"The Lady of St Helena"

David and Eli.

Early in 1995, about 3 months after the death of my wife, I walked into the house and was faced by my two children who were sitting on the stairs with so much sadness in their eyes. It was just us left. Three lonely and sad Timms’ in a new country.

Fast forward 22 years and I find myself in a fish restaurant in Brighton East Sussex. Facing me is my family. The three have become nine. The hard sadness has been replaced by optimism and true joy. Life.

I want to celebrate this amazing fact of human endurance, and all those that came before us and all those to come, in oil.

How far back do I go?

Thanks to the hard work and massive amount of time invested by some of the Timm/Timms clan I can go back to 1820 with joy and pride. (With permission I will provide names.)

I know that history can be subjective and that history involves every family on the planet so we are not in any way unique but we are a family to celebrate. Indeed and in deed.

So, as this piece grows and develops, I shall post the progress on this blog. I will go through the techniques and ideas, the recipes and materials and would welcome with open arms any comment, suggestion and critique from any member of this large and productive family.

First step is to buy the canvas and this may take a while as I have to go to Perth to pick it up. Maybe next week.

The photo provided is of David and Eli Timms who are a result of that voyage undertaken 198 years ago by Edward and Charles. What is not to celebrate.

However, we are fallible and the romantic in me wonders about “The Lady From St Helena”.


Update on the "The Lady From St. Helena".

Symbols of the Rebellious and the Pious.

Before reading on may I bring something to your attention please.

All this stuff I write and the paintings I do are of no real importance. As far as I am concerned there are only two really important and vital jobs. Medics (human and animal carers) and farmers.

So to all those who are feeling unwell, unhappy, lonely, sad or depressed, I wish you well and I hope things change for the better as soon as possible.

It is Monday the 13th May 2018 and it is the most beautiful day imaginable. The Blue Bells are starting to bloom as are the wild Garlic and wild Violets. My 1000 acre garden is calling but I have to paint. This is the discipline I often talk about. The rebel in me says “Stuff it, go out and enjoy the day. These sort of days are very rare up here in this neck of the woods. You painted last weekend so you have a couple of days in credit. Enjoy.”

My conscience says “NO! PAINT”.

The constant battle continues. I am writing this nonsense in order to satisfy my guilt and to reach some sort of compromise. The beauty of the reality is that come 5 o’clock this afternoon I will still have 5 hours of warm daylight left to potter in the garden. I have to put the onions in and remove weeds from the peace garden. So, I shall work in the studio for a few hours first. Problem solved.

I am doing a painting of a pair of Mallard ducks and I wont be “blogging” it as it is for exhibition later in the summer so I will continue on that. But, I do want to make a start on “The Lady from St Helena.”

I have decided on a smaller canvas for purely practical reasons. Space in my office is at a premium at the moment so I have chosen a 60cm x 80cm sized canvas.

I have absolutely no idea where or how to start so let me examine what I know.

Two brothers on a voyage in 1820 from England to South Africa to start a new life. One brother is pious and the other is rebellious. They travel by boat (Duh). They have a major falling out over a woman from St Helena. An argument so severe that one brother decides to change his surname from Timms to Timm.

I have done research on St Helena this past weekend and I discovered that, apart from the documented history of the place, that it is where Lot and his misses live. Interesting.

Now, it is obvious to all who know me, that I have inherited the rebellious gene. I am a rebel and proud of it. My late wife was a rebel as is my current wife. My two children are, however, mostly conformists as are their spouses. At least one of my 3 grandchildren will, statistically, be a rebel. I wonder which one. I’m betting on Remus although it is far too early to know.

So that is how I will start this painting. I will paint the well recognised symbols for rebelliousness and for piety.

I do want to establish a few rules however. Stick to an accepted compositional format. NEVER pass judgement. By this I mean that there was not one good brother and one bad brother, just different people.

Let the fun begin. I will do my very best and if I offend anybody, tough. I don’t mean to so don’t be so bloody sensitive. It is not serious.

Slow progress.

Still just an idea.

About 80 to 90 per cent of my painting time at the moment is spent on the Mallard ducks so work on “The Lady from St. Helena” is slow but is looking very promising.

I started with the symbols. One for the Rebel and one for the pious. One on top of the other. No special colours. Yet.

I neatened up the original sketch and there it was. Staring me in the face. A boat. Then the “cross” became a figure head. Now THERE is a symbol. Massive potential. Ocean, rigging, sails, clothing etc. The people of St. Helena call themselves “Saints”. (As in Yanks, Brits etc.) The figure head could be a lady of justice weighing an “S”. Then again, she may be an elephant. Time and circumstance will tell.