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Well-kept secret revealed

JACKSON – Local talent was on display here at the Northampton County Visitor’s Center in Jackson on Nov. 8. The annual “Arts Uncorked” event featured the paintings of Becky Turner, a recently retired resident of Severn.

“This is actually the first time I’ve ever had a showing like this,” Turner said as she happily mingled amongst the crowd who came to view her work.

One attendee remarked with surprise that Turner’s skill was a “well-kept secret” not often displayed publicly.

Turner’s artwork is done with oil paint, bringing to life a variety of landscapes which look like they can be found anywhere in North Carolina—from a pond near her house in Severn to a lighthouse resting on a sandy beach. She said nature is the easiest thing for her to paint.

“Landscapes are easy because I can make it as wide, as tall, as green, as deep as I want it,” she explained.

Turner first started painting about 25 years ago alongside her mother Mary Lassiter. They challenged each other to paint different subjects as well as attended several painting classes together to improve their techniques.

Lassiter was unable to attend the event Thursday evening, but Turner brought one of her paintings to display for visitors. That painting featured a life-like deer, and though many of Turner’s paintings were for sale that evening, Lassiter’s is too sentimental to give up.

Turner, who began painting with her mother about 25 years ago, brings landscapes to life with oil paint and canvas.

Though she enjoyed painting, Turner admitted she put the hobby on the back burner for several years as she focused on raising children and working as a technical advisor with the NC Rural Water Association. But about three years ago, she picked the paintbrush back up again to spend more time with her mother.

“It’s very relaxing, a very peaceful time,” she said of painting. “I can sit and do it and just chill.”

She said if she makes a mistake in the painting, she can easily use a knife to scrape off the thick oil paint and start over. Once a painting is complete, it typically takes about three weeks to dry and 30 days to cure.

Though all are unique in their own way, there was a particular pair of paintings which were a bit out of the ordinary compared to the rest. Simply titled “left hand” and “right hand,” the two captured the same glimpse into a particular nature scene. But Turner painted them both at the same time just to see how different they would turn out depending on which hand she used. She said the project was a fun experiment to try.

Many people came to the art show event to support Turner, celebrate her work, and perhaps purchase a painting or two to decorate a wall in their homes. The select paintings for sale were priced between $40-$60.

“I’ve been told people charge a lot more than what I’m asking for,” Turner said with a laugh. “But the peace you get, the comfort you get from doing them offsets the cost of the canvas and the paint by far. It’s not a money-making business.”

Judy Collier, Chair of the Northampton County Cultural Arts Committee who sponsored the art show, said, “we are so proud to be able to do this for Becky” as she welcomed everyone to the event.

“Becky says she doesn’t see herself as an artist, but we all know that she is an artist. And we’re very, very proud that we are able to honor her tonight,” Collier continued.

The annual “Arts Uncorked” event serves to promote local artist talent of Northampton County citizens. It regularly features artists who create for fun, uncovering their hidden skills for everyone to enjoy.