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How Lucy Pittaway Turned Her Art Into a Successful Business (and What She's Working On Now)

How Lucy Pittaway Turned Her Art Into a Successful Business
June 2024
Reading time 5 Minutes

Living North meet award-winning Yorkshire-based artist Lucy Pittaway to reflect on her career in art

She shares the meanings behind some of her favourite creations and how she balances her two roles: artist and businesswoman.

After graduating from Northumbria University with a degree in Graphic Design, Lucy forged a career as a designer before moving into lecturing at the former Darlington College of Technology, in the Art & Design department. Intrigued by the world outside the North East, Lucy quit her job at the age of 30 and travelled the world and whilst on that journey she taught English in Thailand and Spain. She settled in South America, where she began teaching in Peru.

Having spent a year travelling, she still didn’t feel like she had got it out of her system, so had decided to apply for a teaching post out in Vietnam. On a fleeting visit back to the UK, Lucy was reunited with her childhood sweetheart Neil. This chance meeting persuaded Lucy to stay in Yorkshire.

Lucy and Neil got married and started a family, and this journey remains the subject of many of Lucy's pieces.

Once their twins started school, she felt it was the perfect time to pursue her lifelong dream and give life as a professional artist a try. She began working from her small home studio, creating one-off commissions and prints for exhibitions. Fast forward to today, and you’ll find Lucy’s work in homes and galleries across the UK.

Lucy’s Favourite Pieces



‘The Northern Lights are one of the most captivating and wonderful sights to behold,’ says Lucy. ‘If you are lucky enough to see them, you’ll know there is something magical as they dance across the sky casting an aura of serenity; reminding us that nature is truly magnificent.’


Sycamore Gap has been the most popular piece of art Lucy has ever produced. (October 2023)

After repeated requests from customers asking Lucy to create a painting of the stricken tree, Lucy agreed to paint Sycamore Gap only if its creation could somehow become a legacy for the tree and contribute to the wider community. Pledging to plant a tree for every print sold, demand has been unprecedented with more than 3,100 prints having been sold.


‘Everyone loves a duvet day. It’s even sweeter with a cute new addition all snuggled up with the parents; safe, warm and cosy,’ says Lucy. ‘I loved creating this piece as it says so much about happiness and contentment, yet it’s so simple and that’s often the case in life… the simple things are the best.’



Night on the Shambles is an appealing artwork by Lucy Pittaway, featuring York's iconic Shambles with its medieval architecture under a beautiful blue sky. The title cleverly plays on the expression 'a night on the tiles,' adding a whimsical touch. Lucy's signature addition of sheep adds a delightful twist, showcasing her unique style. This piece is a departure from her usual subjects, making it a noteworthy addition that invites viewers to explore the magic of the Shambles through Lucy's creative interpretation.



Nestled along the North East coastline is a quaint Victorian seaside town and surfer's paradise, Saltburn by the Sea. Known for its pier, colourful beach huts and dramatic cliffs, Saltburn also has the oldest operational water balanced cliff tramway (funicular) in Britain, linking the town with the pier and promenade 120 feet below.

Lucy looking at prints

Look to the Future

Lucy turned her passion for art into a full-time business 12 years ago. Demand has soared, with Lucy operating a successful online retail business offering artwork and homewares, and six galleries across Yorkshire and the Lake District, making it one of the largest creative businesses in the county. Lucy has held the title of the Fine Art Trade Guild UK’s Most Popular Published Artist since 2018 and was also the official artist for the Tour de Yorkshire in 2016, 2017 and 2018. With the gallery in York having opened in March 2023, and more planned in the next two years, including an additional location in the Lake District, there's a continued focus on bringing art to the high street. The range of products offered by Lucy has continually increased in line with demand. It includes, as well as prints, canvasses and original artworks, a wide range of stationery, homeware, greetings cards and ceramics.

In the past year Lucy has also introduced the ‘Little Lucy’ range of artwork, specifically designed to celebrate and recognise the complexities of childhood and from which, for a three month period, five percent of every print sold was donated to The Junction Foundation, an esteemed Tees Valley charity committed to changing the lives of children, young people, and families within the region. Lucy and her team are also committed to raising more than £10,000 for the Great North Air Ambulance Service in 2024. She has also developed a range of free educational resources for schools to use from Key Stages One to Three to enhance their art provision and encourage creativity in young people.

Lucy has now collaborated with Swinton Estate to create a destination woodland where trees are being planted for generations to come, and which includes art resources and attractions for people, families, schools and visitors to enjoy and commemorate Sycamore Gap. This project received national television attention on BBC Breakfast and multiple other media outlets.

Increasingly becoming a household name, Lucy is proud to be a flag-bearer for business in Yorkshire and in making art accessible for all.

Q&A: Meet Lucy Pittaway

We spoke to Lucy to find out more about her inspiration.

Tell us more about your artwork and the inspiration for your creations.  
‘Inspiration often stems from specific moments in my life and focuses on the themes of family, life events, and my love of the outdoors. Collections are built around a theme and often tell a story about a specific period in my life. The earlier pieces have night-time vistas that can be interpreted as a young and wide-eyed artist looking ahead to a future full of possibilities. But dig a little deeper and you’ll see that they display a sense of longing, loneliness, and dreaming of something that is just out of reach, something just on the other side of that big round hill.

‘Around 2006–2008 shows a marked change from the dark blue tones that we saw previously, to deep tones of red and orange. Feelings of love and passion are clear in these pieces and show a stark change to the feelings of longing and loneliness that we saw before. Having twins in 2009 marked a significant shift in my life as I navigated the challenges that came with parenthood. My art started to include two standalone flowers as symbols of my children. The colours since this period have also changed, from deep passion tones to colours with a hopeful, rejuvenated, and spring feel with pinks and light pastel shades; symbolising the new and exciting journeys that lay ahead.’

Lucy working / close up of pastel chalks

Aside from sheep, how and why do you choose what to depict?
‘I either choose places that inspire me, have held good memories for me or I paint pictures that represent family, love and other relationships. Life experiences are what generally feed my imagination with ideas and I'm a real animal lover, particularly dogs, so they feature prominently in my work.’

What have been your favourites to create?
‘I think it's still my sheep but I am leaning a little more towards dogs now because I like to challenge myself with different subjects. My favourite painting is still the one I created almost 10 years ago in memory of my father. It's titled 'Father and Daughter’, but the edition sold out years ago. A close second has to be Duvet Day.’

What’s it like running your business in the North?
'There’s always something happening. Every day is busy, full of challenges, ups and downs but it’s never dull! My main challenge is managing two personas, the Artist and the Businesswoman. I need to be both, so I try and split my day in half and fulfil my responsibilities as an artist in the morning and address any business admin in the afternoons. If I didn’t have such a great business partner in my husband and a fabulous team behind us, I simply wouldn’t be where we are today.’

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