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 https://www.nyos.org.uk 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! 

Email lisametcalfeart@yahoo.com

Website https://www.lisametcalfeart.com

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lisa.metcalfe.art

Facebook https://m.facebook.com/lisametcalfeart

YouTube https://youtube.com/@LisaMetcalfeArt