Thursday, November 7, 2013

Paint the Ballet

Blue Ballet
By Cynthia Rowland
11" x 14"
Oil Painting
Final Act
By Cynthia Rowland
14" x 11"
Oil Painting

For the past few weeks, I have been involved in a cooperative arts project
called Paint the Ballet, founded by my friend and fellow artist John Meister, This project was developed with the idea of promoting awareness and increase the visibility of the New Mexico Ballet Company and the artists who were invited to paint them. This effort allows artists to support artists. The proceeds of the sales are split 50/50 between the Ballet Company and the painter.

The show will hang for five weeks at the New Mexico Art League, 3409 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE, in Albuquerque. The Opening and Artist Reception is tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 8, 5 - 8pm. The exhibition will be shown through December 14. There are some wonderful paintings in the exhibit, and I am happy to say that two of mine are included. If you get a chance, stop by and see the show!

For more information, visit

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Healing Tea

Healing Tea
6" x 8"
Oil Painting 
by Cynthia Rowland

The last few weeks have not left me much time to paint. I went to an Art Business Workshop in Denver hosted by Alyson Stanfield, Art Biz Coach. It was a fabulous two days and I got so much from her presentations. I would highly recommend the workshop if you can make your way to Denver next year. I believe she said the workshop would be in November of 2014. She offers so much and she is all about helping artists and their businesses. Alyson's website is

When I got home, I came down with the flu, and am still under the weather. My friend and fellow painter, Ming Franz gave me a good Chinese recipe for the flu:

1. Ginger: peel the skin and slice in small pieces, cook in 3 cups of water for a half hour
2. Turn the fire off, add lemon juice and a slice of apple and pear and black tea
3. Cover for a half hour
4. When the water is warm or cool put honey in it.

It seems to be helping!

I painted this before I left for Denver. The blue and white teapot comes from my mother-in-law and I never tire of painting it. Who doesn't love blue and white? In fact, she gave me quite a collection of blue and white before she passed on. Somehow, getting sick and then with Ming's recipe for her healing tea seemed the appropriate time to post the painting. The paining is available at

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The War of Art


I am a bookaholic. I love books. My husband is so patient with all the books I have scattered over our home.  I heard about the War of Art by Steven Pressfield, ordered it and this book really is a kick in the pants. We all have fear and uncertainty when it comes to our art. I've heard it said discomfort is an indication of growth. If that is the case, I must be growing quite a bit lately!

The War of Art is made up of three parts:
Book One - The Resistance\Defining the Enemy
Overcoming resistance, the enemy of our mind.

Book Two - Combating Resistance/Turning Pro
Showing up, staying on the job while making the commitment over the long haul.

Book Three - Beyond Resistance/The Higher Realm
Approaching the mystery of creation and invoking the muses.

These are battles we must win in order to succeed! I liked the metaphor, because I become motivated when I can name my enemy. I think it's one of the best books I've read on overcoming creative blocks and obstacles and I highly recommend it! I love sharing books! Let me know if you discover a great book! I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, September 28, 2013


6" x 8"
Oil on Canvas
by Cynthia Rowland

During the past month, I have had three sets of company. Although, I loved having them visit, painting and blogging had to go on the back burner. Autumn is a beautiful time to visit New Mexico. The weather has been amazing with a whopping two inches of rain which is so unusual, giving us a final burst of color in the garden. This rose was the last one to bloom as fall makes itself known and summer comes to an end. I named the painting Nostalgia, because like my friends and family, it is hard to see the roses leave. It reminds me to appreciate the moment, for good or bad, nothing stays the same.

Nostalgia can be purchased at

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Star Chain

Star Chain
6" x 8"
Oil Painting
by Cynthia Rowland

Van Gogh was not the only painter to take sunflowers as a subject, but also Piet Mondrian, Georges Braque, William Blake and Emile Nolde. Van Gogh painted six versions of sunflowers and hung them in Gauguin's bedroom in the Yellow House. I find it helpful to keep in mind these artists were just people like you and me, trying to paint and understand the world we live in.

At this time of year, you can find sunflowers everywhere in New Mexico. In this painting, I was really looking to get the form of the sunflower with the color, the shape and the edges, without painting every petal. They were attached to one another in my set up, creating a link of sunflowers, and it reminded me of a bigger version of the daisy chains we use to make when we were kids! They are in the same family, Asteraceae, from the type genus Aster, which is a Greek term meaning "star". 

Star Chain is available at

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

High Summer Progression

I thought I would share with you the progression of High Summer, a 6" x 8" painting that I am selling at Daily Paintworks, My goal is to post three times a week on Daily Paintworks. I have really enjoyed doing these little works. It's a way to try out different ideas, color combinations, studies and concepts for larger paintings. I hope you will find the following useful to you in your painting.

1. Gesture

2. Block-In

The Gesture and Block-In
There are so many ways to begin a painting. I began this with a color block-in on a lightly toned canvas. I kept the paint very thin. One reason for doing this is that sometimes colors can get a little muddy, so I'm trying to overcome that by putting down pure thin color. I want the yellows to be very bright. I'm also thinking about the gesture as I begin to lay in the colors. I'm trying to keep it loose and open and think about the larger areas and shapes of color. It's so important to not think sunflowers, but shapes, sizes and proportion for your lay-in. Once I'm satisfied with the placement, I begin filling in the shadow shapes of the vase, flowers and leaves. I'm also massing in the shapes of the butterfly bush from by mother's garden.

3. Color Extremes 

4. Background

Color Extremes and Background
Next, I begin to lay in my extremes, meaning the lightest light (which happens to be the highlight in the painting), the brightest colors (the yellows, reds and magentas) and the darkest colors. I use a palette knife to lay in the extreme colors in the light because the palette knife will lay the paint on thicker than my brush. For the darks, I try to keep the paint thin as I like to have different textures on the canvas to look at. Establishing these extremes early helps to have solid color relationships to work with. Next, I have to place my set up in the space it resides in, and that is done by putting in the background. I think about space all the time when I am painting, what is close to me, what is further away and so on.

5. Color in Light and Shadow

6. Edges and Finishing                SOLD

Color, Edges and Finishing
I made quite a jump before I took my next picture. I'll try to do better next time. I am now refining my color in the light and in the shadow. I added a couple of peaches as I found the yellows, oranges, reds and magentas on them and they tied in with my color scheme.  As I am refining the painting, it is so important to be thinking in terms of shape, form, dimension, space, value, color, etc., the language of painting rather than sunflowers, vase, peaches and butterfly bush. This is a very difficult concept for students to get and it took me years to get it as well, so stay patient and persevere! I revisit my edges to make sure they are not too hard in too many places. For the finish, I decided that my background was a little too warm, and so I cooled it down a bit. The sunflowers are beautiful this time of year. They are nature's gift of radiant warmth and their meaning is loyalty and longevity! Be sure to enjoy them and paint some for yourself this summer! Thanks for visiting!