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**

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

 

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