As ever, a LOOOONG title:

Spiritual Direction/Guidance…What is it? – Franz Marc – Past and Present Paintings – A Letter in Mind – The Art of Journey – Chakra Dance type Paintings – Artists and Open Exhibition Submission Fees/Payments

As ever, skim as you will, like water boatmen on the surface of the water!

Well…

I am enjoying the spiders busy making their webs…How clever they are!

Due to a nasty osteoarthritis flare up (I now understand what it was!) I have been rather disabled physically, and in a lot of pain.  Now I can walk again, though not for a long time, I hope to get around to visit some more galleries in London once more, though the toilet is pretty much the only place I have been visiting recently!!!!

I never would have expected so much pain, both day and night, was possible.  A good incentive to loose weight.

This has confined me to a period of hobbling around the house, however, I have done many useful tasks on the computer and also spent time reviewing some of the paintings from earlier on in the year.  Painting activities will now involve a lot of contemplation and not much mark making.  Some of my process led paintings take a year to complete.  They must not be rushed and I would rather keep something unresolved and come back to it rather than push it forward if it feels like it is going downhill.  Sometimes things have to crash before they come to life, however, it feels so much more rewarding for a painting to just float along, and take the time, space and thought that it needs.

Here are some recently resolved paintings:

Singing in the Rain abstract expressionist colourist lyrical painting by jenny meehan jamartlondon

Singing in the Rain abstract expressionist colourist lyrical painting by jenny meehan jamartlondon

 

I will experiment with the mounting of this one.

And this has come together well:

 

drop in the ocean painting jenny meehan romantic lyrical abstraction expressionist abstract fine painting drop in the ocean painting jenny meehan

british collectable abstract paintings

 

That’s going to be called “Jesus Calms the Storm/A Drop in the Ocean”.  I like more than one title.  I often have two things floating around in my head when I reflect back on paintings recently completed.  Why restrict the title to one thing?

That will do for now…but more coming soon!   Colour is welcome in Winter, and I have enjoyed the dance of colour and light I have taken part in this year!

 

Spiritual Direction/Guidance

When I googled recently “spiritual guide” the main thing which appeared was either to do with having some kind of spirit guide or having a guru/shaman type person… Neither of these reflect my use of the term Spiritual Direction or Spiritual Guidance, as I use the term in within the context of the Christian tradition, which seems to be something that people in the Catholic church are more familiar with, though in the Anglican tradition the role of a Spiritual Director/Mentor is also quite well established.  Though I have had a committed faith in Christ for years, I only came across the term “Spiritual Director” in the last few years…  And now I find I am training in this area.  The idea behind the “Director” part isn’t that you are told where to go/what to do, by the way, it is rather that your spiritual guide/mentor seeks with you to find out how the Holy Spirit is working and directing you in your life…It is rather a case of finding out which way the wind blows or the water flows with you!  It is a service ideally completely dependent on the Holy Spirit, the aim of it being to encourage insight, wisdom and help someone in gaining their own sense of direction.

Many people would like to grow in the way that they relate to God, and something like a Spiritual Direction session once every few months could be very helpful.  Having recognised how much my own faith has been encouraged through one-to-one input, the opportunity for contemplation, reflection, and discussion, about things which compose this life of mine, I feel quite keen to be of some use to others in this way.  I am still training right now, and enjoying the process very much.

Here is a good description!

“What is a spiritual director?
A spiritual director is someone who offers a safe space where he/she can help us explore and reflect on our relationship with God, however fragile that may seem.
Over a period of time we share our faith story with this trusted person, in confidence. We bring the things that mean the most to us, including our hopes, dreams and struggles.
Each one of us meets God in our own everyday experience, sometimes we just need a little guidance and help to recognise it, and celebrate it.
Who becomes a spiritual director?
Ordinary people who have journeyed through the ups and downs of life, and who feel called to this ministry.
They are from all walks of life. Most spiritual directors have extensive training and experience, and are excellent listeners.
They offer time, attention, acceptance and encouragement.
So where did the idea of spiritual guidance come from?
Since the time of the early Desert Fathers in the 3rd Century, spiritual guidance has been part of the tradition of the church.
A growing number of people are rediscovering how helpful it can be in today’s busy, confusing world to have someone to walk alongside them on their journey of faith.
“Where two or three have gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them”. (Matthew 18: 20)
So is spiritual direcdtion/guidance for the super-spiritual only?
No. It is for anyone who is interested in drawing closer to God. God seeks us where we are.
How can spiritual guidance help me?
As a relationship of trust with this spiritual companion builds over a period of time, there will be opportunities to explore and develop ways of praying, meditation and reflection that may be helpful.
Through a more developed self-knowledge, we can become more aware of God’s grace and movement in our daily lives. A good guide can bring a different perspective to issues, both pat and preent, that we may have been grappling with for some time.
As we speak more honestly and openly about ourselves and our struggles, we can grow more open to God. This greater transparency can lead to a growing sense of God’s presence in all things, and a more grateful heart.
There is help and support in making dificult choices, which can be helpful in the decision-making process.”

The above text was taken from: http://www.holyangelsash.org/noticeboard/diocesan-events/

 

Franz Marc

 

Oh yes,  Another artist’s work which has inspired me along the way…

Franz Marc (February 8, 1880 – March 4, 1916) was a German painter and printmaker, one of the key figures of the GermanExpressionist movement. He was a founding member of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a journal whose name later became synonymous with the circle of artists collaborating in it.”

 

 

franz marc creation woodcut

franz marc creation woodcut

Working with design in black and white is very, very difficult.  I was amazed how challenging it was when I attempted it a few years back.  To keep the balance in the work is hard, but this woodcut is a super example of someone accomplished in the balancing act of artistic creation!

 

 

 

 

Images from the Wiki page..

The one above makes me think of  Max Beckmann, another favourite of mine.  I have some woodcutting tools and keep meaning to try it, but this may be a later endeavour I think, due to other demands on time and the need to continue to push the painting forward as a priority.

 

The Storyteller

I’m posting this older work of mine because it involves recognisable objects and I find it useful to reflect on how I decided to render them.  An awareness and thought on the matter is still relevant to my current work, even though non-objective, because paintings is a way of thinking…an approach, a venture into an unknown future, even if the future is only five minutes away, what makes one do this, and not that, is worth consideration.  I often look back and the choices I made in the past inform the present work, even if it looks totally different.

psychotherapy and art, psychoanalysis art painting, carl jung artwork, carl jung the storyteller oil painting jenny meehan

the storyteller oil painting jenny meehan

I was thinking about Carl Jung and his work with the imagination, and the belief that the  foundations of personality are archaic, primitive, innate, unconscious, and universal.  He believed that every human being or human personality has a story to tell. and that derangement comes when individuals are denied the chance to tell their story or the story is rejected.  This painting was painted from the  imagination, rather than from observation.

 

bosham landscape view painting jenny meehan

bosham landscape view painting jenny meehan

 

This painting however was painted from observation.  I painted it with rather wet feet…and kept sinking into the ground when painting as the land was rather boggy and wet!  Bosham is in West Sussex, UK.  This painting was purchased by a collector very quickly indeed, which was pleasing!  It came out well…I was experimenting with my style, and as said, this work informs even the work of the present.   I remember being fascinated by the stillness of the water, which was disturbed at one point by a lady taking a small boat out onto it.  She had a dog with her who also splashed around.   It was a lovely hot sunny day and the paint is thinly applied onto primed hardboard, which worked well.   I wonder if I have this experience in mind when I worked on the series of Boat house paintings…Though I don’t know the location of the building I painted…I didn’t take enough note of the exact geographic location!

Recent Exhibitions

Other Exhibitions coming up in 2015:

A Letter in Mind – The Art of Journey, Gallery@oxo
Oxo Tower Wharf
Bargehouse Street
South Bank
London SE1 9PH

From 8th October until 18th October. This is a charity exhibition with artworks being sold for £80 each. The National Brain Appeal will benefit from your purchase! Entry is free.

 

Here’s the blurb from the website:

A huge thank you to everyone who submitted an artwork for this year’s exhibition – which runs from 8 to 18 October at gallery@OXO in London.

The Art of a Journey invited artists to respond visually to a journey that they have experienced: whether emotional, psychological, real or imagined – using a simple envelope as their starting point. The concept of a journey is specifically relevant to artists as it mirrors the production and culmination of an artwork.
Our aim is to raise awareness of neurological conditions through artistic questioning as patients at The National Hospital embark on their own personal journeys.
Submissions have come from established and emerging names in the worlds of art and design, architecture, illustration, graphic design, film and the dramatic arts; the envelopes have been built in, drawn on, painted, written on, cooked, wired, collaged, sewn and had artworks sealed inside them! This year’s international entries have come in from all over the world including Ireland, Belgium, Spain, USA and even Venezuela!
We are delighted to announce a selection of our artists: Grayson Perry and Billy Childish, Gill Rocca and Natasha Kidd, Harry Pye – artist and magazine editor, Horace Panter – artist and bassist for The Specials – actors Joanna David, Phyllida Law and Kevin Eldon and comedian Jo Brand, illustrators Polly Dunbar, Chris Haughton and Tim Hopgood, BP Portrait Award winner, artistic director of the Royal Drawing School Catherine Goodman and contemporary British architects Professor Will Alsop and Amina Taha (to name but a few)! Alongside our supporters, students, designers, drawing clubs and the general public have also shared their extra-ordinary talent in aid of The National Brain Appeal.
All of the artworks are now being processed and photographed and will be available to view from September in our online gallery.”

Link to the gallery is here:

http://www.nationalbrainappeal.org/letter-in-mind-gallery-shop/

Can you guess which one is mine?  Last year’s sold, so I am hoping this year is the same, as it will help the charity!

 

Also, in November:

Challenging Behaviour Foundation Exhibition, Sun Pier House, Sun Pier, Medway Street, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4HF
3 November 2015 – 29 November 2015

And ones which have just been: 

Brighton Sussex University Hospitals Trust National Transplant Week 2015 (7th-13th September) public art exhibition in Brighton UK at the Brighton Jubilee Library Jubilee St, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1GE. Items 13 and 14 were my donations… Bidding is open!

Jenny Meehan’s donation can be found on page 10 of the following publication:

http://issuu.com/anatomyforlife/docs/afl_artist_statements_2015/12?e=9456284/15283286

To bid, go to the Ebay store, here’s the facebook link:
https://www.facebook.com/AnatomyForLife/app_149115948441659

‘The Story So Far’, organised by Acton Arts Forum, at W3 Gallery, 185 Acton High Street, W3 9DJ . From 1 July to 14th July 2015.

http://www.w3gallery.org.uk/index.php/what-s-on

I hope this gallery continues… I think it was closing and the exhibition I was in was the last one!  This is tragic if it is the case.  Artists need affordable ways to show their work.  All the above were free to exhibit…  I simply cannot afford to pay £25 here and there for a chance… I mean a chance to show my work.  Submission fees don’t mean that artists definitely get their work shown…You pay anyway, just to submit…  This is the terrible truth, and it is quite frankly wrong.  Most of the general public are not aware of this fact.

FREE for the public AND  FREE for the Artist!

Artists are being used to help organisations make money.  Artists should only pay if their work is shown in open call competitions, and  if so, the fee should be minimal.  I mean, minimal, under £10.  (a true admin fee, could be justified!)  The whole system is at fault really.  It favours those who have disposable income to spend on their art working aspirations.  I choose one or two paid submission opportunities each year, at the most, and when submitting I wave bye bye to the money knowing it will never return to me.  I simply hope that I sell a painting at some point in the year which might pay for it.   I also dislike the way that commission is taken for this kind of exhibition…it is quite uncalled for,  and shouldn’t really be applied. It means that the buyer has to pay more, because the artist has to make the price higher knowing that 30 or 40% will be taken off if it does sell.  And the higher price means it will be less likely to sell!   It is a different matter if an artist has a contract with a gallery, in that case, the gallery is actually working for the artist in order to promote them and the artist gets benefits from this.    Thankfully there are alternatives…but not as many as would be great to have.  Other buildings and venues can be used to show art, and that is pretty much the way to go I think.   I sometimes have a rant about this.  It helps a bit.  Bear in mind I have a lot of un exhibited work here in my home and studio, and that is not because I don’t want to show it.  The internet helps, at least it can be seen.  However, it’s much better to see artwork in the flesh.

Every now and again I have this very same rant.  And I will continue to do so, as it lets of a tiny bit of steam!  There are some cafes, bars, pubs, hotels, churches, and community buildings  etc who will have work hung for free and more of this needs to happen.  Giving the organisation 20% of work if it is sold seems to work out well for all concerned.  However, some organisations, seeing this as an opportunity to make money, have taken to emulating the open call/competition status quo, and ask artists to pay to exhibit, even though they are not a gallery in the true sense of the word.  That stinks.   Let’s be clear about this… They get lovely free artwork hung for all to enjoy… ie decoration, in the finest sense, if one wants to be utilitarian about it.  The artists get to show their work, yes… But generally that is all they get from it… the odd sale might occasionally happen, but they do the work….     Organisations will find that artists are generally very helpful and co-operative with respect to consultation about hanging equipment, and together the practicalities can be worked out for mutual benefit.

I have had several exhibitions in community spaces, ie theatre and community arts centres, and they have worked to the benefit of both parties, with no charge being made to exhibit.  Only sold two pieces, over a total of five exhibitions, mind you!   I personally am not in a position where I can pay to hold an exhibition,  and the vast majority of artists are in the same position as me…particularly in the current climate.  Even when we get together, it can still cost a couple of hundred to show work.. That’s just crazy!  Sweep out of you mind the few successful and prominent artists who catch the media’s eye and may create an image of money being no object, and of no concern to the “true artist”, and instead replace this with the reality of lots of lovely art work and lovely artists who cannot simply show what they do to as many people as they would like to.  If we want to educate the community about art and artists, then there needs to be a greater range of art and artists available to enjoy.  FREE for the public AND  FREE for the Artist!   At the current time,  I am donating more of my work than doing anything else…I am pleased to do this to some extent, because sometimes  I would rather donate a piece of work than pay a submission fee to show my work…though I have in the past viewed the submission fee as a kind of donation if it is for an organisation which I wish to support.  However, artists do need money in exchange for their work if they are to buy materials and pay for travel costs, and suchlike.   Do people think we just like showing it, because we want to show it off?  No, we do not.  We want to sell it because we don’t want a house full of our own work, we want other people to own it and enjoy it, and we would like money for our work, as this is an investment in us and what we do.  It says  “This Matters”.    And rant is not over… but I will pause in it for now!!!!

I feel the need to post my “Yoga Inhale” and “Yoga Exhale” as I take a deep breath… So here they are!!!

chakra colours painting, chakra colours art, chakra movement opening, yoga inhale yoga breathing inspired abstract painting by jenny meehan

yoga inhale yoga breathing inspired abstract painting by jenny meehan

 

yoga chakra colours opening painting art, chakra art, chakra dance, yoga exhale yoga breathing inspired abstract painting by jenny meehan

yoga exhale yoga breathing inspired abstract painting by jenny meehan

Looking at these, I thought of dancing chakras!  (in Indian thought) each of seven centres of spiritual power in the human body.   Though not a familiar tradition of thought for me,   I am sure there are various understandings and believes about chakras which I wouldn’t share in, but energy and life do run through us, and might well be thought of/understood  as different colours.   As an artist, those colours wouldn’t be limited to rainbow colours… there are too many colours/variations of the same colour,  for things to be that simple.  I dislike labelling one colour as this and one colour as that…It just goes against the grain when you work with colours/light perceptions with paint.  Working with colour and seeing how acute the tiniest adjustment can be, and also how colours affect one another, it’s very hard to reduce things to a series of seven colours.  However,  I am ignorant in the matter, not having spent any time looking into it, so apologise for my limited understanding! I think the colour aspect is just one tiny bit.    I also don’t have any sustained interest in chakra theories  themselves, as I am more interested in painting… Though I do LIKE the idea of my coloured blobs and areas being representative of things going on in the human being.  For me, the colours are related to feeling and emotion.  I wouldn’t want to start naming things though.  It is the whole effect of the completed painting which is the expression.  It’s not about analysing different parts.   It might be that I am painting a kind of chakra dance in the sense that I am concerned with balancing out the painting in an aesthetic formal sense and using the areas of colours as the matter with which I work with.

There is a huge amount of different beliefs and thoughts regarding chakras of which I know nothing of, and I am investing my time and self into manipulating paint…this is my “healing art”, I guess, and this, and any other healing I get, I see as coming straight from the grace of God, through the work of Christ Jesus. The truest source of my being, and the light of life! When I am doing yoga and we focus on different parts, I embrace the sense of it, think of the colour if referred to,  and resolve to open up all parts of myself to the Holy Spirit.  For I am known in Christ, through and through, and all the mysteries of God are revealed in God incarnate, that is Christ, and Christ in me.

But some Christians have terribly fear induced and extreme ideas about anything which is a bit of a mystery to them, and chakras and any thoughts around that area are thought of as demonic in some Christian circles.  I have the belief that there is a lot of wisdom around, and that the Holy Spirit can guide us with discernment as to what will be beneficial to us and what will not be.  People are all different, and what is OK for some won’t be OK for others.   We feel comfortable with different things, and uncomfortable with others, and have our own sense of integrity as to what is good and true.  (I am not talking about behaviours/morality here, rather beliefs).   I believe that all truth belongs to God… and it is he who reveals his knowledge and insights, and gives them to people… all people can receive insights which come from the Spirit of God, whatever their beliefs or non-beliefs. What is problematic is things like manipulation, people controlling other people,  cults or cultish-ness (not a word!)and deception and lies.  These are the real dangers in life…and happen across the board, in all religious and belief systems.  Holding different beliefs and thinking different things about stuff, having different understandings and theories about things, isn’t a problem at all.  It is the fruit of our lives and the way we behave, how we relate to ourselves and to others, which tend to be more revealing.

A working definition for chakra might be that they are thought to be “centres of energy, located on the mid-line of the body. There are seven of them, and they govern our psychological properties.”  Both transmitters and receivers of energy, the idea is that in order to be healthy the chakras and meridians will be balanced.  Sometimes blockages and instabilities cause problems.  For me, thinking about how paintings work, and how unresolved areas need balancing out for the painting to have the beauty and harmony of a well balanced composition, I can relate to this idea quite well.  We do run on energy, and there are pathways for blood, nerves, lymph, so there could easily be pathways for energy too.  We are infused with God’s divine energy, “In him we live and move and have our being”.  You get my drift!  It’s possible that chakras are spiritual energy centres…and I know from when I have received healing prayer in the past, that it is possible to feel the flow of God’s energy moving around in the body!  A long time ago I was prayed for and felt a strong current of energy moving up and down both my legs…There was no imagination in that at all.  (in the John Wimber era!)  Recently someone prayed for my knee, and I felt something very definite going on then too, though in that case it was pain I felt, however, afterwards there was improvement.  God can release energy into our bodies, and that energy would flow around in paths, I should think.

What IS important to me as a committed Christian,  is that I wouldn’t ever limit God into being a mass of energy, or something impersonal, ie just a force.  A vital part of my own perspective and faith is that God is a personable, personal, compassionate and loving God, with an interest in relating to us, his lovely creations, in a very intimate and personal way.  I’m not into many of the associated beliefs and thinking which come with chakras, (as far as I know, and I don’t know a lot! ) and the Saviour of the world isn’t an energy field,  but neither do I think one should reject everything just because it is unfamiliar, and not part of one’s tradition.  We all have a lot to learn.

 

Peacock Image

This image was taken at Kew Gardens a few years back.  It is digitally manipulated, but not as much as one would think…

As a painter, my interests lie very much in light, colour, and such matters, so the feathers of a peacock are very inspiring.  Here’s some info from Wiki:

“As with many birds, vibrant iridescent plumage colours are not primarily pigments, but structural coloration. Optical interference Bragg reflections based on regular, periodic nanostructures of the barbules (fiber-like components) of the feathers produce the peacock’s colours. Slight changes to the spacing of these barbules result in different colours. Brown feathers are a mixture of red and blue: one colour is created by the periodic structure and the other is created by a Fabry–Pérot interference peak from reflections from the outer and inner boundaries. Such structural coloration causes the iridescence of the peacock’s hues since interference effects depend on light angle rather than actual pigments.[2]

peacock feathers, colour image of peacock, colour image graphic peacock, peacock plumage digital image by Jenny Meehan

peacock plumage digital image by Jenny Meehan

 

http://www.redbubble.com/people/jennyjimjams/works/16696815-peacock-showing-plumage-full-colour-digital-image-from-jenny-meehan

 

I’ve just put that up on Redbubble, if you fancy seeing it on something you own, or as a picture on the wall!

 

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