London beckons for artist

Artist Karen from Morpeth
Artist Karen from Morpeth

An artist whose work has been presented to royalty could see it break into one of the world’s most prestigious auction houses.

Morpeth-based Karen Willis has received interest from the famous Christie’s Auction House in London.

Mrs Willis has already received the royal seal of approval for her paintings after presenting one of her pieces to Prince Charles when he visited Morpeth following the flood of 2008.

Celebrities Aled Jones and Noel Edmonds also own her work, and she has private collections of her paintings displayed in countries across the globe, including Canada, Japan, Germany, the United States and South Africa.

Christies contacted the artist about her work after seeing examples of her collection on Instagram.

Mrs Willis has been painting professionally full-time for five years and recently received support from the Business Northumberland programme to help her display her work online.

Within four weeks of setting up her Instagram account she had more than 400 followers, including Christies.

She said: “Business Northumberland gave me really useful advice and support on how Instagram could work for me and I have gradually become aware of a vast network of global, like-minded Instagrammers out there. From having a handful of followers, I have now 742.

“Christie’s in London will be very selective with the artwork it chooses as it deals with classic and contemporary well-known paintings worth millions.

“It likes my work, which is hopeful, and this is thanks to Business Northumberland and its support.”

Business Northumberland is delivered and funded by Arch and the European Regional Development Fund.

Arch Chief Executive Jacqui Kell said: “Karen’s art business is an excellent example of how Business Northumberland can support businesses across Northumberland to grow.”