On any beautiful day by the Blue Ridge Parkway of Asheville, North Carolina you may find Cynthia Llanes either exploring new hiking trails or painting in the open outdoors. Moving from Southern California to Asheville has transformed Cynthia’s vision for her art. Plein air painting gives her a lift and an emotional connection with the beauty of nature. The breathtaking and lush mountains, waterfalls and hiking trails have given her a new heart and eye in painting landscapes. She says that this indeed is another exciting phase of her life as an artist.
Cynthia Llanes was drawn to art as a young girl, always drawing and scribbling with her pencils and crayons. This interest in the arts led her to a private art school in Manila, Philippines. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts majoring in painting and graphic design. Her love for textile design, painting, and fashion landed her a job as a textile designer in Los Angeles for many years. Inspired with the endless possibilities of many art forms, Cynthia continued to paint and experiment, finding joy in exploring different mediums, always fighting to improve her work. The mediums included acrylic, oil, watercolor, pastel, and mixed media which influenced her recent style towards a more expressionistic direction.
Cynthia Llanes’ love for travel and different cultures have contributed a lot in her creative endeavors. She has travelled extensively in Asia and parts of Europe. For a period of time she lived and worked in Hong Kong for a charitable organization that highlighted the plight of religious prisoners in Asia, gaining exposure to universal themes of poverty, suffering and spiritual hope. This compelled her to depict women from minority tribes in Burma, Thailand, India, Pakistan and the Philippines. She was so touched by their warmth and gentleness, their tenacity in coping with persecution, and their deep loyalty to family and society, that in 1991 she created her “Tribal Women of Asia” series exhibited in a group show sponsored by Brand Gallery in Glendale, Los Angeles.
At present, nature has become her muse where colors and texture play a major part in her work. She is quick to say that these are the main entry points of her design and composition.
Cynthia plays with colors, creating texture with palette knife and bold brushstrokes. Her paintings created by a spark of inspiration – like the dappled lights falling on the trees overlooking her studio, or an array of colors seen in the falling leaves along a hiking path, or merely a misty cloud enveloping the mountain view across her porch. These scenes come to life with quick watercolor sketches and then finalized in her studio.
Impressionist and expressionist masters have influenced and inspired Cynthia Llanes’ work: Van Gogh’s passion for bold strokes and pure colors; Edgar Degas’ strong compositions and artistic testimony of life; Cezanne’s abstraction of landscapes; Marc Chagall’s playful, and whimsical tone; and John Pollock’s fearless approach in his medium.
“My paintings are not reproductions of what I see. I try to capture the essence of my subject and breathe a new life into what is unseen by the viewer.
I believe that art’s purpose is to uplift, inspire, provoke and to communicate.”
To view Cynthia’s recent works, visit Asheville Gallery of Art , located at 82 Patton Ave at the heart of Asheville’s art community.
Read a recent article on Cynthia Llanes’ work by Rapid River Art Magazine here.