Up The Garden Path

Up The Garden Path (30x40cm)

**Words by Amber L-J**

There is nothing quite like the sheer panic of forgetting someone’s birthday, more specifically a birthday card, to truly mark the occasion.

Luckily, an artist works well under stress. As someone so often used to the pressures of meeting deadlines for clients, she quickly make haste; She grabs her art supplies and throw them down onto her work surface with an anticipatory thud.

This is no regular client, and there has been no debrief in this instance. But with her husband as the recipient, she knows him well enough to paint something of his taste.

Using a piece of paper, easily folded into a card, the artist begins to plot her canvas just in time for this important day. In her mind, she fondly envisions the summer garden.

The buzzing bees and singing birds are an orchestra in this quiet corner of the countryside. The wild flowers grow with such a vigour, they often overstep into the pathway. This is the pathway which the artist’s husband will walk after the working day. Crunching gravel underfoot, the bright bulbs are thrust forward by the wind and kiss his feet. The artist imagines his pace quicken upon his excitement of seeing balloons, or a colourful banner in the archway perhaps; His mind is animated with what surprises may be awaiting behind the front door of their home.

The artist plays out this warm and happy scene inside her head as she paints. Almost as if the mental image has been scanned onto the paper, it is complete. The artist reviews the finished birthday card, with the long, overreaching stems of the flowers and the path seemingly built around them. With dots of sapphire and rouge to imitate their swaying, she leaves the darkened doorway, as the beautiful, ambiguous end of one’s journey up the garden path.

**Article continues on Page Two**

Merriment from a Masked Invader

The Masked Invader: 47.6cm x 47.6cm

**Words by Amber L-J**

As I tend to my garden, I can make out the sound of mischievous scheming and clucking. The hens of my next-door neighbour, with their comical determination, are planning to infiltrate once more.

Their small size should not be underestimated, as these chickens are fierce, with a complete disregard of my attempts to keep the vegetable patch intact. It is a daily battle which occurs with clockwork precision.

Initially, they try to conceal themselves in the long grass. However, their clawed feet signal their presence, with their white and orange tail feathers peak over the top like sharks drawn to bait.

They near the end and realise that I have been watching them, arms crossed on the patio, with just a hint of a smile. Quickly, their subtle approach expires; They rush past me with such a brazen disregard, their eyes wide upon seeing the forbidden, emerald cabbage.

They peck at such speed, diminishing everything in sight before I am able to stop them in their tracks. It requires two people to herd these free spirits back to their home, with my neighbour and I laughing along the way.

However defiant, her chickens and their amusing antics are welcome in my garden.

**Article continued on Page 2**

The Hens of Homecoming

The Homecoming (30x30cm)

**Words by Amber L-J**

Everyday, the hens come home to safety before dark.

I call for my hens in high whistling tones, bent down and patting my thighs eagerly. With a bucket of chicken feed in one hand, and a steaming camomile tea in the other, I wait on the pathway at the bottom of the meadow.

The yellow rose bush grows outward, distinguished from the verdant landscape. Reclining upon the railings of the fence, they welcome me back whilst refusing to be ignored. The warmth from their open petals cause my smile.

I soon see red feathers and orange beaks peak over the top of the hill. The chickens find happiness in their freedom to roam far in these fields, with the exception of feeding time.

These hens leave their haven and rush towards me. With the wind entangled in their feathers, thrust backward and creating resistance, some fall behind. However, a steady stream flows downward.

In the low sun, my squinting eyes make out dark shadows on the green pasture, with their legs strutting at such a speed they seem to disappear.

With their initial stealth achieved on the soft grass, the pitter patter of their claws is soon heard overlapping on the concrete path.

I scoop one of these hens in my arms, both of us making mutual noises of glee. Once she is placed down, I reach into the bucket.

I tentatively hold my hand out, with a pile of chicken feed cupped inside, to be gently pecked at by the hens at all directions, encircling me.

**Article continued on Page 2**

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**

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