I’m feeling elated!!!!

I’ve finished all 14 paintings for my first solo exhibition with 7 weeks to spare – such a great feeling as I can now paint for fun again! The pressure is off & I will more than likely produce better work that I will end up using instead but the feeling that I don’t have to is such a relief! I’ve been working day & night on it since the beginning of the year and now I’m going to go to the cinema, to a gallery or two, mooch round the shops & yes, eventually, do all the stuff that’s piled up on my desk! But for now I’m just going to enjoy feeling elated!

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‘Free range Lavender’ Acrylic on canvas 120cm x100cm
http://www.lisatimmerman.co.uk
My first solo exhibition, ‘Shades of an English Life’ will be on display for 3 months from July 4th 2014 at ‘The 78 Derngate Gallery’ in Northampton city centre, England.

Naming my first solo exhibition

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‘Beautiful Day’ Acrylic on canvas 40cm x 40cm

The ’78 Derngate’ Gallery have awarded me my first solo exhibition and wanted to know, for their advertising, what I’d be calling it. It runs from July 4th to September 28th this year in Northampton city centre.

Being new to this sort of thing I have agonised over this – and at the same time wondered if it is important at all?! I have swung from thinking, ” it really doesn’t matter, the paintings will speak for themselves” to, “it really does matter, the title could alienate people and put them off even wanting to view it!”

And so daily I have been coming up with, & noting down, different titles, trying to find a few words or a phrase that encapsulates this collection of 14 paintings that I have been working on day & night for the past 4 months.

I often paint roses but I also paint lavender, chickens and interiors – I paint my life, or at least the good bits, when the sunlight comes in and makes the mundane beautiful – for this exhibition I have even painted my kitchen sink.

So after making a final decision fifteen times, the deadline day arrived and I had to make the FINAL final decision. I sent over a jpeg of ‘Beautiful Day’ and asked them to call my exhibition, “Shades of an English Life”. I hope it doesn’t matter and at the same time I hope it makes people want to view it. Only time will tell.

“Shades of an English Life’ will be on display at ’78 Derngate’, Northampton from July 4th – Sept 28 2014 with a ‘Meet the Artist’ event on July 5th from 2pm-4pm. ( I, for one, will definitely be ready for a glass of wine.)

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‘Everything But’ Acrylic on canvas 40cm x 40cm

 

The first day of Spring!

Such a beautiful day on Sunday – so good to see blue skies again & made me long for my roses to be in bloom – so I painted them & called it ‘Beautiful Day’! I very rarely finish a painting in a day but this one belonged to that particular day, the first day of the year when the sky is so blue, the scent of freshly cut lawns is in the air & there is a defiant aura of hope in everyone’s step!

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Painting Dreams

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‘Here Come The Girls.’  Acrylic on canvas. 2013

http://www.LisaTimmerman.co.uk

One of the greatest things ( of which there are many) of committing to being a painter as a full time profession is that in those first semi conscious moments of the day my subconscious mind is filled with work……images of paintings yet un-started. I can see them and I love them – the colours, the composition but most importantly the feeling of them is overwhelming. That is the challenge, to capture the joy of them.

 

When sitting down to paint them, the fear is overworking them, wasting time, over thinking it. They arrive so easily and confidently in my mind – if only my conscious mind was as confident!

 

2013 has been a good year for me. In my second year of painting I have sold 15 original paintings through ‘Open Studio‘, my website, my Facebook page & a privately organised ‘invite only‘ exhibition. My prices ( with my confidence) have doubled in a year and I have customers awaiting notification of new original work. 

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‘Roses in Oils’  Oil on canvas. 2013 

Having read ‘The Yellow House‘ by Martin Gayford about Van Gogh & Gauguin’s nine turbulent weeks in Arles as my starting point, I set out as a painter to fill my home with my paintings, being content to leave behind a body of work for my family with no expectations & only a desire to say ‘I woz ‘ere’! To sell 15 paintings, without the help of a gallery, in my second year has been an unexpected bonus to say the least.

 

In addition to this I have been awarded my first solo exhibition by ‘78 Derngate’ in Northampton city centre. Anyone who is familiar with this historic building renovated by Charles Rennie Mackintosh with its elegant art gallery attached will understand my excitement. I literally thought they’d made a mistake when I was chosen and I am honoured that they have such faith in me as an artist to give me this opportunity. They will be displaying my work – around 12 paintings for 3 months between July- Sept this year.

 

They will be exhibiting the dreams that I get onto canvas in the next few months as I currently have no paintings. In 20 weeks time I will have enough work to fill 78 Derngate & my own gallery in Foxton near Market Harborough for ‘Open Studios’ in September. Once I get going I’m very productive & have phases of putting my overalls on at 4 in the morning if I can’t sleep.

 

Ironically I haven’t been able to hang my own paintings on my walls at home but with the money I’ve earnt over the past 2 years I have been able to invest in the works of my contemporaries. This has given me so much pleasure and I now have beautiful original artwork by Janet Singer, Scott Bridgewood, Stephen Holmes, Kelly Gardner, Sheena Henderson & Imogen Skelley hanging alongside work previously bought from my mentor Paul Wright. My home is close to the way I imagined it being – filled with creativity, inspiration & character.

 

To me, it’s a strange world we live in, where a generation think nothing of spending hundreds of pounds on body art which will only deteriorate with time and finally decompose to nothing but may never consider buying a piece of art directly from an artist as acceptable value for money. 

   

Like most people, my life is compounded by the challenges of 21st Century living and life outside my paintings is not always a bed of roses but my home is now permanently enriched by the pleasure of owning other peoples original art. Their beauty & permanence is somehow reassuring.

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‘Sophie, Waiting.’  Acrylic on canvas. 2013

http://www.LisaTimmerman.co.uk

The Painting of ‘Mr Gilbert in his shop’

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‘Mr Gilbert in his shop’ Oil on canvas. 16 x 24 inches ( Approx )

Every September in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, independent shops/businesses & local artists collaborate to promote each other.

The artists ‘Open Studios’ takes place at the same time.

This is the 5th year of ‘Art Windows’ and we have 28 mainly independent shops displaying local artists work in their shop windows for the whole of September. It’s a great event with a chance to win fantastic donated prizes to anyone who picks up a leaflet in the shop and enters the draw. All you have to do is identify 10 shops & artists taking part.

This year, for the first time, a wonderfully traditional shop on the High Street, called ‘Frank Gilbert’s’, is taking part in ‘Art Windows’. I have wanted an excuse to paint Mr Gilbert, who works in the shop with his lovely wife, for as long as I have lived locally. I am told he is the son of the original ‘Frank Gilbert’ and his father would I’m sure have been proud. Every day Mr Gilbert brings out his wares – baskets of every shape & size, mats, mugs, you name it and places them carefully around his shop and onto the pavement.

Upon entering the shop it becomes obvious why he does this! The shop is full to bursting with everything a house, particularly a kitchen, could possibly need. You would imagine this would make for a bad tempered shop keeper but Mr Gilbert & his wife are the sweetest people and it’s a pleasure to buy from them. Whatever you’re after they have it there… somewhere!Image

Mr Gilbert in his shop’ in my studio during the painting process.

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‘Frank Gilbert’s’ on Market Harborough High Street.

Look out for ‘Mr Gilbert in his shop’ in ‘Frank Gilbert’s’ window during September 2013!

Bucks open studios…

Lovely to read about someones first experience of visiting ‘Open Studios’ having ignored the signs for years!

I’ve lived in Maidenhead for a long time but never taken any notice of the yellow signs you see around this time of year saying ‘Bucks open studios‘. This year a friend asked if I’d like to go and visit some of the homes and studios of local artists. I’m so glad I did! You just don’t know what’s on your doorstep. Firstly, lots of very talented people and beautiful art, and secondly any excuse to explore and see some amazing, very English houses, gardens and countryside. It’s also an opportunity, if you’re lucky enough, to meet the artists themselves and see where and how they work.

And so followed a lot of driving around Buckinghamshire, as far as Wendover (with a few wrong turns along the way, and lots of chatting (which probably contributed to the wrong turns!) Here are just a few of  the artists whose…

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Times are hard for artists & galleries- what’s the answer?

LT.Apple Blossom.Print_2I am tempted, in this blog, to tell you about Dr. Chris Barlow- the brains behind Parallax Art Fair but being a positive, optimistic person I will give him the benefit of the doubt, as I’m sure he is an honorable person. I will come back to him, as I’m sure he will come back to me …..later!!

For now I will ponder my week and share some experience.

An interesting ‘critique’ at my local art group from an experienced London-gallery- represented artist, who informed us that London galleries in general are not doing well and in her opinion are going bust ‘left, right and centre’. Times are hard for artists and galleries- what is the answer?

Obviously Sotherby’s and Christies continue, without pausing for breath, selling ‘art’ as a commodity and a great investment.

But what about the rest of us who don’t have the Saatchi or Gagosian seal of approval and would just like to continue doing what we love?

Well, art fairs are great fun and can put you in front of a receptive audience if you choose the right one. If you can share the cost and make a few sales – ideally without using the organizers credit card machine, which immediately makes you vulnerable to the whims of business men, then all good. Of course not many people go shopping at those places without a credit card so my advise is, read the organizer’s small print, ask questions about VAT and make sure the customer gives you a copy of the credit card receipt before you hand over your work.

My sales, one year into becoming a professional artist, still come mainly from friends and friends of friends. The people that know my story and relate to it. When I say friends, these are not just people in my vicinity, although they have been great, these are friends I’ve made online, built relationships with through Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, my blog & my website ( www.lisatimmerman.com )

In one way it’s ideal for an artist as it fill a gap in an essentially solitary existence. In another way, I have to be disciplined with it, as painting has to be the main focus and I’m easily distracted! It’s a wonderful would of ‘ You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’, a million evolutions away from ‘The Apprentice’ style of business and ‘Thatchers Britain’, the one I grew up in. And one where, as an artist, you have total control. It works.

It takes time to build up relationships online but is rewarding on so many levels. I have genuine warmth and affection for these people around the world, who I may never actually meet but who’s encouragement brings a smile to my face on a regular basis- thank you so much!

I’ve posted the painting I took along to the artist’s critique at my local art group. The London-gallery-represented artist doing the critique took the ‘critic’ a little too seriously and slated most of the work put in front of her. Fortunately, my painting was towards the end when she was running out of time and she simply said she liked it. She did add though that I could have come up with a more interesting title! She’s right- but ‘Apple Blossom’ says and infers it all for me. Suggestions for another title would be most welcome!