After having left my February post on the late side, I am getting the March post in early!  The piecemeal nature of this journal continues its meandering way, as I do mine, making my way through the vast expanse called life!


Desiderata written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann

Someone pointed me in the direction of this lovely piece of writing, which I share with you.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.


This has been quoted from the following website:

Desiderata was written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann, a poet and lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana. The word desiderata means “things that are desired.” Ehrmann said he wrote it for himself, “because it counsels those virtues I felt most in need of.”

There are also many audio versions of Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, for example the following:




This journal; this “meandering discourse”, serves to educate you on what happens alongside my painting and visual artwork. Though I don’t often make direct references to all that inspires me, confronts me, meets me, greets me and generally impacts my life, and therefore my work,  (which is just as well to be honest, because the important meaning in your relationship with my painting is based upon your own life and experience, not mine), however, my painting is one facet of the whole, not the whole, and folk often like to know about the creator behind the art.  Sharing what inspires me, may add a dimension to someones experience of my work, and this is something which can add some depth.  Many artists are also writers, and/or musicians.  It’s good to have different forms to hand.  I think writing for me has relieved me of some pressures, and given me a place to explore concepts through a medium I find best suited to it.  With painting I am relieved of any need to say or sound anything other than the materials I work with, the rhythms of painting are poetic and resonate emotionally, free of any need to be or say anything other than they are.  And that feels good and liberating to me.  So I write regularly and this is helpful.  It is a very useful tool to have, among the paintbrushes, rollers, and collection of materials.  And now I have started to learn hand drumming, which is probably the best new activity I have started for years.  This links in with my painting; the connection being rhythms and resonance, and presence and space and all those things which words don’t quite manage to express!

I learnt one of the rhythms from Sinte last night!

 Kingston Artists’ Open Studios 2018

Getting ready for this year’s Kingston, Surrey Artist’s Open Studios.

Kingston Artists’ Open Studios (OS18) will be taking place on 9/10th and 16/17th June 2018 from 11am to 5pm each day. I will be enjoying the kind hospitality of one of my KAOS artist companions just a short walk from Kingston Town centre, not far from the Kingston Gate of Richmond Park.

It would make a lovely day out to follow a few of the trails in and out of artist’s homes and studio spaces, so do come along!

For more details, please contact me via the contact page on I will put you on my mailing list and send further information as soon as available!

Hope to see you! Jenny Meehan


Bits and Bobs

I post past work up from time and time.  I find it helpful to look back fairly often and ask new questions about what I was doing and why.  It also reminds me of what matters to me, and how certain strands have developed over the years.  It’s essential in order to come up with new directions, because in looking back you actually see things anew and recognise the elements of your work which you still like and which interest you.  Like old friends, who know you well, they often offer important insights!  Here is some past work:


“Round and Round Inside My Head” Monoprint  by Jenny Meehan

Oil based ink, graphite, and oil pastel on paper.

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

I don’t use linear elements in my work so much now, or when I do they are hidden lines formed not from direct application of a media but from edges and the meetings of other forms.  I have recently started using tearings and collage a bit more and this is bringing line into my vocabulary once more.  I have been once again inspired by Francis Davidson, whose work I saw again at the end of last year, and this exhibition was helpful to me.  I likes the strips very much and this has given me a few thoughts about future direction which are very timely.  I don’t tend to talk about my thoughts for the future in any detail as they need incubation time, and it is easy to diffuse things before they have properly had a chance to grow.

I think of Henry Moore saying ” It is a mistake for a sculptor or a painter to speak or write very often about his job. It releases tension needed for his work. (Henry Moore). I heard or read that quote years ago and it has stuck with me.  I completely “get” this.   I love writing and have decided to keep the sharing of my work to this Journal, rather than use Instagram.  I did start using Instagram, but felt this “dissolve” immediately.  As far as I understand it is thought best for artists to share their work in progress. Because this is interesting.  People are interested in  how artists make their work.  However this feels like a violation to me.  This is probably due to the way I personally work, because I work in such a piecemeal, gradual, and extended process, with work coming out and being put away, over a period of years. Privacy is part of the process.  It’s not that I don’t share work in progress at all, because I do.  But I don’t want the pressure of feeling I need to supply a stream of my work to other people before it has found itself and feels some degree of its own resolution.

If my work was different, I don’t think this would be an issue.  For example, if I was sketching and making work which went from start to finish in one fell swoop, I don’t think I would feel the same way about using Instagram.  Slightly conversely, this journal gives me a chance to share about my work but in a way which is limited, quiet, and doesn’t have the effect of diluting any of the energy.  I don’t talk about my work very much at all to other people, only quite rarely.  I find it interesting being a visual artist in this current age, where so much is public that would not have been public in years gone by.  It gives me some pleasure that my writing is here for people to read if they are interested, but I see this Journal as being as much a tool for my own development as it may be for “the public” eye.   It is the only organised writing I have, because the rest floats around all over the place, in small notebooks and pieces of paper!   The organisation of it, in the  liquid “stream of consciousness form, may be it’s prime virtue! Kind of not chaos and not order, but between the two!

Below is  “Baptism/Into the Ocean” Painting by jenny meehan



jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

It looks equally good rotated to the left and displayed as portrait…  This is available for sale so contact me via my website contact page at if interested.

It’s got a lot of energy!

“Pillar and Moon”  below is also available.



jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images


This digital photographic work below evolved from a photograph taken in Oxshott Woods, one of my favourite places.  I went there each Sunday as a child and continue to make regular walks through the woods!



jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon art work uk licensable images


Henry Moore Quotes

I quoted Henry Moore earlier and found several quotes from him I would like to take note of:

The important thing is somehow to begin. (Henry Moore)

If an artist tries consciously to do something to others, it is to stretch their eyes, their thoughts, to something they would not see or feel if the artist had not done it. To do this, he has to stretch his own first. (Henry Moore)

To be an artist is to believe in life. (Henry Moore)

Art is a continuous activity with no separation between past and present. (Henry Moore)


Jenny Meehan on

Redbubble is a great “print on demand” website and I have some of my images there.  The world is full of fabulous artists and Redbubble is a good place for buying merchandise which is original, exciting and contemporary.  The artists on Redbubble get a royalty payment from any items that you purchase there, so it is one way to support the creative community and help artists gain a little bit of income from their work.  Do take a look!

I haven’t put much up new, but did add this a few months ago:

It’s called “Dyno Blue”.  Quick burst of activity on the computer, and there it is!  The wonders of technology!

dyno blue tapestry design jenny meehan© Jenny Meehan. All Rights Reserved, DACS

dyno blue tapestry design jenny meehan © Jenny Meehan. All Rights Reserved, DACS


Gum Arabic Preparation

I was recently looking over some experimental paintings I had made with  home made watercolour paints.  The paints still look great in their pots.  I made mine to keep in liquid form and put more clove oil in them.  They are keeping very well.  I really enjoyed making them and it much easier to be lavish and generous when using materials which are more affordable.  All the pigments used were mineral, earth, iron oxides or mixes, and and NO FILLER at all!  It is great to have better control possible through being the master or mistress of your own fillers!!!!

I didn’t use honey, (I don’t think, or I may have just put a bit in, cannot remember!!!) but as said, I wasn’t trying to make blocks, and kept it liquid!  Here is the recipe I used but I used my slow cooker.

Gum Arabic Preparation
• 300 grams (10.5 oz) Gum Arabic powder
• 3 drops Clove Oil (optional)
• 1 liter (2.1 pints) of boiled water
The ratio is 1 part gum to 2 parts water. Boil water and pour over the powdered gum, stirring to make sure there are no lumps. Allow the mixture to soak 24-48 hours for full absorption.
Add drops of Clove Oil to extend shelflife. Prepared Gum Arabic must be stored in the refrigerator to deter mold growth. It may be advisable to make small batches so the solution will be fresh rather than storing larger quantities for an extended period of time.
Watercolor Preperation
• Prepared Gum solution (Arabic or Tragacanth)
• Honey (Acacia is preferable) in a 10% proportion to the weight of Gum solution used
• Pigments
Mix all the ingredients and crush them on a glass plate using a spatula to obtain a paste with a thick, creamy consistency. It is recommended that you finish the mixture by crushing it with a glass muller (available at art supply stores). Transfer your paints to saucers for painting. When creating your initial gum, you may wish to addGlycerin as a plasticizer to prevent cracking and brittleness. The ratio would be 1 part Glycerin or less by volume to 5 parts of your prepared gum solution. Add the Glycerin after gum has been completely dissolved but while still warm.

I still have my gum arabic solution in the fridge, over a year later, and it still looks fine.  I use it in my hair at the moment, because I have made myself a single braid, and need to dip the end of it into the solution to make it easier to thread a bead through it!!!  I didn’t bother with grinding pigments….  I like using them a bit coarser, I prefer the way the light bounces off them.  If I was painting miniatures or tiny detailed paintings I guess I would want them finer but why use them finer unless you need to?

Studio Tent



jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

The image above was taken in the Summer.  It’s still too cold in the studio tent at the moment, but I have started pottering around in there!

Below a few images of work.  These two “Yoga Inhale” and Yoga Exhale” paintings both sold.  I take lots of photographic images of my work, cropping and at different angles and orientations, as it is a helpful way of looking at what I have done.  Details also get forgotten.  Particularly if I don’t have the painting any more.  I use previous paintings for reference points all the time.

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 abstract expressionist lyrical textural colorist paintings licensable images

jenny meehan jamartlondon lyrical abstract expressionistic paintings in progress

New Knee Anniversary!

One year today, I had my knee replacement!  Now I have hit the one year mark I am stopping my piece of writing, which inhibits another page on this blog.

Not going to write much here about the knee, more than mention it.  The project is over!  My life goes on, and it’s a lot better than it was just over a year ago!

IMG_7305knee replacement in bed

Great Quote from Frank Auerbach

I enjoyed reading this interesting article:

My favourite part:

He says the obligation to take account of the art that has gone before carries two demands: “first that you attempt to do something of a comparable scale and standard, which is impossible; second that you try and do something that has never been done before, that is also impossible. So in the face of this you can either just chuck it in, or you can spend all your energy and time and hopes in trying to cope with it. You will fail. But as Beckett very kindly said for all of us, ‘try again, fail better’, and painting just took me over.”

That’s it for this month!


If you would like to donate money to help support my creative practice I can accept donations quickly and easily through the process. Simply put the following in your browser: and follow the prompts. Please consider supporting my work in this way if it strikes a chord with you and you are able to do so.  If you do this, there isn’t a system for me to contact you and thank you, so you will need to believe you have my heart felt thanks!

Another way you could support my participation in the visual arts could be by praying for me, if that’s part of your daily life. I also put some of my visual art work on the “print on demand” website People buying merchandise with my designs on through results in my gaining a royalty for the use of the image concerned.

Signing up as a follower on this WordPress blog also helps, as does sharing the posts when you receive them.  Anything you can do to help me is much appreciated!  Time and money is limited for me, and it’s a challenge being a mother-artist in terms of promotion and increasing awareness of what I do.  I put my energy into producing my artwork.  For the rest, I need any help I can get!


Just taken a master class in knowing when to stop….Looking through Google images at the paintings of Ivon Hitchens (my great inspiration in so many ways) has reminded me that I don’t need to tie up every ending.  Take an inspirational look:,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&biw=1140&bih=572&wrapid=tljp1338964659606010&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=uvrOT9iqAYXV0QW_6dDJCw#um=1&hl=en&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=%22ivon+hitchens%22&oq=%22ivon+hitchens%22&aq=f&aqi=g8g-S2&aql=&gs_l=img.3..0l8j0i24l2.2867.5015.0.6689.…0.0.0ZpTYrl0Pes&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=165f60c0fcb53761&biw=1140&bih=572

Indeed, some open endings in a painting are a good thing.  It is only the need to control that requires a painter to reach the very end of the painting.  I am also reminded of a favourite childrens story “The Magic Paintbrush”, a story both myself and my own children have loved, where the child painter finds that it is necessary to leave his paintings JUST unfinished, otherwise they will come alive and actually become the things that they depict.  So, we need the unreality of non quite completion?  I think so, though maybe not for the reason in the narrative, because if my paintings right now came to reality, they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves.

Visually, the slight sense of just being undone is both a slightly disturbing but also a stimulating one.  A certain amount of discomfort is a natural part of life, and I guess there is no reason why this should not be the case in a painting.  However, I do confess to liking sometimes to be able to read to the very end of a narrative, and the same goes for a painting too.  And sometimes we want the whole to the very detail, the finest detail.  I was thinking about this last night, that final touch moment.  It is a jewel.  So both are true, the open and the closed.  I guess it depends on the particular painting, how far you go.  And the mood you are in!

In some of the recent paintings I have used the PUREST pigment and to very exciting effect.  I took the cobalt (pure cobalt, not a mix) from some of the silicate colourisers I brought discounted last year (an easy matter, to drain off the potash waterglass and take spoonfuls of thick brilliant cobalt from the container) and mixed with white acrylic so that I could use it on the canvas.  It is heavy. Heavy, the weight of the pigment.  It’s very noticeable. (oxides of cobalt and aluminium, PB 28). And though when I have heard people rattling off in the past about the importance of quality, I have to admit that they are right, particularly if your painting becomes such that it depends on the impact of the light bouncing off the surface as a significant feature of the content, as so much non representational painting does.   Well, all painting does, but I think having no pictorial concerns does free one to become quite absorbed in the finer dimensions of paint itself, and I think this is the pleasure for me right now.  I just see what I am doing as getting aquainted with my materials and techniques.

After a little experiment in restricted brush use, (ie only using same size round and flats, though sometimes in bunches of more than one brush) I happily return to my former practice of using a variety of brushes.  I was testing out something I heard someone say which I thought very ridiculous but I thought I would test it out anyway.  They said that you didn’t need lots of different types of brushes.  Well, you do.  And if you want to call yourself a painter, you certainly do.  It’s nothing fancy.  Just common sense.   I couldn’t quite stick to restricted brush idea, but I thought I would give it a try.  Silly me.  It was handy with the acrylics though, in that I have lots of cheap brushes which I could use with complete abandon, (ie, no need to wash, just pick up another one and leave the used one in water).  This IS a good idea.  Easy to use brushes very dry and very wet, which is handy.  However, best with some more expensive spalters and filberts.  And I do wash those, very carefully, because acrylic is a horror for ruining brushes.

Thinking of blues, this is a nice handy run down:

Feeling in need of some structure and clarity in my painting right now, so planning to take a look at the “Structure and Clarity” part of the Tate Modern on Level 5.  Though I initially planned to work on some non objective compositions based on the fundamental forms of construction, I was unable to contain myself within these boundaries, and instead opted to continue to experiment with an evolving organic, process based approach to composition, because I find it more exciting.  However, there is some comfort in knowing where you are starting from, and I think I would benefit from a little more pre determined structure, so I think a visit to “Structure and Clarity” at Tate Modern will serve my imagination well.  I am increasingly aware of how important it is to give myself plenty to think about, and this in the visual sense, not a matter of ideas, but just a matter of seeing and sensing.


Painting below: “Resting Place” Jenny Meehan



Boat House - Romantic Expressive Abstract Lyrical acrylic painting by surrey south west london painter artist jenny meehan imaginative internal landscape

Again, as always, image only gives an idea.

Though I believe a painter should always seek to challenge themselves by experimenting with a great variety of underlying compositions, I don’t mind working on a series of these internal landscapes, and I think it will be good to have a strand of work which takes a pre determined direction.  So I am quite looking forward to continuing to explore this route.  It seems to fit in quite well with my approach to my work at the present time which is  rooted in an awareness of the intimate relationship between psychotherapy (which I am undertaking at the present time) and painting, which I find is a very interesting way to  think about my work critically. Not the only way, by any means; historical context, the analysis of surface aesthetics, and just straightforward description of the paintings, are all modes of critique which hold interest for me.  But as the creator of these paintings, I’m interested in the unconscious ideas behind my work because I find I discover things, both through the painting process and the final paintings, which bring a clarity to my life, both emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.

Well, it is finished!

John T Freeman selected some of the children’s work and arranged the composition of the cartoons on the mural.  He copied the children’s work closely so it retained the original’s quality, and we agreed to add a cat and a rat to bring a little movement into play.  Keim Contact Grobb was used under the cartoons to bring a little texture to the surface, though at this point the uneven nature of the surface did seem quite a challenge!  (Unfortunately I was not able to get permission for the wall to be rendered, which would have been the ideal scenerio).

Keim Contact Grobb was then coated with Keim Soldalit in a very light grey, and John used the same Keim Soldalit in Charcoal Grey for the linear parts of the cartoons.  I had previously busied myself with the thicker lines, which I opted to give a slightly fuzzy edge to, as it wasn’t workable to try and achieve sharp edges on such a rough wall, and optically, there was very little point in doing that anyway.  The soft edges worked very well with what are radiant, and yet gentle colours. 

 The colours are getting a lot of comments already;  people do seem to pick up on the particular quality of the mineral paint used, even though the surface changed from totally matt to a very slight sheen  after coating with the Keim Anti-Graffiti Coating.  The cartoons are also providing a lot of enjoyment, and the children will be having a competition soon to come up with a name for the mural.  John T Freeman and myself will enjoy looking at those I am sure. 

Some of the children are working on mural and mineral paint related activities at the school with the Art Co-ordinator, who I hope is taking some photographs which I can post up here later on!  Keim were fantastic in providing some very interesting information about Keim mineral paints, the history, and technical information, and I was also able to provide some materials on colour theory and design which should come in handy. Though I worked on this project voluntarily, I have to say, as an experience, it was well worth the effort and I hope to do something similar in the future.

It’s so important that our children learn about different kinds of materials and what the advantages and disadvantages are…I do think that through the project they have been able to experience using natural paint in a very relevant and creative way.  It’s been a great project, and I only wish I had more time available to do more of this kind of thing.  I do have another mural on the horizon,  and it will be very good to use what has been learnt through this one for the next.  I am also making a short video of the whole process to pop up on You Tube.  It hasn’t got anything that isn’t common sense on it, but it might prove helpful to another school who maybe would like to work with mineral silicate paint for an ecologically friendly mural at some time. 

John T Freeman’s website:

Jenny Meehan’s website:

Video of Mural Project:

Rain, Rain,Rain.

I just want to put the final coating of Keim 694 Waterbased semi-permanent anti-graffiticoating ON THE MURAL.  It’s sitting here in front of me, but cannot be used “if rain could fall within 5 to 6 hours”.  The way the last few days have been going, all my expected times and days have melted into the ground and evaporated!  I haven’t even seen the mural since John last came in to finish the cartoons, so I haven’t even seen it finished yet!  Hopefully one day next week….

Once I have coated the mural with the anti-graffiticoating, I will be working on a presentation on the whole process for the school.  And then the work really will be finished.  I have to say a really big thank you to Keim Mineral Paints again for their part in the project, which in the end turned out to be very significant, because I found their silica-sol paint “Soldalit” of great use for the linear parts of the painting, and John used this for the cartoons too.   I now intend to continue to use Soldalit for other exterior murals I paint, as the colour range is fantastic, and though I like to mix up my own colours, (as I did for the colour areas of the Trafalgar Mural, using the Beeck Full Colour mineral paints), it does save a lot of time if the colours are already mixed.

I’ve learnt a lot from this project….

1.  I love and hate the weather, but it’s kind of nice to be subject to it. 

2. Some companies have great customer service, and others need to improve.  However great, you can only build on the foundations below you.  That means, every little person matters.

3.When you paint murals on party walls, it can take a long time and a lot of effort to get permission to do so, but if you use a porus silicate mineral paint, there is no good reason for refusal, as the wall can “breath”, so no damp issues arise.

4. Don’t assume anything

5. Children are worth working with.  My thanks to the lovely children who painted with me, and to all those wonderful artists who produced such amazing cartoons under the expert and sensitive guidance of John T Freeman.  If the mural was bigger, all the cartoons would be in the mural…every single one.

6. It will ALWAYS take longer than you think, and extensive preparation, including research, is always worth it.

7.  The composition has to be right.  If it’s not, don’t bother. 

8.  Silicate Mineral Paint offers the best colour quality possible, far superior to acrylic paint in terms of its ability to reflect light.   Having spent hours looking at the difference, I have no doubt in my mind about this matter. It’s beautiful.  It is more demanding to use, but it’s worth it.

9. Take the rough with the smooth…In this case, quite literally.  The wall surface was rough!  Painting straight lines on such a surface doesn’t make much sense, but as they say, “where there’s a will, there’s a way” and nothing’s impossible.

10. Give generously, receive generously.

It might seem a bit early to put this down, but as the rain is stopping me from going any further, I might as well do this now.  I would like in the future to put together something on practical techniques for mural painting with silicate mineral paints to help others who might consider using this type of paint for exterior or interior murals, but to be honest, I have so much happening right now I cannot see myself being able to do this for sometime.  I now have work to sort out for exhibition at the Rose Theatre in October, Gallery 63 in September, The CornerHOUSE in December and later on Leatherhead theatre in May 2012, which is great, but means the mural work has to stop for a while.  I am working on a mural in a garden, just a simple grey and white one  .I would like to do another exterior mural at the school later next year.  I’m also in the process of applying for the Artists Access to University Scheme, at Kingston University in order to develop my practice.  That should be enough for now,  plus running the house, and all that domestic bliss!  

By way of a little deviation, some images of other things I have been creating!




I can’t resist the odd photograph now and again.  

Pencil sketch done at West Dean College during last stay recently

Another part of the journey....


Quite missing the mural, having not painted anything on it for a while.  A bit of a gap now in progress, but more to be done over the Summer holidays.  I am very pleased that Keim Mineral Paints Ltd in the UK have kindly donated some charcoal grey Soldalit, which has solved a problem for me, as the Beeck Full Colour black plus white was a very bluey black, and not exactly what I wanted.  I could have fiddled around with it, but it’s all time.

I have decided to coat the mural, when finished, with  another useful product from Keim Mineral Paints “Keim 694” which is a waterbased semi-permanent anti-graffiti coating, based on acryl co-polymers and waxes.  The advantage for me is that it is not solvent based, which I prefer, and also that it may be applied by brush.  It needs two coats. It also comes with with plenty of information with regard to aftercare. The paint is hydro-phobic without a coating,  and though it takes a while to fully petrify, it will indeed go rock hard.  However, as the mural is in a playground, I felt it wise to use the coating on it.

I have to say, I cannot fault the customer service received from Keim Mineral Paints Ltd, and this is very refreshing, having experienced some dreadful customer service earlier on in the process of the mural.  Unfortunately, I understand from several painters in my locality, that is is common for women not to be treated as professionally as they should be by some suppliers in the construction industry.  This was not something I have come across before, and  it was rather a disappointment, and certainly not something I expected.  Keim Mineral Paints have  delivered excellent customer service, and the range of modern silicates, each with their specific applications, is quite amazing. I’m very pleased, and I hasten to add, this is not because of the donated paint… It’s because of the good and sound business policies clearly in place which treat both the big and small customer with the same amount of respect, treat women professionally, and put the customer first.  Any business which wants to grow in this current economic climate needs to take customer service very seriously, and the intelligent ones will do exactly that.

Well, it’s a great advantage to be able to touch type, and to be able to do so very quickly!  However, I need to get on, so next blog entry will be  a while away now.  I understand that one child put on his end of year review form that working on the mural was the highlight of his year.  That’s why painter’s should be in schools engaging with the next generation of artists.  And, our society does need artists, as much as we need air to breath.


 The colour areas of the mural have come along, and I have had some good weather.  One day of last week was crazy….The sun kept popping in and out, and I not only had short, sharp, showers of rain, but some hailstones too!  This made me very glad to have the bubblewrap protective layer…It also meant that I could carry on painting even in the rain, as it was so light and transparent that it didn’t get in the way at all, and I had plenty of light.  It even took the chill out of the air…All in all, it made quite a cosy working environment!  

I’m going to avoid sharing an image of the design for now….mainly because even when the main linear elements are done, the mural won’t be in it’s final state until the cartoons have reaped their havoc with it!  The image here shows most of the main colour areas.  The remaining area (the ships base) will be carried out during the next stage of painting, with a couple more enthusiastic children to assist with the process.  I will post some images of the children working soon, but consent is needed first before publishing on the internet.

The Mural

The mural design is based loosely on the work of the painter
Piet Mondrian.    Over time, his painting
developed  away from the  representational  becoming increasingly more abstract.  He narrowed down the elements of the image
further and further until in the end he produced   geometric paintings which were comprised of
coloured rectangles intersected and divided by a flat grid of black lines.   Mondrian’s importance in art history lies in
his development of “pure” abstraction.
The mural design shows two sailing ships; one on the left, which heads
straight towards the viewer, and one on the right, which is perpendicular to
it. The ships are arranged like this to symbolise Nelson’s battle tactic for
the battle of Trafalgar; instead of conducting the battle so that his ships
approached the enemy ships face on, (as was the more common, traditional,
approach) he decided to get his ships to approach the enemy ships from a right
angle, perpendicular to the enemy ships. This meant they could break into the
enemy lines, cutting off and overwhelming the enemy centre and rear, before
their vanguard (leading ships) could turn and assist.

Because schools are ever changing, constantly growing and
developing communities, I felt it was important to suggest a sense of process
in the mural and this is  suggested in
the ever increasing oval shapes, which start small from the right hand side,  and get bigger near the front of the ship:  Trafalgar is a place of growth and
development, of each person’s potential having the opportunity to become
realised more fully, and of having the structure and  support needed in order for that to happen.  I have also depicted in light grey an
indication of the underlying grid on which the design was constructed, in order
to suggest the idea of a work in progress.

Some of the children’s cartoons will liven the whole thing up!

An important part of
the project will be educational input with regard to the reasons for and value
of using ecologically friendly paints, and in particular the unique qualities
of silicate mineral paint, which has been developed over the years into a very versatile and exciting paint.  I would like to thank
Keim Mineral Paints Ltd, in particular for their prompt and helpfully delivered technical
support, and the provision of information  and printed and presentation materials , all
of which have been particularly helpful  in enhancing the educational dimension of the
project. The mural will be coated with the Keim anti-graffiti coating, which is just what I was looking for.
I would also like to thank Mike Wye and Associates for technical advice and assistance. Cornish Lime were also helpful in this respect.

Colour areas of the mural in progress

Well, this Tuesday was another fine day with respect to the weather (unlike today!).   The wall we are painting the mural on is thankfully not exposed to direct sunlight in the mornings, which means we don’t have to worry about the paint drying too quickly. Not really an issue for this layer, but when we do the colours it could be.   On Tuesday, myself and my team of two boys and two girls from Trafalgar  painted the first layer of BEECK Quartz Filler, a bridging primer, over the surface of the wall.  I couldn’t have done it without them, and what a great team they were.  We talked about the paint and the ingredients, and the children loved using the paint.  They loved the smell, which is like toothpaste, and as we were using the bottoms of plastic milk cartons as containers, the paint was then referred to as “milk”.  They even missed some of their playtime and wanted to carry on for the rest of the morning! We had a great time.  Ideally I would have liked the wall to be rendered first, but this was not allowed, and would have cost more money too.  The bridging primer does give some smoothness to the surface, but it’s still quite uneven.  However, having seen several other murals on the net with silicate on brick,  this doesn’t worry me, not for this simple design anyway.

Such was the enthusiastic response that I realise, with hindsight, that the children’s painting shirts were not really sufficient protection, (!!) and I just hope those parents will forgive me for their children coming home with evidence of their painting activities still intact on their clothing.  I think it should come out easily though…there’s no acrylic or anything which would make it hard to get out of clothing.  The children also wore rubber gloves and goggles for protection (I’m not sure the goggles were really that necessary, but they looked rather scientific!)  I’ll post some images up soon.

By the end of the morning the whole area was covered.  Everyone worked really hard and enjoyed the process.  Amazing work!  Over the half term I’ll be marking up some of the design and then some of the children will help me with the colour areas.  The paint takes a good 12 hours to dry enough for a second coat, and it seems to take a couple of weeks to fully harden, (based on samples at home) but there’s no rush.  I’ve worked out the colours, apart from one which I can’t decide on.  I’ll be painting the design on a smaller scale on paper over the half term and post it up here soon.  I’m also thinking about some activities that the children might like to participate in related to colour theory and design, which can be used if required by the school. have also been really helpful to me with this project, providing prompt, helpful information about products through their website and email, plus their sister company AURO, and demonstrating professionalism through and through, providing  plentiful comprehensive information about the natural paints in their range; and what a range it is!  The AURO product range is a great asset to any interior muralist, and I was almost wishing that this current mural was an interior one, so that I could try out some of these natural paints for myself.  

There are a few other companies I plan to mention, but now I am working on site  (rather a lot of footballs around, but no one has managed to hit me with one yet!) I might be busy for a while.   Once I have got some photographic images sorted out, I’ll be back blogging with more news on how the project is going.  I can only spend around four hours a week on site, due to other commitments and activities, but I made good progress this morning with the preparation of the wall.  Marked out outline, put up protective skirt along the bottom, filled deep cracks and wire brushed the wall.  Scraped off paint from the occasional brick which had some old paint on it.  Applied the fixative.  Didn’t want to stop. Children interested… “Are you a scientist?” “What’s a mural?” “Is that water?”  Unfortunately I was so tight on time today I didn’t have enough time to chat as I would have liked, but I have promised them that next time I come into school I will be able to tell them more about the project.

Some children have been involved in cartooning workshops with John T Freeman.  I spoke to one boy today whose face practically glowed when he told me about it.  That’s why artists work in schools.

Artist?  Female?  Small Budget?

For some companies, this spells bad news, not worth bothering with, etc.  I’ll resist the temptation to name and shame, it doesn’t appeal to me.  Still fuming, and keen to let off steam, I’ve decided though to focus on the positive.  In this economic climate, good customer service is important and when it’s good it’s worth shouting about.  So buying supplies for the mural project has been an education in itself in some ways, and I’d like to take this opportunity to pass on some recommendations for anyone who might be thinking of buying natural or mineral based paints.  Thankfully I have more positives to report than negatives.   So I’ll start with Mike Wye and Associates.

Helpful, prompt, great range of products and excellent information.   Keen to help, interested, understanding the value of a school mural project with ecologically friendly paint,  demonstrating good customer service and a friendly and helpful manner.  Much appreciated.


It’s convinced me that next time I decorate I need to change my paint!  Trouble is I’m so busy right now that decorating my own house doesn’t come into it.  It’ very important for companies to be female friendly I think, and also to give prompt responses to enquiries and such like, and my experiences with this company have been very positive indeed.

Today the children are having  John T Freeman, into school.  He’ll be interviewed during assembly and the children will learn about his work as an artist and why he does what he does.  John will also be doing some workshops with the children on cartooning…I can’t wait to see their work!  I’ll post some images up shortly.  The children’s work will be used by John in the latter stages of the mural painting.  John will be adapting and composing their images which will populate the mural, and bring some life to it.   Some of the children will also be doing some activities  which centre around ecological considerations…Basically exploring the question “Why Are We Using Natural Paint?”  The children involved in the painting will also learn more about paint and painting from me, about pigments, colours, types of paint, whatever they are interested in.

I’m currently still making decisions about colours, but most of the planning work is done now.  Here’s some images of the project so far….

Using the computer and a grid for constructing templates

Mural Planning Using A Computer To Assist

Materials, Equipment, and A Messy Studio - Jenny Meehan

Using natural paints for this mural has basically converted me!

Experimenting with Different Tones and Colour Combinations at the Design Stage

A balancing act of colour in progress

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