East Coast Open art winner revealed

Karen Turner
Karen Turner

A photographer-turned-artist has won the East Coast Open and will see her watercolour become a permanent part of the Scarborough Collections.

Karen Turner, who lives near York, submitted two paintings – the winning Two Boats Passing, and Winter Harbour – to the exhibition, which is run every other year by Scarborough Museums Trust and provides an opportunity for local artists, both amateur and professional, to have their artworks shown at Scarborough Art Gallery, with one artwork purchased by the Trust to become a permanent part of the Scarborough Collections.

Winning painting - Two Boats Passing

Winning painting - Two Boats Passing

The artworks this year were judged by a panel comprising broadcaster Harry Gration, artist Annabel McCourt (whose latest exhibition Suffering Arcadia can be seen at Scarborough Art Gallery until September 1 and the trust's head of curation, collections and exhibitions Simon Hedges.

Two Boats Passing will be on display at Scarborough Art Gallery from Tuesday June 4

“My art is a relatively new venture into a different type of creativity for me,” says Karen. “I’m a photographer day-to-day, specialising in food, commercial and natural family portraits, using natural light and a documentary approach.

“I did a drawing workshop with Ian Burke at the Staithes Festival in 2016, which changed the way I relax and capture my walks and holidays, as I started to carry a sketch pad and ink pen instead of a camera with me.”

Karen has since invested in her professional development as an artist, taking a number of day workshops with artists, learning different techniques and working with different materials, developing and evolving her style.

“The biggest breakthrough was last September on a weekend workshop with Scottish artist Hazel Campbell in Dumfries and Galloway.

"She introduced me to working in a much more relaxed and fluid style with watercolours and inks,” she says. “Then last November I did a Scarborough Art Gallery watercolour masterclass with Scarborough artist Kane Cunningham, which was super.

"Winter Harbour was actually painted during that workshop, so it felt amazing and very apt two months later to have that, and my winning painting Two Boats Passing, on display in the gallery.

“To have my painting win overall and go into the permanent collection at Scarborough Art Gallery is such an honour; I am so, so chuffed, I still have to keep pinching myself. To think that my work will be on display and enjoyed by generations to come when they visit this superb gallery is just wonderful.”

Karen’s next project is as as artist-in-residence at Spurn Point for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

The subject is the local fishing industry and the resulting exhibition (in the lighthouse at Spurn during September) will be an audiovisual installation of her images of Yorkshire fishermen at work, using different dying techniques and methods, and a body of paintings inspired by her time with the fishermen.