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As an artist living and working in Cambridgeshire, I love painting seascapes and landscapes and find inspiration with the everchanging skies and the different colours and moods we find in our environments.  Scenes that can lift our mood and that are relaxing and calming is so important with the busy and often stressful lives we all lead.

My collection of oil paintings continues to evolve. I’m currently working between an abstract style and more typical scenes, yet with a contemporary feel.


Can you remember an instance when you first knew you were a creative person? What were you doing?

Cheryl: My mother was a keen artist, I remember her painting at her easel when I was a small child. From the time I was about 8 years old I would create my own comic strips, mainly because I loved to draw. I would copy pictures from birthday cards or cartoons from my annuals and books, spending many hours at a makeshift desk in my bedroom. I enjoyed art at school and loved pottery in particular as a teenager, but didn’t pick up a paintbrush until I was in my early 20’s.

How does your creativity manifest?

Cheryl: My artwork has been evolving over the years. I used to focus on painting with watercolors, taking images from postcards and photographs I had taken. However, since I’ve taken up oil painting, I have found new freedom by tuning into my imagination for subject and composition. I still take inspiration from photographs that I have taken, but no longer rely on having an image in front of me.

How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits within the sphere of contemporary art?

Cheryl: My work is predominantly seascapes and landscapes using oil paint. As I paint from my imagination, my work has a freer feel and flow to it, which can often result in a more abstract painting. I title all my work, the names coming from an immediate reaction to the finished piece. How it makes me feel, what does it make me think of? Many of my paintings are finished using a simple contemporary float frame. The clean lines complement the simplicity of the paintings they surround.

How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving in the future?

Cheryl: Since I first started painting in watercolours, my knowledge and understanding of the medium and use of colour has become quite proficient. I took the decision in early 2019 to take on a new challenge, so started to learn how to paint using oils. As a completely different medium, it was initially a steep learning curve with such a different technique to watercolour. What I love is the time allowed to move the paint on the canvas, which enables me to build the layers, allowing a different depth to the colours and textures. This new freedom and my different approach to what I paint has allowed me to develop many abstract pieces of work.  That’s not to say I don’t paint more typical beach scenes, I still like to add a little detail from time to time! Moving forward I will continue to develop my work as I am now, enjoying the free flow or where the paint takes me.

Where do you “find” your ideas?

Cheryl: I have an old English sheepdog called ‘Barney’, he’s a perfect excuse to go for long walks where I live, outside the city of Cambridge or along the beaches on the Norfolk coast. I use a lot of this quality time looking mainly at the sky, it changes constantly, so out comes my phone to take pictures of different cloud formation, especially sunsets and stormy skies. I also love the water, be it ocean or lake. Again the colours and reflections constantly change and are great sources of inspiration for my work.

Would life be different if you didn’t act on your creativity? How?

Cheryl: I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t act on my creativity. For as long as I can remember, I have always made things, decorated many homes and even upcycled furniture. My very first job as teenager was as an apprentice hairdresser, again a creative path.  I think I would have wanted to become a professional dancer, having trained from the age of 5 years old, again another form of creativity!

Does bad news in the outside world ever affect your creative process or output?

Cheryl: I don’t think bad news does have an effect on my work. Currently, we are all on lockdown because of COVID-19 which is a worrying time for everyone in the world.  But when I pick up my paintbrushes and take out a canvas, choose my colour palette, my focus is on what I’m going to create, it’s a form of escapism for me and hopefully, those paintings can provide a form of escapism for others.

What are you working on currently?

Cheryl: I currently have a good supply of canvases to keep me busy.  I’m working on a collection of sand dune seascapes for an art exhibition later this year. I’m always painting with the mindset that I will be attending art fairs and exhibitions throughout the year.

Tell us something we don’t know about you yet:

Cheryl: There are several things. I design and create a range of cushions and accessories using the my watercolour paintings. I have them professionally printed onto fabrics and then sew each piece myself. They live under the brand ‘Handmade Designs by CAL’. On a different note, I am a Jazzercise Instructor of 16 years!

What are your plans for the future?

Cheryl: I would love to become a fulltime professional artist, with my own studio and an opportunity to exhibit my work in art galleries throughout the world.  I am also working hard to develop my soft furnishing range too!


To find out more about Cheryl and her art:

Website: www.designsbycal.co.uk

Instagram: CherylListon


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