Braving the Bluebell Woods

Hens in The Bluebell Woods (50x50cm)

**Words by Amber L-J**

Annually, the russet floor of the woodland is flooded with a sea of violet bluebells. In their most natural setting, they flourish and flower for humans and animals alike.

Where the woods thinned, a farm was awoken by the shrill crow of a small, white-feathered cockerel. The farmer sleepily approached the hen coop as the sun slowly climbed over the hills, bearing light on the locked door. Upon lifting the latch, the farmer was greeted excitedly by hungry hens. Once they were fed, the door was left open to endless possibilities before roosting at dusk.

On this day, one hen gingerly stepped onto the bluebell path. Inspired by one’s courage, the other hens trickled into the wood, clucking in low tones of caution. However, as they ventured further into the purple haze, the brood quickly fell silent.

The enchantment of the bluebell forest stole their voice, and caused the hens to pause in silent awe of their surroundings. The woodland air overwhelmed the senses with melodious bird calls and fragrant flowers.

As the hens continued, they could see an area in which the gleaming sunlight above was concealed by formidable, towering trees. Mistaking this as night-time, or risking danger ahead, many began to turn back. The first, brave hen marched to the edge, with only a few followers remaining. Looking at the path ahead, the hen glanced back to see the safety of the collective lingering behind her, unable to follow her into the darkness. Her unfledged desire to explore was quickly triumphed by the sensible majority.

Maybe tomorrow.

**Article continued on Page 2**

Underground Communication: A Floral Fantasy

Underground Communication (100 x 100cm)

**Words by Amber L-J**

The garden roses are more sophisticated, and social, than meets the eye.

The sun breaks through the misty morning sky, awakening the roses. As perfect chaos ensues, they strive for sunlight, their twisting stems climbing higher and higher. Once on equal footing, the bursting rose buds turn to face each other. They are planted lovingly by human hands, in hopes of the garden becoming enriched with pink and red hues, infused with their sweet perfume. To the human ear, there is only silent compliance between them, their roots entwined in the same dirt.

The soil beds may be quiet on the surface, but I hear whispers of a community beneath the Earth. A summer romance ensues, with the rightful privacy of underground communication.

Each feathered, dark root is a lifeline and the will to survive, as a neighbourhood of roses share information; Each message is sent with care, with warnings of environmental change, appeals for lost family members, and the distribution of precious nutrients before their timely deaths. As one dies, another rose takes their place, as a near-identical reminder of what once was.

Hours move slowly in their world, so the human eye merely witnesses small actions suspended in time. It fails to see the valuable words exchanged and the important relationships formed for survival.

The community of roses give endless performances of joy and colour to their viewers, blooming bright.

**Article continued on Page 2**

Reminiscing in the Warm Fields of Autumn

Warm Fields (63 x 63cm)

**Words by Amber L-J**

My boots crunch on the autumn leaves as my light-footed companion rushes forward eagerly, his lead pulling me in tow.

As we reach the top of the hill, he pulls me toward the creaky gate. Our decision is finalised as the gate swings abruptly shut behind us, with a loud clang.
We are now down on the tow path which follows the canals as eagerly as he does; With his tail in the air and his nose on the ground, he traces my route ahead.

As we walk, the sun comes out from hiding behind the cloud-covered sky. With one hand gripping the dog lead, I extend my other hand in front of me, the daylight bouncing off my painted talons.

It is all so familiar as I stop briefly during our walk, out of habit, and begin to reminisce.

We are at the place where, in the spring, I had admired the resting swans.

During the summer, they would sit on the bank and I would eagerly throw food offerings in their direction. Both fearsome and beautiful, the swans glided across the water, their long, snow-white necks snapping into the water hungrily. The surrounding trees now appeared to make space for the absent swans, arching outward, with their near-empty branches eclipsing the water.

I look behind the trees to see the wind sweeping up their fiercely orange leaves in the field beyond, further saturated by the low Autumn sun.

Blown forward, as I am now, into Autumn, I imagine the field that was once lime green with its new Spring growth.

I pull up my collar and forge ahead, focusing on the crunch of the leaves and their golden hues.

The abundance of summer, in all its forms, will return again.

**Article continued on page 2**

Restless Orange in the Calm Blue: A Koi Fish Study

Koi Study No. 10 (50 x50cm)

**Words by Amber L-J**

During the winter months, I cocoon myself in fluffy and fur-lined clothing, with a tangerine orange scarf wrapped around my neck. Before I leave the house, I can already hear the chilling gust of wind whistling through the trees, as their branches tap impatiently on the windowpane. I see it as my invitation to come outside, my gloved hand opening the door.

I step from the cold, hard tiles of my kitchen onto the soft, damp grass. I cross my arms as I walk, wrapping my coat around myself even tighter. With my winter boots on, I look downward and imagine my toes sinking with each step, barefoot as I was in summer.

I finally reach the bottom of my garden and sit down on the welcoming, ligneous bench. In enduring the elements, the splintering paintwork reveals the aged wooden planks underneath, encased by steely iron arms. Once raised from the ground and in prime position, I take the fish food from my pocket, sprinkling it over the surface of the pond.

I stare into the deep, petrol blue water, overshadowed by the stirring trees, and search for a reassurance of life.

I begin to make out shapes of orange before the koi fish reach the surface, slowly then all at once, their mouths open to feed. My eyes flicker between each fish, watching their rhythmic tails dance with excitement. Their eager movements disturb the once still water, creating vast ripples which travel to the edge of the pond.

I may battle against a bitter breeze as I return home, but my soul is warmed by feelings of contentment and relief.

**Article continued on page 2**

The Great Advantages of Painting Later in Life

I knew I was a painter for many years before I started producing paintings at the age of forty-eight. Before that, I read all I could about painting & established a social media presence in preparation for what I knew was coming.

I thought about it, between a full time occupation of transporting & nurturing our three sons, spread over twenty years. My husband was completely immersed in building his own business. He left at 7am & returned at 7pm in time to say “goodnight” to them when they were young, and cook for us as they became older.

Once I started painting, the great advantage was that I knew myself & had a lot of pent up energy!

I enjoyed the process of it, & what it did for my state of mind, so much that I really wasn’t preoccupied with what other people wanted me to paint. I haven’t stopped painting since.

The Hen House (30x40cm)

From my wealth of work & life experience stored up (with feelings of anger, sadness and joy), I knew what I liked & disliked, following my own mind’s natural revelations. I created my own world where I was truly happy, & no one could touch me. I found that I could paint such joy from experiencing such sadness.

I also resolved the anxiety surrounding mortality within myself; My paintings will far outlive me &, having suffered the life changing experience of friends’ deaths, this was really important for me. When I paint, this is one of my main motivations.

Petals & Shadows (61 x 100cm)

I picked up from where I left off working in the fashion industry (‘pre-computers’), but having children had changed my view of the world; I felt protective, & the fashion industry seemed immoral to me now. I originally went into this vocation because my Dad was a knitwear man, before I knew myself better. But I’m glad I did it, because my experience all feeds in to my paintings now.

I tried out other people’s painting styles, experimented & evolved my own thoughts through failings until I found a unique artistic style that I wanted in my own house. I had looked for similar paintings & I couldn’t find them elsewhere.

My friends & family were, & still are, so supportive. They were also, frankly, surprised that there was more to me than they thought, which came out in my paintings. I’m really gobby when drunk but learnt from an early age, growing up as a little girl in the Sixties & Seventies, to keep my thoughts to myself. I am fairly quiet as an adult, as a listener, a reader, an observer. I tend to see the best in people, until crossed.

Whispering Shadows

Painting has helped me release & reveal myself, connect with kindness & like minded people, divert thoughts & anxieties of external beauty to channel internal beauty.

I will paint until I die. It is is an ageless occupation which makes sense of my entire life. The ground colour flickering throughout my paintings is my life weaving itself in, to make a whole of something that is fractured & sensitive.

Sophie Waiting

Catching The Light: Childhood, Innocence, Memories

Catching The Light (57 x 56cm)

**Words written by Amber L-J**

“Before my colourful imagination was dulled by adult affairs, I had a boundless love for nature.

As a child, my dark hair was kept in two long plaits, snaking down my back. I often wore faded hand-me-downs, ripped to expose my notably grazed knees.

Regardless of the weather, my intrepid spirit meant so many adventures without ever leaving the parameters of our garden. I was an architect who constructed secret hideaways and code words between friends; A warrior that would ride Coco, our beloved spaniel, into battle; A dreamer that would fall into the flowerbeds and interpret the floating, clouds in the summer sky (much to my mother’s dismay).

As the seasons changed, our backyard was given a lease of life. For each new textured leaf and intricate petal, there was a choir of songbirds that would erupt in merriment. The newly flowering garden and I shared a mutual appreciation for the glorious weather, savouring the sunshine.

Much like Alice in Wonderland, I felt shrunken as I lay amongst the blossoming white roses. They, too, strived for a better view, growing exponentially towards the heavens.

I could spend hours looking upward, alone in my thoughts but never feeling alone amongst nature.

**Article continued on Page 2**

Charismatic Chickens: The Most Exotic Hen House

The Most Exotic Hen House (60x60cm)

**Words written by Amber L-J**

“At my grandmother’s house, there was one rule: no one was to sit on the dark pink, velvet sofa.

It always looked so inviting, with deep, sunken cushions encased by wide, pleated arms. But this was more of an aspirational piece than one of comfort, reserved for the most sophisticated company. With no family or friends meeting this unachievable standard, it was as if my grandmother was expecting a visit from royalty that never came.

This being said, a flock of pure, white hens with crimson beaks were treated as loyal pets which roamed the estate freely. But even their presence was not welcome anywhere near my grandmother’s most prized possession, with the living room door closed at all times.

One day, when my grandmother was moving to a new house, the family helped move her furniture outside in preparation for the moving van. The chickens were to travel with us.

A home which held so many fond memories, I walked through each vacant room, with only faded pencil marks left in the kitchen to mark the youth and growth spurts of myself and my siblings. Over the years, the chickens’ claws had scraped along each floorboard, also leaving their mark.

On that crisp, summer morning, as we say our final goodbye, I twist the door handle. A sudden gust of wind outside rushes through the wild flowers, with speckled sunlight dancing on the red-clay, earthen brick walls. This force of nature means a dramatic thud of the door fully ajar.

Before my grandmother can react, the chickens seize their opportunity; they dash outside, at different speeds but with the same destination in mind.
The most exotic, and the most forbidden, hen house.

As my grandmother looks on in pure exasperation, the chickens burrow down happily on the sofa cushions, basking in the sunshine.”

**Article continued on Page 2**

An Introduction: The Art of Storytelling

Hi everyone! My name is Amber, and I am currently working with Lisa as her assistant.

After revamping this platform so that you guys are able to easily access and potentially purchase Lisa’s artworks, I thought I would introduce myself in anticipation of my upcoming posts on WordPress.

So, a little bit about myself.

I am a twenty-one-year-old graduate from the University of East Anglia with a History of Art and English Literature degree. Since then, I have been so fortunate to work with Lisa in a position not only relevant to my degree, but also one from which I have learnt so much already.

For many art consumers, it is important that the artwork tells a story. For something to become a permanent addition to your home, it needs to reflect your individual taste or style, and you need to love it for what it represents.

Visually, it provides a sense of escapism, like a permanent window into a beautiful summer day whilst we move into the colder winter months. Reading up about an artwork provides a different perspective that can educate and influence the consumer, which only adds value to their viewing experience.

I am very passionate about creative writing, having written many, many essays during my time at university! Recently, I have been writing artwork descriptions for Lisa’s artworks, which has really fuelled my imagination.
Working from Lisa’s art studio, I tend to have the artwork in front of me as I am writing as a reference.

For example, ‘Victorian Roses’, which sold this month:

Victorian Roses (60 x 60cm)

From my first look at this artwork, my imagination ran away with it!

My immediate thought was that the square composition was almost like a theatrical camera shot, with the fragile, white roses strewn across the cold, hard tiles. Because of the romantic connotations of roses, I envisioned a heated exchange between two lovers, perhaps one of betrayal. The colour of the roses, however, is symbolic of purity, innocence & new beginnings, further contributing to the dramatisation of this artwork.

Overall, I think the combination of artistic talent and a creative description was what led someone to fall in love with ‘Victorian Roses’.


Please do comment with any suggestions you have for further blog posts you’d be interested in reading, or any content that you would like to see in the future, from the inside story of working in Lisa’s studio.

Underground community

Anybody remember the programme that said that trees in forests communicate underground via networks of fungi so that if one is being cut they all know? I was flabbergasted when I heard that & the idea has really stuck with me!

This painting is now finished & going into hibernation until it’s ready to be varnished but this idea of an underground community is staying with me!

Wow, how can you live like that?

I spend a lot of my time painting, being totally involved in my own world, in my studio. When I don’t have a commission or an exhibition to work towards, I create my own commissions for myself & when I get back into my home my walls, all of my walls, have something on them, whether it’s a print or a photograph, a drawing, a calendar, one of my paintings or someone else’s paintings and quite often I move them around to keep things interesting.

So when I go into someone’s house & they literally have nothing on their walls other than a tv screen, I find it really hard to comprehend.

If I go to a public place, a cafe or restaurant & there’s no art, I’m disappointed, a bit bored actually, even bad art is better than no art for me.

I just genuinely wonder, how do they live like that? I don’t think it’s wrong, I’m not judging or condemning. I’m just baffled.

I seem to fundamentally need non-digital visuals to trigger my imagination & endorphins when I’m at rest. I listen to the radio much more than I used to & look at screens for as little time as is humanly possible in this day & age.

I’m always really interested by what people put on their walls in the same way I’m interested in what books they have on their shelves or their opinions on things. These choices are what makes us who we are & our differences & interests enrich us & others lives. As long as you’re not hurting anyone there really is no right or wrong in those decisions but to live somewhere year after year with bare walls…..even the cave people couldn’t stand that.

Is it because you can’t decide or is it because you can’t agree? Or is it ….just because you don’t want anything on your walls?

( I wanted to add an image, it feels wrong not to 🙂 so here’s one I made earlier, it’s on the floor not the wall but I love the way the sun is dappling it. )

I’d love you to tell me what if anything is on your wall as you read this. Do you feel connected to it in any way?

And if there is nothing there, is that a conscious decision? Do you think maybe I should try it?

xx