Interesting Francoise Gilot interview -Suburban Meditations / Painter’s Development Images – The Ideographic Picture – Christians Practising Yoga – Jenny Meehan Painting Process and examples of past work.

July 15, 2016

As per normal,  lots of bits and pieces here, just skim down and read what catches your eye.  Always write more than I need to, as I enjoy writing.   This journal serves as a kind of notebook for me, written to share, but not just for reading.  So not finely honed as writing!

I enjoyed reading this article in the Guardian…

Emma Brockes interviews Francoise Gilot (age 94)   about her unlikely match with Picasso, her own ambition – and why she’s buying back all her paintings.

There is also a book published about  Francoise Gilot, details here: 

The Woman Who Says No, Francoise Gilot on Her Life With and Without Picasso by Malte Herwig is published by Greystone.

Unable to walk very much at the moment due to osteoarthritis in my right knee.   It’s got worse in the last six months which is disappointing and I also have a “slight fixed flexion deformity”.  Which basically means that I walk slowly and cannot straighten my leg fully.  In 2010 I slipped on ice, and this current situation is related to the past injury. Oh dear.  However, though restricted at present, with Physio things should improve.  Doing lots of exercise and need to loose weight.   Good incentive, as knee replacement on the cards at some point.

Looking backwards…

Suburban Meditations / Painter’s Development

Another peep into some careful looking which is part of my development as an artist.  I changed the images to black and white so that I could focus on the composition and texture.  Colour in most cases, was not the main thing.  I do have some images which I kept the colour version for.

christian artist uk, british women artist, suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan


 hristian artist uk, british female artist, suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan


suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan, christian artist uk, british female artist,

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

british female uk artist, christian female artist, suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan


suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan

suburban meditations painters development series jenny meehan


Water, wood and metal, always attract my attention!

Attention to texture and composition, now such an important part of my current work with painting, sprung from many hours of attentive looking, and continue to inform my experiments.

Interested in this:

The Ideographic Picture

The Ideographic Picture.
“In painting, the trend towards ideographic representation that was first acknowledged in Beaudoin’s Iconograph was furthered by an exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery in January 1947, helpfully named “The Ideographic Picture.” The show included work by nine artists, including Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, Ad Reinhardt, Theodoros Stamos, and Clyfford Still.  Barnett Newman helped to organize the exhibition and wrote the program notes, in which he quoted a definition of “ideographic” from the Century Dictionary; “Ideographic – Representing ideas directly and not through the medium of their names; applies specifically to that mode of writing which by means of symbols, figures, or hieroglyphics suggests the idea of an object without expressing its name.” Ideographic painting was intended to express truths incommunicable through conventional language. The ideographic image, Newman wrote, acted as a “vehicle for an abstract thought complex.” The ideographic painter used the “abstract shape” as a “plastic language” through which to arrive at “metaphysical understanding.”

Quote from “The Culture of Spontaneity; Improvisation and the Arts in Postwar America by Daniel Belgrad.


“The definition of ideographic is something that uses a symbol to describe it without a word or sound.”

“An ideogram or ideograph (from Greek ἰδέα idéa “idea” and γράφω gráphō “to write”) is a graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept, independent of any particular language, and specific words or phrases. Some ideograms are comprehensible only by familiarity with prior convention; others convey their meaning through pictorial resemblance to a physical object, and thus may also be referred to as pictograms.”

I looked into the above after reading the following:

ART REVIEW: Will Barnet Paintings offer Context to AbEx, and Some Questions
May 4, 2016 by Peter Malone Abstract Expressionism, Art Reviews, Mixed Medium, NEW YORK CITY, Painting, Reviews

Quote from the article:

“Will Barnet: 1950s Works on Paper” at Alexandre Gallery is the latest in a string of recent shows delving into less familiar and esoteric aspects of the New York art scene circa 1950. By filling the blank patches of the historical map that once appeared like an aura around the bigger names so often associated with the New York School, the fuller perspective of these shows helps to enrich a narrative that is too easily considered already complete.”

It is an excellent read, and I find the postcards fascinating.   I have a few ideographic experiments of my own hidden away.  They seem best hidden, for some reason.   I think this is maybe because they do feel like improperly formed words, maybe a bit like the experiments of a baby as they babble and accustom themselves to language and using sounds.  Experimental and exploratory sometimes needs to be completely protected and unexposed.  The value of hidden away work should never be underrated.  What artists show to the public is only one small dimension of their work.


Christians Practising Yoga

Wonderful quote below from the Christians Practising Yoga website:


As Christians, we believe only the Holy Spirit can move our hearts and make us free to love as we are called. Transformation, both inner and outer, is the work of God’s healing love and grace. All we can do is cooperate. Are you looking for a magic answer, a surefire path to transformation or simply a means to open yourself to Grace?

What needs to be understood is that it is incumbent on Christians engaging with practices like yoga or zen or tai chi to work with these disciplines in a way that is coherent with Christian faith and to apply to their practice a Christian understanding. One of the primary understandings that distinguishes the Christian approach to a spiritual practice or method is that whatever beneficial effects accrue are not due simply to the method or to my persevering effort. They are only means. Transformation, both inner and outer, is essentially a work of God’s healing, life-giving, restorative grace.”

Christians Practising Yoga is an excellent website, I am very pleased that I have found it.


Current Paintings and Process 

There are around 15 paintings I am currently working on in my usual piecemeal fashion.  They are in various states, some right near to their end, others just beginning.  As I am currently using acrylics then I have the advantage of quick drying paint to contend with.  Depending on how quick I want the paint to dry, I will choose different days in respect to the weather to work.  If I am mixing pigments with thick acrylic paint and fillers, then I cannot do this on a very hot day as the paint dries to quickly and I need time for mixing and experimenting with different colour variations and manipulating the paint.  So I choose a cooler day, or work at the cooler part of the day, or early  morning.   Conversely, if I want the paint I am using to dry very quick then I will choose a roasting hot day (not many of those!) and be out there in the direct sunlight, on the lawn with the paintings in progress. Often several layers of a painting can get done that way, on a hot day.  I don’t tend to work much wet in wet with acrylics.

It is paradoxical, I feel, that my paintings in acrylic take so long…….the paint is quick to dry but the process is lengthy as I build them up over a long period of time, often a year, sometimes more.  Occasionally a painting happens very quickly and just falls together in a week or so (or even a day!).  But normally I apply the paint sparingly. (in the sense of maybe just one or two colours at a time).   Then leave and wait.  Look and think.  And having put the painting to sleep, (in some dark corner of a room!)  I then take it out again. (This happens 10/ 20+ times)  This is good because I have fresh eyes.  Fresh eyes are very important with painting.  I need to be surprised by what I have done.  I need to forget it, and then have it placed in front of me as if I had never seen it before.  In that freshness and re-encounter, often the next step presents itself quite naturally. I have had not time to get anxious or worry about ruining it.  Because it is “old matter” and needs it’s next input of life so badly.  The risk of change is welcome.  Needed.  I am not so attached to the painting, as I would be if I had only just laid the paint down.  I can view it with more objectivity.  I can see it more as what it is, and the state it is in.  Normally it is easy to move forward with a painting by only proceeding with small steps in a piecemeal fashion.  If it is not, then I will put it away for longer, maybe even a year or two.  Sometimes a painting “goes down the pan”, but it also gets a resurrection!  In all of it, it is the time between the application of paint where the painting progresses, because I am responding to what is there in front of me.  I sometimes spend five or ten minutes just looking at a painting in progress.  Or hang it on the wall for a few days, to glance at.

For an oil painting,  where the paint is slow to dry, I work quite quickly.  The benefits of moving wet paint around bring a new level of flexibility.  The whole painting just swims around in complete fluidity.   I can remove as well as add paint.  And the colours can be mixed many more times.  Yet working quickly is helpful, and stops any sinking too deeply into colour mixing, which while wonderful, needs careful restraint.

Examples of Paintings in Progress will come soon, after a photo session! For now, some past work….


Past Paintings Selection


jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

“Goethe’s Delight” above was painting with Keim Soldalit,  a modern silicate mineral paint.  The pigments used are all either metal oxide based or earth pigments. Earth pigments are naturally occurring minerals, principally iron oxides, that people have used in paints for thousands of years. These natural pigments are found in rocks and soils around the world,  and they are sometimes roasted in order to intensify their colour.  Earth pigments include ochers, sienna, and umbers.  Mineral pigments are pigments that are created by combining and heating naturally occurring elements. They include ultramarine and spinel pigments.  Nowadays ultramarine is made by heating soda, clay and sulphur.

The pigments used in the painting above were used in quite small amounts with a near white base paint. The surface is blissfully matt, which makes the painting look chalky but not dry.  Something I like a lot.  Unlike modern dye based colourants, which are very strong and easily overpowering if not used with care, these pigments are gentle to use and sing out in a clear but also subdued manner.  I kept the iron oxide red very intense by means of contrast.

Bit of history:

(quoted from

A revolution in colorant history occurred in 1856, when English chemist William Henry Perkin (1838–1907) discovered a way to manufacture a dye in the laboratory. That dye, mauve, was produced from materials found in common coal tar. Perkin’s discovery showed chemists that dyes and pigments could be produced synthetically (by humans in a lab). It was no longer necessary to search out natural products for use as colorants.


Read more:



jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images


“Gentle Leaves” above is a digital print, the result of many hours playing around with Photoshop!  Rather fond of the Fatsia, whose beautiful leaves never cease to delight.  I showed this digital image at the Cass Art KAOS Taster Exhibition this year.


jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

Above is “Eternal”.  I have used tiny glass beads on the surface of the canvas in areas along with other relief which makes a good ground for resting paint on.  You cannot see from the image but I also use a variety of varnishes and different surface finishes to bring variation into the way that the light hits the surface of the painting.


jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

“Cove” above.  Based on childhood memories of the seaside, rocks and water, and a suggestion of the sea.   The vibrant cobalt looks slightly over bright on screen, (often reds and blues are exaggerated in digital images) however it is pretty bright in the flesh also, as I mixed a high proportion of pure cobalt pigment into the acrylic medium.  It has some punch.


Yoga, once more…

Interesting Yoga Article



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. Contact me via 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 


Website Link for jamartlondon: 



All content on this blog,  unless specified otherwise,  is © Jenny Meehan.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts of writing and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jenny Meehan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Images may not be used without permission under any circumstances. 

Copyright and Licensing Digital Images Information – Jenny Meehan

Copyright in all images by Jenny Meehan is held by the artist.
Permission must be sought in advance for the reproduction, copying or any other use of any images by Jenny Meehan. Individuals or businesses seeking licenses or permission to use, copy or reproduce any image by Jenny Meehan should, in the first instance, contact Jenny Meehan.

Copyright for all visual 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 Jenny Meehan in the first instance to clarify your requirements. There is a contact form on my website

Licensing an image is quick and easy for both parties and is organised through the Design and Artist Copyright Society. (Note, my images are not shown on the “Art image” selection on the Design and Artist Copyright “Art Image” page. This does NOT mean you cannot apply for a license to use an image of my work from DACS… They simply have a very limited sample selection of work in their “Artimage” page!)


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