top of page

Welcome to the neighbourhood! - What it's like to move from the city to the country for an artist

Updated: Jun 12, 2018

So here we are, my first blog post! So it seems fitting to write about the forthcoming Bishop's Hull Summer Party, which will also be a first; an introduction of my work to the local neighbourhood!

Dummy run: Checking out my works for the Bishop's Hull Summer Party in my garden earlier today!

I've been living in Bishop's Hull, Taunton for just over 6 months now, and I had no idea that moving from Bristol to here would impact upon my creativity in the way that it has. When I moved I was looking forward to no longer living on a busy street and the relentless traffic noise that I used to put up with. However along with the peace and quiet has also come space, birdsong, and hills!

It took a while for these to percolate through and find themselves at the end of my paintbrush, but it felt as if Spring opened up my eyes to how all this natural beauty could be a source of inspiration for my art. I imagine it sounds like stating the obvious; I mean, to move from the city to the countryside, of course you're going to want to start painting some trees! - but I suppose to begin with I was worried about expectation, which is an ongoing issue with me!

What do I mean by this? In short, I am referring to expectations I put on myself, and the perceived expectations of others (most likely to be an illusion!). I have been fortunate enough to have had opportunity to exhibit my work, and my linocuts of racing cyclists have proved most popular in the last few years. I have been obsessed with movement, dynamism, and bold shapes...and all this has come from urban living. Even when I designed prints of cyclists racing through the countryside (as with my print 'Breeze') I feel the design is very much from a Londoner's viewpoint - seeing trees and ploughed fields almost as if they are a direct parallel to the tower blocks of an urban landscape.

My print 'Breeze', linocut on paper, 70cm x 100cm

I suppose when I stopped to think about my art (when I first moved here) I came to the conclusion that my work just wasn't about nature, and that I had no interest in making pictures about trees, because I didn't know how to in an interesting way. Then the weather got nice and I just couldn't resist! I took a little gesso panel out on to the Quantocks with a sack full of oil paints and wanted to see what I could do with a view that I had admired on my very first visit to Taunton.

The Quantocks - My favourite local painting spot

Painting en Plein Air has become an unexpected passion for me. The best thing about it is that it stops me over thinking about what I do. I've formulated a routine which works for me; I have a canvas bag full of my favourite oil paints, a palette, a handful of brushes and some solvent. I go up on to my favourite hill, I sit on the ground and paint with the board on my lap. This negates any need for heavy easels or chairs. I've finally learned that you don't need to struggle with outdoor painting, and to make it as easy as possible will no doubt result in a more enjoyable experience, which in turn results in a better painting.

My studio for the day at Kilve Beach - sometimes picnic benches can be in the perfect spot for painting - result!

It's a great relief to find that the more I paint out of doors the more I find a way of approaching my painting and drawing that doesn't feel entirely out of my comfort zone, and I'm starting to recognise my creative identity within the work. Making pictures hasn't become formulaic yet, there's just enough challenge, and each time I've gone out there I've discovered a new way of putting on the paint, or a way of mixing the colours, that feels really exciting. I've no doubt I'll hit stumbling blocks in time, but at present, I'm finding my painting hugely stimulating and enjoyable.

'Walkers at Kilve Beach' - painted last week at that picnic bench!

Hope to see you at the Bishop's Hull Summer Party, 16th June 2018 at Milligan. It's on 12-4pm, and I will be showing some of these paintings.

Please check out my oil paintings page to view more of my landscape paintings - there's also some shots of where I've been painting recently on my Instagram!

214 views3 comments


Torunn Bjøreid
Torunn Bjøreid
Jun 13, 2018

This is a lovely and inviting website, Lisa :) Tidy and easy to navigate. And I love to watch your work here :) Keep on painting and blogging in the countryside :-) Love, Torunn x


Lisa Takahashi
Lisa Takahashi
Jun 11, 2018

Aw, thank you Caroline! The Sussex countryside is definitely wonderful subject matter, so I hope you do get out there! I guess the key for me is asking myself ‘what would make a painting session enjoyable even if the painting doesn’t work?’ If you have a good time then a good painting is an incredible bonus! Access to tea and cake helps! I love seeing your work on Instagram too...great to keep in touch via the wonders of the internet! Lots of love xx


Great website Lisa! And I'm so inspired to hear how you've been getting outside with your oils. Its something I really want to do more of and as I drive round the beautiful Sussex countryside every day I see things that I want to get out there and paint but I'm just not brave enough or something. I love the idea that all I need is the paints, a couple of brushes, a palette and a board on my lap. I'm going to try it. Keep blogging and inspiring us. Lots of love Caroline

bottom of page