Adorable animal portraits have become Lynne Wilkinson’s trademark – and it’s easy to see why. She has an amazing affinity with her subjects that enables her to capture them in such a way that they seem to come alive on the canvas.
It helps that the painter has a mad passion for anything with feathers or four legs, especially hens, ducks, cows and dogs all of which can be found in the fields surrounding her home – Summerley Hall, which is tucked away in a hamlet high above Dronfield.
Lynne was born and brought up in Sheffield and she has never wanted to live too far away from the city, so when she and her husband found the rambling farmhouse up for sale they knew it was going to be a forever home.
A large conservatory linking two parts of the house is where Lynne creates her paintings and from there she has a beautiful view across the Drone Valley.
The walls of the other rooms also display her work and Lynne’s bubbly personality comes to the fore when she is talking about the vibrant paintings and the inspiration behind them.
“I am lucky to live in such a beautiful place and it has been a great inspiration for my work. I paint most days and can be working on several pieces at the same time,” she said, standing before a half-finished painting on her easel, looking as if she was itching to pick up her brushes there and then.
“People often ask how long they take to finish but it varies and can be days, weeks or even longer. I like the start of the process as I play around with the colour and shapes and I enjoy the finish, when I am happy with it and it’s time to give it a name.”
Originally, Lynne, who is a member of the Peak District Artisans, had wanted to study fabric design when she left high school but the course wasn’t available, so instead she took a BA Honours degree in Fine Art and Printmaking.
After graduating she spent a number of years teaching in primary schools while she raised her young family.
“During that stage of my life I hardly painted at all. I had two daughters and a son and I wanted to devote my spare time to them. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I thought about painting again.
“However it’s not as easy as you think to just pick up something from where you left of after so long. It had been eight years, and I lacked confidence at first.
“I was painting flowers and a few abstracts but my husband encouraged me to keep trying and suggested I painted the hens in the garden.
That’s how the whole animal thing started really – my work started winning awards and I was selling it as well, so I just kept going.”
Fortunately her prolific output and constant need to paint means she can keep up with the demand for her work which can be found in Duffield Art Gallery in Belper, Cromford Studios and Gallery and a variety of venues in the county including the Old Hall Hotel, Buxton, Hassop Station, The Bulls Head at Monyash, Rowleys Restaurant at Baslow, the Newton House Hotel in Ashbourne, the Bakewell Bookshop and Pudding Shop and the Aisseford Tea Rooms at Ashford in the Water.
If you want to find out more about her go to http://www.lynnewilkinson.co.uk