Cecy Turner

Artist's Statement:

As a painter, one of my goals is to produce a well-drawn painting that is arranged so that the viewer’s eye is drawn in to the focal area and moved around the piece. I take a lot of time with my initial drawing, because I feel that this is an integral part of every painting. Without it, the work falls apart, even to a viewer who has had no artistic training. I do not believe that a good painting  just “happens;” it is the result of planning, hard work and a strong structural beginning with a very accurate drawing.  I always do small compositional sketches before I begin a painting, whether I’m painting outdoors or in my studio.  I’ve found that the more satisfied I am with my preliminary sketch, the easier my painting process is because I’ve worked out most of the problems beforehand.

However, my major goal is to evoke a feeling in people who view my paintings – peacefulness or calm serenity, happiness or nostalgia.  I want to depict a place that the viewer wants to be, and I do this by concentrating on “painting the light” or “painting the mood” throughout my painting process rather than painting the things.  I try to capture the moment in time that I felt when I experienced the subject by thinking about it constantly while I paint. I try to paint on location every day possible so that I can become totally familiar with my subjects in various weather conditions, lighting  and seasons.  If I can convey the things that I felt when I experienced the subject and convey my excitement, I’m happy about the work and ready to go try to make my next painting an even better one.

Cecy's Biography - Inspired by the Outdoors: 

Since a young child, Cecy Turner has loved the outdoors.  “As a child, I would rather be outside playing than inside doing anything.”  When Cecy joined the Outdoor Painters Society in 1996 and began entering a few plein air events, her love for painting outdoors was reinforced and her love for the outdoors since a child was carried forward in a new way.  Cecy believes that her outdoor painting has been a milestone in her career and helped her painting more than any workshop or class she has ever taken.  “It’s such a challenge to find a scene to paint, simplify it, capture what you want to say about the scene within a ‘time limit’ before the light changes too much and try to make it a good painting that reads like you want.  In plein air events, you also add being in competition with other plein air painters in the group.”

This love of plein air painting eventually led to Cecy and her husband, Johnny, purchasing a second home in Estes Park, Colorado, where they now reside half of every year.  “I had been there several times to stay with friends and to participate in plein air events when I suggested to my husband that we take our motor home to Rocky Mountain National Park.  He immediately fell in love with the area also.”  Their home has beautiful mountain views, and when it’s too cold to paint outdoors, Cecy can set her easel up and paint the view from the front windows.  Otherwise, she is outdoors painting every day.  “It has helped me in so many areas – I feel that I can nail a composition faster, be more deliberate about getting the paint on the canvas and it has caused me to be able to observe more color in everything.  Nature has been the greatest teacher.”

Cecy Turner grew up in Dallas, Texas, where she was greatly influenced by her two artistic parents.  “My mother won many ribbons for her flower arranging and also taught me to play the piano, since she had taught piano for many years.  It was my father, though, who reinforced my love of drawing.  I used to pour over his sketchpad and dream of being able to draw like him someday.  My mother wanted me to have a career in piano like she did, but I knew there was something else that I would be focusing all my energy on someday.”

That day came when, after studying art at Vanderbilt University, Cecy graduated and started painting in earnest.  She took oil painting classes at night after work, and was elated when her coworkers began buying her paintings. After marriage, it was agreed that Cecy quit her job, take oil painting classes during the day and enter weekend art fairs. After her first child was born, Cecy switched to watercolor and stayed in that medium for many years.  Since her return to oils, she has studied under a number of notable painters such as Kevin Macpherson, John Pototschnik, Robert Johnson, Scott Christensen, Sherrie McGraw, Jean Chambers and Jeff Legg. 

In the 1980’s, Cecy opened her own studio/gallery in Dallas where she painted and taught watercolor for seven years.  “It was a wonderful place to be – there were fifty “artsy” shops in the building, and we were like one happy family.  I was sorry to see the building close, but in a way, it opened new doors for me because I could travel more and experience new vistas without being so tied down.  Cecy has traveled extensively, painting in Italy, Great Britain, Mexico, Hawaii and Northern Europe.

Today, Cecy Turner works mostly in oils, although she still paints in watercolor and teaches classes in both mediums.  Her oils and watercolors are filled with light, and she always considers it the biggest compliment when someone comments about her capturing the light in her work, or that they feel like they are “standing there in that scene.”  She is focusing on her still lifes to become more unusual and dramatic, and also on her mountain landscapes, which are being collected more and more in the west.

Cecy is represented by several galleries and her work has been juried into and won awards in major competitions such as Oil Painters of America, American Artists Professional League, National Watercolor Society, Top 100 Arts for the Parks and National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society.  There have been articles written about Cecy Turner and her work in major magazines, and recently one of her paintings was displayed on the cover of a national art magazine.  She has received outstanding critical acclaim and was selected as “an artist to watch” by Southwest Art Magazine.

Stretching is what painting is all about to Cecy.  “New scenery, light and colors, different from what one is used to painting, gets an artist out of their comfort zone, and that enables them to grow. After I do a couple of paintings with similar subject matter, I’m always ready to jump to something completely different.  It keeps my work fresh, and I feel continually challenged.”  Cecy Turner considers herself the luckiest person in the world to have the Rocky Mountains literally at her doorstep.  “I pinch myself every day.  I certainly don’t have to go far to find another painting.  They are everywhere I look, and my goal is to paint them all.”