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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

niche– an enclosure that is set back or indented

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

Finally found a title for this painting!

 

It can take some time to settle on a title for a painting.  I like to let my paintings hang around for a while as I think through their title and sometimes I change my mind, of course.   I am rather fond of titles with two parts. 

At the moment the title for the Trafalgar School Wall Mural is also being considered.  Many children came up with a variety of ideas, and myself, Neil and John will be thinking about those and come up with a winner soon!

Now is a time for me to look back on work carried out over the year.  This painting “Break Out/Promised Land” was interesting to paint.  I concentrated on bringing texture and different surfaces into play and it was quite nice to let the textural information inform choices in colour and the direction of the next marks or brushstrokes.  I let the painting grow naturally, so I didn’t have an idea from the outset of how it would develop, but seeing it at the end it rang true.  I have learnt through it, which is my main objective.  It would be nice to do some more of these,  and it is the case that acrylic paint is just the right medium to use for paintings like this.  I always feel slightly disappointed with the colour intensity of acrylic paint, though adding pigment of course is always an option.   I have not painted with an acrylic underpainting and oil on top yet… so maybe this is something I might explore next.

(Note: later sold to a collector)

http://www.jamartlondon.com

Rain, Rain,Rain.

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

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

I’ve learnt a lot from this project….

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

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

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

4. Don’t assume anything

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

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

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

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

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

10. Give generously, receive generously.

It might seem a bit early to put this down, but as the rain is stopping me from going any further, I might as well do this now.  I would like in the future to put together something on practical techniques for mural painting with silicate mineral paints to help others who might consider using this type of paint for exterior or interior murals, but to be honest, I have so much happening right now I cannot see myself being able to do this for sometime.

The Keim website is worth a look.  https://www.keim.com/en-gb/keim-library/the-mineral-principle/

They have been stellar in their customer service, and helped immensely.  I’m very grateful.

I now have work to sort out for exhibition at the Rose Theatre in October, Gallery 63 in September, The CornerHOUSE in December and later on Leatherhead theatre in May 2012, which is great, but means the mural work has to stop for a while.  I am working on a mural in a garden, just a simple grey and white one  .I would like to do another exterior mural at the school later next year.  I’m also in the process of applying for the Artists Access to University Scheme, at Kingston University in order to develop my practice.  That should be enough for now,  plus running the house, and all that domestic bliss!

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

 

 

 

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

Pencil sketch done at West Dean College during last stay recently

Another part of the journey….

 

It looks pretty grey here!

Trafalgar Junior School Exterior Mural Plan

Keim Mineral Paints Ltd have been very supportive of this project, which is most encouraging to me as it is a labour of love for sure.  I am preparing some educational materials which the Art co-ordinator at the school is going to use.  This  is a process I’m enjoying  very much as it brings me back to my past times as a teacher, though  it is much more enjoyable to just be concerned with a subject I feel passionate about!

I’m going to let the children into the planning process, and also provide some resources on colour theory (Itten).  For me the interest of this project has been a more analytical approach than I normally take with my painting.  Normally the selection of colours is based on emotions and I will be the first to say that I have only just begun to learn about colour.   I hope it will always be this way.  It has been great experience for me  with this project, to rather carefully and methodically balance one colour against another.  It is more design than anything else, but still, it’s good to do things differently from time to time.  I would like to paint a more spontaneous and process driven mural though, and compare the experiences.

I hope that the children will learn to think about colours and tones a bit more in their painting, and also get more of a conscious  awareness of how they interact with eachother.  It’s not the be all and end all of course, I do believe colour should come pretty much from inside the heart, but it does no harm, and it is interesting, to think about and notice certain things.   Looking at a painting like “Composition 1928” by Mondrian is a lot more interesting when you start to think more specifically about formalities!  It isn’t very interesting when you don’t.

I’m just putting some stuff together about different types of paint and how they are made, and also types of pigment.  I would like to do a lot more than I have time to right now.  I need to start sorting out some materials for the Eco Co-ordinator next, so I’m moving onto that this coming week.  We will be painting on Tuesday if the weather is OK, let’s hope so.

It’s all pretty grey right now.

 

 

 

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

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

The Mural

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

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

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

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

Colour areas of the mural in progress

The colder weather always puts me in a writing, or rather, typing mood.  It keeps my hands warm  in what is a very cold office.  First on my list today is my visit to the Guardian Private View of The Turner Prize.  It was not an emotive experience for me, and while I can enjoy the experiences I experienced last night, I am not stunned, not impressed, not motivated in any strong direction. I don’t like plastic wine glasses at all, but the wine was nice.  I had good company, and it was fun, we laughed a lot.  Shame the rest of the gallery was not open, I would have enjoyed it more.

I do like the painting of Dexter Dalwood, I like what he is doing in it, I like the collage effect, I like the size, but  I find the surface of the painting uninteresting and want the surface to offer me more…the flatness does not appeal to me.  There was some of his painting in the books at the gallery which I thought were better than some on display, and I would have liked to see them up on the wall.  I don’t think all the work on show was his strongest work, but I am sure there are many reasons (that  I am blissfully ignorant of) as to what exactly was selected.  So, in summary, I did enjoy the work of Dexter Dalwood…give me a painting any day, with a bit of a pictorial element, some visual variety, some evidence of imagination, and a nice big size, that can be hung on the wall.  That’s what I go for.

I take a look  from time to time,  at the prints of Ivon Hitchens paintings in my much loved “Ivon Hitchens” by Peter Khoroche, and almost cry. Now, them, even though only delivered to me through printing ink on flat paper, and small in size too, I do find emotive.  If I sound like an incurable romantic, then it may be that this is what I am.  And in the “real” world,  I’m looking…looking at clouds and buildings, pigments in the direct sunlight, the types of pigments used for painting walls, how they change, how they relate, and they are coming closer to me I hope, almost like the air I breathe. I’m not painting right now, but I am forming many images in my mind as I concentrate on seeing and perceiving more of the light and colour and shape and form around me. With all my recent studies on the formal aspects of painting, I still find myself looking to nature, and I think there is a wonder there, that I could easily miss if I spent too much time with my own work.

One thing irked me at the Turner Prize Exhibition, and that, I must confess, did come from a little jealousy, but of a very practical nature.  Simply…How great it would be to be able to paint on a sizable canvas, rather than the small scale substrates I normally use.  All my paintings have to be stored in an already very full house.  We must work with what we have.  At least I experienced no other jealousy about any other aspect of the Turner Prize Exhibition.  Oh, there was the room, the space, of course.  That is a great space.  Room.  Room to fill.  I wish I had that.  Nothing else though.

Ah well,   I had my painting big moment.

NOTE:  Inserted later….you tube video of the mural painted for Trafalgar Junior School in Twickenham…

Back from West Dean, and other holiday trips here and there, to find the publicity information for “Muybridge In Kingston” on my doorstep.  Very glad to see it too, as I had no knowledge of the “John Lewis Art Prize Photography Competition” which is one of many events going on as part of this focus on one of Kingston’s most innovative people.  Events at the Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston Museum and the Tate Britain, look very interesting and varied, and I will certainly be going to some of them. 

I also just had to enter the “John Lewis Art Prize Photography Competition”.  Though I am focusing on my painting, I do periodically return to my camera and computer, and as the John Lewis competition has its focus around the John Lewis building in Kingston, how could I resist?  My “John Lewis Partnership Foundations 1987  inkjet artwork (which was displayed at the Stanley Picker Gallery “Kingston Contemporary Open” Exhibition in 2007) beckoned me once more.  But to use something I have worked on in the past in a new way is much more exciting, and it’s one of the joys of being an artist…taking something old and making it new in some way. 

But time!  It’s so tight!  A bit like last time around…inspiration comes fast and thick…sometimes pressure can help things along a bit.  I started working today at around 12 noon and now the print is delivered to the Gift List Department at John Lewis, Kingston.  I am very grateful for the fact that I invested in a printer recently, and also that I had some inkjet paper to hand.  It’s hard financially, and always a struggle to work out what is a worthwhile investment…one which will be useful…but looks like past purchases have come into their own this time around, as I would not have had time to get the image printed elsewhere…not exactly as I required it.

The image is called “Years Go By – John Lewis Partnership Foundations 2010” and gets its title from one of many thoughts I had while creating the piece.  Because it contains parts of the previous “John Lewis Partnership Foundations” image  (in the picture frame and the screen) I felt I had to include this in the title.  My awareness of the rapid passing of time as I worked on it, especially with the deadline date being tommorrow, was something I wanted to include, and the passing of  time is also referenced in the image through the text in the store about beds! 

Because the events going on focus on the work of Muybridge, a figure from the past, and a creator of images (both still and moving) with the camera,  and the competition has its focus on the John Lewis Kingston Store,  to use my own past photographic work by bringing it forward in time and setting it within the John Lewis Furniture Department seemed like an interesting way to set up lots of new visual and conceptual  relationships.  I was thinking about people planning the interior of their homes, thinking about the planning involved right from the outset of creating  a new building, (even so far back as the first lines drawn by an architect), thinking about a blank piece of paper…the problems we all have with dimensions….(mine was the my image looked great square, but I wanted it to work on A3, as that was the format for the competition).  People choosing furniture also have to think about how objects fit into physical spaces.  I gave the figure from the 1987 image of the building’s foundations a prominent place in the image…I quite like the relationship between him and the lady at the top right who is looking at a selection of pictures and wondering no doubt which to choose.  I guess I am also hoping that my image will be chosen as part of the John Lewis Art Prize Exhibition which runs from the 8th September at “The Place To Eat” in John Lewis Kingston.  Only time will tell!!!

More information on Events which are part of the “Muybridge In Kingston” 2010 http://www.muybridgeinkingston.com/event.php

Here is my entry…

Entry by Jenny Meehan for the "John Lewis Art Prize" 2010, part of the Muybridge In Kingston events

This is another chapter in the story started by my first image of the foundations of the John Lewis building in Kingston. First image 1987, this one created in 2010. Interior of furniture department was taken last year I think from memory.

And here was the image which was shown at the Stanley Picker Gallery in 2007 as part of the Kingston Contemporary Open Exhibition…

Image of 2007 artwork "John Lewis Foundations Partnership" Jenny Meehan

Just put together a little video of a selection of my drawings from 2008 – 2010.  Do take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQnLHf8qlJ4

I have much to explore with drawing, and I am rather taken up with painting at present, but I am planning to use my sketchbook more, and I am hoping that over the Summer I will produce many more sketches and drawings which hopefully I will at some point put to use in a painting or two.  Drawing interests me in that it is one  way of developing visual awareness and sensitivity and it is  an extremely valuable discipline.   I learnt lots of different approaches during the time I spent life drawing, and I want to experiment with them over the Summer, out of doors, at West Dean Gardens, where I am repeating the excellent “Landscape and Figure Painting in Oils – The British Tradition” tutored by John T Freeman.

http://www.jamartlondon.com/

Take a look at my website!

I have been meaning to take a look at the Arts Fairs at the Landmark Arts Centre in Teddington, Middlesex for ages and finally got around to doing that today.  I love looking at other artists work and I had some lovely conversations today.  The recession has certainly affected the amount of sales that artists are making, and despite there being some very excellent work in the building it did not look like a huge amount was being sold. 

I have come away with many ideas and lots of inspiration.  Cannot think of anything else to write just now.  Feeling sorry for the lack of sales, and hoping that people at least recover their costs.  And also good contacts are made. 

Painted at Bosham, Sussex, United Kingdom

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