Behind the Easel with Cher Deaville

Behind the Easel with Cher Deaville

Cher’s work is bold and beautiful yet subtle and intricate. Her love of florals resonates with me, and her current work which uses thin layers of watercolour is really something special. In this conversation, Cher shares how she works, her inspiration and why she once put a vase of flowers in the oven! She’s currently exhibiting at the Manchester Art Fair where you can see her, and her work, in person. Grab a cuppa; I think you’re going to enjoy this one…


1/ For anyone who is new to your art, please can you describe your work?

My work is abstract expressionist style. I use mixed media on canvas, mainly acrylic, and at the moment I am using thin washes of paint like watercolour. My work is very emotional to me, built up on a series of really thin layers. I am enjoying exploring loose florals, gestural brushstrokes and gentle line work. 

2/ Can you tell us a little more about your journey to becoming an artist?

I come from a legal background and I studied Law at the University of Leeds. It is worlds apart from my life now as a full time artist. After having children, it all started with a secret studio space hidden at the top floor of my house. It was a way for me to get to know myself again, away from all the distractions of life. I’ve not looked back since then, I love my job so much and I feel so lucky to have the time and space to create what really matters to me. 

3/ Where do you find inspiration? 

I resisted the temptation for a long time, but I am now delving deep into my exploration of flowers. I have always loved florals, the colours, the organic shapes, the connotations with beauty. Fresh flowers in the home bring me so much joy! Spring is my favourite time of the year. 

At present the work is starting with sketches of dead tulips. I am obsessed. My husband came home to a bunch in the oven not so long ago – with me stood staring into the glass watching them wither. He thought I’d finally lost it! Im not sure what it is that I find so alluring about them? The fragile petals, the way the colours transform, the gentle lines? Ageing as a concept is of particular interest to me. 

I also love sunrises and sunsets, I mean who doesn’t?! You’ll find me running to the top of the house at sunset or legging it down the hill if I am on one of my early walks, just to catch a glimpse. 

4/ Which artists are you most inspired and/or influenced by? 

I love the work of the female abstract expressionist painters of the 50s. Some of Helen Frankenthaler’s and Joan Mitchell’s work really hits the spot for me. 

5/ Can you describe a typical day for us? Or perhaps let us know where your favourite place to work is? 

A typical day always starts with movement. I enjoy early sunrise walks, runs, gym classes, gymnastics and olympic lifting. You can’t quite beat the feeling of coming back into the house after a good exercise session; and the kids coming down the stairs rubbing the sleep out of their eyes. 

My painting revolves around the school day and holidays, so I try to get into the studio as early as possible after the school run. It starts with journaling, checking in with myself, my intentions and my various vases of dead flowers; and then straight on to the canvases. 

Add a bit of house music or hip hop to the mix to get me in the zone, and I’m ready. People often say it sounds like there is a teenage boy up there. My studio is still on the top floor of the house – it suits the family life for now whilst the children are little.

6/ Do you ever suffer from a “creative block” and, if so, how do you deal with it? 

I don’t have a creative block as such – I do hit quite a few dead ends, but that’s all part of the fun. Its nice to look back through my work and find the little glimmers that are leading me to where I am today. When I need to recharge, holidays always help, I love to travel. Even trips to see friends or a walk in the woods will usually do the trick to reset, and come back in with refreshed eyes.
7/ Is there a piece you’ve created that you’re particularly fond of, or proud of? 

I’ve got a couple of really big piece’s of art in my studio that I painted with my hands, they are some of the first paintings I did when I was getting back into art, so they are particularly special to me as it is a reminder of where I started. They’re so different to my style now and when I look at them it takes me right back to how I felt at the time. Pure emotion. I could never part with them. 

 8/ If you could create a piece for one person (celebrity or otherwise) who would it be? 

I paint for myself, I don’t currently offer commissions and I am very set in this journey of self exploration. I am however, very grateful to all of the people that follow my journey and buy my art. 

9/ Do you have any tips for people choosing artwork for their own home? 

Art is such a personal thing and I am a firm believer in not following trends; instead choosing pieces that you truly love, even if they’re not “in fashion”. Trust your own taste. Look for colours that speak to you. I resisted the pinks and lilacs for a long time, but they are the colours that make my heart sing and spark joy. 

10/ Where can we see and/or buy your work?

My available work is currently on my website but a lot of it sells through my mailing list before it hits there, if you like my work its definitely worth signing up to my sporadic email newsletter so you can get the first look pre-sale! It’s where I share more personal things, exhibition details, free tickets and release new work there. You can also stay in touch on instagram @cherdeavilleart

11/ What’s next?

It has been a fantastic year so far and I have thoroughly enjoyed the summer exhibitions. My next in person event will be at Manchester Art Fair 17th-19th November. So it has been lots of studio time for me, getting stuck into this body of work and floral enquiry that I am so excited about!  

Behind-the-Easel with Lucy Beale

Behind-the-Easel with Lucy Beale

This week’s “Behind-the-Easel” features artist, Lucy Beale. Working with oils, to create semi abstract landscapes, Lucy’s work is evocative; playing with colour and inspired by the changing light and transient nature of her surroundings. Taking inspiration from the Sussex countryside and coast, her work entices you in; makes you pause. I find Lucy’s work really beautiful; a confidence of depth and colour creates wonderfully atmospheric pieces.

In our conversation, Lucy talks to me about her work, her inspiration and her journey to becoming an artist. She talks about returning to art and creativity and the juggle of an artistic practice alongside family life. Have a read and let me know what you think…

Please could you describe your work for us?

I would describe my current work as semi abstract landscape paintings. I work in oil paint which I really love, the richness of colour and the softness that can be created with them always inspires me. I love having the creative freedom to explore lots of different subjects – I find inspiration all around me and so my work is always evolving as I explore new things.

Tell us a little more about your journey to becoming an artist.

From a young age I always loved creativity, I played a lot of musical instruments as a child as well as always loving art. I completed my Fine Art degree in 1998, however in the years that followed, my art was left behind whilst I worked hard to get a good job, got married and had a family. My passion for art never left me though, and I always knew at some point, when the time was right, I would come back to it. It’s probably in the last five to six years that I have really dedicated myself to developing my artwork again. I’m so happy that I am able to follow what is truly my passion, and I really love being able to explore all the inspiration and ideas that I have for work.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My inspiration comes very much from my surroundings. I’m very lucky to live in West Sussex, surrounded by beautiful countryside and also not too far from the coast. I work intuitively, I have no defined end goal for a piece of work, I like to allow my inspiration, along with the paint and the canvas, take a piece in its own direction. Working in oils I find inspiring in itself, as the softness and richness of colour never fails to energise my creativity.

Are there any artists you particularly I really love creativity in all different forms, not just painting and I take so much inspiration from enjoying the amazing work that others create. During my degree artists who I studied and who inspired me a lot were Georgia O’Keefe, Mark Rothko – also Andy Goldsworthy who was creating work all around the Cumbrian landscape at the time, the way in which his work was a part of the landscapes, and also at times it’s semi permanence within that landscape was an idea that really inspired me.

Are you able to describe a typical day for us?

I don’t think there is a typical day for me, I very much fit my art practice in and around the demands of busy family life and my job. I do however always manage to fit in some time to do my work, whether that is late in the evenings or a few hours during the day when everyone is out at school or college. I have recently gained a very small space at home which I am able to use as a studio for my work. This is already making such a huge difference to the way in which I am able to work.

Do you ever suffer from “creative block” and, if so, how do you deal with it?

I’m lucky to say that I’ve never suffered from creative block. I’ve always got so many ideas and thoughts for new work – I’m very lucky that I’m always feeling inspired. I have definitely suffered from times when the work just doesn’t come together as I had hoped it might, however I have really learnt to embrace this and use it as a learning curve, to learn from it and to use it to help me with work going forward.

Is there a piece of art that you’ve created, that you’re particularly fond of, or proud of?

I would find it hard to choose any specific piece to say I’m most proud of. Each painting is the very best that I could do at that time, I like to look back over older pieces but I also like to keep moving forwards, challenging myself and trying to push my work forwards.

Do you have any tips for people buying artwork for their own homes?

I would advise anyone choosing work for their own home to go with their heart, if a piece of work speaks to you, moves you or makes you happy that is all that matters.

And finally, where can we see more of (and buy) your art?

The best place to see my most recent work is my Instagram page. I also have a website and I’m always very happy to be contacted directly to discuss work.

My website is
Instagram @lucyb.fineart

Behind-the-Easel with Philippa Horne

Behind-the-Easel with Philippa Horne

I’m really excited to feature artist, Philippa Horne. I have known Philippa for years. Whenever I need artwork framing, her workshop and gallery (Weaverbird Workshop) in Ilkley is my go-to. But, as well as being a brilliant framer (I trust her advice completely) and one of life’s really lovely people, Philippa is also a talented artist. A master with texture and colour, her work is rich and evocative. Yet there’s a calmness to her work which I love, even within some of her brighter works. Here Philippa talks about her background in textiles, how she works and what inspires here. I particularly love her ethos about choosing work for your home; buy what brings your joy. Buying art really can be as simple as that!
Please could you describe your work for us?
My typical design style is loose and abstract, usually working in acrylics and texture pastes. It’s all about the colour for me, some colours can just make you feel joyful.
Tell us a little more about your journey to becoming an artist.
I did my degree in textiles; from being a little girl all I wanted to do was design wallpaper and fabrics. However, I became side-tracked at University and ended up specialising in knitwear design, and was successful for a few years. My agent used to sell my designs to Donna Karen, Banana Republic, Karen Millen to name a few.
I went travelling for a year when I was 30 and decided that the fashion industry wasn’t for me. When I returned, I started painting again and I used to sell my work to various interior design companies. They all wanted it framed, which explains why I am now a picture framer, who paints part time. It’s the best of both worlds for me; I usually have time for 1 or 2 days each week to paint and be creative. Summer months are best for me as the light is better. I don’t have a studio, but I paint in my kitchen on a big island, with just the natural light coming through.
Unless I have a commission to do, I literally paint whatever takes my fancy. From photos I’ve taken whilst out walking my dog (we are very privileged to live in a beautiful part of Yorkshire), holiday photos, to flowers I’ve picked from the garden.
Which artists are you most inspired and/or influenced by?
There are too many amazing artists to name who I find inspirational. But Frida Kahlo was the most impressive woman, feminist, artist, whether you like her work or not she is undeniably inspirational.
Do you ever suffer from a “creative block” and, if so, how do you deal with it?
If I don’t feel in the mood to paint, I don’t. I never get stressed about having to create work constantly. It’s my happy space getting a canvas stretched and mixing paint colours.
Is there a piece of art you’ve created that you’re particularly fond, or proud of?
My most successful painting is probably one I created for my basement conversion to hide the TV. It’s based on the Singapore skyline, and manipulated until highly abstract, using all the colours I wanted to bring the room together. From this 1 piece I have had 20 + commissions, all various sizes and colours to suit each interior.
Do you have any tips for people buying artwork for their own homes?
Buy what you love, and brings you joy every time you look at it. In my experience I can always find just the right place for it. Every picture in my house has a story behind it.
And finally, where can we see and buy your artwork? 
My artwork can be found at Weaverbird workshop in Ilkley and I am always happy to chat to clients wanting bespoke work.
You can see more of Philippa and her work on Instagram @weaverbird_workshop
Behind-the-Easel with Lisa Metcalfe

Behind-the-Easel with Lisa Metcalfe

A Conversation with Lisa Metcalfe

If you’re not familiar with Lisa and her work, then you’re in for a treat! Working with mixed media, she cleverly uses colour and mark-making to create beautiful art which has a real sense of movement. There’s an ease and lightness in her work, which always makes me smile. Drawn to nature and pattern, there’s a lovely connection with nature in Lisa’s art and with that, a feeling of freedom. I can certainly relate to Lisa’s discussion about perfectionism too, as I’m sure many creatives can!

I’m delighted to feature Lisa in this series of Behind-the-Easel blogs; grab and cuppa and enjoy! And do take a look at the details at the end of the post as there’s an Open Studios weekend this weekend which Lisa is taking part in. A great opportunity to meet Lisa, and other local artists if you’re in North Yorkshire.

Please could you describe your work for us? 

I paint using acrylics, add in mark-making using drawing materials such as pencils and neo-pastels and I also like to add in some collage, which I’ll often create myself. I use these mediums to create abstracts and some landscapes, working layer over layer building the painting up to give the pieces some depth and add a textural feel – both visually and physically.

I LOVE colour and will more often than not work with a limited palette, and mix my own colours from them, which helps to create a real harmonious feel within the piece. When starting a new artwork I like to pick out my palette by choosing the colours I’m most drawn to that particular day then use a mixture of paintbrushes and other tools to apply the paint. Tools such as old debit cards, sticks and netting create wonderful, unexpected marks. I love the surprise and will then make my next move in the painting by reacting to the last mark. Sometimes I’ll paint a feeling, an experience or just paint and see what happens by working ‘in the flow’ and loosing myself in the process.

Tell us a little more about your journey to becoming an artist.

I was born creative! I’ve never been one to sit still and have always done something creative all throughout my life. I find real joy from creating something from nothing and over the years I’ve crocheted, weaved, baked and decorated cakes, made jewellery and always painted and drawn but back then I was quite the perfectionist! Then lockdown hit and I found the time to really deep dive into painting, which I’d longed to do for such a long time. I found a few online courses that really opened me up to different ways of working, change my mindset and my perfectionist traits seemed to slowly quieten down with every brushstroke. My style got looser, I became much more expressive, got my hands messy and now I finally feel like I’ve found ‘my thing’.

I also work in a creative role in my day job as a greetings card designer, which I’ve done for 18 years. This role is much more illustrative and more digital design based however I feel both my day job and the painting feed into each other quite well. I do have an eye for design and composition and the painting has enabled me to be a bit looser with the design work and work better with colour. 

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find inspiration all around as I always seem to be ‘switched on’ to finding it; driving to work I’ll notice worn paintwork on doors, beautiful sunrises, the peeling posters on a billboard and the way buildings/signs/the sky sit next to one another. Going on walks I’ll constantly take photos of the drystone walls, the bark on the silver birches as I walk up onto the moor, tiny flowers sprouting between stones and lichen on rocks. When I’m shopping the colours in the clothes or a range or candles, the dabbled pattern on quail eggs or the design and colour on packaging. I have a phone full of photos which sometimes I’ll refer back to but a lot of the time I work quite intuitively so these things, now I’ve seen them, are almost inside of me and I can work from them as I go and just see what comes out.

Do you have a favourite place to work? 

My favourite place to paint is in my garden studio at home. I can shut the door from all the responsibilities and get to work! I started off painting on the kitchen extension floor in 2020, then my desk was brought down to save my back(!) then in summer 2021 we built my wooden garden studio which could house all my art materials and makes the perfect creative place to work in in the garden. I love to paint whilst listening to music or sometimes I’ll enjoy the quiet and paint in silence.

I have also enjoyed drawing/painting outdoors in the past so I’m planning on heading up onto the moors this summer with a small art kit. It’s a great place to head for some interesting mark making or drawings of the landscape and I’d love to do more.

What’s next for you and your art?

I’m currently taking part in North Yorkshire Open Studios 2023. Open Studios takes place over two weekends June 3rd/4th and June 10th/11th 10am – 5pm.

I’m venue 39 (BD20 7AD then follow the yellow signs).

Over 140 artists are taking part right across North Yorkshire. Open Studios invites the public to see inside the usually private world of artists, gain an insight into the creative process, see exclusive new work and explore a variety of inspiring locations along the way.

You can see who’s involved and plan who you’d like to see by clicking this link where you’ll find the online map and brochure.

Several artists, including me, will be taking part in North Yorkshire Open Studios again on the 2nd/3rd December – a perfect time to buy gifts not available on the high street and support your local economy.

I’m also a guest artist for this year’s Virtual Art Summit. Here I share a lesson into one of my art processes in ‘Mixed Media Painting’ and there’s 15 other artists who share their processes too.

Over the next few months I plan to start adding video content to my YouTube channel. So if you’d like to see more of my process you’ll find more over there soon!

If you’d like to find out more about Lisa and her art, check out some of her links below, or drop her an email and say hello! 






How to find inspiration for your interiors

How to find inspiration for your interiors

Interior Inspiration: Where to find it…

It has been a while since I took some time out. To be creative, to gather inspiration. Design Week was well timed this year. After a busy start to the year, designing for clients and growing the business, I needed some time to stop and look around. It’s this reflective time; time to take in new inspiration, that nourishes creativity and keeps designs fresh. 

Design week and trade shows are a great source of interior inspiration. A chance to explore new materials, finishes and colours. A chance to meet new suppliers and consider new design solutions. But there’s more to creativity than design shows, and my time out this week has started me thinking about where I get my inspiration for work (and home). 


I don’t think there’s anything more inspirational than exploring new places. Or even revisiting places you’ve been to, and loved, before. There’s something special about travelling, when we don’t have the pressures of day-to-day life, that means we respond to, and absorb our surroundings in a completely different way. 

For me, it’s about the different light, the smells, the colours. Enjoying different architecture and soaking up details which, even though they might be relatively mundane at home, seem almost magical in their new surroundings. We have time to reflect, to stop and observe. We can take things back to basics; appreciating things for their colour, their texture and the way they make you feel.


There’s something very special about visiting a beautiful hotel. It can feel like a complete escape from real life, and it’s a great opportunity to see, and enjoy, different interior styles. What tiles are used in the bathrooms? What do you love about the seating, or the way a lounge is laid out? You’ll get a real sense of how you respond to an interior style. Take it back to basics; how does the interior make you feel? That should, in my view, be the starting point for any interior project.

But remember, hotel interiors can be more daring in their design. Guest are only there for a night or two; they are not designed for long-term family life. So, whilst they can be a great source of inspiration, make sure that you properly translate any design ideas so that they work for your space and your life.

And remember, you don’t have to splash out on an overnight stay. Choose a favourite and book in for afternoon tea or just a drink in the bar.


Inspiration and creativity doesn’t need to be big, or expensive or glamorous. A quiet afternoon at an art gallery can be enough to transport you elsewhere. And sometimes, just the space for quiet reflection is what’s needed to enable you to absorb different colour, texture and pattern. Take a look at art you wouldn’t normally gravitate to, ask yourself why you like or don’t like it. Or just spend time looking at it. Often there’s a need to try and critique artwork but actually sitting, quietly and enjoying something is all that’s needed to spark some creativity.


Let’s be realistic though, sometime we can’t always escape on holiday or even to a beautiful hotel. Inspiration for interiors is all around us though and even an hour on the high street can be enough to get a boost of inspiration for your project. It’s still really easy to turn to online shopping – it’s so convenient and we’ve got so used to doing it during recent Covid years. But I don’t think anything beats hitting the shops for an explore. You’ll see things you weren’t looking for. Things you didn’t expect to love. Colour combinations in the window displays you never thought of putting together. 

And don’t just think you’ve got to scour the interior shops. Wandering around fashion stores can be just as inspiring. Look at the colours, the fabrics, the style of the displays. What do you love? What do you hate? Again, it’s all about learning to identify how you respond to things; how they make you feel. 

Mother Nature

Last but by no means least. Mother Nature does really do it best! Take yourself into nature. A wood, a field, a walk by the river. It doesn’t need to be far. Just being away from the pressures of consumerism, away from the trends and fashions can be a really inspiring and liberating feeling. Time in nature gives you the ability to go back to basics – to explore colours, shapes and textures in a really simple, but beautiful form.