The first major exhibition by an artist who has been painting in Cornwall for the last 50 years is being widely acclaimed by visitors.

Romi Behrens’ work has been exhibited in the Royal Academy and a number of other prestigious galleries in London and Bristol but she has never had a major exhibition in the county that inspires her – until now.

Judging by the large number of people who turned up to the opening of Romi Behrens 50 years of painting at the Royal Cornwall Museum (RCM) in Truro, such an exhibition was long overdue and the opportunity to see her work is being taken up with gusto.

Primarily known for her portraiture, Romi briefly attended Penzance Art School but is otherwise self-taught. She is a life member of the Newlyn Art Gallery and has been widely acclaimed for paintings that have been praised for their instinctiveness, spontaneity and natural confidence in both form and composition.

“I feel very lucky to be exhibiting at the museum, it’s the chance of a lifetime,’ said Romi. ‘The gallery space is beautiful.”

The exhibition is being financially supported by Foot Anstey Solicitors, RCM’s first corporate sponsors. Speaking at the private view, the firm’s Truro-based partner Mark Chanter said: “Romi is an exceptional artist whose abiding principle is ‘I am a painter and I paint every day’. I’m very surprised that she has not had a major exhibition in Cornwall before now but am delighted that the museum has been able to put that right.”

To raise funds for the Royal Institution of Cornwall’s endowment, guests at the exhibition’s launch were invited to submit sealed bids for private portrait sittings with Romi in the museum on Sunday 18 October. Members of the public are also being invited to sit for the artist on Tuesday 27 October from 10am to 4pm. The exhibition runs until January 30.