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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!


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”.  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” 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.
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.
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”.  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:

No Problem/Moving On abstract art print by Jenny Meehan 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

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:

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, © 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!


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

Kingston Artists’ Open Studios

Here are some images from this year’s Kingston Artists’ Open Studios.

kingston artists open studios

kingston artists open studios – image of “Rush Hour” (below) and “No Cares” (above)

kingston artists open studios jenny meehan

kingston artists open studios jenny meehan  “laid to rest” and “clog dance/sacred dance” oil paintings by Jenny Meehan

Okingston artists open studios jenny meehan

kingston artists open studios jenny meehan showing various acrylic on linen paintings by Jenny Meehan

kingston artists open studios jenny meehan

kingston artists open studios jenny meehan  “bright and breezy” and “resurrection one” paintings plus the table with information and prints.

kingston artists open studios jenny meehan

kingston artists open studios jenny meehan – “bright and breezy” painting.  this was exhibited at the Dulwich Picture Gallery a couple of years ago but still lives with me at the moment!

kingston artists open studios jenny meehan

kingston artists open studios jenny meehan – “Resurrection One”

kingston artists open studios jenny meehan

kingston artists open studios jenny meehan view showing my work and some of Cressida Borrett’s ceramics.


Writing this after the first weekend and before the second.. So still time to come along and visit 13 venues in the Kingston Upon Thames area…

18/19th June. 11 – 5pm at Studio KAOS 3, 14 Liverpool Road Kingston KT2 7SZ to come and say hello to me,  and:

Caroline Calascione, find out more about her work here:

Lizzie Brewer, find out more here:

Cressida Borrett, see some of her ceramics here:

Plus more ceramics from Bali Edwards here:

And also Anna Tikhomirova

Martina van de Gey will also be here from Germany:

and Seana Mallen:

There are 74 artists taking part showing their work in 13 venues, so plenty to see!  Take a look in the catalogue to plan your route!

It’s wonderful to have other creatives to talk with, bounce ideas about with, and generally spend time with.  We need each other to encourage and support each other.  One of the wonderful things about being part of KAOS I have found is that we a mutually supportive group, rather than competitive with each other, and this means a lot.  While taking part in the Kingston Artists’ Open Studios event does take a lot of effort, it is good to talk to each other and those who visit.

One lady profusely thanked us last weekend for all our time and effort and I was very much blessed by that, as she recognised that we are offering something which we don’t often get thanked for.  While we hope to sell some of our work (of course)  the time and effort of putting on an event like the Kingston Artists’ Open Studios doesn’t normally generate profit for the vast majority of us (even if you sell something, it doesn’t translate into profit!).  So we hope very much that people not only come themselves,  but spread the word, as the more people who know about Kingston Artists’ Open Studios and who come along to the Kingston Artists’ Open Studios weekends each year, the more our work is appreciated.  The process of showing artwork, introducing people to our work, and talking about what we do is a valuable contribution to society which is sometimes not appreciated.   Aside from the practical necessity of selling the work, which does exist,  (both from the point of recovering storage space in our already too “jam packed with artwork” homes and the need to reinvest in the development of our work/materials, etc) it is immensely motivating to see people discover art work which resonates for them in a powerful way.

Artists Need Collectors!  

I have put that in bold, because it is a reality.  We need people who discover that our art works resonate with them to a degree that they purchase them, and also, that they then invest themselves into keeping in track with what we are doing, and make a kind of mini internal commitment to “openness to buy” our work, not as a means of purchasing a commodity, but by way of a creative relationship which supports and encourages the artist, and also benefits the collector.  A ideal collector will buy something not just because they love the art work itself but because they are interested in the artist and recognise that the artist is involved in a creative process which they need support and encouragement in.  It is not simply a matter of buying objects for oneself.  When you buy a piece of art, you help the artist in the creation of their work and support them in their vocation.

While there are some artists whose art working is a business, (among other things) (they have my admiration, and I applaud them on all fronts!) , there are many whose art working will never be, nor does it aspire to be a business (I am one of those!)  What I do is a vocation only.  However, this does not remove the need for money to fund it.  Buying a certain piece of art may not be an investment of the financial type (however… you never know, when I am dead!!!  Ho Ho Ho!!! Give me 100 years…or 300) and there is a challenge in purchasing a piece of art for yourself,  I think. And the challenge is this:  If it speaks to you, do you consider that encounter worth investing in?  I feel personally that buying a piece of art and/or being a collector of art might very healthily be viewed as a type of self investment.  There is a mysterious type of poetic strengthening of life which happens in the face of a deep resonance between a work of art and the human being encountering it.  Sometimes,  just sometimes, this is worth investing in, if the work is such that it has a sustaining effect on you as a person, and that you sense this will be a long lasting affair.

Profit is not simply about money… Indeed, I find it is seldom about money at all.

Where collectors  (I term “collector” as anyone who has purchased one of my art works either to add to an ongoing collection, or who has purchased more than one of my art works) become patrons, is at the point where their relationship with your work of art becomes not something simply to do with them and an object they have paid for, but becomes a recognition that they are part of a creative process themselves.  In collecting a certain artists work they recognise that they have a supportive role.  Not one with  strings attached.  But one which recognises that in choosing to pay money for an artists work they are contributing in some way to the production of future work.  The buying of an art work is not just a matter of themselves,  but might be, if they choose to make it so, the beginning of an interesting and ongoing journey, in following an artist in the creative path they travel down, and periodically assisting in that path by buying that artists work not just once, but over a period of time.

This type of collector-patron, one who will invest in an artist and their work, and pick out specific artists which they develop an ongoing creative relationship with, is something I am mulling over right now, as I bounce around my thinking in this Journal.  I think this is because I have been thinking about the word commodity.

Simple Definition of commodity
: something that is bought and sold
: something or someone that is useful or valued….Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary

It is the sick feeling I get each year before the Kingston Artists’ Open Studios event which has led me to start thinking this through.  My experience or rather fear, of my work being viewed as a commodity only... an object brought and sold, probably brings on the dire feeling.    An artists work is so much more.  The usefulness and value of a piece of art is not very measurable at all.  And the buying and selling bit has to happen, such is the world we live in.    But what is the exchange really meaning in all this?  Money is the medium of exchange, but what is the meaning of the exchange, what is it’s nature and what might be it’s potential?   The use and value of someone choosing to buy artwork which you as an artist have created  isn’t simply a material matter.  That someone decides to invest and that this is symbolised partly through the exchange of money is always a great thing.  Useful too, on a practical level. Essential. But the transaction can mean so much more to the artist.  We are separate from our work, and don’t need to hang on to it, control it, or refuse to let go, however, what it will be,  we always hope, will be so much more than something brought and sold.  We want it to have a life of its own. An existence which will live new lives in the people who relate to it.  We want that to be a good relationship.  We poured ourselves into it, and then let go completely.  Even if it ends up in a charity shop, we wish it well, and hope that no one sits on it.  Well, I speak for myself with my very big “We”.  But it writes better to say “We” and I know I am not alone.

And I guess it varies a lot with the type of work it is, and how much creative energy/significance/effort one has invested in it.  I am thinking of my paintings here, rather than anything else.  My paintings are the spear head of my creative energy and the tool with which I hammer on into reality, searching, but always in the dark! Wonderful abandonment, which strangely, I am found in!  (And probably pretty much any other paradox which could be applied, could be applied!  So words do fail..)

I do ramble on!

To finish on this one, I hope that those who I will call, for the reasons of my ramblings above, art “collector-patrons”; those who buy a few select pieces that mean the world to them, and who follow artists and take a genuine interest in them, recognise how important they are to the ongoing creation of art.  For example, those who have brought my work and continue to do so, encourage and inspire me, by their investment.  Which is not actually simply a matter of paying money for something, but rather the faith that what they have brought matters. That it matters to them, yes, this is clear and true, yet also, in that process, a recognition that it matters to me to the extent that I pour myself out for it.  They see my investment and choose to invest.  That’s a good thing.

I have just found this, which is kind of what I am getting at I think:

Terry Eagleton offers insight into the idea that art may transcend systemic titles of value such as money, by “…suspending itself between life and death. The work of art seems full of vital energy, but is no more than an inanimate object. The mystery of art is how black marks on a page, or pigments on a canvas, or the scraping of a bow on a catgut, can be so richly evocative of life”(Eagleton, 2010, p. 71).”

I have quoted this from:

(Art as an Autonomous Commodity within the Global Market
Dan Zimmerman)

Other interesting thoughts:

“It’s cold logic then to think of art as a commodity, but what you are really seeing is a whole generation of peers and people older and wealthier than you deciding whether art history is going to remember you or not,’ said Crow” ( Kelly Crow, The Wall Street Journal’s art market journalist)

quoted from:

Also interesting:

from which comes:  “Todd Levin, Director of Levin Art Group, told me, “Art fairs are not places where aesthetic or intellectual fields of value are created. Art fairs are competitive fields where the destruction of aesthetic and intellectual values takes place for the benefit of consumptive value.”


Some artists prefer to see themselves as pilgrims rather than as stock commodities. Regarding the art market, Amy Ragus states: “If possible, make your money elsewhere, so your art isn’t compromised to forces that often seek to exploit and codify your message.”

(My thought,  not inevitable, and not terrible,  (one artist can have more than one single “art” and it doesn’t have to be kept in a protective environment)  however, worth being aware of what is happening and if it is exactly what you want.)

Kingston Artists Open Studios is still on this year: 

Follow the link to view the 2016 Kingston Artists Open Studios catalogue

There are  many different KAOS (Kingston Artists’ Open Studios) artists showing this year.

Below an image of the Cass Art Kingston Artists Open Studios Taster Exhibition.

Lovely private view, very much enjoyed. Even with my stick.

Exhibition open to all so do come and see it.  Free. Cass Art, 103 Clarence Street, KT1 1 QY in “The Art Space” above the shop.  Just go in the shop and ask to be directed in the right direction!


cass art taster exhibition wall 2016 with gentle leaves Kingston Artists' Open Studios

cass art taster exhibition wall 2016 with gentle leaves Kingston Artists’ Open Studios


The quotes  below come from Living Within .  (Copyright Living Within).

Friday 20 May 2016 – Kingston

“This year there will be over 70 painters, printmakers, photographers, sculptors, ceramicists, textile artists, glass artists, and many others, taking part. Open Studios is a growing national movement, with towns all over the UK taking part at different points in the year, and is an opportunity for the artists to share what they do with each other – and of course the general public. Often working alone in their studios for most of the year, it’s great to spend two relaxing weekends sharing ideas and meeting people. It is also an opportunity to show a wider range of work than they can in fairs and galleries, where space is limited.”


“2016 is the biggest event yet, with 13 different venues opening their doors, including a ‘taster exhibition’ throughout the week of June 11th, held in the upstairs art space at Cass Art, in Kingston town centre. Providing you live in the area, you will receive a flyer through your door, or alternatively you can pick up a catalogue at Kingston museum, the library, Cass Art, Pullingers or one of the many cafes around town. A trail map is included, or can be downloaded from”

Not forgetting the Anagrams Kingston Museum Exhibition.. Wheatfield Way, KT1 2PS runs till 2nd July.

So much to see!


Yoga and the Devoted Christian

Sadly, for the last two weeks I have been unable to do my local Our Parks Yoga class, due to my right knee becoming very unstable, and difficulty walking/pain just meaning I need to give it a bit of a rest.  Still doing a bit of Yoga at home and planning a return soon, but waiting till I have seen a specialist as rather worried about what is happening with it  right now.

Despite my current limitations, I am LOVING Yoga, and find it quite a revelation!

Wishing I had discovered it earlier in life, however, there is a time for things, so it being now is just fine!

Reflecting back on how my faith and views have changed… I am now in the second half of life.

There would have been a time, twenty years ago, when I would have viewed the practice of Yoga with suspicion and a certain amount of what can only be called paranoia and fear.

Maybe a feeling of somehow betraying my religion.

However, what has changed?

I think my experience with psychotherapy has changed rather a lot for me.  Because the tendency of all people is to try and avoid that which makes us feel uncomfortable.  Natural.  Understandable.

But our fears are rooted deep within.  We attach them to things.  Fear is good when there is a good reason for it.

A “good reason” for fear with vary a lot, depending on one’s life experience.

Every person has their own sense of integrity, and for some Christians, to practice something like Yoga is something they cannot allow themselves to do.  Others won’t even think about philosophical or religious ideas or possible conflicts and will just worry about if they are “doing it properly”.

I feel that the practice of Yoga is pretty much like anything else, what it means, represents, and promotes varies hugely depending on who is teaching it, how they are teaching it, and what the intentions and objectives are behind it.  As is the case in the vast area of what might be termed Christianity, or in a more expressed in ritual/religious sense “the Christian Church” What is actually going on, being taught and expressed, and how this is being done, varies immensely.    There are all kinds of things going on!

“Nowhere’s Safe” comes to mind…. words I remember from a Graham Greene book I read. Cannot remember which one!

Might seem negative, but for me, not so.

There is a place of refuge in our Creator God.  Yes.  But it is easy to allocate “safe” and “unsafe” places in our life.  We are not always right.

If someone feels they are betraying themselves, their particular religious affiliation, or their innermost being, in some way by practising Yoga, then they should not do it.  It is as simple as that.  If it doesn’t feel “safe” somehow, then it doesn’t feel right.

However, if it seems in accordance with what God and the Holy Spirit are doing in their life, and indeed,  then it may be for them a gift, and a  wonderful thing, liberating, helpful, and definitely in the service of Christ and others.  In my humble opinion.

For me, it is a gift, and I am grateful to receive it.  I see my Yoga teacher’s work as an act of service, which I am grateful to receive.

I don’t feel any obligation to believe what I do not believe, or change what I believe, because of a variances and differences in philosophy  in the context of a Yoga Class, any more than I would in any other setting.  However, it is the case that I feel no imposition or pressure to do so, and this is probably something which varies a lot depending on the individual teacher of Yoga.  There are more religious and ritualistic ways of Yoga, I am sure.  It is doubtful that I would feel comfortable with that, just as someone who wasn’t a committed Christian believer and used to taking Communion at Church wouldn’t feel very right at all about taking Communion!

I am a big fan of Mindfulness as a practice, and I think that probably my appreciation of Yoga is the working together  of the mind and body in what I view as a prayerful discipline, and the whole matter of body awareness and opening myself up to God, (God awareness) which I really love a lot.  I do experience very good  sense of communion with God when doing Yoga, and invite the Holy Spirit into the whole of my being in a very intentional and focused way.

I can see that some folk would  worry about what they were opening themselves up to, if they felt that it was not actually in their own control and that their personal boundaries might somehow be infiltrated by “something else” spiritually without their awareness or consent.  Or if they felt pressured or imposed upon in some way.  But I think a good Yoga teacher is one, like any other kind of teacher, who doesn’t seek to impose anything, but instead, trusts, TRUSTS, in the Spirit of God.

I guess the problem for many devoted Christians with Yoga might be in a belief that there is more than one God and that actually the “God” or “Spirit” of Yoga is a different one to the one that they believe in.  My own belief is that there is only one God, but lots of different ways and approaches, or paths, which people negotiate their way along in their quest for spiritual truth and freedom.  I don’t believe God is an impersonal force,  and I hold passionately to the uniqueness of Christianity in relation to other religions.  Christ is God, and is Saviour.  The ultimate truth. The light of the world.  The point at which all points converge.  I don’t need to argue any kind of case about what I believe being better, or more right, or “the only way”.  Because quite clearly, it is not the only way to experiencing God’s truth, Spirit, and working in the world. God works in people who are not calling themselves Christians.  He worked in me, throughout my life, long before I committed myself to Christ, in many significant ways.

 The fact that I believe the SOURCE of all truth and revelation is indeed bedded in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, is something I pray I hope to simply live out and testify to, in whatever ways I am given to. The way, it is a way of Love.  So I aim to love, as I am loved by my Creator.    I can express what about Christ, being a Christian, and knowing God through Christ, means, and how it matters, and have open eyes to the wonderful working of the Holy Spirit. In my own experience, I see the Holy Spirit manifest in my practice of Yoga.  It is as simple as that.

It’s not that I don’t believe that there are harmful spiritual influences in the world… because actually, I do believe they exist.   I don’t think a recognition of such is Medieval or delusional.  But I draw my attention to what is good, and orientate myself to  the workings on the Holy Spirit.  And God is using my practice of Yoga in a wonderful and exciting way. Which I am very grateful for.

Suspicions about yoga are shared by many Muslims, Christians and Jews around the world and relate to yoga’s history as an ancient spiritual practice with connections to Hinduism and Buddhism.  It is a spiritual exercise, to be sure, but what it means to someone is what it means to them.   All the things in our lives mean something different to what they mean to someone else, I think.   It is more OUR intention and purpose, which makes things what they are.

And as I mentioned earlier, the variety and differences, the various schools and approaches, the diversity of what Yoga “is” is rather hard to pop into one big lump.    Just because Yoga is ancient, and a bit mysterious, doesn’t make it evil.   You don’t have to agree with philosophies, theories and ideas about how and why it “works” or is beneficial to experience it as beneficial.  God does work in mysterious ways, as that familiar saying goes!  And, if Yoga is a “way” to God, then it doesn’t follow that this somehow supplants Christ, or that it is and “either” “or” situation.  Or that it is in itself some kind of salvation by works. (I am sure it might be practised in this way by some, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be).  Deep down, we all struggle with the sense that we need to earn favour, approval and acceptance.  This is lived out in our lives in many different kinds of way.  Grace, pure grace, is always a challenge.

Even if yoga is, fundamentally, a religious activity, our yoga practice is OUR YOGA PRACTICE.  It does not belong to anyone else.  Therefore, if we are religious, then it will be, as we are.

No prizes for guessing what “Sun Salutation” is for me!!!!

Basically Yoga is a very broad term and this does cause difficulty.  There are lots of different forms of Yoga and some are more overtly religious than others.  For example, Hare Krishna monks, are adherents of bhaktiyoga, the yoga of devotion. But what most people in the West think of as yoga is properly known as hathayoga – a path towards enlightenment that focuses on building physical and mental strength.  The word “enlightenment” might cause some alarm to some Christians I guess. but what  “enlightenment” means  depends on tradition.  For some Hindus it may be a liberation from the cycle of reincarnation, but it doesn’t have to be.  For many yoga practitioners it is a point where you achieve stillness in your mind, or understand the true nature of the world and your place in it.  In this respect, it appears more to me to be a matter of  Mindfulness. With wonderful physical benefits!

I guess there will always be debate about whether Yoga is  compatible with Christianity, Islam and other religions.  The yogic asanas  might retain elements of their earlier spiritual meanings, however, as I move MY body and use MY mind, in prayer to MY GOD, then I think what is theoretically  “retained” becomes meaningless in my practice, because I do not hold onto it, nor have I even held it.  What Yoga embodies will surely stem from the soul of the person doing it, and no more or less?  It is an art, and like my painting, I use elements of what has gone before, but what I do is not what has gone before, it is what is now.

It is all about intention.

When I take communion, in my local Anglican Church, I take the wine, though I am teetotal.  I do this and it is deeply symbolic and special to me.  It defines the importance of the sacred for me.  I have rejected alcohol in my life, but I receive it in this context, and it deepens the symbolism for me actually, because it is about sufficiency in Christ for me.   Yet I could ,if I wished to, chose to receive wine in other ways, drinking at a party or something.  (Though it would not be a good idea for me!)   It is the intention which is different.  My fallen intention with alcohol was that it was, fundamentally there, as an instrument of destruction for me.  That is what it meant.  But in the rite of Communion, the intention is transformational.  Its meaning is blessedly transformed for me.  It is life, and life through the blood of Christ.

I mention this because taking that communion is not like drinking alcohol, even though it is drinking alcohol.  That is the best way I can think of describing it, and I also believe that kneeling, for example in an asana, is kneeling in whatever way the intention is focused.

Religion is not installed in a person through repetition of outward rituals or practices.  That is quite simply, rather empty. In my opinion.

Faith comes from the inside out, and from an inward working of God’s Grace.  As a sacrament is an outward sign of an inward grace, Yoga practice can be that too.  If you want it to be.

I won’t be chanting Hindu sutras, but I am happy to use “namaste” because I do acknowledge the meeting of God in each other.  I don’t understand God as just an impersonal force, but I do recognise very much, especially as an artist, the creative spirit at work in the world, as it says “In Him we live and move and have our being”.  There is something of the breath of God, which is very wonderfully engaged with by focus on the breath!

I view Yoga as a philosophy and approach, and one which can be very usefully engaged by Christians, without causing sudden destruction to their faith or adversely affecting them in any other way,  as indeed much can be gained from the many rich areas of life and experience, which happen to be new or different to us, in some way.

Quote from Rebecca Ffrench:

“People say that yoga is Hindu, but “Hinduism” is a problematic term, coined by outsiders for everything they saw going on in India.

Yoga stems from the Vedas – the Indian holy texts that were composed from around 1900BC. Besides yoga, three major religions came from those texts – Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.

Around 200-400AD, a sage called Patanjali composed the Yoga Sutras. His “eight limbs” of yoga still inform practice today and discuss posture, breathing, meditation and correct living.

For many centuries yoga was all about meditation and austerity practices, such as standing on one leg for weeks or hanging upside-down from a tree. There were only 14 yoga asanas or postures.

The big explosion in hatha yoga didn’t come until the early 1900s in Mysore, India – now there are over 100 postures.”

Well, that’s enough of that for now.

Apart from… Yoga has helped me deal in all respects with my ongoing experience of osteoarthritis, and been a fantastic tool and resource in so many ways.  It seems  a shame to dismiss something  or even prohibit something which is so beneficial to so  many just because of irrational fears…

It is, I think, what comes OUT of us, which is normally the problem.  So much inner trash!

Discernment with respect to our own inner brokenness and our faulty strategies of dealing with it, is probably more useful than avoiding this or that, in case of “pollution”.  However, each should only do what they feel comfortable with, this is the main thing.

Art at the Bridge#7

This exhibition is still up.  Wonderful to see my work in such a prominent place.  Tower Bridge! I never would have thought!    So pleased to be part of it.  “Drawn Together”  my piece of work can be brought as a print on .  Here is the link;

Artist Notes for Drawn Together:

“Building Bridges, the Female Perspective”.
This artwork expresses some of my female emotional experience: the emotion of two parts of my sense of self being pulled together. A feeling of balance and unity, which holds, even when the two sides are different in some respects. The suspended purple and yellow contrasting colours create stasis and tension. Yet, there is also a mirroring of the same essential structure in my composition, drawn together in a pivotal centre, which may suggest movement. This piece also resonates in relation to the Tower Bridge; an engineering achievement involving among other things, precision, balance, and design. Creative energy, both within and without, in both engineering and art.


building bridges the female perspective art exhibition tower bridge engine rooms jenny meehan, all female art exhibition london, contemporary women artists british, jenny meehan jamartlondon, all woman art exhibition,

building bridges the female perspective art exhibition tower bridge engine rooms jenny meehan

My friend Denise and me had a great day out!  Loved the glass walkway and the Engine Rooms were amazing!


drawn together by jenny meehan, art at tower bridge, abstract art female artist, feminist artist, contemporary women artists, contemporary female artists, jamartlondon,building bridges the female perspective art exhibition tower bridge engine rooms jenny meehan

building bridges the female perspective art exhibition tower bridge engine rooms jenny meehan  Jenny’s work “Drawn Together”


Here is one of the reviews:

Art at the Bridge #7
Tower Bridge, London

8 March to 31 July 2016

Reviewed by Amanda Hayes

“I was privileged to be invited to the press night of Art at the Bridge #7 – Building Bridges: The Female Perspective last night, held in the fantastic setting of the Victorian engine rooms at the iconic Tower Bridge site it was the perfect backdrop to display art works. The engine rooms are very much an industrial setting with uncluttered bare brick walls and this lets the art speak for itself showing off the different genres with clarity.

Tower Bridge work with a range of community partners such as Variety & Southwark Young Pilgrims and has partnered with the Southwark Arts forum since 2011 to provide an annual exhibition at the Engine Rooms. This year’s exhibition is entitled Building Bridges: the Female Perspective and showcases the very different art forms from a network of local artists, 15 of which have gone through a judging process to exhibit at this prestigious venue. The works are a selection of paintings, photographs, mixed media, drawings and lino cut prints each showing their unique view, either literally or metaphorically of what building bridges in a modern world means to them.

Whilst the moody photograph Momentary Flight by Ana Katrina Giles-Myers, and the lino cut Albatross from Charlotte Tymms portray bridges in a more literal sense Donna Leighton’s etching entitled The New Baby explores building bridges in a completely different way by portraying the bond between mother and baby. A particular favourite of mine was Bound to Remember by Victoria Coster, a collage on canvas layering paper that would typically be discarded such as receipts for food and travel from 2006-2011 bridging together the space between those times.

Running from International Women’s Day on 8 March until 31 July 2016, Building Bridges: The Female Perspective is a must see exhibition set in an atmospheric setting. Art being a truly personal taste I highly recommend you go along and find your own personal favourite.” 

Bits and Bobs

This is a nice little run down of exhibitions by British female artists happening in 2016:

More interesting reading from Gresham College:


That’s it for now….


Jenny Meehan is a painter, poet, and Christian contemplative  based in East Surrey/South West London.   Her interest in Christ-centred spirituality and creativity are the main focus of this artist’s journal, which rambles and meanders on, maybe acting as a personal (yet open to view)  note book as much as anything else.  If you read and enjoy it, this would be an added bonus! 

Her website is  ( replaces the older now deceased website

Jenny Meehan BA Hons (Lit.) PGCE also occasionally offers art tuition for individuals or in shared sessions.  Please contact Jenny at or through the contact form at for further details as availability depends on other commitments.    

 Jenny Meehan works mainly with either oils or acrylics  creating both abstract/non-objective paintings  and also semi-abstract work.  She also produces representational/figurative artwork,  mostly using digital photography/image manipulation software, painting and  drawing.  Both original fine paintings and other artwork forms  and affordable photo-mechanically produced prints are available to purchase.  

Jenny Meehan exhibits around the United Kingdom.   To be placed on Jenny Meehan’s  bi-annual  mailing list please contact Jenny via her website contact page:

Also, you could follow the Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal at WordPress and keep informed that way. 

Note About Following Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal 


You tube video with examples of photography, drawing and painting

by Jenny Meehan

Website Link for jamartlondon: 

A selection of non objective paintings can be viewed on pinterest:


The usual assortment of bits and bobs from me!  It’s a bit of a scrap book really!   This journal is an invaluable tool for me, in that it enables me to look back and see what is happening with more detail than would otherwise be possible.  It is also a way for those interested in my work to delve a little deeper and pick out what they are interested in, while discarding the rest.  The internet is a wonderful tool.  Sometimes I cannot find things myself that I am looking for, be they notes or images, and if I cannot find them at home either digitally or on paper, I can often find them by looking in this Journal!

In this vein, do take a look at my pinterest board.  I often post my work up on there as it is a quick and easy way for people to look at my artwork .

The Art of Caring at the Rose Theatre

It was nice to go to the launch and be able to speak to people in person about my photographs on show.  I had three on display, of the late Reginald Driver.   Reginald Driver was a prisoner of war at the stalag at Teschen, Stalag VIIIB.  I just checked this out, as someone asked me.  I couldn’t remember which camp he was at, but  I had a photograph of a postcard which Reg had shown me, and it says Stalag VIIIB on it, dated 1945.  I remember he told me about the “Death March”, and mentioned Poland.  But I wasn’t sure so hunted through my archives to find it.

reg driver christmas card stalag at Teschen Stalag VIIIB

reg driver christmas card stalag at Teschen Stalag VIIIB

I was pleased that one of my photographs,  “Reg: Support System” has been selected as one of 20 to be part of a further exhibition at the Arts Project exhibition space in St Pancras Hospital from July – October 2016.



Reg Driver of Chessington Surrey, photo title Support System. photo copyright Jenny Meehan DACS

Reg Driver of Chessington Surrey, photo title Support System. photo copyright Jenny Meehan DACS

Description of the submission:  “The photographs show a neighbour (died 4th January, 2015) Reginald Driver, and were taken when Reg was 88/89. Reg’s experience of being a prisoner of war and fighting in the second world war included many very traumatic memories which stuck in his mind, and my own belief in the value of listening to people’s life stories as part of valuing them as a person and communicating love, motivates me to submit them to this exhibition.

The titles are as follows:
Reg: Incline Your Ear by Jenny Meehan
Reg: Support System of 2008 by Jenny Meehan
Reg: Sharing Memories by Jenny Meehan

Reg Driver Incline Your Ear photo copyright Jenny Meehan DACS

Reg Driver Incline Your Ear photo copyright Jenny Meehan DACS

reg driver for art of caring

Reg Driver “Sharing Memories”

There was lots of amazing work on show, but my favourite has got to be “Praying with Mrs. Cooper”.  You can see an image of this, and the source of the quoted text below by following the link.

This year’s crop include 3 artworks from The Rev. Robin Pfaff, he told us about his motivation to get involved, “As a hospital chaplain I often meet people at a time of intense change, but these encounters usually show me something of the indomitable human spirit. Healthcare professionals, however, who are regularly exposed to highly traumatic situations need to find their own way of coping and build up a resilience that is both sturdy as well as tender. Talking about what we do and see can be extremely difficult, as we all have a tendency to avoid emotional pain.”  (quote from by Alban Low)

Rev. Robin Pfaff’s paintings are AMAZING, I love them so much, and I have only seen a few digital images and the print at the Art of Caring Exhibition.  They are the kind of representational painting I love, rich with emotional  depth, profound, touching, sensitive.  When I looked at the small print of “Praying with Mrs. Cooper” it was as if the whole painting had been totally immersed in experience, dipped in and pulled out, saturated with reality and also with compassion.  This is the kind of painting I could look at for hours. I just count myself blessed to be able to see it.  Goodness knows what it must be like “in the flesh”.


Biggs & Collings present Turn the Colour Down!
Frank Bowling | Marcus Harvey | Tess Jaray | Chantal Joffe | Mali Morris | Justin Partyka | Dan Perfect | Fiona Rae | Biggs & Collings

16th April – 7th May

Talk: Saturday May 7th 5.00-6.00

“Colour in art can be powerful by being subdued. Muted colour is often what you’re seeing in work by artists known as colourists.  Many people’s idea of colour in art is something bright, like children’s toys or Pop Art, and it’s not particularly part of what’s celebrated in contemporary art.  It’s unusual today to come across anything like the sophisticated colour arrangements of historic art, which must now include Modernism. There are new technologies and the new sensibilities they produce, but these developments mean that some old sensibilities may be lost. There’s no material need to find colour now. It’s found for you in the popular medium you’re using — your camera, for example, with its colourising menu. If it’s rare for artists now to come up with the kinds of colour subtleties in painting that existed in the past it’s at least partly because the ingredients are no longer there in the social imagination.

We’ve brought together these works as an indicator — to our mind, at any rate — of the present’s difference to the past, even the recent past. But also — because we feel they have a rare intensity — as an example of how the lost is never really lost. We think there are possibilities for surprise. A law or rule that’s gradually set in can be joyously broken. Abstraction or figuration is a red herring, the world is the issue, and art turned towards it and interested in interpreting it can easily be abstract in form.

How do the works in this show express the world around us? Chantal Joffe strips away at figuration — people she knows; her family — until she arrives at a rich faux-simplicity with powerful abstract values. In Mali Morris’s painting scrawled maroon surrounds a thick, palpable yellow.  These contrasting presences and the painterly drama of accident and control suggest reality apprehended through light. Tess Jaray’s distilled geometric work with its play of edges and planes, and its subtle surfaces where many layers of oil are freely brushed onto wood, is one of a recent series. Recurrent shapes and colours echo the polychrome patterned entrance to a mosque she saw in Aleppo, the city whose destruction we’ve all witnessed on the news.  Because of the way he’s captured available natural light: low, dim, Goyaesque, Justin Partyka’s photo of a scene on a Norfolk farm is epic and tragic. Fiona Rae summons up the look of early abstract painting a century ago with its characteristic voids and floating objects, and air of the inner world, the unseen. In her painting she refracts all that through the kind of forms anyone might generate today on a screen: a balance of transcendence with the close at hand. Marcus Harvey shows a seascape with an imposed presence that suggests natural patterns, an earthy ceramic object that confounds the photographic context spatially and at the same time eerily connects to it. Dan Perfect paints what seems to be a 1950s lyrical abstraction suggesting river, rocks and wind. This painting on paper is a study, a halfway stage before he processes that pure lyricism into something more multi-dimensional. With our works, we try to achieve a quality of shimmer and vibration like the multiplying patterns that exist in the surviving religious art of late antiquity, but which also suggests its illogical ravages of time and repair. Frank Bowling is the only artist in the show that makes colour synonymous with materiality, the stuff of the world, as if there’s colour substance somehow on the tips of his fingers that he’s agitating and manipulating. He makes a living surface with it, which is also a picture.”

Biggs & Collings 2016


Ahh, Drat.   I liked the writing above so much, that I thought I will certainly go to the talk and see the paintings.  It is always a relief to find interesting and engaging writing on painting.  However, after going to visit the Original Print Fair,  my heel, which has been giving me sharp pain for over a month,  and my knee, which has been playing me up for ages, decided to get worse, and even with a stick, I really could not walk any further.   I am very disappointed.  Hopefully soon to see a specialist about the knee!

The Print Fair was enjoyable.  My favourite stand was the August Laube stand.   I was kindly given the annual catalogue by Brigitta Laube, and I will be feasting my eyes on that for a long time.    I love the selection of prints, so rich and interesting.  It must be my German-Swiss heritage (mother) that pulls me this way.

The catalogue can be viewed here:

One delight, a German Single-Sheet Woodcut, from about 1420-1440 showed Saint Veronica holding the Sudarium and two Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul on either side.   The Sudarium… Here is some information quoted from Wikipedia:

The Veil of Veronica, or Sudarium (Latin for sweat-cloth), often called simply “The Veronica” and known in Italian as the Volto Santo or Holy Face (but not to be confused with the carved crucifix Volto Santo of Lucca), is a Christian relic of a piece of cloth which, according to tradition, bears the likeness of the face of Jesus not made by human hand (i.e. an Acheiropoieton). Various existing images have been claimed to be the “original” relic, or early copies of it.

The final form of the Western tradition recounts that Saint Veronica from Jerusalem encountered Jesus along the Via Dolorosa on the way to Calvary. When she paused to wipe the blood and sweat (Latin sudor) off his face with her veil, his image was imprinted on the cloth. The event is commemorated by the Sixth Station of the Cross. According to some versions, Veronica later traveled to Rome to present the cloth to the Roman Emperor Tiberius and the veil possesses miraculous properties, being able to quench thirst, cure blindness, and sometimes even raise the dead.

The story is not recorded in its present form until the Middle Ages. During the fourteenth century it became a central icon in the Western Church – in the words of art historian Neil Macgregor – “From [the 14th Century] on, wherever the Roman Church went, the Veronica would go with it.”[1] The act of Saint Veronica wiping the face of Jesus with her veil is celebrated in the sixth Station of the Cross in many Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist and Western Orthodox churches.[2][3][4]

more info, follow the above link.

The worm holes in the print were wonderful!

I want to keep this reference, so include it here.

Keith Vaughan 1912 – 1977 Old Seaweed Hoist, Lithograph, Window Landscape, and The Walled Garden, stood out for me, stunning.


Art at the Bridge #7

Launching on International Women’s day,’Art at the Bridge #7′, showcases the talents of 15 local, female artists.

8 March – 31 July

Celebrate female artistic endeavour this spring with Tower Bridges new ‘Art at the Bridge’exhibition. Now in its seventh iteration, this long running exhibition in partnership with Southwark Arts Forum will display the works of 15 female artists as they explore the theme ofBuilding Bridges: The Female Perspective’.

The exhibition aims to reflect upon female perspectives in the community, providing a platform for artists to express their ideas through a variety of media including paintings, etchings, video, photography and drawing.

Each of the artists have drawn inspiration from their own experiences and these artworks offer a striking contrast to the huge and beautifully maintained steam engines that surround them.

Tower Bridge is committed to engaging with, and acknowledging, the talents of the local community. Through its regular exhibitions in partnership with Southwark Arts Forum, we are delighted to provide an opportunity for artists to gain exposure to an international audience of approximately 2,500 visitors daily.

Learn more about our community partners here.

Entry to ‘Art at the Bridge #7’ is included in the admission price.

Book your tickets online now to receive your discount!


Well, yes, another plug from me for the above exhibition.  I am mega pleased to be part of it.  I had such a lovely day visiting Tower Bridge too, a real highlight of the year.


Art and the Subconscious

I remember well the day I realised that the inner world was just as an important a subject of my artistic interests as my external surroundings.   Around 2009, when the children were younger, just before I started to really get on track with my work, I went on a short painting course, and while I had produced some nice paintings, one afternoon, in a slough of despond, I painted this:

© Jenny Meehan. All Rights Reserved, DACS spinning table painting jenny meehan

jenny meehan spinning table painting

© Jenny Meehan. All Rights Reserved, DACS

Based on the sight in front of me, I looked into the darkness of the bushes and into the shadows, and worked into the background experimentally.  I played with the relationship of stillness and motion, and also with perspective, and while giving a lot of attention to the little naturalistic apples in the centre of the table, I took great care to ensure that the fact they were rotten was accurately depicted!  I realised the desire to experiment was more important to me than painting pleasing pictures.  I felt that my artistic endeavours shouldn’t just be to render what is seen accurately.  When I look back on this strange little experiment, I am glad I went with the flow, though it felt hard at the time as I didn’t have any understanding of the direction I was heading in.  It’s quite a significant piece, on reflection, as it marks a turning point.

Nature and the natural world is wonderful….There’s no rejection of that, because everything in my mind got in there somehow.  But I have little desire to attempt to copy what I see.  I admire others who do it wonderfully, and I enjoy and take in all that is around me, but to paint it?  That I am able to, is not sufficient reason to do something.  I have several older paintings which show me that I am able to paint representationally.  Occasionally the urge strikes me, though this is more likely to happen with drawing.  But I have fallen into paint, as into the ocean!    I can imagine in the future I might do some imaginative representational pictures, based on memory.  But it is not possible for me to force myself in one direction or another.  And I think, with painting, one should walk in the dark, just seeing a fraction of the way ahead sometimes, and glimmers of possibility.  But no more than that.


Interesting thoughts from “Mothers at Home Matter” on Facebook this March…

“How do global decision-makers measure ‘equality’ and by what criteria?
Where does care work fit in?
As mothers, do we agree with their interpretation of what constitutes equality and ‘progress’ i.e prioritising more hours of paid work for all family members whilst downgrading the value of caregiving work?

It seems to us that what tends to get overlooked in fight for women’s freedom is for caregiving work to be treated as equally valuable work – 100 percent equal alongside other forms of ‘contribution’ in society.

Sadly, because of the way care is devalued and disrespected, it means that equality is measured by minimising the amount of caregiving time women engage in, whislt maximising time spent in other kinds of work! But that means women lose the freedom to nurture their own infants and care for their families, which in many ways is the antithesis of progress surely? Mother-child separation doesn’t sound progressive to us.

Also it’s time to debate how/why poverty in developed economies is rising (and the gap widening between well-off and least well-off) just as there are more adults (men and women) in the workplace than ever before. So it’s clear that more paid work doesn’t equal less poverty or income equality, in fact it seems to correlate with a period of rising poverty and more income inequality. Perhaps rising housing costs/rents has a lot to do with it – ordinary folk can’t catch up no matter how many hours they put in.”

Well said!

Spiritual Direction Ministry Information

I often look out for different definitions/descriptions of what the art of spiritual direction “is”.  So many people have not heard of it.  As I am currently training in this area, I pop an occasional thought up on this blog from time to time.  So here is another:

Quote below from the Guidelines of Good
Practice for offering the
Ministry of Spiritual
Direction  from the Diocese of Liverpool


“Spiritual direction is described as being a way of helping
people ‘to pay attention to and to share with another member
of the community experiences of God, and, in the process, to
learn how to discern what is authentically of God from what is
not. In this way they also learn how to talk about their
experiences of God with other members of the community.’1
Spiritual direction then, is seen as having a communal dimension
which enables the individual to look within to the movement of
God, to bring this through reflection, and maybe with cognitive
reasoning, into conversation with another, and then into forming
and informing their way of life. This way of life is both personal
and corporate.
Reflecting upon the presence of God means that the time of the
director with the directee becomes a ‘holy time’, as a ‘sacred
space’ is created between each, and each with God. The director
offers a total and unconditional listening, putting their own self
away for that time to focus upon the directee. The spiritual
director offers to the directee, ‘the gift of disinterested, loving
It is a vital support for all people, lay and licensed alike.”


I am personally mulling over the possibility that it may be helpful to view it as a modality of psychotherapy… there is a lot of overlap, in many ways, though the focus on relationship with God is more central/explicit.  And the desire is, for both people, an invitation to the Holy Spirit, to meeting, hearing, and receiving from our Creator God.  The emphasis on the Holy Spirit as the source of guidance is very specific to Christian Spiritual mentoring/guidance ministries.  It may provide new perspectives and bring release and growth, (I would hope so!) but theses things are blessed additions to the central work of making space for both ourselves and our maker.  And seeing what happens.  I like the description I quote above very much indeed, in particular”enables the individual to look within to the movement of God, to bring this through reflection, and maybe with cognitive reasoning, into conversation with another,”

And the movement of God which happens in all people, should we open ourselves up, believe, and receive.


Boat House acrylic painting in progress Jenny Meehan 2012


the boat house lino print, jenny meehan jamartlondon

boat house lino print jenny meehan © Jenny Meehan DACS All Rights Reserved

The Boat House – Lino print and The Boat House -Painting, are two examples of a strand in my work based on the motif of the symbol for rest used in musical notation, which I used in combination with the concept of a river journey. A rest is an interval of silence in a piece of music which is marked by a symbol indicating the length of the pause. The rectangle shape I adopted is the musical symbol for a half rest, or minim rest, which denotes a silence for the same duration as a minim note. Half rests are drawn as filled-in rectangles sitting on top of the middle line of the musical staff.
Removed from their musical context and placed in the visual landscape, where they relate to the deeply resonate symbol of a river, the motif provides a way of expressing the importance of retreat, rest, contemplation and prayer for the human being on life’s journey. Symbolically the river represents the flow of time, and the river, on its long journey, is symbolic of life in general and our lives in particular. There are periods when the river experiences turbulent, chaotic and disturbing times; there are periods when it experiences twists, turns and pauses; and then there are periods when the river flows peacefully, smoothly and calmly. A pause taken on the journey, a rest in a metaphorical boat house, is a vital part of it.
In my own artistic practice and life I have found that time taken to pause, to interrupt the often frantic pace of life which seems to be something that our particular culture encourages, has fed into my creativity and enriched it by increasing both the potency and depth of my work. Allowing me time to mull over what I produce…the pauses between painting and writing, thinking and doing, might seem like gaps in activity, but it is in these spaces and what I like to call “the in-between-doing places” where we have opportunity to draw meaning from both our being and our doing.

The “rest” in the painting looks a little like a sofa, which is good!


Nicked image…

If you see this on the internet on

You will notice that it is MY drawing, and nothing to do with the young man who has posted it on his site.

Oh, so so sad.  To do that.  Much better for that person to learn to appreciate the value of their own work! is nothing to do with me or my work in any way.

Leith Hill Surrey Pencil Sketch Jenny Meehan Contemporary British Artist surrey artist artwork for sale to buy affordable english romantic artist modern, tree trunk bench resting place,

This pencil sketch is by Jenny Meehan.
Copyright jenny meehan.

Image of Christ walking on water by Maggi Hambling can be seen here

Good Friday (Walking on the water)
Maggi Hambling (b.1945)

Quote below from Q&A: Artist Maggi Hambling
The flamboyant artist talks to theartsdesk about sex, death and the sea.
by Hilary WhitneySaturday, 01 May 2010


“When I paint the waves I want them to seem as if they are crashing in front of you, right now. That’s the magic of oil paint over any bloody photograph because a photograph is just a single moment, immediately consigned to history, whereas an oil painting is the result of many hours’ work, culminating in a single moment. If you look at a late Titian or a Rembrandt or a Van Gogh, it’s as if you’re there at the act of making the painting and that’s what’s so exciting about paint to me. It’s something photography can never touch, no matter how moving the subject.
Although they are ostensibly very different, I can see a lot of similarities in the sea paintings with your other work, such as Laughing Mouth and Good Friday 2004.
What? You see Jesus in the sea? But yes, I think a lot of things have come together in these paintings – they’re full of mouths and animals and all sorts of things that people tell me about which I haven’t noticed – and I did paint a Christ of the waves although I only do him on Good Friday. It’s a kind of bad habit which comes from childhood memories of Good Friday being such a miserable day. My mother was quite churchy and it was instilled in me that you couldn’t have any fun so I find it very difficult to think of anything else on Good Friday but Christ on the cross.
And of course, it is an extraordinary image combination of life and death at the same moment. I think great art inhabits the place that is both life and death and that’s rather the point of it.”


“I think great art inhabits the place that is both life and death and that’s rather the point of it.”

VERY interesting!


Tips for Commissions

Find out if the person has commissioned art before, and how it went.

If they are new to commissioning art, get a good idea of what they want and make sure that their expectations are realistic.

Find out what they want to see in their painting…aim for getting a general idea, an also find out what they definitely don’t want.

Check out who will be approving the art, is it just them or a larger group of people.  If it’s a large group then it’s going to be less likely you will please everyone!

Make sure you  write and sign a contract or agreement.  This should include a description of the art, physical characteristics such as size and medium, payment schedule, late payment fees, how many times you meet to see the work in progress during the course of the commission, completion time and final delivery.
Take a percentage of the full fee in advance, and explain it is non-refundable.   If the client backs out before the work is completed, they need to understand that you have still invested a lot of time and effort, plus materials into it and therefore the advance is non refundable.
Arrange viewings as the work progresses, three or four is plenty.  And encourage plenty of dialogue and keep conversation channels open.   Stick to what you agreed and if you want to move the painting in a different direction then check this out first


Oh America!

I am glad I have found this.  I find it encouraging to see what is happening in America with abstraction and painting.  There is a lot going on here in Britain, of course.  But we do like a picture, and one we can get a grip on.  There seems to be more of a sense of abandon and acceptance of abstraction over there.  Well, thankfully because of the internet, the sea is not so wide!  This blog here makes a very interesting read. Kathryn Markel has conversations with the artists she works with, and I have enjoyed reading with a lot of pleasure!


Steve Chalke – Why I’ve Created a Church Charter…

I am pleased and so glad for the worthwhile work of Steve Chalke in this area, and I hope and pray for this man and his passion and love, which brings the heart of Christ into being in our world today.  What a relief to hear and what a balm for the wounded soul, wounded by prejudice, ignorance and fear.   Christ knows all about that.  He really does.

With time, I hope, love will reign supreme, on earth as well as in heaven.  But for now, we pray that eyes and ears be opened and that hearts be opened, to the Love of God, which has no bounds.


Zachary Keeting

I really like  and enjoyed reading this conversation very much!


Kingston Artists Open Studios

Well, yes, I have to plug this, as it is coming up soon!

I will have six paintings on show, plus images of others, as I cannot bring all my work to the KAOS 3 venue!  I will also have some greetings cards and smaller framed prints.   Here are three of the paintings I will show this year at the Kingston Artists Open Studios event.


copyright jenny meehan DACS clog dance, sacred dance, dance inspired painting,clog dancing, jenny meehan, jamartlondon, licensable painting, painting for sale, contemporary british abstract painting, lyrical abstraction,colourist expressionist abstract, modernist romantic, 21st century painters,

clog dance/sacred dance abstract paintings colour copyright jenny meehan DACS


copyright jenny meehan DACSBright 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


copyright jenny meehan DACSBuried Mother/Laid to Rest Oil Painting - Jenny Meehan

Buried Mother/Laid to Rest Oil Painting – Jenny Meehan


If you are interested in coming along, then take a look at the online catalogue:


Contact me via my website and let me know you are coming along, or just turn up!


Jenny Meehan is a painter, poet, and Christian contemplative  based in East Surrey/South West London.   Her interest in Christ-centred spirituality and creativity are the main focus of this artist’s journal, which rambles and meanders on, maybe acting as a personal (yet open to view)  note book as much as anything else.  If you read and enjoy it, this would be an added bonus! 

Her website is  ( replaces the older now deceased website

Jenny Meehan BA Hons (Lit.) PGCE also occasionally offers art tuition for individuals or in shared sessions.  Please contact Jenny at or through the contact form at for further details as availability depends on other commitments.    

 Jenny Meehan works mainly with either oils or acrylics  creating both abstract/non-objective paintings  and also semi-abstract work.  She also produces representational/figurative artwork,  mostly using digital photography/image manipulation software, painting and  drawing.  Both original fine paintings and other artwork forms  and affordable photo-mechanically produced prints are available to purchase.  

Jenny Meehan exhibits around the United Kingdom.   To be placed on Jenny Meehan’s  bi-annual  mailing list please contact Jenny via her website contact page:

Also, you could follow the Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal at WordPress and keep informed that way. 

Note About Following Jenny Meehan Contemporary Artist’s Journal 


You tube video with examples of photography, drawing and painting

by Jenny Meehan

Website Link for jamartlondon: 

Digital photography can be viewed on

A selection of non objective paintings can be viewed on pinterest:


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

Copyright and Licensing Digital Images Information – Jenny Meehan

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

Copyright for all visual art by Jenny Meehan is managed by the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) in the UK. If you wish to licence a work of art by Jenny Meehan, please contact Jenny Meehan in the first instance to clarify your requirements. There is a contact form on my website

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


Permission is always sought before use. 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. 

Outline of my “Fair Use”  rationale, which is applicable to all images from other sources which I include on this blog:
There is no alternative, public domain or free-copyrighted replacement image available to my knowledge.
Its inclusion in my blog adds significantly to my narrative  because it shows the subject which I want to refer to and relate to my own artistic practice and is necessary in order for me to communicate accurately my observations/critical appraisal/appreciation/educate my readers, in understanding my perspectives on art and life.  Inclusion is for information, education and analysis only. The text discussing the significance of the included  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.




Fifty Names for Jesus

May 30, 2015

As always, skim down and stop when your interest is caught!  Too lengthy for a “blog”  this is rather more a journal, and I post once a month only, so end up squishing too much together!  If you are wanting just a quick look over some images, it’s easy to scroll down.  The wonders of mobile phones!

I have sown various seeds in the garden, and the snails are eating the little shoots as they shoot!

But I like snails…

I don’t like slug pellets and I don’t use them.

Hopefully something will survive!


Well, it’s not quite the sunflower stage of the year, but oh how generous is the bloom and how strong the stalk of the sunflower, and how it lifts my spirit to even think of a sunflower. I love the motif of a sunflower, and use it in a lot of my painting and drawing.

Here are some of my sunflower explorations:


sunflower digital image by jenny meehan jamartlondon  colourful flowerhead

sunflower digital image by jenny meehan jamartlondon colourful flowerhead



sunflower digital image by jenny meehan jamartlondon  colourful flowerhead yellow  art to license uk

sunflower digital image by jenny meehan jamartlondon colourful flowerhead


art to license uk sunflower digital image by jenny meehan jamartlondon  colourful flowerhead

sunflower digital image by jenny meehan jamartlondon colourful flowerhead



The Sunflower image below is one I have used for several experiments, including using the sunflower for a surface pattern design.  Nothing very clever, but sometimes the simple things can be most effective, and it is rather exciting to see more of something that you like splattered all over an item of some kind!  I love creating patterns with various adaptations of my paintings and photographs.  There’s something very satisfying about bringing a strong pattern into play…While my painting with it’s rich colours and textures, the interplay between the two, and the subtle nuances of light and surface, which take me into the realm of the unknown and the unpredictable, there is something very reassuring to be found in a repetitive pattern! It’s a completely different experience, but very enjoyable.  I am hoping that in time, more of my art work will be licensed, because I like to see it used.


sunflower digital image by jenny meehan jamartlondon  colourful flowerhead

sunflower digital image by jenny meehan jamartlondon colourful flowerhead



I have posted some products with this “Sunflower” Design on Redbubble, here is one, so take a peek:

Looking at this page, I think if you go to the portfolio link, you will then arrive at my main Jenny Meehan Redbubble Page and if you click on the Sunflower image you will see all the other products which can be purchased via Redbubble with this Sunflower design on them!

The sunflower as a symbol has often been used to represent the unwavering faith that guides a soul to higher spiritual attainment, though what the sunflower symbolises is different depending on which culture you are looking at.  However, I rather like the faith version!  Sunflowers have been in existence since ancient times .A carbon dating was done to some clay found in  North America, which seemed to have some kind of seeds in it, and the dating showed both that the seeds were sunflower seeds, and also that they dated back to a period of time approximately  3,000 years ago.

The shape of the sunflower—the large disk in the centre and the ray-like petals emanating from it—resembles the sun. The florets in the centre of the sunflower,  that later become seeds, are arranged in a complex pattern of left and right spirals and are placed according to the Fibonocci mathematical formula.  The resulting pattern is not only beautiful, but it is practical too, being the most compact way that the florets can be fitted. It is just one of the many marvellous details in nature that point to the goodness and wisdom of God.  Though you cannot see the seed pattern in this design, I hope that the bright, fresh, boldness of the design will strike you with its flash of uncompromising yellow.

The  flowering time for sunflowers is from around May to October,  so some of them do flower much earlier than I have in my mind…They always make me think of the late Summer.  Another name for sunflower is Helianthus, and in the Greek, the meaning of “helios” is sun and “anthos” means flower.  The way that the Sunflower faces the direction of the sun is something that a lot of flowers do, but I guess because it is rather a big flower, we notice this fact about it more vividly.

I have a drawing here, which I have called “Sunflower and Rose Bowl”

sunflower and rose bowl drawing jenny meehan graphite on cartridge paper

sunflower and rose bowl drawing jenny meehan


This drawing was one of the results of a spontaneous quick drawing session.  I armed myself with a large pile of paper and drew quickly and without any preconceived ideas about subject matter.  I was interested to see what would come from my subconscious.  What did come were several landscapes, loose and flowing, which I will share another time.  But “Sunflower and Rose Bowl” was the one which interested me most.   There are rays of light indicated as coming from the left of the drawing.  The Sunflower springs up from a distant point far below and it’s centre echoes some random, rather creative,  patterns at the top right of the drawing.  Below the Sunflower is a bowl which contains just one empty and thin stalk, and that alone.  To my thinking the drawing shows a contrast between life, and the life force, like powerful light pushing upwards and radiating outwards, and, in contrast, the grid like pattern of the wires on the restrictive rose bowl, holding that one thin and flowerless stalk,which  though more dimensional, is more static and less promising.  I wondered at one point if the sunflower was foolishly looking at the rose bowl and wishing to be contained, but finding itself too big and not in fitting with the rose bowl.  Why is it looking there?  Is the ordered pattern of the grid an alternative to the free flowing patterns within its own seed head? Is there a wish for order, in the chaos of creativity?  Possible.  Certainly, there is a need for containment, for my self, which I do feel quite acutely at times.  So it could be the wishful thinking of a sun loving flower!

 Nice Quote from William Blake, which is rather relating to the Sunflower and Rose Bowl

“Shall painting be confined to the sordid drudgery of facsimile representations of merely mortal and perishing substances and not be, as poetry and music are, elevated to its own proper sphere of invention and visionary conception? No, it shall not be so! Painting, as well as poetry and music, exists and exults in immortal thoughts.” William Blake

Yes, indeed, and yet, as high as it goes, like the Sunflower, still looking down to the sordid drudgery!  (I personally feel that in the routine and everyday, much rooting and grounding takes place, needful for even the most aspiring Sunflowers!)


Fifty Names for Jesus

This is based on an exercise that my spiritual guide on a recent (February 2015)  retreat gave me.   It comes under the heading of “A Thousand Names for God”, but that is rather a lot.  So, bearing in mind “Fifty Shades of Grey”…But, I hasten to add, having nothing to do with it!, here is my “Fifty Names for Jesus”  (there ended up more than fifty in the end)

Passion flower,
Silver Snail Trail,
Sunlight Falling, Moonlight rising,
Sound of footsteps…Coming…

Breeze of moving.

Wonder in a child’s eyes,
rustle of leaves and falling snow.
Smile of God,
Laughter of God,
Tears of God,
Sorrow of God.

Stray Note.

Sound in Silence, Silence in Sound.

Generous hearted.

Concerned one,
Compassionate one,
Flamboyant one,
Sense of humour one,
Contented one.
Holy One, Holy Two, Holy Three…

Further than far, nearer than near.

Companion Jesus,
Leader Jesus,
Surgeon Jesus.
Maybe, mother Jesus.  Maybe mother Jesus?
Therapist Jesus
Teacher Jesus,
Dancer Jesus.  Leaper, Prancer Jesus!
Pigeon Jesus and Rock Dove Jesus…(Because the same, but not in name)

Moon and Sun Jesus,

Ultimate Christmas Jumper Jesus,
Healing Jesus,
Kind Jesus.

Perceptive Jesus,
Searching Jesus,
Knowing Jesus,
Discerning Jesus.

Suffering Jesus
Bright Star Jesus.
Ultimate Vision Glasses Jesus.
Tender Jesus, Loving Jesus
Listener Jesus.
Listen Jesus.

Listen, Jesus.


It was very enjoyable to do this!



The Studio Tent

Jenny Meehan's Studio Tent for Painting

Jenny Meehan’s Studio Tent for Painting

Oh, it’s just great to have the Studio Tent!  The image up here is a bit out of date…It’s in action now, and I use it just for painting in acrylics, and drinking tea and praying in!  The sound of the birds is lovely, and the flapping sides of the tent as the wind blows is pretty relaxing too.  It’s great to have all the acrylics, pigments, glass beads and fillers, inks, and all the rest all together under one roof, even if it is a tarpaulin roof!  Though not a mobile studio, as Emily Carr’s “Elephant” caravan was, I know I am going to get some interesting painting done within it’s confines!  I will post a more up to date image soon.  One side of it has become a palette of sorts. Well, not for mixing, but just some examples of the contents of some of the containers, so jolly useful to have up there on the wall.

The kitchen/studio is better for oil painting because I cannot store all my paints in one place as I have too many, so I will keep the kitchen table for painting oils I think.  Flitting back to Emily Carr, what a wonderful exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery that was earlier on this year, and what an interesting lady! I found this:

She experienced everything with uncommon intensity, a factor which fuelled her frenzied periods of enormous output, yet contributed to her self-doubt which led to a lengthy and marked slowdown–some would call it a regenerative hiatus–in her painting. Nevertheless, she pulled herself up out of depression, came to ignore public disregard, surrounded herself with pets, sang hymns to her half-finished paintings out in the forest, and, at fifty-seven, won her way to her most productive and original period of painting, producing the works for which she is most known. And always, always, she was seeking.

Carr looked for answers to questions of life, soul and God from many sources–the Bible, despite her early intolerance of scripture readings being forced upon her in a pious household; the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson, particularly striving to emulate his thoughts in “Self Reliance;” the poetry of Walt Whitman in Leaves of Grass, which encouraged her to see a universal God in all life; works of Theosophy and Buddhism, as introduced to her by the painter Lawren Harris of the Group of Seven, though she ultimately rejected them as too abstract in not incorporating God and Christ; Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the textbook of Christian Science, by Mary Baker Eddy; and the teachings of Raja Singh. All of these sources, together with what she observed from Native cultures, combined to help her define her own personal spiritual foundation which served as the basis for her mature work, and as the source of her strength.”

I THINK this quote is the writing of Susan Vreeland, but I am not quite sure, as it appears on the net on several blogs, but I am doing my best here to credit it.   Here is the site link:  and see here:  This is just a small snippet of some very interesting reading, and it is well worth a look at the rest of what Susan Vreeland has written about Emily Carr.

I am rather encouraged that it was at fifty-seven Emily Carr experienced her most productive and original period of painting!  I have time!!!  And, yes, we must always be seeking.. Seeing and seeking!   I do think that to have a personal spiritual foundation IS indeed very helpful, and certainly a source of strength.  Many creative s and artists find this, and benefit from the continual refreshment and focus that a spiritual direction offers them. Well, one thing is for sure, all the encouragement you can get is needed in order to carry on.


Advance Notice:

This year you can meet me and some of my fellow artists from Kingston Artists’ Open Studios… Studio KAOS 2, at 14, Liverpool Road, Kingston Upon Thames Surrey KT2 7SZ on the following weekends: Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th June and Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th June from 11am until 5pm. This is within walking distance of Kingston Town Centre, and also near Richmond Park. Come along! If you have time, follow the whole Kingston Artists’ Open Studios trail.

Kingston Artists’ Open Studios is a voluntary group of artists, and there are many studios open in and around Kingston Upon Thames… A whole trail! The Open Studios event is part of the bigger Surrey Artists Open Studios network event.

I cannot decide what to bring along to this.  I was going to bring some drawings, but I think I might just stick with some paintings and some prints.  I haven’t done the Surrey Artists’ Open Studios before, so I am looking forward to taking part.  You need to join Surrey Artists Open Studios first, and then pay more to take part in the event itself, so I certainly hope I do sell some things in order to recoup the costs!  I will probably bring along just acrylic paintings, as my oil painting style is quite different to the work I produce when using acrylics and it will all be placed pretty close together.  And some digital prints.  Take a look at my website for a taster: 

Silence in the City 

Here is some information from the Silence in the City website:

About Silence in the City
This series of talks on silent prayer and the Christian contemplative life has been running since 2007 in London’s Westminster Cathedral Hall. We invite a range of speakers, each of whom is committed to the contemplative life; each meeting includes one or more talks, and at least one period devoted to silent prayer.

The speakers are invited to concentrate on the value of silence and the possibilities of silent prayer, but they are also encouraged to discuss any or all of the other monastic values of solitude, simplicity and contemplative service. The series is ecumenical in nature; we may in due course include representatives of other faiths.

Silence in the City is organised by lay members of the World Community for Christian Meditation and Contemplative Outreach. Our inspiration is the practice of silent prayer itself, and while we hope that this series of talks will continue, its real success will be measured by individuals’ discovery of a method of silent prayer that is right for them.

See the website here:

I’m looking forward to two forthcoming events:

Wednesday, 17 June 2015 (10a.m.- 4 p.m.)

James Finley PhD: Transforming Trauma: Exploring the Healing Power of Spirituality (A one day healing retreat)

A one day retreat devoted to exploring the healing power of spirituality. The day’s reflections will focus on seven traumas or wounds to which we are all subject as human beings and then go to explore methods of meditation and other steps we can take to help ourselves and others heal from each of these seven wounds. The emphasis will be on the lifelong process of learning to be a healing presence in the midst of the world. Time will be given for brief periods of silent group meditation and discussion of the themes presented. Those in ministry, in the healing professions, trauma survivors and all who are interested in exploring healing power of spirituality in their own life and in today’s world will benefit from this day of prayerful reflection.

The Seven Steps of Spiritual Healing Explored in the Retreat Are:

Be grounded in your experience of who you are as a human being in relationship with others. Take responsibility for the healing that needs to occur there.
Have faith in the subtle flashes of spiritual awakening that occur each day. Trust these moments reveal that although you are ego, you are not just ego. You are a spiritual being created in the image and likeness of God who is spirit.
Realize that the root of suffering is estrangement from spiritual experience. The root of happiness is spiritual experience.
Follow the mystics on the path of prayer and meditation that heals the root of suffering in its origin.
Follow the path of the saints in compassionate love that heals the suffering that has found its way into our minds and hearts (facing and working through bodily and psychological suffering in a spiritually grounded way).
Learn to live in the axial moment that transcends suffering in the midst of suffering, that transcends death in the midst of death.
Devote yourself in prayer, meditation and compassionate love to the lifelong process of learning to be a healing presence in the midst of the world. Be resolved to continue living in this way until the last traces of suffering dissolve in love and only love is left.
Venue: Westminster Cathedral Hall, Ambrosden Avenue, London SW1P 0QJ.

Refreshments provided. Suggested donation £20.

Text from the Silence in the City website.

And also, I will be attending:

Wednesday 1 July 2015 (10a.m.-4 p.m.)

Rev Dr Cynthia Bourgeault: Harnessing the Power of Love – Unveiling the New Breed of Trinity (one day seminar)

Venue: Westminster Cathedral Hall, Ambrosden Avenue, London SW1P 0QJ.

Refreshments provided. Suggested donation £20.

Rethinkyourmind 2015

It was lovely last year to have “Well Spring” chosen to be included in the Rethinkyourmind Yellow Book.  Anything positive related to mental health matters a great deal to me.  My mother was seriously mentally ill for the majority of her life, and my sister also.  Though pretty psychologically resilient myself, I do know what it is like to experience  anxiety and depression,  and also what it means to engage in the processes of recovery from  trauma.  It’s hard work; long, often painful, and very challenging.  Without my engagement in psychotherapy, I know that I wouldn’t have  been able to move forward personally myself, at all.  So I am eternally grateful for the place I am in now, and feel passionately that projects like Rethinkyourmind have lasting value and influence, and do make a significant difference to many people.

This year I entered a couple of photographic images in, and was delighted to once more find my art work selected!  The selected photograph was  “I Feel Better When Walking by Trees and Water”  (this also has  it’s previous title which is “High Water Thames”).

Here it is!

jenny meehan copyright DACS all rights reserved highwater, i feel better when walking near trees and water

highwater, i feel better when walking near trees and water


A lot of my artwork has more than one title…It is not a matter of changing the title, I find, but of having further thinking time on the work and realising more about the motivations I had,  in slightly more depth.  Normally I find this happens quite naturally over time.  I have always been quite conscious of the correspondence between the patterns of nerves in the brain and the patterns of branches of trees, and when contemplating the scene before taking the photograph, the reflection of the branches in the water spoke an additional  sense of connection (with the water, the life-source) to me which I liked very much, along with the patterning of the branches.  I have discovered through reading an extract from  “Fractal Brains: Fractal Thoughts by David Pincus Ph.D. lots of fascinating things about fractals!  The brain has a fractal organization, as indeed do many natural systems.  A fractal is a branchlike structure, and when you think about natural structures like trees,  rivers, snow-flakes,  the circulatory system, and such like, an awareness of the beauty of fractal organisation is certainly highlighted.  Interestingly, researchers in psychology have been finding many examples of fractal patterns, for example in visual search and speech patterns. They have even found that interpersonal relationships are organised as fractals and that the self-concept is a fractal, with complexity being associated with health.  I found this all wonderful reading:

“Essentially, fractal systems have many opportunities for growth, change and re-organization. Yet they also are very robust. They maintain their coherence; they hold together well, even under tough circumstances. They are balanced in this respect, between order and chaos. They are simple, yet also very complex. This balance is often referred to as “criticality,” thus the title of the article: “Broadband Criticality.” And the term “self-organized” is often added because systems tend to become fractal on their own, simply by putting a lot of system components together and allowing them to exchange information. Think of a party. All you need to do is come up with enough people at the same place and time and they will start to form complex patterns of connection with one another.

Self-organizing critical systems are also very good at connecting, both internally and also to other surrounding systems. The branches of a tree are connected in a very lovely way. If you shake one branch, you’ll see broad shaking across the tree. Fractal structures hang together nicely. Yet they branches may be trimmed without affecting the overall structure. Indeed, if you trim them far enough out (above the growth bud, “post-traumatic growth” or “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”) they will often grow even stronger, with more complex connections in the outer branches. Finally, branchlike patterns easily connect to other systems – a literal web of life. A tree with many fractal branches (and also roots) can better connect to the sun (and soil) to gather and exchange life sustaining nutrients.”

This is a quote from Fractal Brains: Fractal Thoughts
Our Brains are fractal, with far reaching branches; Post published by David Pincus Ph.D. on Sep 05, 2009 in The Chaotic Life

Oh wow, well, I hope that my “post-traumatic growth” serves me well…according this the above I may grow even stronger, with more complex connections in my outer branches!!!!

This posting is very photography orientated!  I am painting, but it is all behind the scenes for now, and a lot of ground laying activity is going on which I don’t intend to post on the internet for some time!  I am a very prolific artist, and quite frankly I cannot keep up with bringing an account of what I am doing all the time as well as doing it.  At the moment I am doing a lot of organising, taking images of paintings for the archive, tidying up the studio tent, preparing work for this years Surrey Artists’ Open Studios Event, and preparing some more canvases for future paintings.  Also, very importantly, as ever constantly reviewing my photography, painting and drawing to see how it can inform me right now.  This is probably the most important task.  I’ve stopped fretting about representation (finally) and have jumped into the realm of colour, texture and form most fully, without angst.  It seems right to loose myself in these eternal layers of colour and texture if that is the way things are going.  I enjoy the occasional bit of drawing here and there.  It won’t disappear!


Copyright and Licensing Digital Images Information – Jenny Meehan 

Copyright in all images by Jenny Meehan is held by the artist.
Permission must be sought in advance for the reproduction, copying or any other use of any images by Jenny Meehan. Individuals or businesses seeking licenses or permission to use, copy or reproduce any image by Jenny Meehan should, in the first instance, contact Jenny Meehan.
Any persons discovered to be reproducing, copying or using images by Jenny Meehan without prior consent, authorisation or permission will be put on notice that Jenny Meehan is the copyright owner and asked to immediately cease and desist the infringing activity. If a satisfactory response and / or compliance is not forthcoming promptly, the matter will be pursued. For clarification of the laws of copyright, please contact the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS).

Copyright for all visual art by Jenny Meehan is managed by the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) in the UK. If you wish to licence a work of art by Jenny Meehan, please contact Jenny Meehan in the first instance to clarify your requirements. There is a contact form on my website 

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

Also, please of course feel free to contact me if you are looking for a particular type of artwork image, as I have a large archive of images myself. I will also be able to let you know the maximum size the digital image is available at. If you then wish to license the artwork image, I then refer you to the Design and Artist Copyright Society to arrange the licensing agreement according to your requirements.

Rich, interesting, lyrical abstraction, full of texture, colour, and variations, emotionally expressive and poetically resonant, my expressive paintings are ideal for book cover design and many other design purposes.  Licenses for digital images suitable for cover-art for books are really easy and quick to organise through DACS.  My artwork is unique and having developed my own direction over the last few years it’s ripe to use. I am relatively prolific, and my main current work centres around painting with a lot of  experimentation with layers of colour and texture, though I have a lot of digital photographic (tending towards pictorialism) imagery too.  


If you need any further clarification, the DACS website is clear and very helpful indeed, and they would be happy to help you.

Design and Artist Copyright Society
33 Old Bethnal Green Road
London E2 6AA
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7336 8811
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7336 8822
Offices are open 0930 – 1700 Monday through Friday.

“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.



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:

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, 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:

 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.


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  ( replaces the older now deceased website

Jenny Meehan BA Hons (Lit.) PGCE also offers art tuition.  Please contact Jenny at or through the contact form at 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 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

Website Link for jamartlondon: 

Digital photography can be viewed on

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.

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