Artist's Statement

My work begins with observational drawing. I sketch while I am out walking in the landscape around my home. Weather conditions often dictate that the work is done at speed, sometimes just a few marks and lines to convey the essence of the subject.  I will revisit these initial drawings at a later stage in the painting process, to simplify and remind myself of the initial inspiration. Being immersed in drawing allows images to become embedded in my memory. These can be recalled at a later stage of the painting process, sometimes years later.

When I am in my studio, the starting point for my painting is spontaneous and experimental. I prefer not to have a firm idea of what I am trying to achieve at this stage and am happy to let the painting develop in its own way.

I usually start in Acrylic and move onto Oil as the work progresses. I work on several paintings at once, adding layers of colour and building up surface texture.  I enjoy working on a surface with a history and will often go back to a canvas that is quite old and re-work it by over-painting areas and over-drawing – hence the piece builds up over many months, even years.

I can’t imagine a world without Colour. It is very important in my painting, and I use it to express emotions. Certain colour combinations will stop me in my tracks and make my heart sing!

The coast has always been a big influence in my work. Childhood memories of storm waves crashing over sea walls; the sound of the foghorn from Whitburn lighthouse. Now living in Cornwall, the extremes of weather and how this affects people’s lives by the coast are a recurring theme. Rural life, traditions, rituals,  antiquity, old buildings and ancient land are also themes that I regularly explore in my work.

There is always a pivotal moment in each painting, which may be in response to something I have glimpsed while out walking or simply an interesting juxtaposition of colours/shapes in my studio.  My final intentions are realized when all distractions are stripped away in a moment of clarity.

Ultimately, through my practice, I am learning to simplify and pare back, to reinforce the things that are most important to me in my life.

Elaine Turnbull CV

Born Sunderland 1963


Bath Spa University. PGCE Art and Design / 2000-2001
Edinburgh College of Art. BA Hons Printed Textile Design / 1982-1985
Newcastle Upon Tyne College of Art / 1981-1982
Elaine is a member of the St.Ives Society of Artists and Associate member of the Penwith Society of Arts

Selected group exhibitions:

ING Discerning Eye 2020

St.Ives Society of Artists, Members’ Exhibitions / 2013 – 2024

Penwith Society of Arts, St.Ives. Associate Exhibitions / 2014 – 2024

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition – selected 2017

RWA, Bristol. Autumn Open Exhibition /  2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2020

National open Art Exhibition, London 2017. Awarded Cill Rialaig residency

Ferens Art Gallery, Hull. Winter Open Exhibitions / 2004-2008

RWS, Bankside Gallery, London. Spring Open Exhibition / March 2011

Solo exhibitions:

Crypt Gallery St.Ives / September 2013 , 2015, 2018

Riverbank Gallery, Newlyn 2016

Gallery Forty-Nine, Bridlington / May 2009, October 2007

Kentmere House Gallery, York / Feb 2008, Dec 2007

The Ropewalk Gallery, Barton upon Humber / April 2007

A selection of galleries where my work is exhibited:

Oliver Contemporary, London

Prince and Pilgrim, London

Riverbank Gallery, Newlyn

Penwith Society of Arts, St.Ives

Battersea Art Fair represented by Bowlish Contemporary/Eleven And A Half , March 2013, 2015, 2016

Kentmere House Gallery, York

Other Galleries:-

Salt Box Gallery, Helmsley
The Art Room, South Wirral /  2008
Pyramid Gallery, York / September 2008
The Gate Gallery, Grimsby / April 2008
The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle Upon Tyne / May 2007
Beverley Art Gallery / June 2006

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