Digital C Print of Lino Print produced at West Dean College in January as part of a relief printmaking course led by Dale Deveraux Barker.  Great course, highly recommended!  I used a mixture of lino, rollers and paper cut outs for the work I carried out on this course. 

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You cannot see the white border around this central part, as it has merged with the website surround.  Quite apt really!

I am hoping very much that my application for the AA2A Artists Access to Art College Scheme which is hosted by Kingston University School Of Fine Art will prove worthwhile.  Today is the deadline.  That could be the beginning, or the end line I suppose for me.

I went to Kingston University many years ago, studying  Literature  and some History too. Wow, it would be great to get into the Library again, amongst other things.  The Printmaking Department looks great. 

I wrote a poem recently.  Haven’t written one for ages, so here it is:

 The hen
 
I feel the structure of her wings – an
oily smell – an apparently disconnected neck.
 
Alive?  Yes… With red, floppy, external tongues…
Clapping a throaty, inner, sound.
 
She struggles to get out the clucks,
out of my hands, and flaps air 
around us.
 
The strained express; We try to fly,
but gravity pushes us down.

I thought I would continue with non-figurative painting for some time, but I am wondering right now if it might be best to push myself back into the representational arena for a while…It’s not that I don’t like working with no specific focus, because I feel the focus is there under the surface regardless of what one sees on the canvas, but there is something that affords a painting more accessible to others if it contains objects and as we live in a world full of objects maybe it might be an idea to pick some up from time to time and work them into a painting.  These can be from the imagination of coures, they don’t need to be taken from the “outside” world.  Also, though I meant to do this sooner, I still have many potential paintings I wanted to paint based on my immediate environment.  And while the sky here is wonderfully vast and interesting, there’s lots below it.

I think its a good idea for any painter to move from one to the other, I mean, from objects to no objects in painting because one should pay attention to the physical qualities of the paint and whatever form your painting takes it’s a valuable process in itself.  You can always cast it away afterwards if you want to.  There’s no contract involved!  There is maybe, at least there was for me, a slight concern that if you drop painting objects you will be in a place of “no return” and your destiny is sealed. Maybe for a lifetime of people, confused,bemused, and less able to engage with your painting, because they cannot “see” anything in it. 

What is life like?  Can we “see” things with a focus all the time?  Is it always clear to us?  Is it sometimes figurative and sometimes not?  I look back with interest on the path that my photographic work took, from very photographic photographs, to images resembling linocuts, well, in a kind of “photographic linocut” way, to blurred images, and then, to black and white, contrasty and detailed type images, mostly of trees.  The order was not so ordered as this sentence with its logic falsely suggests, but vision is ever moving and ever changing, and I think it would follow then that in terms of expression, painting would be as ever, never fixed!!!

Ramble over…..

What a pleasant walk.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

By the end of the morning the whole area was covered.  Everyone worked really hard and enjoyed the process.  Amazing work!  Over the half term I’ll be marking up some of the design and then some of the children will help me with the colour areas.  The paint takes a good 12 hours to dry enough for a second coat, and it seems to take a couple of weeks to fully harden, (based on samples at home) but there’s no rush.  I’ve worked out the colours, apart from one which I can’t decide on.  I’ll be painting the design on a smaller scale on paper over the half term and post it up here soon.  I’m also thinking about some activities that the children might like to participate in related to colour theory and design, which can be used if required by the school.

experimental drawing

going with the flow

“A person who has the vision of God is not devoted to a cause or to any particular issue – he is devoted to God Himself.  You always know when the vision is of God because of the inspiration that comes with it.  Things come to you with greatness and add vitality to your life because everything is energized by God.”  Oswald Chambers ((excerps from the devotional My Utmost for His Highest)

I do think people with vision do also have specific areas which they are passionate about, and that devotion to a particular cause or issue is a good thing, but it is true that the main orientation which keeps us going is towards our Creator.

Ah yes, it is my favourite place.  West Dean College is where it all started for me in 2005 when I attended the “Sculpture with Wire”  Course tutored by David Farrer and Cordelia John.  My sculpture “Articulation” hangs in my studio as a beautiful reminder of a kind of birth… I nearly sold it a couple of years ago, but I am quite glad I still have it for now.  That course worked as a kind of take-off pad for me I think… to suddenly have a whole week to be creative made me realise how fundamental my creativity is to my existence.  And one course turned into several more over the years, mostly involving working with metal, but two in painting.  Short but sweet.

I am playing it safe this year and attending an excellent course by John T Freeman.  I know it’s excellent because I did it a couple of years ago.  (I say “playing it safe”  because I have attended a course which just wasn’t the right kind of thing for me before, and this is a very discouraging experience.)  The painting course is only for a week,  but I just cannot wait.  

Image is one taken at West Dean Gardens in the Spring.  My heart’s gone out of making photographic images right now, but I take a little time now and again to fiddle around with past images with Adobe Photoshop.   And it is a very handy skill to have as an artist.  Good for putting work up on the internet, sending it here and there, entering competitions and all that stuff.  However, I worry at times that there may be glue on the stool that I sit on in front of the computer.  You sit down, thinking you are just going to check your emails, and then look up one hour later, and realise you are still there!  So I presently work as little as I can on the computer, and as much as I can with paint. 

Having said that, occasionally I am tempted to play around on screen.  Hence  “Morning River, West Dean”, which was an image originally taken in 2007.   It’s a nice little game, but I would not claim that my current photographic images are anything special in themselves.  They are an artistic product without any great craftsmanship.  Some knowledge, a limited tool in the shape of my  distinctly unprofessional camera, and the computer magic of software.  Yet there is value in it for me all the same.  But I am not a photographer, no, I am not.  The beauty of it, for me, has all drained dry.  I am pleased with what I have done in the past, and I am keen to continue some threads started in the past,  but I don’t see much future in it for me. 

This type of black and white image ” Morning River, West Dean”  IS something I will continue with, and rather interestingly, it is something in the vein of which I started with. Stuck all over my “Articulation” sculpture (2005) are black and white photocopied images of the branches of a tree in my garden.   I was struck so by the patterns of the branches of different trees, by the whole system of a tree, by the relationship between the overarching pattern or design and that of each unique individual tree.  So it appears I have come full circle!

Picasso!

February 23, 2009

I never seem to have as much time as I would like to read. I love looking at paintings… in the flesh is of course best, but even reproductions in books are pretty good to soak in. And “soak in” is the right expression. I cannot describe the way looking at paintings ministers to my soul. It’s like a balm.

I am currently reading and looking at “Picasso” by Roland Penrose. It’s the best kind of art book…BIG pictures, and informative but not woffly text. Here is one of my favourite extracts;

“The work of Picasso is more than a mirror of our times; it opens our eyes to the future. Its vitality and its insight, its tenderness and its violence, are born of an understanding and a love for humanity. His art goes far beyond a facile enchantment of the eye. It fulfils a more essential purpose – the intensification of feeling and the education of the spirit. Picasso looks at the world with new vision, and by his art he enables us to do likewise.”

Well now. I can go with that.
“the intensification of feeling and the education of the spirit”.
I’ll have some of that, thank you.

The list of work which has spoken to me is too long, but I have it at hand, to inspire me along the way.

My own work is relentless. I’m going to give myself a couple of days break soon. On Sunday, with my friend Mary, we presented our visual meditation on Christ being “the door” at St Paul’s Church in Hook, Surrey. It went down very well, and I was pleasantly surprised that people did engage well with it… I was not sure, as this kind of thing is quite new to the church.

 

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

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

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

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

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

 It is also quick and easy to license an image for use through DACS.  Please note: Permission must be sought in advance if you wish to use images by Jenny Meehan. In the first instance, please contact Jenny Meehan. Copyright for all works of art by Jenny Meehan is managed by the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) in the UK. 

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

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

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