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

‘Tones of Velvet Bohemia’

IMG_6091

My second solo exhibition, ‘Tones of Velvet Bohemia’ will be taking place at The Alfred East Gallery in Kettering mid November for 4 weeks, so I am working hard towards that at the moment. There will be around 20 new paintings on the theme ‘Tones of Velvet Bohemia’ in a variety of different sizes – the challenge was to decide on the name for the exhibition before I’d done the paintings!!

Neutral Buoyancy

A moment in time – Foxton, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, England

IMG_6425

A quick painting last week on paper of the canal close to my home – I wanted it to sparkle with light and the weather was dull so I had to use my imagination quite a bit!!

This painting is now framed and for sale in the ‘On Paper Exhibition’ at The Open Door Gallery on Church Street in Market Harborough, Leicestershire.

Whispering Shadows

Whispering Shadows

I have a vase of artificial white roses in my hall – I’m not really a fan of artificial flowers but these were long stemmed and elegant with a papery randomness about their petals.

Occasionally – and I haven’t worked out how to predict it – a shaft of light comes from between the trees outside and casts this poignant shadow across the wall. It is so beautiful and unexpected and only lasts a short time. It’s like being allowed into a magical world for a moment and then just as quickly, it’s gone.

‘Neutral Buoyancy’

Neutral Buoyancy

‘Neutral buoyancy’……weightlessness, feeling suspended, neither sinking nor floating.

A state of calm & balance, focusing on your own breathing and mortality, allowing you to fly slowly in a mainly silent, multidimensional, cushioned world. If sound comes, it comes from all sides, muffled and unsure of direction.

The light above is golden, the depths below are terror and intrigue. Slow steady breaths dispelling the anxiety of silently entering an uninvited other world….

 

I learnt to scuba dive in December and the feeling was so extraordinary I came home
and painted it. The words above describe how I felt and what I painted. I thought the painting needed some explanation as it is a little different from my normal style but I also thought that you don’t have to be a scuba diver to recognise some of these thoughts & feelings. I would be very interested in any feedback on this painting, I did give myself free rein & was a little surprised at how it turned out! Please feel free to comment.