Sunday, August 5th, 2012

WITH her early years spent in the eastern Wheatbelt and jarrah forests of WA, artist Karen McKay was destined to become a landscape artist.

Her latest exhibition With A Roving Eye comes to The York Mill’s Boiler Room Gallery this August, highlighting her affinity for the land.

“I have drawn, doodled, painted and moulded as long as I can remember,” McKay said. “All my life I have been drawn to colour. Now it is the intoxication of the art materials.

“Going into the studio among the paints, canvasses and gorgeous papers with its look, texture and smell has the biggest influence on me now.

“I’m like a kid in a toy shop or a musician in a room full of wonderful instruments waiting to be played.

“I can’t wait to play with my paints and hopefully create something that will transmit my feeling of the subject to the viewer.”

While McKay had little contact with art disciplines during her school years, she kept up a constant interest and later had informal training through the University of WA’s adult education program.

Under the guidance of Henry Freudist and Dan Mazzotti, she attended summer school workshops with tutors such as William Bossevain, David Gregson and Louis Kahan, resulting in her long and passionate association with the arts.

“I have been influenced by Henry and Dan and the French impressionists, the Fauves,” McKay said.

“I have always loved colour and they were all great colourists – and who wouldn’t be influenced by [Australian painter] Margaret Olley?”

Over the past 40 years, McKay has exhibited in the Swan Valley, Lesmurdie, Fremantle, Toodyay, Margaret River, Mundaring, Claremont, West Perth, Wongan Hills, Mount Magnet, Corrigin, Victoria Plains, Dowerin and Wyalkatchem.

Nowadays she divides her time between Toodyay and Claremont and has won numerous awards over the years, including the Lawrie Bennett Perpetual Trophy for Plein Air, Rural Artist of the Year, Sir Charles Court Award for portrait painting and numerous awards for oil painting.

The York Mill Managing Director John Langton added: “We consider ourselves fortunate to be able to hang works of this calibre in the Boiler Room Gallery, further enhancing the visual offering and appeal to our broadening customer base."

With A Roving Eye runs from August 1 to September 2 in the Boiler Room Gallery. Admission is free.

The York Mill is at 10 Henrietta Street, York, and the gallery is open 10am to 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday. For more details, call (08) 9641 2900 or go to

KM-Interior_with_Lilliums: Karen McKay’s painting Interior with Lilliums is on show as part of her latest exhibition at The York Mill Boiler Room Gallery.

KM-A_stroll_in_Spello: A stroll in Spello is one of Karen McKay’s works featured in her exhibition With A Roving Eye.

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The York Mill

The York Mill, situated in the beautiful Avon Valley only one hour from Perth, offers a great day excursion for the whole family. The old flour mill site shows its own remarkable history and offers fine crafts, York souvenirs, three galleries, a licensed cafe, weekend providore markets and play area for the kids.
John Langton
P: (08) 9641 2900


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