Helen Turner usually likes to do her painting outside, plein-air style, with elements at play while she works. But she’s got new digs now, and plenty of room to paint in the studio, now situated in downtown Waimea.
For decades, Turner has been teaching and painting in Kauai’s great outdoors and living on the Eastside of the island. A little more than a year ago she moved to the sunny Westside and changed the pace.
Then her husband saw a studio for rent — specifically the old Menehune Pharmacy building in Waimea.
Knowing it was Turner’s dream to open a gallery of her own work, he rented the space and surprised Turner with a new outlet for her art.
Now she’s gearing up for a grand opening on Saturday, complete with pupu, wine and landscape paintings of Kauai over the past 30 years.
“Owning a gallery, it’s something I used to long for, and when my husband got it, I couldn’t say ‘no,’” Turner said. “It’s a funky little place, but there’s a great work area where I can do an oil painting and a pastel at the same time.”
That’s where Turner expects to be spending most of her time, indulging her creative side and painting away until a customer comes by to check out the gallery in the front.
Currently, the plan is to be open from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekdays.
“I live about five minutes away, too, so people can just call or text me and I can come right over if it’s not open,” Turner said. “I’ll have my paintings for sale and also some prints that are more affordable.”
Turner’s art is mostly landscapes, with scenes replicated exactly as Turner sees them. She’s an avid photographer as well, so paintings that are done in-studio are made from looking at pictures she’s taken.
The gallery, she said, will be unique in that viewers will be able to see pieces of Kauai’s history reflected in the art and see how the island has changed since some of them were painted.
“I’ve done coastlines that have now changed, sugarcane trucks and fields, old trucks that aren’t there anymore, the old bridge in Kapaa before they changed it,” Turner said. “I have a whole series of the different moods of the ocean and the black-sand beach at Waimea.”
For years Turner has led plein-air painting excursions around the island, bringing a handful of artists to iconic locations for lessons and experiences.
She plans to continue that, with a renewed emphasis on painting scenes in the Waimea Canyon. But she’s also gearing up to host some classes in the studio, including potential paint-and-sip events in the evenings.
Saturday’s opening is set for 5 top 7 p.m. at Helen Turner Studio in Waimea.