Dubai: From her home and gallery, Creative Arts Centre, long-term resident Lynda Shephard had two announcements — she opened her last exhibition in the villa she has been living and working in from since 1994, and a part of the proceeds from the exhibition will go towards Rethink, a leading mental health charity.

The exhibition of 69 paintings in watercolour, titled Reflections, was opened by New Zealand Consul General Steve Jones on September 25, 2012. The theme has “quite a story” said Shephard, artist and founder of the centre, speaking to Gulf News.

She explained that the pieces, which have been created over the years, trace her relationship with the places like London, Dubai, Oman, Austria, New Zealand and America, and each painting has been painted while listening to each country’s music.

“Every piece has a story. For example, as an English painter, while living in Oman in the early 1990s, I received a government grant from an Austrian cultural body to paint a watercolour study of Vienna. I painted these with Mozart in the background. For my piece on London, I traced the journey of one of my relatives — Thomas Hosmer Shepherd, from his works capturing London in the 19th century,” she said.

The decision to support Rethink stems from her experience with her students, she said. “I realise that people often paint to deal with stress or overcome some form of anxiety, depression, trauma, or inner turmoil. Rethink helps people recover instead of depending on medication and drugs; I believe in its cause.”

The villa she currently lives in, built in the 1960s, will be demolished as part of redevelopment. “I have yet to find a place to relocate the centre,” she said.

Shephard’s works are housed at various corporate institutions, embassies, members of several royal families, government ministers across the Middle East, and several private collectors.