Artist Lyn Rohde tells Eileen Leahy all about her new exhibition which is on all month at the Silver Sheep in Chapel Place and what inspires her work…
Wander into the delightful lifestyle emporium that is the Silver Sheep on Chapel Place and you’re always guaranteed an enjoyable experience thanks to the wealth of different creatives who have pieces on display and for sale.
From handmade jewellery to hand-painted lampshades and beautifully crafted fashion items, there is always something to covet. And this month visitors can enjoy an added extra, courtesy of a new exhibition of paintings from artist Lyn Rohde.
Although she is based in Brighton, Lyn, who is a full-time artist, says she is very much looking forward to exhibiting here in Tunbridge Wells after she contacted Caroline Smith and Sylvia Kus who co-run the Silver Sheep.
“They very kindly invited me to exhibit in their colourful treasure trove of wonderful art, jewellery, ceramics and much more,” explains Lyn on the opening week of the show.
The exhibition, which is on until the end of the month, consists of nine paintings of familiar nearby towns including Tenterden, Cranbrook and of course, Tunbridge Wells.
“I hope they will make the viewer smile and that they enjoy seeing towns or villages they know in a completely different way.”
Lyn, who was born in Dublin but spent most of her childhood living in France, says she has been interested in drawing and painting from an early age.
“At the age of nine, when I lived outside Paris, I met the French artist, Dunoyer de Segonzac, who invited me to sit and draw with him while he was painting a landscape of our village, Jouy-en-Josas.
“I had no idea he was so well-established and so I asked him if I could have one of his paintings. He politely told me that he needed it for an exhibition but he was touched I liked it so much! He was very kind and encouraging about my attempt at painting ‘en plein air’.
“Living in Paris until I was in my late teens definitely influenced my art. Having the opportunity to travel to many areas of France and visit numerous galleries in Paris and elsewhere definitely helped shape my artistic vision.
“Visiting Montmartre in Paris, Giverny, Pont-Aven, the South of France, Auvers-sur-Oise – just to mention a few places – inspired me to look at the work of Monet, Derain, Cezanne, Matisse and Vincent van Gogh,” she adds.
“More recently, I have been looking at David Hockney and Terry Frost’s art, the latter could well influence my next group of paintings towards a more abstract art but still boast the elements of colour, rhythm of line and ‘joie de vivre’.”
This early love and appreciation of art led Lyn to studying a foundation course at Kingston Art college and then going on to study for a degree in Fine Art at Wimbledon College of Arts.
So how would she describe her own work?
“I’d say quirky, colourful, sometimes naive and whimsical and with a strong rhythm of line. I paint mostly in acrylics, either on canvas or paper and also enjoy drawing either in pencil, charcoal or pen and ink.
“My style of painting or drawing tends to vary depending on my mood. With this series of monochrome paintings, which I am currently exhibiting at the Silver Sheep, I wanted to minimise the distraction lots of colour can bring and accentuate specific shapes. The quirkiness, humour and rhythm of line are still there and the viewer should still find the painting uplifting even with the lack of colour.”
Lyn, who counts the likes of Mary Fedden and Picasso as inspirations to her work along with Dunoyer de Segonzac, does several commissions – particularly house portraits. She also has a variety of greetings cards available and a selection of tea towels of Brighton, Worthing and Littlehampton available from her website.
She also has a link with the prestigious Royal Academy (RA) in London. How did this come about?
“I was invited to a dinner there to help raise money for the RA Schools. I offered to donate one of my charcoal still-life drawings and they very kindly accepted it for the auction where it raised a few hundred pounds.
“I felt very honoured and glad that I was able to help in a small way to raise some money for them.”