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“River Journey” abstract lyrical expressionist british paintings jenny meehan

Come and meet me this year at the Kingston Artists’ Open Studios!
KAOS OPEN STUDIOS 10th/11th and 17th/18th June 2017 11 – 5pm at Studio KAOS 2 , 14 Liverpool Road Kingston KT2 7SZ
It’s no time at all! So pop this in your diary and make yourself a nice day out. Walk by the river in Kingston, Stroll in the park, walk along the studio trail, pop into a little cafe! Meet KAOS (we are a lovely bunch of creatives) and take a look at what we love investing ourselves into! And if you are someone who does collect art, be it just a few pieces or many, make a good choice and visit the artists direct…You can talk with us and find out more about the work in a way that you wouldn’t be able to do in a different context.
There are  over 90 artists showing work!  I am showing at KAOS 2, along with 8 other artists:
Sandra Beccarelli, Cressida Borrett, Lizzie Brewer, Caroline Calascione, Ikuko Danby, Bali Edwards, Yuka Maeda, and Anna Tikhomirova! See you there!

http://www.kingstonartistsopenstudios.co.uk/

 

Snails in the Studio

Still recovering from my knee replacement surgery, but getting around a bit more now.  The snails may well be moving more quickly than me!

abstract expressionist collage painting jenny meehan jamartlondon snail in the studio artists studio paintings

the snail in the studio jenny meehan abstract painting

 

 

This  painting-collage includes the munch marks of the snails who share my outdoor studio with me.  A market stall steel frame covered in reinforced heavy duty translucent tarpaulin is excellent for the purposes of working in when the weather is not too cold or damp.  I share this wonderful space with my snail friends.  Who also work slowly but very steadily, munching away at my painted cardboard samples of colours and textures and excreting them into multicoloured snail poo and card combinations.  There is none of their waste matter on the collage-painting but some of the card with the munch marks on it.  I find the effect quite attractive.  Sometimes very good things come from the most unexpected places!

I titled the work “Snail in the Studio” after my fellow workers…As interested as I am, in colour, which must satisfy something in them. They devour and work their way through the painted cardboard samples and they do add something to them!  I decided not to fight with them, but just go along with what was happening, so the painting offers them a place in my work!  There are a lot of images of knights fighting snails in old manuscripts, I have discovered. As those familiar with 13th and 14th century illuminated manuscripts can attest, images of armed knights fighting snails are common, especially in marginalia.

Different people have many different theories about what the image of a knight fighting a snail might be symbolising. The Continuum Encyclopedia of Animal Symbolism in Art says:  “The snail was a symbol of sloth and of those who are content with things of the material world at the expense of striving for the spiritual”.  I don’t quite get that one, because the snails in my studio are far from slothful.  They are manic and move very fast indeed.  They are industrious and ravenous beasts! They are certainly concerned with material things though.  Great consumers!  So if consumption is the point, then they may be symbolic of appetite I think.  And the knight to slay the fleshly appetites might be a possible route to go down.

Another idea might be that snails love to eat bark, paper, cardboard,  and similar materials. As far as the monks go, (bearing in mind their books would often be stored in damp places, maybe cellars or similar) I am sure they were very much aware of the risk of damage to their manuscripts/books from snails, and it makes a lot of sense for them to maybe depict this battle against potential destruction of their life work. Snails would be a suitable “enemy” for a bookish monk, bearing in mind their main occupation was producing manuscripts.  Maybe, including the image of the knight fighting the snail, would be a way of asserting that the word and the message of the text, recorded for continuity to be passed through the ages, would overcome any decay or destructive influences.  And also, this would resonate with their own very practical battle of protecting the work from snails eating it!

The “Snails in the Studio” painting includes my little nod, to the snails.  The studio tent is certainly a place of contemplation…As well as paint, I pray and meditate in this set apart space.  I reflect and review, sometimes read, and drink tea as much as possible. It is my holy place, my mini monastery, the place most available to me when I want to focus in on the inner room of my life.  And this is the best place to paint in, because of it being a dedicated space.

The snail — the archetypal slow creature, paradoxically endowed with implacable destructive power —might represent the agonising impossibility of accomplishing all that we hope to, because of the limits of time, and the knight  could teach us that we must nevertheless battle against the snail despite the inevitability of defeat.  I like this idea very much indeed. The reason being I think that in the context of my knee replacement surgery, and the long recovery and rehabilitation process, I am constantly facing the reality of not being able to accomplish all that I hope to, because I cannot rush time… I cannot make it go faster and I cannot speed up the process of recovery.  I am subject to time and it is only time that will reap gradual improvement. My giant metaphorical time-snail is felt to be very big at the moment!  So it’s a slightly different angle on time… but still orientated around the desire to achieve being confounded by the pace/passage of time!

In heraldry, the snail has a fixed meaning of perseverance and deliberation.  Certainly need plenty of that at the moment!

Thinking of snails in relation to reading, “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan” is now in an abridged form.  You can get to it by following this link, and the link is also on the side bar of this blog under “Pages”.

https://jennymeehan.wordpress.com/abridged-version-of-the-very-patient-knee-replacement-story-by-jenny-meehan/  It is still pretty long, so skimming may be a good idea!

Here’s a happy image of me walking around. With crutches I can now walk for a whole 40 minutes!  That’s more than I could do before the knee replacement!

walking after TKR

walking after TKR

 

 

Health Care

I have an ongoing interest in healthcare.  Earlier on in life I worked for ten years as a dental nurse.  It wasn’t planned.  Just a matter of leaving my DATEC Diploma in Art and Design course at Richmond Upon Thames College before the end, disillusioned and despondent.  Needing to leave home quickly.  Needing somewhere to live.  Needing money to be able to live.  So away with the art and into some nursing.  There was a Dental Surgery in Hampton Wick and as it was nearby and familiar (because it was were I had my own dental check ups!) I went along.  Didn’t expect to get the job.  Didn’t like it very much at first, but in the end, got rather enthusiastic.  Trained.

Looking back it was a very suitable job for me.   A good move.  What is more, it enabled me to go to University later as a mature student in my late twenties, as it was just the right kind of job to have while studying at the same time.  No work to take home.  And plenty of work available.  And enjoyable.  I did enjoy dental nursing very much indeed. And the whole role of nursing is such a valuable one.  It makes such a difference to a persons experiences when they feel vulnerable, afraid and anxious.  It is nice to help people in such situations.  To calm and reassure them.

I was very pleased to be part of “The Art of Caring”  http://www.artofcaring.org.uk/ in 2016 and went along to several events celebrating  International Nurses Day which reminded me what an important profession it is.

For 2017 “The Art of Caring”

The Theme
Although your art/photo should respond to the theme of Caring/Care we will be giving special attention to those artworks which respond to the theme of Sustainability. This is because the worldwide theme for International Nurses Day in 2017 is Nursing: A voice to lead – Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Sustainability
The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance
Or your interpretation of the theme…….
The Exhibitions
The Art of Caring is split into two clear exhibitions.
The first is at St George’s Hospital (3rd-12th May 2017) where printed postcards of your artwork are displayed on the walls of the hospital to help celebrate International Nurses Day. This is an inclusive exhibition.
The second is at St Pancras Hospital (July-October 2017) and uses a mixture of original artworks and printed postcards. Works will be selected by Arts Project curators Peter Herbert and Elaine Harper-Gay.
With my knee replacement experiences of needing care and treatment, the value of those working in healthcare was brought afresh to me.  As part of my experience I began to be aware of other forces at work, and realised that my experience of the health service was affected by many different ebbs and flows.  I discovered the Kings Fund, and the discovery was very helpful. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/six-ways
Quote from the link:
“In The King’s Fund report Thinking about rationing, Rudolf Klein and Jo Maybin describe a useful framework for understanding the different ways in which access to high-quality care can be limited by commissioners and providers, building on earlier work by Roy Parker. Their typology outlines six ways in which patients can be affected by financial pressures and provides a useful means of examining what is happening in local health systems.
  1. Deflection
  2. Delay
  3. Denial
  4. Selection
  5. Deterrence
  6. Dilution

The first five categories relate to restrictions on access to care, the final category (dilution) relates to reductions in the quality of care.”  credit: written on 31 March 2016 Ruth Robertson

NHS financial crisis, elective surgery joint replacement rationing, TKR graphic art, graphic image knee joint,abstract knee replacement design,abstract artwork knee joint, © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

NHS financial pressures knee replacement jenny meehan © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

So you see above my contribution to the theme “Sustainability”.

On the theme of knee replacement surgery,  the recovery and  rehabilitation from my surgery which was on the 8th March is certainly a marathon.  But I’m doing my exercises!  Getting there slowly.  My experience of being cared for in hospital was amazing! It couldn’t have been better! So impressed!   I wrote a lot about it in “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan” which is on a separate page of this blog.  Look to the right hand side under pages and you can follow the link to it there if knee replacement surgery and patients experience of it is of interest to you! As well as the full version, which had colour coded text to help selective reading, “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan” is now in an abridged form.  You can get to it by following this link, and the link is also on the side bar of this blog under “Pages”.

https://jennymeehan.wordpress.com/abridged-version-of-the-very-patient-knee-replacement-story-by-jenny-meehan/  It is still pretty long, so skimming may be a good idea!

 

Here is the introduction to the full version, as a sample of the reading experience.  I do go on!!!!!

Full Version of “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan”

Warning!  This is VERY long.  For the abridged version of  “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan ” follow this link: https://jennymeehan.wordpress.com/abridged-version-of-the-very-patient-knee-replacement-story-by-jenny-meehan/

No Problem/Moving On abstract art print by Jenny Meehan jamartlondon.com bright bold motivational art for physiotherapy experience personal mobility challenges, jenny meehan,

No Problem/Moving On sign of the times series jenny meehan

Do you like this print?  Buy it, easily and safely, through Redbubble.com:

https://www.redbubble.com/people/jennyjimjams/works/20507601-no-problem-moving-on-geometric-colour-abstract-print-by-jenny-meehan-jamartlondon-com?asc=u

Introduction to “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” by Jenny Meehan

Before I start, or should I say finish, bearing in mind that this post at the beginning, is the post at the end of the story, even though it is not the end of the story, because it is also the beginning…

You are clear on that, yes?  !!!

Never mind! It depends which way round you choose to read this!

You will need patience to read this story.  But I am needing so much patience myself, and it’s a good thing to cultivate.  So it might be useful for you to bear with me.    “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” will be added to, probably in a couple of months time, as I am still writing it periodically.  So, here is the full version of “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” as it stands on 4th April 2017.   If you want a much shorter read on a patients experience of knee replacement surgery and recovery, then I have posted some extracts from my story as part of a post I made for April 2017. And there is the abridged version!

Warning! This present version is VERY long! (Around the length of a PhD!) It has some text in a different colour, so that if you are not interested in exercises or mental meandering, you can be aided in your reading by knowing which areas to skip over with ease. Information I’ve found in the expanse of the internet will often be in sea green. Text related to physiotherapy and exercises will be in orange, and mental meanderings will be in blue. You can then jump right over those in your reading if you wish.  Even if you do that, it’s still a good two hour read! But I couldn’t bear to cut the text out, and didn’t think it right to, even if not of interest to the majority,  because if you are considering a knee replacement, I can tell you now, you will need to make yourself interested in exercises and mental meandering, because it is likely you will be doing a fair amount of both! And you will need patience.

If you do prefer a shorter version then follow the link to the abridged version: https://jennymeehan.wordpress.com/abridged-version-of-the-very-patient-knee-replacement-story-by-jenny-meehan/

I have called this “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” as it features a chapter of my life which, while it is still ongoing, (my knee replacement surgery was recently carried out on the 8th March 2017), was one of those experiences where time takes on a new dimension, and patience, as a virtue, does come into its own. The story as it stands at present, covers the time period from January 2017  to a couple of weeks after my knee replacement surgery,  but  it alludes back in time, (rather a lot!) as I recall the past, and try and make some kind of sense from it.

I think I have realised that what often happens in life, is we are very patient, but not out of choice, rather out of desperation, and a hope that something will change.   In some situations, patience is not a virtue.  Sometimes we wait, hoping, wondering, worrying, and being passive, but could be taking some action ourselves. We can wait too long for a change to happen and in the process of doing so, cause ourselves and others, a lot of distress.  We sometimes have some control over what happens, even if only a small amount, and we need to take it.  It might be the smallest of actions. A change of mind, or of direction.   A few questions asked.  An attempt at trying some new venture, or seeking any small thing which might help, clarify, or educate.  We might need to question something, and challenge it, rather than accept it.  We might need to raise our expectations both of ourselves and of how others treat us.  We may need to find faith in the process, where we currently harbour only doubt.  Just sitting there and waiting, while sometimes the right thing to do, isn’t always the right thing.

Waiting is not the same as patience.  Sometimes you can be patient, but choose not to wait.

I have been patient, but I did not want to wait, because I felt the timing for having knee replacement surgery on my very arthritic  (I prefer the term “screwed up”) right knee was ripe.  Now the knee replacement surgery  is done, and the story and journey continue, and indeed, I know in my heart of hearts, it was right to have this surgery now.  I’m a “young” knee replacement recipient, at just 52,  so in the decision for a knee replacement at this point is also embedded the prospect of revision surgery in the future.  It will take a long time to reap the benefits fully, but I am already reaping them now, just a few weeks post-operatively, and all the distress of the last two years can fade into the background.  This hasn’t happened quite yet, as you will see from my narrative, but it is happening, and it is happening in the light of me having a life which I can now walk through, with some chance of regularly being able to walk for an hour, and probably even more.  If this expectation seems a little low, and it probably is, it is because my expectations with respect to my quality of life shrunk before my eyes, and this alarming experience was made all the more alarming by the thoughts which were sown in my mind that it was reasonable simply to accept what was happening and live with it.  I did not accept these ideas in the end, though I toyed with them for a while,  and felt a certain amount of pressure to accept them.

I hope my writing about my experience, and sharing some of the thought processes I went through, will help someone else in some way.  Every person’s situation is different and everyone’s knees are different.  The knee is the largest load bearing joint of the body, and this, for me, is as well as being a simple fact, is also profoundly resonant psychologically.  Because my story is one not just of the problems with this load bearing joint, but the psychological load bearing which my knee has brought me into. The struggle involved in  making a decision to have elective knee replacement surgery, and the need for determination and faith at a time  when I was  already pretty discouraged and distressed.  (Anxious and depressed, at times, in the end!)  And it is a story of patience.  When feeling the pressure.

Patience is power.
Patience is not an absence of action;
rather it is “timing”
it waits on the right time to act,
for the right principles
and in the right way.”
― Fulton J. Sheen

Patience is  born from our inability to control much in our lives, and while we by our very natures, like to be in control, the reality is that while we exert control in some areas, we find ourselves in this vast pool of life, subject to all kinds of forces, influences, situations, people,  and experiences which we do not have any control over at all. Or very little.   Sometimes we did have control of an area of our life, at least in part, but did not see it, either because we were unwilling or unable to. Sometimes we were simply subjects, and didn’t have the power or ability to change things. We are broken, and lack insight at times to recognise what is going on. We misunderstand others and we misunderstand ourselves.  I think often the hardest person to understand in our life is ourselves, and we are also often the hardest person to get along with!

In this quest for understanding and getting along with ourselves, we  encounter our broken parts…our injured internal limbs, which stop us from moving as freely as we would like to move.  This “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story” which orbits around my personal experience with osteoarthritis of my right knee and the decision for getting my knee surgically treated, is a personal narrative, first and foremost, which might be of interest to other obese 52 year olds who are considering elective surgery.  Or others, of other ages, who are not obese, but who are considering knee replacement surgery! It might be interesting for anyone working with patients having knee replacement surgery, or “TKR”s, as they are often termed.  (Total Knee Replacements). It’s not the usual type of patient account/diary/story of TKR, as I let myself dwell in waters deep; a little theological here and there, a bit philosophical, a little bit practical, with some research and some emotional angst as well.  It’s long. You’ve been warned!  It has many extra miles in it, and like my life at the moment, cannot be rushed through!  Recovery is a slow process. But gives me a lot of time to write!

My experience of increased pain and disability due to osteoarthritis in my right knee was something which came upon me rather more suddenly than I could ever have imagined, and it changed my life dramatically from the beginning of 2015 onward.  With my knee replacement surgery in March 2017, the journey is not over, but it is significantly altered, as is my life, which is  already much better.  I am not sure how unusual such a rapid deterioration of a knee joint is, and I do not have the means to judge my own experience in a comparative way, with others,  but I imagine that my previous injury to the knee in 2010, no doubt contributed to the state of the knee being quite as dire as it was.   Well, whatever the whys and wherefores, this is my knee replacement story as it stands (rather nice and straight!) at the moment. I have kept my narrative centred on myself, and not included all the wonderful, lovely people who have helped me through this time.  I prefer to keep confidentiality unless specific permission has been given by people I write about, but one of the fantastically valuable aspects of my experience has been the way I have realised how much God can bless, work, and use people, working in hearts, minds, words and understanding, to knit together, in a healing way, the wounds we all carry and experience in our lives. It’s been a wonderful last few months.

I trust you’ll get something worthwhile from it, if you are patient enough to read it, that is!  Though I have packed it into some form of organisation, also strays this way and that, meandering, in the style of my usual blog “Jenny Meehan, Contemporary Artist’s Journal – The Artist’s Meandering Discourse”.    Written from my perspectives as a Christian, aspects of my faith are shared as they are an integral part of my life, and my understanding of my experience is that it has very much been a matter of me learning to trust God, to wait patiently, and to expect good things.  But trusting God, waiting patiently, and expecting good things, are not passive, and do not preclude taking actions or making decisions.  Indeed, the power and ability and strength to take action, comes from “Waiting on God”. The timing, the principles, the way.  As I quoted earlier, but will again, because it is of the essence of what I have learnt through this experience:

“Patience is power.
Patience is not an absence of action;
rather it is “timing”
it waits on the right time to act,
for the right principles
and in the right way.”
― Fulton J. Sheen

As a believer in a marvellously mysterious Creator, yet one also intimately involved in our lives, (if we wish this to be so), I can see how I muddle through things, often rather blindly, and in my stumbling around, often make things quite hard for myself.  However, through all this, God manages to work, and writing this story also means I can look back and be reminded afresh of this time.  Whatever happens with my knee replacement in the future…that great unknown… nothing can take away the rich and rewarding aspects of this experience.  Though it certainly has not been easy, this experience  is one through which I have made progress, and also gained more faith through.

Sometimes when writing, people dedicate their writing to others, and I dedicate this piece of writing to the wonderful people who have been part of this experience; the friends, family, and NHS staff, my surgeon, and all those who made it possible for me to get where I am at the moment.  Anyone who has helped me in any way.  You know who you are!  And I also dedicate it to my knee, which though it found the pressure too much to bear without some reformation, still continues to bear my weight, even while traumatised and healing.

It’s early days.  But I’ve come forward miles already.

Here goes…Be patient!

Most recent entry is first. “The Very Patient Knee Replacement Story by Jenny Meehan”  can be read either way, from the present backwards, or in chronological order.

Well that’s the introduction!  If you are brave enough to read it, you may find you enter your own experience of being a knight fighting a snail, because it does go on!!!!   I am hoping it might be of use to those who do have a knee replacement operation.  It’s very helpful to read of other peoples experiences. 

Meditation Garden

Very pleased to see what is happening in the garden at the moment!

 

abstract graphic art, geometric design, contemplative christianity artist christian uk, british female contemporary art, colourful graphic garden design, art print to buy simple piece, jamartlondon.com © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

sign of the times series jenny meehan

And I have spent quite a bit of time pottering around in the garden, which is very enjoyable!  Plus doing what I am able to do for the:

Forthcoming Kingston Artists’ Open Studios for 2017

jenny meehan lyrical abstraction british 21st century emerging artist contemporary, london based female artists fine painting british women artists jenny meehan, christian art contemplative spirituality art, contemplative meditational aids for reflection through art and painting, jenny meehan jamartlondon collectable original paintings affordable,

“No Fear” painting by jenny meehan abstract lyrical expressionist british paintings jenny meehan

 

“No Fear” is one of the paintings I plan to bring along and show as part of this years Kingston Artists’ Open Studios.

Interesting among  other things for the combination of some of my more graphic strands of working, for example, the “Signs of the Times” series (of which “Meditation Garden” is one) but this time happening in paint, with, quite literally, a more lyrical edge to it.  Plus the joys of action painting!

To simplify one’s painting from time to time is a helpful habit.  It tends to get over involved if you are not careful.  That is OK to a point but it can be a slippery  slope to lost perspective.

 

Emily Carr Quote:

Emily Carr. Carr said “Art is art, nature is nature, you cannot improve upon it… Pictures should be inspired by nature, but made in the soul of the artist; it is the soul of the individual that counts.”

© Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

west dean gardens jenny meehan flora foliage jamartlondon

Above “Dear Life” photograph by Jenny Meehan © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

 

Well, because of all the time I am spending with my knee surgery rehabilitation, I am going to finish promptly, for a change!  Do come along and see me at the Open Studios if you can.  Feel free to email me and let me know if you are coming and introduce yourself when you visit!  Remember:

KAOS OPEN STUDIOS 10th/11th and 17th/18th June 2017 11 – 5pm at Studio KAOS 2 , 14 Liverpool Road Kingston KT2 7SZ
It’s no time at all! So pop this in your diary and make yourself a nice day out. Walk by the river in Kingston, Stroll in the park, walk along the studio trail, pop into a little cafe! …Visit several studios and meet lots of artists! You can talk with us and find out more about the work in a way you wouldn’t be able to do in a different context.
There are 90 artists showing work in total. I am showing at KAOS 2, along with 8 other artists:
Sandra Beccarelli, Cressida Borrett, Lizzie Brewer, Caroline Calascione, Ikuko Danby, Bali Edwards, Yuka Maeda, and Anna Tikhomirova! See you there!

http://www.kingstonartistsopenstudios.co.uk/

 

About Jenny Meehan 

 Jenny Meehan (Jennifer Meehan) is a painter-poet, artist-author
inspired by contemplative practices including prayer and mindfulness,
Christ-centred spirituality, various psychoanalytic themes
and trauma recovery processes.
See examples of her painting at jamartlondon.com
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“Sacred Spaces”  Exhibition Text Done… (Not proof read yet, so apologies for errors!)  

Rather than have the task hang over me over Easter, I have done, but not dusted, the text for the Leatherhead Art Exhibition in May.

Now I can eat my Easter Egg in peace.

Here it is:

“Sacred Spaces” – Exhibition Introduction

Welcome to this exhibition, which we hope you will enjoy.  On show are examples of work from seven members of Kingston Artists’ Open Studios: Chris Birch, Emily Limna, Jenny Meehan,  Richard Tomlin,  Derek Turner,  Hilary Walker, and Jude Wild. The exhibition has been curated by Jenny Meehan.

The exhibition’s focus is on each artist’s “sacred space” in the sense that in creating, responding to the sensations and images around us, processing our thoughts and emotions  and exploring ourselves and  our experiences through the method of making art works we are discovering a means of creating for ourselves a  “sacred space”.

The title of the exhibition “Sacred Spaces” references the inner lives of the artists , the process of creating artworks,  and evidence  expressed  physically  in the artworks themselves.  In our creation we bring body and substance from our own inner contemplation, reflection and response to life and all we experience,  both internal and external.

“The imagination is fundamental to all human activity; indeed, exercising imagination is the creative and critical, intuitive and integrative process central to human becoming.  It gives us the power to remember the past, to shape our desires, and to project possibilities for the future.” Christine Valters Paintner

 We hope that by investing your time in viewing the exhibition, you too will experience some “Sacred Space” of your own.  Please feel free to contact the artists and offer your feedback if you find the experience of looking helpful.  It is always an encouragement!  All the art work is available to buy.  Please use the purchase form in order to reserve a piece.

 

 

“Sacred Spaces”  –  Exhibition Development Discussion  Summary

Responding to an invitation to exhibit with the theme of contemplation, seven artists from Kingston Artists’ Open Studios met together to discuss their submitted art work and discuss their creative practice and process.  The idea of our working space  (both interior and exterior) being a sacred space was discussed in relation to this.

The word “sacred” descends from the Latin “sacrum” of which “sanctum” is related.  We noted that  the “creative zone”  is akin to the idea of a set apart and, in this sense,  holy, space.  It is a place of playful exploration and experimentation, and one which proves both therapeutic and enlightening.

Engagement with the natural environment, music and silence, intra personal intelligence, and relationship and communication with people are important aspects of our lives which feed into our capacity to create art.  Making space for art working  is an investment in ourselves, and is a means of self expression and self realisation, as we bring form to feeling and thought  in a tangible and material way.  

We all found the task of defining our own creative journeys challenging in the light of the huge amount of distractions and the amount of imagery we are bombarded with in today’s current culture. Some of us work with very regular studio times and others in a more piecemeal fashion. By being intentional, and creating space in our lives through the cultivation of our imaginations and our creative impulses, we can meet our need and desire to make space.  In this space, we find it easier to listen to the depths of experience which call us beyond ourselves.  It may be that this is part of a search for  a greater fullness and sense of meaning, regardless of our particular religious beliefs (or not, if none).  We all value feedback on other peoples responses to our work, recognising that what it can mean in the world will vary according to the viewer and context.  

 The above text has been tweaked and improved but I won’t swop it round… it’s pretty much the same!

Rambling Onwards…

Yes, I am still rambling on about Clyde Hopkins paintings, the reason being it is a good discipline for myself to help identify what and why I like something.  Identifying things in other people’s work which you resonate with and taking the time to mull things over is a very important part of an artist’s working processes.  If you like collecting fine art it will also reward you to take the time to do more looking, in depth, at all kinds of art forms. Your time, so invested, will pay you back in the joy of selecting  pieces of art work which will continue to give something meaningful to you very generously  over a long period of time.   If an art collector looks only to money, they are being robbed!

Clyde Hopkins continues…

I like Clyde’s paintings because they have a balance, which I nearly always go for in my own painting, of both structure and a loss of structure.  What do I mean?  I could use the words geometric and lyrical, or maybe geometric and organic would be better?  Not sure. But simply naturally balanced, as we see in nature… This is pleasing to the eye, more than one or the other.  A lily has strong structure, and also soft and gentle undulations.  Beauty has both.  I always fall for beauty.  I am a romantic, expressive, even though it isn’t  very “clever” to be so.   I just love it!  And, as I said in my last post, painting should be pleasing to the eye, as well as challenging and stimulating.

600px_clyde-hopkins-fiveacre-2011

 

Copyright Clyde Hopkins.  Reproduced with the permission of the artist, Clyde Hopkins

Above is is another stunning example,  “Five Acre” and below is “Gastropodus”, 2012  Oil on Linen, 70 x 55cm

With “Five Acre” I am thinking of cracking and breaking up, (sometimes in real life we do a bit!!!)  but balanced with growth potential in those bean-like tree-like shapes.   Old trees and little seeds.  And there is a bit of an aerial view of some fields going on in my imagination, if I need to be literal and start applying the words of the title to my own way of seeing the painting.   Those colours just bring me joy.  That’s a great thing to get from a painting for those in the world that don’t see the point of painting, or at least, don’t value it.  (That’s a little “grump” of mine,  I guess!)

 

Gastropodus Clyde Hopkins

Gastropodus Clyde Hopkins

Gastropodus Clyde Hopkins detail

Gastropodus Clyde Hopkins detail

 

Both images above are copyright Clyde Hopkins.  Permission was granted from the artist Clyde Hopkins for the use of this image.

I am very pleased to have an image of the detail.  It shows you how that mesh of friendly edged dots is made.   It does irritate the eyes I think, but I don’t use the word “irritate” in a negative sense.  It is maybe more in that the brokenness draws attention to the unbroken areas of colour.  It’s the same material; paint. Of course it is!  But takes on a completely different nature from the flowing substance which floods into the other painted areas.  I like the contrast very much.  Note to self:  Experiment with perceived textures!

Thinking: Water.  Solids.  Flux and Stasis.

“Stasis”  “A state of stability, in which all forces are equal and opposing, therefore they cancel out each other”

But we can experience stasis without the cancellation.  It’s all there, thankfully.

I have a bit of a “thing” in my own painting with rocks and water.  Maybe it’s a similar kind of interest?

It’s an interesting area there on the lower left.  Maybe a kind of assertive, “I can do what I want”  or maybe an earlier state in the process which is allowed to be?  It’s less formalised, but has enough in common to not look out of place, though it is different.

Flicking From One Painting to Another…

I am always flicking from one thing to another… Sometimes  when I am talking, I have to make myself remember I have this bad habit!  Writing, I have just warned you of it!

I am finding myself remembering some paintings by Willi Baumeister which |I looked at years ago and found most significant and helped me to think about a change in direction in my own painting from realist and very tied to the external environment to the more symbolic and internal.

Here is some information from the useful wikipedia:

“Towards the end of the 1920s, the shapes in Baumeister’s pictures grew softer. His paintings moved away from being oriented by the elementary shapes of the circle, triangle, and square towards organic forms. Although this development could also be observed concurrently in the work of other artists of his time, in Baumeister’s case, it was tied to his fascination for the prehistoric and archaic paintings. Baumeister intensely explored artifacts of early paintings and integrated this pictorial experience into his own painting. He identified the symbols, signs, and figures of cave painting as components of a valid archaic pictorial language that he used in his works. These included his increasing number of paintings in “oil on sand on canvas” that, in their materials, also approached the cave painting that Baumeister so admired (beg. ca. 1933). He himself collected examples of prehistoric findings, small sculptures, and tools, and occupied himself with cliff drawings that had been discovered in Rhodesia. This experience was undoubtedly important for Baumeister’s artistic disposition since he, evidently inspired by this rich store of prehistoric works, ultimately used extraordinarily reduced organic shapes for his “ideograms” (beg. ca. 1937). In these works he used a unique world of signs, which he saw as symbols for the laws of nature, their evolution, and human existence.”

A good link here also:  http://www.archiv-baumeister.org/index.php?getlang=en&menuid=66&reporeid=383&template=

There’s lots more of interest to be found regarding Wili Baumeister on Wikipedia,  but I l hone in on this as I mentally relate the memory of Bluxao V  to those of Clyde Hopkin’s paintings I have come across recently.  I can also, and indeed to some of my own painting experiments.   Many of my hidden  paintings which I have never shown publicly or on the internet,  are very bare boned in the symbolic…but because they took so little time to paint, I tend to keep them to myself, as they help me somehow in reminding me not to get too complicated!

I digress, most purposefully, to my most favourite Baumeister painting…  Willi Baumeister “Bluxao V”, 1955

Willi Baumeister Bluxao V 1955

Willi Baumeister Bluxao V 1955

 

I am unable to locate the source of the image, so..my rationale for using here follows:

fair use rationale
There is no alternative, public domain or free-copyrighted replacement image available.
Its inclusion in the article(s) adds significantly to the article(s) because it shows the subject (or the work of the subject) of the article(s).
Inclusion is for information, education and analysis only. The text discussing the significance of this art work is enhanced by inclusion of the image.
The image is a low resolution copy of the original work of such low quality that it will not affect potential sales of the art work.

I love this painting.  It set me free.  It resonated in all the right places!  It seems to bring me to the core of myself.  I like the way the edges of some of the paint areas look torn. I love the shadow pool of darker blue that floats below the definition.  This painting told me I could do what I wanted with paint!

Yes, this painting  helped me immensely.  I did not participate in any Fine Art Degree course,  which I think would have muddled my mind with words and concepts more than anything else (though, to be fair, as I have not been, I do not know!)  This means that I do not assume any interest in my own painting beyond immediate response, which is a personal matter.  I have not been taught that people should be able to access my work without any need for me to attempt to make it more accessible, and it is partly for this reason I write my journal.   I have had to develop my own inner determination without the validation of others around me, however, I have had some key people who I respect very much  affirm  that there is something rather worthwhile at work in me in the painting department, and this has helped me to go with the flow of painting as a focus.  It has kind of just happened anyway, I don’t think it could be any other way.  As well as some good short courses at West Dean College along the way, it is my encounters with the  paintings and artworks of others which have ended up being some of my most helpful travelling companions.  Bluxao V is one of those which stands out from the crowd, and waved me on at a key moment.  This is the painting which told me that my inner determination could take me a long way if I let it!  It taught me that  painting in anyway you want is completely legitimate  It was  a liberation to stumble across Bluxao V on the internet and see that colour arrangement and composition without any explicit or obvious external references could offer the viewer  and carry  the viewer,  into an experience through the eyes,  straight down to the soul.  An elemental matter.

My own degree being taken later in life, and in Literature, rather than painting, is a good thing.  Apart from the fellowship of other painters,  which is always a good thing,  because we need to learn from each other,  I wonder if I would have taken away more confusion, rather than clarity, from study at degree level in Fine Art.   Too much theory maybe.  Too much Science.  One needs to locate oneself  in the making.  This is not something which can be taught.

Back to the Clyde Hopkins paintings.   Which I like because they resonate with me.

Only the artist themselves hold the essence of their painting,  in their hearts.  We should never forget this, when we talk about painting, particularly if we are talking about what it might “mean” and it if “matters”.   I read the paintings with my eyes and my experiences colouring the work.  They are transformed and re created in my own eyes.  I feel I have almost trespassed over them by passing comment.  I wonder if I ought to be passing comment at all.   But some paintings are generous in their giving… and do possess an authority.  This makes me want to comment.  It makes it worth taking the risk of using words.   I always have strong reactions to the paintings I come across.  I am certain, to the core, if something is strong or weak.  I am unashamedly subjective, and cannot see how anyone else cannot see how fantastic something is when I see it clearly.  So,  while I will not apologise for this, I must just insert that of course I do realise that I may be temporarily blinded by my own enthusiastic response.  It’s a great way to get blinded though.  And if it rings “true” then it has done its work for me.

I also like very much the comparison of music and painting.    Things can be in tune, and out.  Things make nice sounds, unusual sounds, random and jazzy sounds, but you can tell if something comes together or not.  I will always be traditional in my liking for balance, order, and things which are pleasing to the eye.  Challenging, not completely comfortable, necessarily, but have a sense of some hard working behind them.  You sense there is an inner logic working away.  But there is enough mystery to keep you interested.   I think also that I appreciate these paintings because I have started to experiment with colour more, and so I appreciate the particular process of balancing one against the other.  I can appreciate the achievement.  I can recognise the delivery, and admire them for that.

Baker Tilly in Guildford.

I need to sort these prints out soon.  The prints which will be on show at Baker Tilly are signed on reverse with both my signatures.  I have two signatures, one is a combination of my initials and the other my usual signature which I use in daily life.  I tend to sign paintings just with the combination of my initials and prints with both.  But it depends on the work.  I always use my initials signature, for all my work now.  I like the way it can be used on any material, for example, clay and even stone, quite easily.

Here is another one of the “Signs of the Times” Series for you to see:

Put Your Point Across by Jenny Meehan, Signs of the times series abstract prints geometric, jenny meehan fine artist print, uk female 21st century artist,

Put Your Point Across by Jenny Meehan

I also now have available selected prints from the “Signs of the Times” series on my Photobox Gallery.  The Photobox Gallery is a handy facility for enabling people to buy my prints in a quick, easy and affordable way.  The prints I describe as “Poster Prints” because they are not signed and checked by me, but I am very confident about the quality.  They are in fact  A2 and A3 sized laser prints…So, they are photographic quality…by this, I mean they are printed on archival quality photographic paper using a chemical process, rather than ink-jet prints.  Here is the link to my Photobox Gallery:

Here is the link to my Photobox Gallery:

http://www.photoboxgallery.com/19507

 There are other options for different types of prints on the Photobox Gallery, but at the present time I am restricting the distribution of my work over the Photobox Gallery to just A2 and A2 laser prints.   However, if you do want something specific, just contact me with your requirements and I am completely free, (thanks to not limiting these images to “limited edition”) to arrange to have prints made to varying specifications and to be signed and numbered.

Researching

I have found lots of interest in my time spent looking at the idea of Susanne Langer.  What interesting ideas…  She argued that man is basically a symbol-using animal and that symbolic thought is deeply rooted in human nature.  Kind of flows in with my love of the symbolic right now!  She thought that symbolic thought is the keynote to questions of life and consciousness:  “Art is the creation of forms symbolic of human feeling,” (Susanne Langer). In her thinking works of art don’t directly express the experienced emotions but do express and “idea” of emotion. Susanne Langer thought  that “music articulates forms which language cannot set forth”.  It shows what cannot be said. Well indeed.  It is always so good to hear it again though!

Artists create virtual objects, illusions. For example,  music creates an auditory apparition of time, “virtual time,” and  in painting “virtual space” is the primary illusion.  Poets (and fiction writers) create appearances of events, persons, emotional reactions and places: they are  “poetic semblances.” She notes that  musical forms bear a close logical resemblance to the forms of human feelings.  So music is a “presentational symbol” of psychic process.  Its tonal structures bear a close logical similarity to the forms of feeling, “forms of growth and of attenuation, flowing and stowing, conflict and resolution, speed, arrest, terrific excitement, calm, or subtle activation and dreamy lapses.”  (Now… That IS interesting, I was thinking along those lines with the Signs of the Times when I was working on them).   The symbol and the object symbolized have a common logical form.  Susanne Langer distinguishes art as symbol – the work of art as an indivisible whole – from symbols in art, which are elements of the work and often have a literal meaning.  This is an  unconventional use of the term “symbol”  maybe, but I like it a lot!

Some Recent Paintings by Jenny Meehan 2014

 

 

Bright and Breezy" Jenny Meehan Acrylic and Oil Painting, jenny meehan abstract colourist expressionistic, modernist lyrical abstraction,female british uk 21st century artist jenny meehan, contemporary painters in uk,

Bright and Breezy” Jenny Meehan Acrylic and Oil Painting
There’s a little memory from childhood of a tuft of a tree growing on the edge of a cliff

 

 

Well, just one for now.  And here is the tuft which I placed.  (The little red and blue areas on the top left).  The resilience of which is astounding and admirable!  This made me think of a childhood visit to  Combe Martin Bay.  On the rocks around the bay is some tufty kind of tree or bush growing in a place where you think nothing would grow or be able to stand the elements.  But I was amazed last year when I saw it was still there.  I remember it as a child, and it is STILL there!  It was rather moving to see the amazing tuft in it’s impossible place.

combe martin bay tuft devon jenny meehan

combe martin bay tuft devon jenny meehan

 

There it is!

 

Acrylic Paint used with Oil Paint on the same painting – Technical Considerations

I have previously rejected the whole idea of combining an acrylic under painting with oils on top.  Somehow the two materials seem to cry out against each other, oil being so forgiving and flexible, so oily and natural feeling, and acrylics being so plastic!  But having spent several years experimenting with the qualities of both, I guess it was inevitable that the day would come when I would seek to reconcile these two opposing forces.  Just out of curiosity as much as anything else!  I don’t plan to do this long term but believe it good to try out new things from time to time.

Experiments so far have been very pleasing.  I would not use an acrylic under painting for an oil on any large canvas, but all mine are 50 x 70cm and under right now.   There are several advantages in using an under painting of acrylic paint and then using oil paint on top. It’s not always possible for me to paint in long, uninterrupted sessions, due to the nature of my studio space, (kitchen studio!) so getting some initial painting done with acrylics is much easier as it can be done in a more piecemeal fashion with less mess.  But the quick drying of acrylics, while sometimes a blessing, is a pain when it comes to having time to mull over the painting and a pain also when mixing colours…I like to leave colours I have mixed around both on the mixing board and the painting itself, in order to think about them, and adjust in slow and gradual stages, but unless I want to spend the day with a water sprayer in hand, this just cannot happen with acrylics. I also like to use the same colour over several days, and this is much easier to do with oils.  You can get slow drying acrylics and retarders, and also “stay wet” palettes,  but I think it’s best to go with the nature of the paints you are using, and not try and make them something they naturally are not.

Using oils for  some  of the uppermost layer  also brings some gloss to parts of the painting surface which with abstract paintings can be utilised in an interesting way.   I don’t use the oils for a complete covering of the acrylic, just for some parts of the painting.   I might decide to even over the finished painting with a thin picture or retouching varnish suitable for both oils and acrylics, or maybe just leave some of the matt or semi-matt acrylic as it is and let the oil, with it’s rather more glossy surface, sing along in variation.  Using medium (turps and linseed) with the oil makes it heavenly to apply and ensures it is well bound.  Using the oil paint undiluted brings some nice buttery texture into the work and is so much lovelier to use and probably works out cheaper too than heavy body acrylics.  I only use small areas of thicker undiluted oil paint on top of the acrylic.

I don’t use the oil diluted with white spirit on top of the acrylic as I feel there would be too much risk of the paint not being sufficiently bound, and therefore loose.   It would be different if painting just with oils…A slightly loose under painting would soon be resolved by the layers above it and by a final application of varnish if need be.  Also, my abstract paintings when painted with an acrylic bottom layer, often have a great variety of surfaces, thickness, and finish, (even sometimes glossy areas) and the use of medium in the oil paint makes a great deal of difference to the success of combining the acrylic layer with the oil paint on top.    I’ve just done a few for the time being, as experiments, but so far they are looking good.   I don’t think I would feel happy about using lots of oil paint over the acrylic paints on a flexible canvas of a large size.   I think it far better to stick to using a rigid support if working larger than 50 x 70 cm because of the difference between the two types of paint.   I have found so far that smaller canvas’  are easy to keep firmly stretched and I am thinking that if any problems did arise (which I don’t think will be the case, but I still consider the possibility) it would be easy to remove the canvas from the stretcher bars and simply bond onto a rigid board backing.

Technical considerations when using acrylic paint and oil paint in one painting are important and should always be born in mind.  My philosophy is do what you want but know what you are doing and what the possible consequences might be.  While I am not imagining conservators working on any of my paintings in the times to come, I do certainly want to be sure that people buying my paintings will have something which is technically sound.   If my paintings change a bit over time, that’s fine.  There is a kind of beauty in that anyway.  If bits start falling off and the whole thing endures some kind of painting personality change, then this is not good, and disappointing for everyone!  I am very strict about my pigments… The colours really do need to stand the test of time.   I also spend a great deal of time (probably far too much) testing out different combinations of layers of materials, different mixtures and different proportions of binders, fillers, textural materials and pigments…I just love it!  I find some useful things out  through it too!  One of the most useful things is that you need to test out the qualities of your materials for yourself, because proportions of ingredients are not usually stated and different brands make quite different products with the same or similar names!

The most important point about using acrylics and oils in one painting is of course that you won’t be mixing the two together!  And the other major point is that the  acrylic paint must go on the bottom, and not be placed over the top of the oil paint.   Oil paint oxidises as it dries and when fully dry is very hard and rigid.  Acrylic paints  are  softer by nature, but the extent of  this would vary depending on the quality of the acrylic paint.  Acrylic paint with a lot of filler is logically  not going to be as hard as one which has a greater percentage of acrylic binder. Generally the higher quality the acrylic paint the glossier it looks, because acrylic binder is glossy by nature.   High quality acrylic will still be sufficiently hard to make a good base for the oil paint.  It is worth noting that emulsion paints with a high proportion of acrylic resin are used in exterior decorating applications, and this is because the acrylic resin is tough and makes the paint harder and more durable.  It’s also worth noting that paints labelled  “Acrylic paint” should be just that, but I have found, (through testing,) that with some products,  the dried so called “acrylic” medium or paint sometimes actually makes rather a soft and flexible layer, which suggests that the proportion of acrylic in the paint is questionable.

All the commercially made so called modern “gessos” nowadays are acrylic based…Think along the lines of acrylic resin based medium plus chalk or a similar filler and that’s a good enough idea of what you are getting.   The more chalk (calcium carbonate) in the “gesso” the more absorbent your ground is.  (The softer too, though also more matt)  It is now a standard practice for painters to use canvas coated in layers of acrylic modern type gesso and then paint on the top of it with oil paints.  So another layer of thin high quality acrylic paint on the bottom layer is not going to make a great deal of difference.  It won’t be so absorbent, but this may be what you want.  Even neat acrylic is micro-porous and I have not experienced any problems with adhesion of oil paints on top so far.

What IS important is that the acrylic is totally dry  I mean dry and cured!  I play it  safe and wait  two weeks even for a thin acrylic under painting.  For a painting with  slightly thicker areas and textures, I wait at least four months.  If I don’t want to wait, then I just stick to using either acrylics OR oils…It is easier to paint layers over existing layers of the SAME kind of paint as you know you will retain the integrity of layers more easily.  Sometimes  I will use an isolating layer of acrylic based varnish over the acrylic painting and then use the oil on top. Varnishes tend to be of a more reliable quality with respect to the amount of acrylic in them than many paints do, because they are specifically made to be hard and protective.  Logically they would make a better match with the oil paint in terms of rigidity, and I have not found any problems with the oil adhesion to the acrylic based varnishing products I have used, as yet.   This is useful if I have been using loose acrylics (which I do deliberately sometimes!) and/or I want the surface well sealed, maybe because I don’t intend to varnish the painting at all when it is completed with the final areas in oil.  I have done this with paintings using acrylics and oils on both rigid substrates and canvas, with no complications, though all of them have been under 50 x 70 cm.  They had some textured areas and because I had used a variety of different textures and quantities of filler, I felt it best to provide a surface which was a little more uniform to receive the oil paint.  So one or two layers of a quality matt or satin acrylic varnish makes a great isolating layer between the acrylic paint and the oil paint.  I have not found this to be a problem at all.

You read a lot on the internet that a rigid surface  is always  preferable for doing a painting with an acrylic bottom layer and an oil top one, because of the need to reduce any flexibility in the acrylic layer, but I have found no issues arising with my own acrylic paintings on canvas, though I do keep the top oil layer fairly thin, use plenty of medium and don’t use great slathers of thick oil paint on large areas of the painting. I tend to use the oil paint for parts of the painting, rather than one continuous layer, and I find this makes for a very exciting surface on abstract paintings.  It is certainly worth a try and I think opens up some interesting experiences as a painter, and I am glad personally that I have stepped out in this direction with my abstract paintings, as it utilises the fine qualities of both the types of paint very well indeed.

Jenny Meehan is a painter and designer based in East Surrey/South West London.
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 offers art tuition.  Please contact Jenny at j.meehan@tesco.net or through the contact form at www.jamartlondon.com for further details.   Commissions for paintings are also undertaken at affordable prices.

 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.

Enquiries welcome.  I have more artwork than I can display on the internet, so let me know if you are looking for something specific in terms of style, function, or subject matter. 

Jenny Meehan exhibits around the United Kingdom.  To be placed on Jenny Meehan’s bi-annual  mailing list please email j.meehan@tesco.net requesting to be kept up to date.

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 

I would be very pleased if you would  choose to “follow” the Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal at WordPress and keep informed of what I am up to this way.   Just press  the “follow” button and pop in your email address.  You determine how often you get updates and you don’t need a WordPress account to follow Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal.  I don’t have a Facebook page as yet, and won’t be on Twitter.  So this is the best way to follow my art practice.  Though I ramble on, I try to organise things for easy skimming, so you can pick and choose according to your own interests quite easily!    

You tube video with examples of photography, drawing and painting

by Jenny Meehan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAXqzMIaF5k

Website Link for jamartlondon:  www.jamartlondon.com 

Digital photography can be viewed on http://www.photographyblog.com/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=5491

Notice regarding my use of images on my Jenny Meehan Artist’s Journal blog:   I always try and contact the relevant artist if I include images of their work on my blog and make clear the source.  Where images are taken from other websites, I make it my practice to  cite the source and normally include a link to the place where the image was found.  When I include images I do so in the belief that this will not cause commercial harm to the copyright holder. I  believe that this is fair use  and does not infringe copyright.  Images are used in order for me to comment and reference them in relation to my own creative and artistic practice.  When I include extracts of text, I also do so with the understanding that again, this is permissible under the widely accepted fair usage terms with respect to copyright.

Just been along to visit the studio of Seamus Cuddihy, a sculptor in Chessington, which is my neck of the woods.  And while I really enjoyed looking at his work and learning about the processes involved in the making of cast sculptures, it was the WOOD which “got me” again.  I think I might be requesting another visit when I decide to start making my next woodcarving, or even when making some woodblocks for printing!

Seamus has a great selection of beautiful work on display in his garden and studio.  There is plenty to see and it is well worth a visit.  I am hoping that maybe next year it might be possible for more artist/makers in Chessington to take part in the Surrey  Artists Open Studios.  It cannot be that it is just myself and Seamus in the Hook and Chessington area?  I would be interested in hearing from other artist/makers in Chessington/Hook who might be interested in looking into the idea of taking part as a small group in the Surrey Artists Open Studios in the future.  It might work out well.  It helps if more than one person get together with something like this, because people are more likely to come and visit is there are several types of work on show.  I have been meaning to sort out joining KAOS (Kingston Artists’ Open Studios) for ages, but still haven’t got around to doing it.  Another thing for the “must do” list!

Seamus has a great collection of indoor and outdoor contemporary wood carvings and cold cast bronzes.  I think my favourite is “Self Assured” in which Seamus has managed to express a very strong sense of inner vitality and  centred emotional expression, to such an extent that I cannot remember when I last came across such an engaging sculptural head.  I found myself wanting a conversation with it!

See his website:  www.3dartwork.myby.co.uk

The sculptures are very reasonably priced indeed, many under £200, and it is worth taking a look and making a visit to Seamus’ studio if you have a special occasion coming up, as he does Life Casting (Nothing to do with the theatre!!! – Rather your own body parts used to make a cast… Don’t worry, it can be done while they are still attached to the rest of you!) and also Commemorative Plaques.

I did not realise that it is not only metals that can be used in the casting process but also non-metals like marble and slate.   In fact, most dry materials can be cast, for example ash.  This made me think that if someone had died, you could get their ashes cast using a cold casting technique, and I wonder if this is common place?  I have thought previously of using ashes in paint, because I have heard of this being done, but never quite got around to trying it out.  Plus I didn’t have any ashes around.  Mmm,  we won’t go there.  I am worried about imaginary accusations of being “morbid”, but this is a silly thing, because we all are born and we all die.  I think having ashes in a painting or a sculpture, in the very fabric of it, is an excellent idea.  It seems very harmonious and fitting to me: You can  have the remains of a life in something of beauty. It will  both remind one of the creative power of life, and also the person (or pet) who, while they are no longer right by us, live in our hearts and thoughts through the memories we still experience, and through the connections we make when we sometimes see things which were meaningful and had a special significance, for whatever reason.  Painting and Sculpture are made for such things. I am surprised that more of this kind of thing doesn’t go on!

If anyone wants some ashes in a sculpture or a painting, I guess you now know where you might enquire!

Take this opportunity to visit Seamus at his studio in Chessington, Surrey.

Thinking of painting, I think, for an abstract painting incorporating ashes, “Niche” would be a  meaningful pattern composition wise to follow. I see this dimension and expansion of the meaning here:

niche– an enclosure that is set back or indented

recess
alcove, bay – a small recess opening off a larger room
apse, apsis – a domed or vaulted recess or projection on a building especially the east end of a church; usually contains the altar
cinerarium, columbarium – a niche for a funeral urn containing the ashes of the cremated dead
enclosure – a structure consisting of an area that has been enclosed for some purpose
Below is my painting “Niche” painted a while back now, but one I am enthusiastic about, and which contains lots of visual elements which I can see myself utilising in the future:
nice non objective multi coloured abstract canvas painting expressionistic lyrical surrey south west london painter painting sale buy
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