The Breakfast Surprise

Breakfast Surprise (40x40cm)

**Words by Amber L-J**

Breakfast is important. In those first moments of your first meal, it sets the tone of the rest of your day. As a child, breakfast was crafted with fascination, from animal-shaped pancakes to intergalactic cereal; It almost felt like a small window to eat, before the contents of my plate would make their escape.

My favourite meal was a boiled egg, with regimented soldiers placed alongside and ready for combat. It is a ritualistic meal – tapping my spoon against the egg, removing the top and dipping the soldier into the salivating, saffron yolk. It is seemingly a quick meal, and I was always eager to start my day and escape from the ordinary into my wild imagination. But this was a moment that I would savour, leading to an unusually quiet morning in a house of frequent, chaotic energy.

To eat soldiers felt fit for a soldier, an occupation that I manifested for myself that day. But that could wait. I placed my cowboy gun nearby, ready to go should an epic battle present itself in the middle of my breakfast.

**Article continues on Page Two**

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!

  So, lots has happened since my last post! I

 

 

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So, lots has happened since my last post! 

 

I did the ‘Parallax Art Fair’ at Chelsea Town Hall, which was a wonderful & learning experience and a huge logistical challenge! 

 

I will go into the practicalities of doing such an art fair in a future blog but for now, suffice to say, 

 

“Was it worth it?’  Yes 

 

“Would you do it again?”  Yes, but probably not with Parallax. There are other art fairs at Chelsea Town Hall who, I am advised, market their art fair much more effectively.

 

 Parallax only charge for the stand and do not take a commission, basically you get what you pay for and I should have anticipated that. They made big promises on their marketing but nobody that I spoke to that had happened to wander in had known about it before they stumbled upon it and everyone at the Private View that I spoke to was there because another artist had invited them. However, it is indeed an amazing venue, as they promised.

 

‘Why was it worth it then?’  I now have my original paintings hanging in Russian family homes in Chelsea which would never have happened otherwise! There were two busy times and I sold a painting at both of these times.  

 

I was also blogged about by ‘The Alice Audley Chronicle’ which was unexpected and nice and I met lots of interesting people. I’ve also had follow up contact with interested galleries as I was one of the few artists that made sales.

 

I made contact and have kept in contact with other artists at the fair. A big bonus to have other artists to call on for advice!