!!!!! The tarpaulin and other bits didn’t add much onto that. I am sure there must be lots of painters and other artist-makers around who need a little bit more space to work in but don’t have the money to rent a studio at the moment. Artist’s studio space is so expensive, and also has the time limitations of needing to travel to the studio space, which all costs time and money. I am quite certain that there are many artist-makers who could benefit from my idea of using a market stall as an artist’s studio space, and so I hope sharing my idea here will be useful to someone else. If you want very cheap studio space, with plenty of light, and have some ground to put it on…then this is the answer.

Last thought on the cheapest Studio ever…You might need to weight it down in case of high winds, but mine is in a sheltered position, and a few large plastic milk cartons filled with water seem to be sufficing along with the large amount of quite heavy items which are hanging from the frame. I cannot wait to get my extension to the studio art tent…I think it will be needed when September and October come, and I am planning to still be using the tent for as long as I can because their is a huge amount of freedom and benefit in being able to leave things out (and all over the place) and not need to put things away all the time!


SPIDIR Training Course

I continue training as a spiritual guide/mentor/direction helper!  The course I attend is once a month and is affordable, which I am very grateful for.  Unfortunately some spiritual direction training is very expensive, well, at least, for someone in my position, and so I am very glad to be able to access it.  We are a lovely motley crew, all hugely different and all hugely lovable, and I am learning lots on the way.  This, along with ongoing training/courses which I am receiving at the Mount Street Jesuit Centre, from time to time, and also through the various training opportunities at Trinity House, (Southwark Diocesan Office of the Church of England) mean I am developing my interest and passion in this area.

For more information on spiritual direction/guidance ministry,  see:
SPIDIR is an informal ecumenical Christian network promoting spiritual direction in and around London and South East England.
There are Spiritual Direction groups throughout England e.g. East Midlands SPI-DIR, many can be found through the diocesan websites, there are also international groups. They are not formally linked with us.



Alcohol Abuse

Because of my own past experiences of self-medication and substance abuse, I am very interested in articles like this one, which considers the excuses alcoholics make.   I count myself very fortunate that I happened to meet a couple of people, one an ex-alcoholic and one an alcoholic, at the same time, who, in their various ways spoke to me, both literally and metaphorically, and the combination of getting to know them both more, and opening myself up to the Holy Spirit over a period of time, conveyed to me the reality I needed to acknowledge.  A combination of wise and sober words, and very drunk words, brought the reality of my own situation like a gift, and one which I am glad I acted on.

I stopped  drinking alcohol on Boxing Day 2010.   The choice of sobriety is a very significant one for a person, not just in the practical sense, but in terms of simply deciding that rather than avoiding life, maybe one ought to start living it again.  With it came a lot of pain (previous attempts to anaesthetise myself only demanded more alcohol) and I found it very difficult emotionally and psychologically.  Because I had stopped before things spiralled completely out of control, it was easier for me physically than is the case with some people.  I was drinking one bottle of wine a day (it’s easy to drink one in a couple of hours!)…I am sure there are some people who think nothing of this in terms of amount.  However, it is not so much the amount, but the relationship with alcohol I think which is key.  That kind of “false friend” thing which goes on.  The only reliable thing…You think!   It is the “why” not “how much”.  Because I stopped earlier on in the process, I think things were much easier for me than they are for many people. But I have no doubt at all in my mind that if I hadn’t stopped drinking alcohol when I had, things would have continued to fall apart.  And falling apart they were, internally, externally, in so many ways.  I was becoming something other than my self, it seemed.  Loosing a sense of being.   The effects of a lot of  early life trauma combined with events with my mentally ill sister and my brain injured brother (his injury was the result of an assault, which was triggering in itself!)  were simply too much to bear.   I did often look lovingly at train tracks…  I did feel that everyone would be a lot better off without me.  Feelings of unreality can be gradual and subtle.  Not just the vivid psychosis that I might think of when I think of my mother’s psychotic episodes.  When I looked at my husband one day, and did not recognise him, that few fleeting seconds were a bit of a reality check, I can tell you!  In a rather, odd, unexpected way!  When I did feel, it was an anger, no, a rage, that was so powerful it was frightening.  If people mentioned something tragic, I felt overwhelmed and terrified.  I felt that I could not bear to continue to live, because I could not bear the next traumatic event, which I knew was coming.  I could not bear to think about what the future might bring; to look forwards, or to look backwards: Both were horrifying.  So I can see why alcohol was the only reliable route.  It was only when I stopped to consider where it might be leading me, that I was able to start to rethink the wisdom of it.

Well, I feel glad I can write about it, but even more glad that I made the decision I did, when I did, before it caused me any more damage.  I would love to show you these now, which I found and worked on photographically.  I have the cans, and plan to do other things with them too, but the images have worked in the way I wanted them to, so I am pleased.

Regarding the inclusion of Red Bull…

Quoted from Time  “A Bad Mix: Why Alcohol and Energy Drinks Are Dangerous
By Alice Park @aliceparkny”

“Mixing alcohol with other substances is never really a good idea, and pairing it with energy drinks may be especially hazardous.

That might seem obvious, but the results of a new study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research provide some interesting insights into why. Cecile Marczinski, a psychologist at Northern Kentucky University, found that combining energy drinks such as Red Bull with vodka or other liquors effectively removes any built-in checks your body has for overindulging.”

jar burial photo series jenny meehan  alcohol and substance abuse recovery  related photographic art work, black and white image beer cans, mono photograph substance abuse, depression, anger, alcoholic addiction,

jar burial photo series jenny meehan alcohol and substance abuse recovery related art work

jar burial photo series jenny meehanjar burial photo series jenny meehan  alcohol and substance abuse recovery  related photographic art work, black and white image beer cans, mono photograph substance abuse, depression, anger, alcoholic addiction,

jar burial photo series jenny meehan

jar burial photo series jenny meehanjar burial photo series jenny meehan  alcohol and substance abuse recovery  related photographic art work, black and white image beer cans, mono photograph substance abuse, depression, anger, alcoholic addiction,

jar burial photo series jenny meehan

jar burial photo series jenny meehanjar burial photo series jenny meehan  alcohol and substance abuse recovery  related photographic art work, black and white image beer cans, mono photograph substance abuse, depression, anger, alcoholic addiction,

jar burial photo series jenny meehan

jar burial photo series jenny meehanjar burial photo series jenny meehan  alcohol and substance abuse recovery  related photographic art work, black and white image beer cans, mono photograph substance abuse, depression, anger, alcoholic addiction,

jar burial photo series jenny meehan



Jenny Meehan is a painter, poet, and Christian contemplative based in East Surrey/South West London. Her interest in Christ-centred spirituality and creativity are the main focus of this artist’s journal, which rambles and meanders on, maybe acting as a personal (yet open to view) note book as much as anything else. If you read and enjoy it, this would be an added bonus!

Her website is ( replaces the older now deceased website

Jenny Meehan BA Hons (Lit.) PGCE also occasionally offers art tuition for individuals or in shared sessions. Please contact Jenny at or through the contact form at for further details as availability depends on other commitments.

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 and affordable photo-mechanically produced prints are available to purchase.

Jenny Meehan exhibits around the United Kingdom. To be placed on Jenny Meehan’s bi-annual mailing list please contact Jenny via her website contact page:

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


You tube video with examples of photography, drawing and painting

by Jenny Meehan

Website Link for jamartlondon:

Digital photography can be viewed on


Copyright in all images by Jenny Meehan is held by the artist.
Permission must be sought in advance if you wish to use images by Jenny Meehan. In the first instance, please contact Jenny Meehan. Copyright for all works of art by Jenny Meehan is managed by the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) in the UK.

If you wish to licence a work of art by Jenny Meehan, please contact DACS as indicated below:
Design and Artist Copyright Society
33 Old Bethnal Green Road
London E2 6A3A
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7336 8811

Fax: +44 (0) 20 7336 8822
Offices are open 0930 – 1700 Monday through Friday.


Notice regarding my use of images on my Jenny Meehan Artist’s Journal blog: I always try and contact the relevant artist/organisation if I include images of their work on my blog, and make clear the source. I am doing as I would be done by. Where images are taken from other websites, I make it my practice to cite the source and include a link if possible. 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. Please do contact me if you feel I have not practised as I preach!

Outline of my “Fair Use” rationale, which is applicable to all images from other sources which I include on this blog:
There is no alternative, public domain or free-copyrighted replacement image available to my knowledge.
Its inclusion in my blog adds significantly to my narrative because it shows the subject which I want to refer to and relate to my own artistic practice and is necessary in order for me to communicate accurately my observations/critical appraisal/appreciation/educate my readers, in understanding my perspectives on art and life. Inclusion is for information, education and analysis only. The text discussing the significance of the included art work is enhanced by inclusion of the image. The image is a low resolution copy of the original work of such low quality that it will not affect potential sales of the art work.

Do you want to purchase digital prints by Jenny Meehan over the Internet?

I now have available selected prints from the “Signs of the Times” series, plus several other groups of photographic and digital imagery, available as poster prints through 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 on Fujicolor Crystal Archive Paper (a silver halide colour paper, designed exclusively to produce high-image-quality colour prints on both analogue and digital printers).

Here is the link to my Photobox Gallery:

There are other options for different types of printing 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 laser prints. However, if you do want something specific, just contact me with your requirements and I am completely free, (thanks to not limiting these particular images to “limited edition”) to arrange to have prints made to varying specifications and to be signed and numbered.


%d bloggers like this: