July Artists Profile: Cecy Turner. Scroll down!
From the Studio
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© “Lonely Iris 2017”
Down near the ground on our patio, David found this little mauve/blue Iris
struggling to bloom for me! The only one that the frost didn’t get.
I did most of it En Plein Air but because of my poor eyesight
(AMD) I had to bring it into the studio to finish from a photo.
And I just felt like all that purple needed some yellow!
Kind of Abstract. I love it! Do you?
© “2017 Hollyhocks”
The garden hollyhocks sure made up for the lack of Iris this year!
They were gorgeous and people came by just to see them!
I hope I did justice to them. I did this Plein Air over 3 days.
In my “heyday” I would do several in one day!
Enjoy your summer. It is going by so quickly.
Found a new home!
© the owner
Allen in good company with Van Gogh!
Love Van Gogh.
I think somehow that you contacted me through the WAOW roster because you read that I was participating in Plein Air Rockies. And we've known each other much LONGER than six years! I remember that a group of us was painting in Endo Valley - you had driven up and the Estes Park group was painting there. I'm sure we already knew each other then, and I hadn't moved to Estes Park yet because I remember talking to some of the gals there about some places to look at houses. We moved here nine years ago, so I'd say we have maybe known each other for close to 15 years! That day I remember I was having a lot of trouble with my painting and you said one word to me to help - "values." By the way, I just found my photo, too!
2011 Cecy on the left and Leslie on the right. Nancy ? in the middle.
©Cecy Painting at Mary’s Lake
©2013 Painting at Lily Lake
©Cecy Turner En Plein Air
©Cecy & Lel painting together at Lily Lake
· How old were you when you first picked up a paint brush and knew you wanted to be an artist? You worked for several years in watercolours and taught watercolours. (Canadian spelling!) Did/do you work simultaneously in oils and WC? Do you still do workshops/classes?
I didn't actually pick up a paintbrush until I was twenty-two years old, although I drew all my life and took plenty of art in college. I changed my major before I got to take any painting classes. I got pretty frustrated because at that time (in the 60's) the teachers were giving absolutely no instruction and just wanted you to "express yourself." I wanted to learn HOW to draw correctly, etc. I thought I could never make a living at something that no one would teach me how to do. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, I needed paintings for my apartment walls and enrolled in oil classes at night after work. My coworkers began wanting to buy my paintings and I started entering art fairs on the weekends. Soon I decided that being an artist was my life's goal, so I quit my job and have never looked back. When my first child was born, I began painting in watercolor because oils were too time consuming. I stayed with watercolor for around 25 years, then went back to doing oils, also. I teach regular watercolor classes in Dallas and oil workshops in different cities. I think one medium helps the other! I have two oil workshops coming up this fall and one in January, 2018, plus we are working on a watercolor workshop in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, sometime in 2018.
©"East Texas Dogwood" Watercolor 11 x 15
Palestine, Texas, in the spring has a lot to offer as far as beautiful dogwood! I took many, many photos there at both our campground where we stayed in our RV and at Davey Dogwood Park. I painted this with only the "saving the white" of the paper and didn't use any masking fluid. this is my preferred way! I tried to diffuse the background by wetting the paper (300 pound Arches) so that it wouldn't command too much attention. Fun to paint!
· And you publish a Blog!? And do Demos!? I see you are booked into 2018. How does it feel to be in demand? Does all the travelling wear thin (I see you keep it close to home) or do you enjoy it?
Besides my web site, cecyturner.com, my blog, An Aspen A Day, is mainly an instructional blog on many aspects of painting aspens, like color, shapes of foliage, leading the eye around, etc. I do travel some to teach workshops, but I don't teach too many anymore because it is exhausting and takes so much planning beforehand. However, I love teaching and probably will never quit doing that. We spend part of the year in Estes Park, Colorado, and I've made it my rule not to teach during my Colorado time - that's just for painting. (Who knows, that could change at some point).
· You have built your career steadily and won many awards and been honoured with prestigious titles. You’ve been published, and hung in important venues. Of all these honours which one excited you the most?
One of my biggest accomplishments was having "Early Winter" selected for the cover of the 2010 Watercolor Artist Magazine, as well as a feature article in that magazine. Probably my earliest thrill was having a watercolor floral accepted in the book, The Best of Flower Painting. That was way back in 1997. After I found out my painting was going to be in the book, North Light Books wanted me to write a short blurb about it for the book. I got my mother to help me write it, plus my husband and probably others, too - it took all of us about two weeks to come up with a couple of paragraphs. I was so nervous about that. Most recently, I think the biggest honor I've had is for Art of the West Magazine to ask me to be included in two of their feature articles. They are such top notch publishers, and I was thrilled both times they approached me.
©"Amaryllis" WC 11x15
©”Early Winter” WC 15x22
©WAOW Estes Park 2013
· Was this all a well laid plan from the beginning? Are you a closet marketing genius? To what to you attribute your success? And throughout, you’ve remained the same lovely person you’ve always been! (I think that is the secret to your success! People are just drawn to you and your work.) And you’ve raised a family and you are a grandmother! You are amazing!
Thanks for your nice compliments! My career has not been a well laid plan from the beginning - I just jumped in. I think people have said that "I never stop," and I guess that's part of it. I HATE to be idle and "just sit." Just can't do that and never have been able to. Painting is relaxing to me, and it's hard for me to do a lot of things because I could be painting instead. I tell my husband he's lucky because I'm not a shopper. I hate to shop! One thing I'm not good at is spending hours on Facebook, and this would probably be a great marketing tool. I use my not too frequent newsletters, workshops and demonstrations to get people on my mailing list, jump into group ads for big shows in the art magazines (which can get very expensive - must have a budget) and those are the main ways I market myself.
©”Morning Awakening” Palo Duro Canyon, TX Oil 24x30
This painting will be in the American Women Artists show this fall.
· How many hours a day do you paint? How do you balance your art business, home and family? Do you get lots of family time?
I would paint more hours than I do if I didn't have a husband who wants to spend a little time with me! Generally, there is so much else to do to "keep life going," especially with two houses, that I only have five or so good hours, sometimes less, sometimes more, to paint. I generally quit late afternoon, but if it weren't for my husband, I'd probably paint into the night!
©Allen Supportive Spouse Johnny!
· What percentage of your painting time is Plein air? And studio? And all the other things that we have to do?!
When I'm staying in Colorado, I'd say that about 80% of my work is Plein air. My studio work suffers, but I love to paint outdoors and it's such a challenge. When I'm back in Dallas, the percentage is reversed - there is not a lot that I enjoy painting in Dallas. It's gotten so big that one has to drive for hours to get out of the city!
· Your paintings of Aspens are your signature work. Do you ever get tired of them? Seriously. How do you keep it fresh? Just curious….do people expect you to paint Aspens now?
I never tire of painting aspens, both in oil and watercolor. However, several times when we have come to Colorado, I force myself NOT to paint aspens for at least the first half of my stay. Back when I was a single parent, I was forced to paint "what sells" and I don't want to ever get back into that. I do sell quite a few aspen paintings and when I teach a workshop one of the things the students "expect" to paint is aspens. My goal is to make each tree different, because they are, and to try different color combinations on them all the time. That way, I don't tire of them and they are continually a challenge. When anyone asks me what colors I use for aspens, I tell them the primaries.
· This new painting is gorgeous!
©”Follow The Sun” 20x16 Oil/linen/canvas
· Do you accept commissions?
Yes, if it's something I know I can paint well. For instance, I wouldn't accept a portrait commission at this time until I get a lot better at it!
· Where do you show your work?
In Colorado, I show my work at Mary Williams Fine Art in Boulder, Wild Horse Gallery in Steamboat Springs, Gallery VII in Allenspark, (Gallery VII in Allenspark) Silver Street Fine Art in Lake City and Redstone Art Gallery in Redstone. Other galleries include Weiler House Gallery in Fort Worth, TX, Seaside Gallery in Pismo Beach, CA, Southwest Gallery's Artists' Showplace in Dallas, TX, and Gallery at Round Top in Round Top, TX.
· I LOVE this one!
"Untouched" is from a trip to Estes Park in March. We tried snowshoeing (it's hard!) and this is from a photo I took at Wild Basin (Rocky Mountain National Park) and it was "Untouched." The underwater rocks and the reflections of the pine trees showing the rocks were a challenge, but fun to paint! This is a rather unusual painting for me, and I plan to do more like this. I seem to usually focus on the "big picture" in a landscape instead of an intimate view like this. I also LIVE to paint light and shadow, but this one has no sunlight. However, it was a wonderful challenge and I'm pleased with the results.
· Yes! Definitely do more like this! It is wonderful.
© 2017 Cecy Turner "Untouched" 20x16 Oil on Linen Canvas
· The Architecturals are lovely!
Thank you! When I painted strictly in watercolor, I did a lot of architectures - Venice scenes, ornate church facades, etc. I've kind of gotten away from it and one of my goals is to do more of it. Here's one of my recent Venice watercolors I've just completed, "Waterfront Charm," 22 x 15.
©”Waterfront Charm” WC 22x15
· Who influenced you the most?
I've never had the honor of even meeting him, but English artist David Curtis probably has a big influence on both my oils and watercolors. I can't believe that someone could be so proficient in both mediums. In oil, I love the work of Skip Whitcomb, Dan Young, Katherine Stats, Kathleen Dunphy and Brent Cotton. The only one of these I've studied under is Skip Whitcomb, but I believe in studying other people's work in books, magazines, on dvd's, etc., to get ideas on different approaches and also inspiration.
I took a look at Curtis. His work is amazing; very accomplished and filled with light! http://www.djcurtis.co.uk/
My father said I could accomplish anything I wanted to , and I believed him.
© "Wrong Turn?" 18 x 24 oil
Yes, definitely. I listen to classical - a lot of Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, Chopin, etc., in the studio, but outdoors I like to hear the sounds of what is around me and would never paint with headphones on!
©”Cold Feet” 20x30 oil
I think they have helped, because most carry some name recognition with them and most offer a chance to jump in on ads in magazines at a reduced rate and be "connected" to that group and the artists in it.
There are only a couple of galleries I'm in that actually market me, unfortunately, so I do my own through ads, workshops, newsletters, etc.
©"A Quiet Place" 22 x 18 Oil
The way I started my career and began getting a "following" was to do outdoor art shows, but I'm not so sure I'd recommend that - they are very time consuming and hard to do. I enjoyed them while I did them, but just knew when it was time to "move on." I think I'd advise to learn as much as one can through workshops and lessons and approach some galleries or shops that sell art when they feel they are good enough.
· Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I live in Dallas, TX, and also part of the year in Colorado where I paint Plein air almost daily. I believe that painting on location has helped to improve my work more than any classes or workshops I've ever taken. I truly agree with the saying, "Nature is the best teacher." I guess most people don't know about me that my mother really hoped I'd become a concert pianist, but that probably never would have happened. I didn't keep the "burning desire" like I've kept in painting. I still love to play the piano, but I've mostly "lost it" and don't play very much anymore (I could be painting instead)!
I plan to keep striving to make every painting better than the last one, to never retire from painting and to always enjoy what I'm doing.
Contact Cecy for more information about all artwork.