Lisa Timmerman is a painter working in oils and acrylics. After a Foundation Course at Loughborough University she took a BA at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol, in Fashion and Textiles. She worked for years in the international commercial fashion Industry, and has family roots in Leicester's textiles industry. "But it wasn’t where my heart was," says Lisa, and as soon as she was able and with the help of her husband, Paul, she returned to the process of making art.
As her solo show opens at the Marvellous Art Gallery in Leicester from 26 November - 7 December, Lisa tells us about her life as a working artist.
A DAY IN YOUR LIFE
What does a typical day as an artist look like for you?
A good day for me starts with the gym at 8am and then a walk along the canal with my dog, Django.
Lisa Timmerman, 'Spring Canal Bank', commission, 2019
It sounds virtuous but this start really helps my mood and focus. I find that my mood and energy levels for working alone fluctuate throughout the year so I’ve had to work hard to keep a happy balance and to keep the momentum.
The heaters in my studio go on while I walk Django so I’m ready to work when I get back and with a pot of coffee I get straight on with it
Lisa Timmerman working in her studio
On Wednesdays and Saturdays I share my studio with anyone who wants to come, so I teach and sometimes I have other painters in the studio with me, which I’ve found works really well for me and them. It benefits everyone to have like-minded people around.
How did you choose your current theme, if you have one?
Lisa Timmerman, Blue & Gold, small, 2019
Living close to Foxton Locks I’m surrounded by canals and I walk them almost every day throughout the year. I’m always taking photos of them.
My passion, like most painters, is for how light affects things but the light through the trees onto the water, with the depth of the deep shadows and the reflections of the changing trees and boats is beauty to another level.
Lisa Timmerman, Boats that Pass, 2019
I’ve painted lots of portraits & flowers & chickens & occasionally the canal in the past but it wasn’t till I discovered my current way of working that I felt really able to do the canals justice.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Knowing that my work will still be here after I’ve gone, that there’s really a point to doing it, unlike the commercial fashion industry. I learnt a lot from it but my focus now is on connecting with something deeper and timeless.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
Getting everything I want to do done.
What skills are essential to you?
Focus & energy
How do you fit in the business side of art with painting every day?
I think iPhones are brilliant for keeping you on top of everything. I use the camera, calendar alerts & notes a lot with I find very useful for making me prioritise what I need to do when I’ve got too much on. I have my iPhone on me all the time as I’m always using the camera to record things so tend to answer emails straight away as they come up if I think they’re easy to respond to.
My husband is a very time efficient businessman who gets a lot done so I suppose I’ve picked up a lot from him and try to run my life in the same way. Being on my computer is my least favourite thing to do, it feels slow. The things that I need to sit down at the Mac for, like sending larger file sized images, filling in applications or filing photographs I normally get done in no more than a couple of afternoons a week.
How did you get to where you are now?
During my final pregnancy I did a surface Decoration HNC at Leicester College and got back into the process of art making. Leicester painter Paul Wright taught me to paint portraits around 7 or 8 years ago, I didn’t paint before that but had had a career in creating artworks for the fashion industry with pantone pens which had a vast array of wonderful colours so I was very used to working with colour. He was a very generous teacher with an exemplary work ethic. He told me to paint every day and has always been very supportive of my progress.
What’s the proudest moment of your artistic career so far?
I didn’t think when I started painting the chickens walking into my house that this would take me to The House of Lords.
Lisa Timmerman, 'Human Race II', acrylic on canvas, 50 x 50cm, 2018
'Here Come the Girls’ was printed in the National Yellow Book ‘Rethink Your Mind’ 2017 which is a collection of poetry & artwork which went out across the country, NHS & other public places, to promote good mental health & wellbeing. I was one of 50 poets & artists involved to collect a very lovely hardback copy of the book
Lisa Timmerman on The House of Lords balcony
We were invited by Lord Patel of Bradford OBE to a presentation at The House of Lords and afternoon tea and Ruby Wax made a speech; there is a photo of us on the terrace outside overlooking the Thames, it was a lovely, quite surreal, day!
That was fun and there have been other prizes and benchmark achievements along the way, but in all honesty my proudest moments have been surprising & impressing my parents who are in their late 80’s and great art lovers & critics.
Do you have any regrets?
Only that I left it so late to start painting when my head was full of it for years but I have 3 sons who are my biggest fans now and at the time they certainly called for some creative management - and they had some pretty arty plates of food over the years!
What advice would give your 22-year-old-self?
Paint. Paint everyday, whatever happens, make it a priority.
EITHER / OR. . . .
Lisa Timmerman, Underground Communication, oil on canvas, 102 x 102cm
Coffee or tea?
Tea first, coffee later. Fact.
Michelangelo or Picasso?
Michelangelo (although I like Picasso’s goats)
Mac or PC?
Morning or night?
YOUR FAVOURITE . .
Do you like music as you work?
Depending on the job I’m doing I like music or podcasts. At the moment Tom Misch is my favourite background music but I like to learn as I work so often listen to TED interviews.
Lisa Timmerman, 'The Rude Passion of Red'
What's your favourite book?
I read a lot and have unexpected books forced upon me by belonging to 2 bookclubs, which I really like. But the 2 art books I’ve enjoyed the most are ‘The Art Spirit’ by Robert Henri and ‘The Yellow House’ by Martin Gayford.
Your favourite three artists?
Paul Wright, trained in illustration and now, well, he’s just an awesome painter isn’t he? Endlessly inspiring.
Michelle McKinney trained in jewellery design and she works in woven metal to create 3D sculptures & installations. I’m just in awe of what she creates and how beautiful it is.
Sally Anne Fitter, trained in ceramics and now creates wonderful textural paintings. She has an innate sense of composition and colour.
I love how these 3 artists have such a solid work ethic and have evolved their previous training into something unique in their new field.
Lisa Timmerman, 'Beautiful Day', 2019
Things to do on a Friday night?
Paint, eat and drink with friends and family and then paint some more.
What is your favourite holiday spot?
Anywhere I can go to learn more, preferably warm.
What's the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Paint every day”
Lisa Timmerman currently has a solo show at the Marvellous Gallery, Leicester
On Reflection - Lisa Timmerman
(26 November - 7 December 2019)
Marvellous Art Gallery
14 Belvoir Street
Leicester LE1 7QH
Lisa Timmerman, 'August Lavender', acrylic on canvas, 137 x 96 cm, 2017