©jenny meehan grave yard glimmers mosaic and accompanying poem jenny meehan

grave yard glimmers mosaic and accompanying poem jenny meehan ©jenny meehan

 

 

The Grave Yard Glimmers

 

Under grey ground

my shattered self, recovered

crept gentle, back to the moment

when

a younger me-child

within

Summer holiday sunshine

discovered

picking, glass, stones, off graves

was an open treasure chest.

Even while the body laid low…

sighing with relief…

anticipating release…

for each passing moment.

 

Simple time steps.

One strand of self to

reflect

back to me.

 

Porous ceramic spreads moisture

Yet only a shadow

touches

meeting edges

I am sorry that I left, and still sometimes leave

these parts of me behind.

 

Much later,  my rape was a vacation of another kind.

 

I hover, momentarily, over my body

unable to take in, even in  consciousness

the un-do- able

which was done.

 

It takes years to cry.

And bodies lie under the floor

even in houses.

 

Light still

makes glimmers

Glimmers in eyes

meeting.

Glimmers in finding

pieces

all broken

but beautiful.

 

l hold hope, for you

my friend, and myself

on dream-like, flattened

slates… to write all over

a past story, a new one…

 

We wash the silver ore, and smelt it

in the smiles of those we love.

 

Jenny Meehan

August 2018

 

 

Looking forward to working with mosaic in November, tutored by Vanessa Benson, whose inspirational course at West Dean College this year has kicked me off in this direction!

Realising my poetry and all the visual work I do are inseparable.  Well, I knew this already, but now I know it more.  Also, I will always be a materials orientated artist.  One who handles my own materials.

The most annoying saying “Everyone is an artist”.  Is everyone a plumber too?  The role of an artist has a broad skill set attached.

Everyone is innately creative, yes, but everyone is not an artist.  I hate walking past Cass Art and seeing the motto… it’s something like “Let’s fill this town with artists”.  Sounds like a nightmare to me.  Do you want a town filled with artists?   Would be quite a poor town, for a start! But it would, of course, be ideal for the local art shop!!! At least they are honest!

I was reading recently that a survey found most artists earn between £1,000 and £5,000 a year. That sounds about right.  I kind of felt relieved on reading it.  It is hard when you live in a world where finance reflects value.  I know I am doing what I should be doing in life, and feel extremely grateful, that finally, after years of waiting, I am able to work at the work which feels most natural to me.  It’s not to be taken for granted.  But it isn’t a “job” in the proper sense. And all the other work I have done in the past is very relevant, and has been valuable in many different respects.  It’s made me who I am.  I wasn’t unhappy in the work I previously did.  Just not quite so fulfilled. But there are many aspect to being fulfilled in life, and there were parts of me which probably developed, in a good way, which I might have avoided, if I was art working then.   Discipline is important. For an artist, if you have not got it, you cannot be productive, I don’t think.  Getting up each morning to do what you must, is part of every occupation, and we don’t always feel like it!

And now, I cannot rely on a “job” to define who I am.  It’s sometimes challenging.  Like being a mother, I guess.  The key thing is, I think, not to confuse status or money with value. It’s always a challenge! What I do does pay for itself.   Sometimes I feel discouraged, but it’s only passing.  Thankfully enough good things happen to keep me motivated!

 

 

Thelma Narrative Series

My Thelma sculpture project was in 2014 and it is now 2018!   In truth, the project is not finished, because I got a mould made of the essential base of Thelma and intend to make some plaster versions in order to experiment further.  Indeed, I will.  Yet for now, here are the images with text, which does seem to have a degree of being a complete work.  The actual wax sculpture is in a box in my cupboard, and now and again I pick bits off it and add bits on!  It is one figure, which I moved through a series of transformations without thinking about concepts  in a conscious way.

ONEthelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentationONEthelma psychodynamic jenny meehan

ONEthelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentation THELMA ONE

 

thelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentation

thelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentation THELMA TWO

 

thelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentation

thelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentation THELMA THREE

 

 

 

thelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentation

thelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentation THELMA FOUR

 

 

 

thelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentation

thelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentation THELMA FIVE

 

thelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentation

thelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentation THELMA SIX

 

This is probably my favourite in the series…It’s the one I associate with the ongoing process of participating in psychotherapy!  Hard work, at times,  yes,  but something which can be a tool in bringing freedom from the negative consequences of violence, abuse, and trauma.  This time I spend in therapy is an investment I choose because I value self reflection so much.  Participation in Psychotherapy can be viewed two ways.  One, is that of being a practice of WELLNESS…Which for me, it now is, thankfully. (Mostly)  It’s like going to the gym to keep fit.  (Mostly, not always! Sometimes it’s painful and hard! Still challenging, still uncomfortable. Always will be! )

I find it very harmonious with being an artist, and working in the way that I do with other people with mentoring/spiritual direction/teaching art.  The other way that psychotherapy can be viewed might be summed up with “Gosh, they must be very screwed up to need therapy” maybe?  It is the idea that someone would only participate in psychotherapy if they really had to, because it wasn’t possible to carry on without it.  Because why would they want to do take part in something like that otherwise?  Well, I do understand that perspective.

Personally, I did start my psychoanalytic journey in a very distressing place, and I knew it was what I needed, and things were often very alarming and extremely difficult.  So it wasn’t optional in any sense in 2011.  Yet my journey, and the experience gained from working with a very good therapist, has been so valuable and positive, it seems needless not to carry on with it, as long as it bears fruit, which it does.  I do review it from time to time, but so far, I reach the same conclusion, which is why stop for the sake of stopping?  It might be different if I was not an artist, but it’s become part of the process of my artistic creating, and it’s so useful, even for that, even apart from the other benefits.

It feels like pulling a net through my own depths, pulling it along the sea bed.  It’s an effort, but somehow drawing deep in myself in this way produces a lot of goodness.  Life is vastly improved, and I feel so much more alive than I ever used to be.  So the effort is definitely worth it for me.

Thoughts on the sculpture…

Difficulty of wading forwards… Trolling is a method of fishing….  There is a huge sense of continuity and flow, in this one, with metal outside of the figure clearly relating to the which goes through it’s core.  Through the waters of my mind, in the psychoanalytic work I am doing.  Found this, it’s helpful..

Bodies of Water and the Unconscious
Often in dreams, large bodies of water (oceans, lakes, pools) symbolize the unconscious. As with bodies of water, we often see the surface, but cannot easily see into the depths.

Also, the vastness of the ocean symbolizes the vastness of the unconscious mind. Jung observed long ago that the unconscious mind was much vaster than the conscious portion. His insight has been confirmed by fascinating developments in neuroscience, where new technologies, such as particularly sophisticated MRIs have enabled brain scientists to see that the unconscious processes in the brain dwarf the conscious mind in magnitude.

In those regions of the brain/mind lies the meaning of dreams. Jungian therapy is always aware that, for each of us, much goes on in the depths of those oceanic waters…”  quoted from https://www.briancollinson.ca/index.php/2012/11/jungian-therapy-the-meaning-of-dreams-5-water.html

 

WOW!  The unconscious mind….

Oceanic Waters!

thelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentation

thelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentation THELMA SEVEN

 

Must be the faith aspect coming through in this one!

 

 

thelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentation

thelma psychodynamic jenny meehan personal development psychotherapy and art relationship investigation psychoanalytic visual experimentation   THELMA EIGHT

No doubt some  theme of healing…  And in this one, a mould was made, and the body cast in plaster.

 

Interesting looking back at these.  Rather funny that I depicted my right thigh with what looks like a strip of metal along it.  This was before my knee replacement and before I was having problems with my walking!   Plaster for me is evocative of healing and holding, and showing this  liquid flow over the now plaster form, is something I like a lot.  The flow may be static in that the plaster is set,  but it is suggestive of flow and continuity by it’s very shape, and the meeting point between those forms of underlying form and dripped plaster brings some awareness of touch and being touched to my mind.  As the final figure is the model cast, it’s a new creation but still intimately related to the former figure in brown wax.   I will continue working with this, and post up soon.

 

So this is September…OOOps… Late again, October!

 

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

 

Painting “Upper Room” by Jenny Meehan 70 x 50cm   This is available, contact me if interested.  Use contact form on my personal website jamartlondon.com  http://www.jamartlondon.com/

Direct link to contact page; http://www.jamartlondon.com/contact/4569980742

Bit about my painting…

About Jenny Meehan’s Paintings

My process led painting…romantic, expressionistic, abstract and lyrical, is simply the result of my own contemplative practice, which I work through in many ways. Let by instinct and intuition, inspired by my own life experiences, and several much loved artists, including Klee, Hitchens, Claude Venard, Matisse and Kandinsky, it provides the ground for the viewer’s own interpretations and responses, and will be whatever you want it to be. My own titles reflect my own interpretation/,sense of meaning, but the beauty and openness of non objective painting allows you a place in the process exclusively yours!

The image doesn’t show the extent to which texture, and various surface finishes are used in the painting, for example, I use tiny glass beads for their effects on light hitting the surface of the painting. Maybe they could be seen as a dance of light and colour? Certainly, as the light in the day changes, the appearance of the painting changes considerably, with different parts being emphasised and other parts sinking into the background. This painting is one which responds, and I hope you get pleasure from viewing it! See more at http://www.jamartlondon.com

 

 

 

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images©jenny meehan

 

Boat House, Monotype. ©jenny meehan

Sometimes the simplest of things can give pleasure.  I am looking at this one at the moment, particularly as I think about how I will approach working with mosaic in November.  I think to start with some kind  of simple forms, rectangular, square, maybe a good start.  I don’t see myself going into the pictorial.  I suspect I will need to seriously spend time considering the materials I use.  They will suggest a way forwards, I am sure.  And I want to make more effort with this linkage between my poetry and visual expression. I think that’s key for me.

 

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images©jenny meehan

Icy Landscape ©jenny meehan

A major theme of my work is recovery from trauma.  The subject of an internal landscape dominates my creative practice.  Tiny glass beads are used in the above painting and they catch the light, transforming the appearance of the work at different times of the day.

 

“Eternal” Painting by Jenny Meehan

 

 

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images©jenny meehan

Eternal by Jenny Meehan ©jenny meehan

This is one of my paintings which has been licensed for use as a book cover. The cover designer was Alison Beek.   I really like my paintings being used in this way, and it is a small source of income which helps sustain my artistic practice, so it’s very much valued.

https://wordery.com/quiet-spaces-prayer-journal-mrs-olivia-warburton-9780857465245?currency=GBP&gtrck=S2Z1YnlZVlZsTTV6K1BVYkdyNERsL2JwTWhWcHA3dnM5bERaeTRueE1KNndyem4vbG5ENFJSV2tycFVKK0tnUHpISjRLNFJMY2hnaWJHb2hMMGg4UlE9PQ&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIyLOtiOTn3QIVROd3Ch13IwVCEAQYAyABEgJmVPD_BwE

Finding God in all things, hearing God’s voice for ourselves and others…the Quiet Spaces Prayer Journal will help you to develop and maintain a life of creative prayer. With space to write, quotations drawn from Christian tradition and BRF’s Quiet Spaces publication to aid reflection, this is ideal to buy for yourself or as a gift for anyone wanting to deepen their prayer life. It features quotations to inspire, allowing plenty of space to write.

Quiet Spaces Prayer Journal Spiral bound edition by Mrs Olivia Warburton”

Edited by Mrs Olivia Warburton ISBN-139780857465245Format Spiral bound, Publisher BRF (The Bible Reading Fellowship) Publication date23 Sep 2016Pages192Product dimensions 150 x 210 x 14mm E Weight338g

Quiet Spaces is BRF’s prayer and spirituality journal. Published three times a year, each edition journeys through up to nine themes drawn from the Bible, spiritual writers, the natural world, the lives of Christians from across the centuries or from Christian spiritual traditions. Each theme is explored in twelve prayerful ways using creative activities, your personal faith experience, poetry, liturgy, reflection, imagining and meditation, helping you into a heart encounter with God. Ideal both for those who have discovered the benefits of reflection, meditation and contemplation and are looking for a resource to guide their periods of quiet and for people coming to reflection and meditation for the first time.”

 

I use my own copy!

 

This months post is September and October combined! It’s my aim to write a bit less on my journal each month and work more on my poetry.  As I mentioned at the beginning, a brilliant course on mosaic at West Dean college tutored by Vanessa Benson has provided some interesting routes in using mosaic, and along with my other ongoing experiments with silica sol mineral paint I want to immerse myself more in silence and music and poetry than longer blog entries.  And drumming too.  I am loving my djembe, and enjoying learning some traditional West African patterns.

I think I may have exhausted my writing capacity a little bit when writing “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan” last year!  By the way, the knee is working wonderfully.  It’s an “Attune” knee.  I am no longer disabled and able to live a full life. I am so grateful for the South West London Elective Orthopaedic Centre, and the NHS.  My life would be quite different without such a positive experience.

west dean college short course jenny meehan flora and foliage images© Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

west dean college short course jenny meehan flora and foliage images© Jenny Meehan

 

Really enjoying these…

http://openchurch.network/chalketalk

That’s me for now!

Do take a look at my website. http://www.jamartlondon.com/

I will be updating it over December.  I have a lot more work than I can show on the internet.

 

 

 

 

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As usual, a very eclectic assortment of random things which have caught my interest…Skim over in that “facebook” kind of way and stop where you will!

 

giuseppe passeri,web christ falling beneath the weight of the cross

giuseppe passeri ,web christ falling beneath the weight of the cross

 

Another post… As always, this is rather like an open journal…So I have been unconcerned if I ramble on… Yet you have the power of skimming as fast as you want and scrolling as furiously as you need to in order to avoid reading anything which is not a good use of time for you right now!  And….. YOU CAN JUST LOOK AT THE PICTURES!   So off I go!

Giuseppe Passeri (12 March 1654 – 2 November 1714) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, active in his native city of Rome.

This drawing “Christ falling beneath the weight of the cross” by Giuseppe Passeri  is a wonderful example of drawing, and when I look at drawings like this I do feel only awe!  True masters of the art of drawing can only inspire…  There is so much emotion in all those bodies, the forms  radiate emotion…   Not including the human form in much of my work right now, but apart from abstraction, it is  my other main interest.   I cannot credit this image as I took a photo of it from a book years ago and cannot remember the details!

Drop In Drawing

If you fancy trying your own fair hand to a spot of Drawing, then remember that I do hold a once a month “Drop in Drawing/Painting” group on either a Wednesday or Friday afternoon, once a month.  Contact me via my website www.jamartlondon.com  for more information if you are interested in this.   Here’s a little more information:
“I won’t be planning a structured session but I am there to help people on a one-to-one basis with achieving their own objectives.
Many people just come now and again, so the more people who know about it the better. Please do mention to anyone you know who might be interested in trying something visually creative as the session is suitable for all abilities, from beginner to advanced, due to the emphasis on individual tuition.
You do need to bring your own materials and equipment. If you need some advice about what to bring, just email me and I can give you some guidance. I normally have a few additional resources available, if need be, ie, pencils and paper, chalk pastels and poster paint.
The idea of holding these sessions is that I am available to help you to develop your own projects and ideas. I will be there to add my technical and practical input, and help you by discussing your direction and the difficulties which may be encountered along the way, if you so require. As to what you actually do, this could be from drawing from the imagination, copying something from life, designing something abstract, or making a collage of text and images. Or simply experimenting and exploring what it is like to use a particular material or method of drawing.
I will provide some ideas if people like, but anticipate people coming along with some idea of what they might like to do beforehand. However, just a vague idea is just fine! If you want to use paint, then of course, certainly do, however, for practical reasons, you might need to work outside if you are painting on a medium to large scale and the group is running to full capacity.
These workshop style session will give you plenty of individual input and opportunities for feedback, discussion, and analysis, as you consider ways of developing your own direction. I also offer individual tuition in oil painting, painting with acrylics, and drawing which can be arranged if you wish. ”

I haven’t held any structured art classes (ie with set activities/objectives and/or areas of focus for the group as a whole)  for ages because I have found that though they are great fun to plan (nice to use my teacher training and experience in this respect!) with a small group of four people (which is all I can accommodate) it makes more sense to offer a kind of individual tuition/workshop style approach and let people go off in their own direction completely!  People also learn a lot from listening and seeing what is going on and talking and sharing some aspects of  what they are doing, (if they wish)  which is encouraged.

Inclusive Church Movement

Quote from the Inclusive Church website:

“Inclusive Church was born on 11th August 2003 at St Mary’s Putney, at a Eucharist attended by over 400 people. The cause of this gathering was the deep unease felt by many within the Church of England regarding the resignation of The Rev’d Dr Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading.

Working with individuals and partner organisations we seek to raise awareness about the ways that people feel excluded by the church.

An on-line Petition was set up requesting assent to a Declaration of Belief. The response was immense and we soon reached nearly 10,000 signatories. On 15th September 2003 a small group of supporters met to consider this overwhelming response, and concluded that Inclusive Church was here to stay.

Over time this group has met and developed. We are now “…a network of individuals and organisations whose make-up reflects the breadth and scope of the Church of England and beyond. We come from differing traditions and differing locations but we are united in one aim: To celebrate and maintain the traditional inclusivity and diversity of the Anglican Communion”

We work closely with a large number of organisations. The partnership work which has emerged over the past few years is very valuable – we work with, among others, the Association of Black Clergy, Women and the Church, the Group for the Rescinding of the Act of Synod, Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, Changing Attitude, Affirming Catholicism, the Society of Catholic Priests, Accepting Evangelicals, Courage, Modern Church, Progresssive Christianity Network and Integrity (US).

Inclusive Church is so much more than a single issue organisation. We are committed to working for a church that is welcoming and open to all. We welcome other partnerships. If you would like to work with Inclusive Church please contact us”

http://inclusive-church.org.uk/about-us

I’ve included this because I stumbled on the following article on facebook recently, and it got me thinking about what a blessing being open to change is, and how important it is that those people who start to explore the possibility that God might actually be inclusive in all respects, realise that they are part of a very positive movement, and that there is a lot of help and resources around to draw from, as they consider themselves where they are in relation to all that is happening at the moment.   Here is the post below:

This is a very well written post on the LGBT/Christian debate, which will be a helpful read in exploring thinking around the matter.

https://julierodgers.wordpress.com/2015/07/13/an-update-on-the-gay-debate-evolving-ideas-untidy-stories-and-hopes-for-the-church/#comments

Yoga

I have just started some FREE sessions of Yoga with the Our Parks scheme:  http://www.ourparks.org.uk/.  Well, it’s amazing!  I am enjoying it immensely and finding it very beneficial…already…. I have only been to two sessions!  I have been trying out things at home a bit which has helped me to get into it too.   I have found that, even though I have been working for three years on trauma recovery with my psychotherapist (lots of adverse childhood/early life experiences!) my body more often than not, full of tension, and still feels constantly uptight.  It’s odd, because I know I don’t come across as an uptight person in  any other sense, but my body seems to hold the fight/flight thing in itself rather dearly!

I found with the Yoga practice a lot of releasing of tension, and it was rather liberating.  I think it must be the whole thing of connecting your body with your mind more, because this feeling of distance/disconnection between the two is something which I have been living with for a long time. So much so, that when I walked back from my first Yoga session, I couldn’t quite believe how I felt so integrated.  This is a huge deal for me. It might seem rather too soon for me to feel such positive effects on the one hand, but when I consider things which are particularly resonant for me, ie  I did ballet from the age of 5 to 15, and the whole thing of me focusing on my body and movements brings to me to a place of re-connecting with my body/self which is emotionally profound.  It helped me to see how much over all physical sensation and  body awareness I have lost… The main physical sensation I have let lead me has been my stomach (I expect this has contributed no doubt to the whole over eating thing!), and now I am thinking that if I focus on other areas of my body, I might well end up a little more well balanced, and possibly less overweight?

The second session made me cry a bit (after the session)… not because of pain, I hasten to add, (there was some discomfort at times, but not pain!)  but because of some of the mental blocks I faced, some of the self-judgement and having to accept my body as it is now, rather than hark back to my ballet days.  It is pretty hard to realise that you used to spin around en-pointe and now you cannot even lift one leg up for a tiny amount of time and balance for one second!  Well, good for humility, I guess.  And will crush any spirit of competitiveness, for sure!!!  However, though I may struggle, and feel challenged physically, mentally and emotionally, I will certainly push on through.  Body injuries in various places/over-sized body/post traumatic self and wounded spirit, yes, … Here I come, you are all mine, we will go for it!

When I started psychotherapy in 2012, one of the most helpful things my therapist pointed me towards was that deeper kind of breathing,  something I tend to think of as baby breathing, (not sure why?) but it’s called “diaphragmatic breathing”, oh, thank you Wiki:

Diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing or deep breathing is breathing that is done by contracting the diaphragm, a muscle located horizontally between the chest cavity and stomach cavity. Air enters the lungs and the belly expands during this type of breathing.

This deep breathing is marked by expansion of the abdomen rather than the chest when breathing. It is considered by some to be a healthier way to breathe, and is considered by some a useful form of complementary and alternative treatment.

Diaphragmatic Breathing is also known scientifically as Eupnea, which is a natural and relaxed form of breathing in all mammals. Eupnea occurs in mammals whenever they are in a state of relaxation, ie when there is no clear and present danger in their environment.”

Interesting last line there…with accumulated trauma related stress in your life,  the whole thing of doing anything which is a natural thing to do when there is “no clear and present danger in their environment”  is immensely appealing… that made me smile and laugh when I read that!

Well,   using that kind of breathing over the last few years has been very helpful, essential, I would say, at times of flashback/anxiety/panic attack especially, and also helpful to use in the psychotherapy session when things were overwhelming, and I needed to breath in order to stay present during trauma therapy…It helps you stay grounded.   It was this positive experience with breathing in this way, plus my past ballet training (which did use some yoga stretches, so I felt kind of comfortable with it as a form of physical training…) which made my ears prick up when I found I could try it out!  I am so glad I did.

I plan to devise a kind of Yoga-Ignation Examen combo practice!   I have been using the Ignation Examen for a while.. I must confess normally just two or three times a week, though the aim was every day!  Here’s a quick description, quoted from the ignatianspirituality.com website:

This is a version of the five-step Daily Examen that St. Ignatius practiced.
1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.
– See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen#sthash.yquODWgJ.dpuf

So you can see it’s  very much an examination of consciousness.

“The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience.
The method presented here is adapted from a technique described by Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises. St. Ignatius thought that the Examen was a gift that came directly from God, and that God wanted it to be shared as widely as possible. One of the few rules of prayer that Ignatius made for the Jesuit order was the requirement that Jesuits practice the Examen twice daily—at noon and at the end of the day. It’s a habit that Jesuits, and many other Christians, practice to this day.”
– See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen#sthash.yquODWgJ.dpuf

The following is a deeper explanation, just an extract quoted from:  George Aschenbrenner, SJ  From Consciousness Examen, part of the Somos Católicos series 

Examen of Consciousness
For many people today life is spontaneity, if anything. If spontaneity is crushed or aborted, then life itself is stillborn. In this view, examen is living life backwards and once removed from the vibrant spontaneity and immediacy of the experience itself. These people today disagree with Socrates’ claim that the unexamined life is not worth living. For these people the Spirit is in the spontaneous and so anything that militates against spontaneity is not of the Spirit.
This view overlooks the fact that welling up in the consciousness and experience of each of us are two spontaneities, one good and for God, another evil and not for God. These two types of spontaneous urges and movements happen to all of us. So often the quick-witted, loose-tongued person who can be so entertaining and the center of attention and who is always characterized as being so spontaneous is not certainly being moved by and giving expression to the good spontaneity. For people eager to love God with their whole being, the challenge is not simply to let the spontaneous happen but rather to be able to sift through these various spontaneous urges and give full existential ratification to those spontaneous feelings that are from and for God. We do this by allowing the truly Spirited-spontaneity to happen in our daily lives. But we must learn the feel of this true Spiritual-spontaneity. Examen has a very central role in this learning.
When examen is related to discernment, it becomes examen of consciousness rather than of conscience. Examen of conscience has narrow moralistic overtones. Its prime concern was with the good or bad actions we had done each day. Whereas in discernment the prime concern is not with the morality of good or bad actions; rather the concern is with the way God is affecting and moving us (often quite spontaneously!) deep in our own affective consciousness. What is happening in our consciousness is prior to and more important than our actions, which can be delineated as juridically good or evil. How we are experiencing the “drawing” of God (John 6:44) in our own existential consciousness and how our sinful nature is quietly tempting us and luring us away from intimacy with God in the subtle dispositions of our consciousness—this is what the daily examen is concerned with prior to a concern for our response in our actions. Hence it is examen of consciousness that we are concerned with here, so that we can cooperate with and let happen that beautiful spontaneity in our hearts that is the touch of God and the urging of the Spirit.
– See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/consciousness-examen#sthash.Ygh4hnyG.dpuf

I am hoping that along with the classes, which I am happy to follow as they happen,  I will develop my own pathway of combining Yoga practice with the the pattern of the Examen, (which I have got used to over the last year or so, so comes pretty naturally now), my general prayer practice and meditating on whatever the Holy Spirit brings my way.  It’s all good stuff.   The whole “grounding” emphasis has been completely helpful to me.  (And I will try to look after my feet, because they bear a lot! )

In celebration of this new found enthusiasm… What is needed here is a piece of art!

yoga mindfulness, yoga meditation contemplative spirituality,contemplative christianity,grounding techniques, trauma recovery, complex post traumatic stress body work, examination of consciousness, head in the clouds but feet on the ground art image jenny meehan

head in the clouds but feet on the ground art image jenny meehan

I’m calling this “Head in the Clouds but Feet on the Ground/Contemplation”  (I often give two titles!)

 

Outsider Art? Insider Art?  Outside In Art or Inside Out Art?

I’ve been shimmering over the net, skimming here and there for a bit for a while with respect to the category of “Outsider Art”.  This is very problematic a term, and though it is used a lot, it means so many different things to so many different people and groups.  Now “Outsider Art” is maybe a world of it’s own, but not the “world” of it’s own that it used to be, because that exclusive and private world has now blow out in a host of other bubbles and into the atmosphere of the so-called “Art World”… Which is itself, not a world at all, but a network of activities centred around… yes,  you know, money and connections.

You can see I am having problems from the start, and I haven’t even started yet!  I remember speaking to someone a while back who went to study art at degree level, or it may have even been an MA,  and yet he got a fair amount of resistance to his own work in that setting because he was so self directed and knew what he wanted to do, and did it.   Would he be termed an “Outsider Artist”?  He could maybe be described as an “Inside but Outside artist”???  According to some thinking, the fact that he was in this kind of education setting would disqualify him straight away from calling himself an “Outsider Artist” (if he wanted to) because he had an awareness of the contemporary art “scene” “world” “culture” other artists, and also, had the capacity to think about his art and work in a certain way.  But the education/training or rather lack of, as a criteria for discerning if it is appropriate to term someone’s art or themselves as an “Outsider Artist” falls down flat on it’s face, because there are of course many artists who have received training and education, and who through mental health challenges, traumatic brain injuries, or many other kinds of life experiences, or disabilities, find themselves in a place where they either no longer care, or are not interested, in anything as dubious and unreliable as the so-called “Art World” (whatever that may be or mean), and simply want to get on with their art working.  They may also have received training, education and awareness from many other different sources, the internet, adult education, personal relationships, etc, and they may have gone to college, picked up a load of rubbish in terms of ideas about art, and happily dispensed with it because they realised that it was a waste of time and energy, for them at least.    Does this work produced by sometime “trained” (could be questioned, I guess, if that is the right word!)  but no longer interested in banging their heads against a brick wall with a lot of conceptual stuff, type art and artist count as “Outsider Art”?  Is the difference an educational and or class one?  is the question which quickly follows.

I put myself on the Pallant House Gallery “Outside In” web gallery for a while last year, mostly because of my experiences and journey with mental health difficulties/challenges, my participation in long term psychotherapy (which includes a great deal of interest in the subconscious!) and because I view my art work as part of my trauma recovery experience, (though certainly, this is only one aspect of it, as I view it as plenty of other things too!)  I also put my work there for a little while because I wanted to align myself with those other artists who I could feel very much closer to in terms of values and purpose,   I think, much more so than the alternative so called “Art World” construct, which didn’t fit in with the direction I was looking in, and look in now, at all.  However, I  took myself off the Pallant House Gallery “Outside In” web gallery after a while because I was unsure if  it was really quite “fair” to be there.  I wondered how one could really make a judgement about such things, and I think I probably could be on there, but then I felt that bearing in mind that I am pretty good with words, I do have the kind of power because of that which many artists because of learning disabilities and such like, didn’t have.   So it felt best to leave that space for those who really needed supporting in that way, even though I wanted my work to be there symbolically as it being a place I would rather align myself with in terms of a values and focus.

Now “Outsider Art” is more of an “In Thing”  this also brings much interest to Outsider Art, which kind of brings it into a different place, one which has many educated, intellectually incisive, and, well, able, people, mentally and physically, into it’s realm, both as makers, collectors and dealers.  If “Outsider Artists” are termed that by merit of disadvantages in society and in relation to that ever illusive “Art World” I need to ask: “How do you make judgements about disadvantages anyway?  I could be described as disadvantaged compared to some people,  (more so in terms of my past) but advantaged compared to others   My period of what I will call, deconstruction, has brought me into a new place in thinking about brokenness in general, where I see it as a positive dimension to life, rather than something negative, and would even say that my difficulties in life, though being a disadvantage in some respects are also an advantage in others.

To use relative financial wealth/success or not is also problematic when thinking about “Outsider Art”…I cannot afford to do what I would do with my artwork if I had more finance, and this is a disadvantage, (I can hear the cries from pretty much all the other artist’s I know echoing the same words!!! )   but on the other hand I have a level of security which rolls me firmly off the “Starving Artist” spectrum.   I am a woman and a mother, and a “Stay at Home Mother”, so these might also move me into a disadvantaged position in terms of the way that the “Art World” swings in favour of men (which is does, imo). But I also appreciate fully and know it well, that I am hugely advantaged compared to so many, even if my plans and aspirations tend to hit the wall because of lack of funds.  In the end, the family need feeding and clothes.. (thank goodness for Lidl! and Asda).  I could go to work and get a job which brings some more money into our household, but then I wouldn’t have the time to do the art work I do.  The art work I do I need to do, because this is something of my life blood in life, it keeps me motivated for living and keeps me sane, very often times!  I do what I do because of necessity, as well as a choice, which I must say, I am constantly  grateful for.

I can say that most of the exceedingly brilliant and wonderful artists I know could easily be termed “Outsider Artists” for a huge variety of reasons, yet all might differ in their life experiences and situations to quite a large extent.  And most of them don’t make much money, if any, or certainly no financial profit, from their art working and their art work. Many have various mental health challenges or disabilities…Even if they are not actually their own, they are closely involved with or caring for those who have them, and therefore their lives are entwined with a much larger spectrum of experience, which is, theirs, even though not tangible or obvious to see.  And it is all felt and lived through.  I keep in my mind just one of the things I learnt when I was finding out more about traumatic brain injury and it’s effects on both the person with the injury and those close to them.  Traumatic brain injury is often termed the “hidden disability”  and when I recall my experience of coming to terms with my brother’s, among other things, I am aware of this shared nature of tragedy, and the way our lives impact on others, and vice versa.  There is a lot of hidden injury around.  So we really cannot make judgements and have to accept that categories, of all kinds, are going to be problematic from the outset to the end.

So where might I take my meanderings, with respect to “Outsider Art”?  Maybe I might ask myself where I would place myself?  I would place myself as an “Insider-Outer” artist I think, because I have taken my inner life and let it out…but not just as catharsis, oh no, and not without training, or education.  Not without awareness of the other artist’s both past and present, and not without consideration or analysis…There is certainly plenty of analysis going on in the confines of my psychotherapy sessions.   I am always pleased when something good happens and something gets chosen for an exhibition, because I want my art work to be used, because I am in this funny old world of ours and I am a funny little part of it…I don’t identify myself with the word “outsider”, well, not now, not any more.  Isolation can be acutely felt, and it’s not great at all.  Outside says the wrong things to me…because I am not on the outside at all.  We  are all on the outside of some things, groups and places, but it is what is happening in the inside of our lives which helps us to forge the connections and relationships we need and love to experience.

I found this writing on the net with respect to Outsider Art and  found it helpful to read.

http://www.jameselkins.com/index.php/essays/253-there-is-no-such-thing-as-outsider-art

Naïfs, Faux-naïfs, Faux-faux naïfs, Would-be Faux-naïfs:
There is No Such Thing as Outsider Art
James Elkins
This was originally published in: Inner Worlds Outside, exh. cat., edited by John
Thompson (Dublin: Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2006), 71–79.]

Quote from website:  “The argument here is that “outsider art” and similar concepts (“naive art,” “primitive art,” etc.) are constructions of modernism, and only exist as ideals understood as contrasts to normative practice. It doesn’t mean there aren’t artists outside of the traditions of modernism and postmodernism, or outside of academic art—rather that the value we place on them is itself characteristic of modernism, so that “outsider” or “naive” art is not distinct from the modernist enterprise.”

James Elkins is E.C. Chadbourne Professor in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Such a helpful read!

 

Details from recent process led painting experiments!

Well, here we are.  PAINTING!  I have popped some text on the top of these thinking this might be helpful to anyone interested in my painting who stumbles upon my work and wants to know quickly where to see more!  As these images are fragments/close ups/details, they serve a great function for me in helping me remember various painting options and ideas when I sell (hopefully) the final painting.  Also, because these highly abstracted paintings go through several stages, and sometimes morph rather unexpectedly along the way, it helps me to remember some of the lost paintings which are often  part of the work, but can not be seen again in quite the same way in the final piece.  They are very much there and present, and exerting an influence, however, sometimes covered, I still need to remember what was happening underneath if possible, particularly if I was trying out something new, (which didn’t work/did work).

I am rather fond of the idea of “lost paintings”…The sense that what is in the past/gone/dead/buried, is lost but still present.

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

Painting and Physicality…

Come to think about it, it is the physicality, and the way I focus on the materials I use in painting that helps me feel  connected with myself … I haven’t thought about it much but it IS very therapeutic!  I have around 20 paintings “on the go” at the moment, but they are not all moving forwards at the same time, and I am having a short break right now.  Not sure what’s happening with them, but some are falling into the water and flow category…solid/liquid, block, flow, water, waterfalling/waterfalls, some centring just on expression of some fundamental feeling/emotion, lots of pushing out experimentally in terms of trying out new things.  There’s a few shelters/tents/refuges/tower type imagery emerging.  It’s wonderful weather for drying paint!

Having a great time in the “Studio Tent” … Might start calling it the “Tent of Meeting”… This is influenced by me preparing a talk to give at St Paul’s Church of England, Hook, in a couple of weeks on Psalm 84… (Lovely Psalm!)… In researching the talk, I discovered that the phrase “tent of meeting”  is used in the Old Testament as the name of a place where God would meet with His people. ” Usually, the “tent of meeting” was used as another name for the Tabernacle of Moses. However, before the tabernacle was constructed, God met with Moses in a temporary tent of meeting: “Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting.’ Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. . . . As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses” (Exodus 33:7, 9).” (quoted from http://www.gotquestions.org/)

Wow, well there isn’t a pillar of cloud at the entrance of my Studio Tent of Meeting, however, I do feel the Holy Spirit a lot inside it… and it is heaven to simply have that space, and to paint, pray, and meditate in there.  It is a place of a lot of blessing and happiness! It’s a kind of oratory!

Here’s Psalm 84:

Psalm 84  Good News Translation (GNT)

Longing for God’s House[a]
84 How I love your Temple, Lord Almighty!
2 How I want to be there!
I long to be in the Lord’s Temple.
With my whole being I sing for joy
to the living God.
3 Even the sparrows have built a nest,
and the swallows have their own home;
they keep their young near your altars,
Lord Almighty, my king and my God.
4 How happy are those who live in your Temple,
always singing praise to you.
5 How happy are those whose strength comes from you,
who are eager to make the pilgrimage to Mount Zion.
6 As they pass through the dry valley of Baca,
it becomes a place of springs;
the autumn rain fills it with pools.
7 They grow stronger as they go;
they will see the God of gods on Zion.
8 Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty.
Listen, O God of Jacob!
9 Bless our king, O God,
the king you have chosen.
10 One day spent in your Temple
is better than a thousand anywhere else;
I would rather stand at the gate of the house of my God
than live in the homes of the wicked.
11 The Lord is our protector and glorious king,
blessing us with kindness and honor.
He does not refuse any good thing
to those who do what is right.
12 Lord Almighty, how happy are those who trust in you!
Footnotes:

Psalm 84:1 HEBREW TITLE: A psalm by the clan of Korah.

 

Well…. That is it for now… Till next month! 

Ah, just couldn’t resist this photo I stumbled on when doing a bit of computer sorting!  Me and the children, a few years back!  I’m totally passionate about art, but never forget, people are more important than art will ever be!

 

jenny meehan jamartlondon photography

jenny meehan jamartlondon photography

 

 

 

Jenny Meehan. All Rights Reserved, DACS

TO FOLLOW THIS ARTIST’S BLOG SIMPLY GO TO THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN, LOCATE THE  “FOLLOW” BOX AND POP IN YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.  YOU WILL THEN RECEIVE MONTHLY UPDATES. 

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 www.jamartlondon.com.  (www.jamartlondon.com replaces the older now deceased website http://www.jennymeehan.co.uk)

Jenny Meehan BA Hons (Lit.) PGCE also occasionally offers art tuition for individuals or in shared sessions.  Please contact Jenny at j.meehan@tesco.net or through the contact form at www.jamartlondon.com 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:  www.jamartlondon.com

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 

TO FOLLOW THIS ARTIST’S BLOG SIMPLY GO TO THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN, LOCATE THE  “FOLLOW” BOX AND POP IN YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.  YOU WILL THEN RECEIVE MONTHLY UPDATES. 

 

 

 

 

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