The Bursting Buds of Spring

Bursting Buds (30x30cm)

**Words by Amber L-J**

The moment I’ve been waiting for.

The squeaky wheels of my friends bikes down the street and then, ‘Are you coming out to play?’

In my worn denim, only on the arches of my feet do I reach the windowsill and pull myself on the seat. I look out onto our garden, hoping to see the bright and beautiful colours of Spring.

The yellow daffodils and tulips are the first to bloom, firmly rooted and drinking in the sunshine. I look over to the orange roses, my favourite flower, and noticed their buds are still closed. Today brings the possibility of change, of growth and opening.

I look back to the gravel pathway and notice two new bicycles strewn across carefreely. I rush down the hallway, catapulting myself down the stairs using the banister. My trainers are placed by the front door tactfully by mum, which I put on whilst sitting on the doorstep, greeting my friends. After a lengthy debate, we decide to play hide and seek. Without warning, one child puts his hands over his eyes and we quickly scatter, the overcrowded flowers brushing our legs.

I lean against the large, ancient oak tree, with my fingers feeling the grooved bark. I slide down the trunk, making myself as small as possible.

There is a unique silence of this Saturday afternoon, with only muted counting in the distance. It opens my ears to the blossoming garden, closed buds pending. The orange roses behind me finally burst open, causing my head to swivel. Their bold and fiery petals fascinate and draw admiration, specifically a childlike wonder.

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The Rose-Red Gesture

Smudged Lipstick (30x30cm)

**Words by Amber L-J**

It is a romantic deed rooted in our history.

Red roses are part of a universal language which expresses endearment.

In Western culture, they date back to Greek mythology with red roses growing from the tears of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love.

In Eastern culture, roses are titled the ‘Queen of Flowers’ for their uplifting and medicinal powers.

These roses are nurtured and grown by humans, to be gifted and exchanged between humans. The deeper the shade of red, the deeper the commitment.

This was no special occasion, but rather felt like any other morning. I dozily walk down the stairs, but the sensory surprise awaiting quickly nudges me awake: my kitchen is in full bloom. An exotic, powerful scent reaches my nose before my eyes lay upon these flowers.

My blushing cheeks and upturned lips match the roses that were lovingly wrapped and tied with a sapphire bow. I lift them from the counter, their jade stems heavy in my arms, like a sleeping child. I stroke their velvet petals and am further enveloped by their scent.

The roses are an arresting colour, which demands to be seen and admired by those around them. As light enters from the kitchen window and I turn to face the sunrise, the colours of jade and scarlet are imprinted in my mind.

Whether they are invited to live in our homes, or in our gardens, the bright crimson colour and sweet fragrance draw us to them. I am always asked who the flowers were from, as if that person can be credited for the beauty of such a flower. Regardless of who bought the flowers, it is a reminder of simplicity in love and feeling.

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Inside Blues: 2020 Edition

Inside Blues (40x40cm with 3cm depth)

**Words by Amber L-J**

It is safe to say that this year has been like no other.

My home has been a haven from the invisible enemy which lurks outside these four walls. As a household of normally busy schedules, that chaos of general life has slowed down considerably. With Christmas approaching, this would typically be our annual moment of togetherness. But this year I am thankful, as this small moment has stretched over months of national lockdowns and tier systems. Whatever hardships have been faced, they have been faced as a family.

With no stressful commute each morning, I no longer rely on a booming alarm but wake up at the first sign of light. I love the peaceful innocence of mornings, and the potential of what the day may bring, however limited.

My festive and fluffy socks muffle the sound of my feet down the stairs, so not to wake my snoozing family. I see the remnants of the night before, and with the kettle at a dull roar, I fill the sink and get to work. My soapy hands squeak over the dinner plates.

As I lift the plates from the sink to dry them, I look upward and am dazzled by the golden sunlight seeping into my kitchen. I am half-asleep dreaming of the world outside, post-pandemic. The high whistle of a rather impatient kettle presses on for some time before I realise.

I sit down and switch on the television for company. As I watch the morning broadcast, I clutch the warmth of fresh coffee to my chest, lifting my once-heavy heart.

With the rest of the world awakening to the news of a vaccination, this has been the most memorable moment in a year that, to most, would be one to forget.

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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.

‘Tones of Velvet Bohemia’

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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

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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.

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