New Paintings for a New Season (click to leave comments)

New Paintings for a New Season

The Autumn season has inspired many artists for centuries, and I must admit that as cliche as it is to say, the Fall season is one of the most magical seasons to watch. So I can say that creating new paintings for a new season is always exciting. I just love how Nature transforms itself into a blanket of colors!  The contrast of bright yellows to rust and oranges to reds is breathtaking!

Painting en plein air is irresistible. Setting up my brush and paints as I find arresting landscapes to paint is easy to do along the Blue Ridge Park Way. There are so many  beautiful spots around the Asheville hiking trails, waterfalls and gorgeous vistas, too. I am ready to create new paintings for a new season such as this especially since our lives have been wrapped with the new normal due to this pandemic.

The hike to Rainbow Falls is moderate but it can be challenging for a less seasoned hiker. It can be so rewarding when you reach the peak and see the spectacular grand finale. I gasped at the first sight of its grandeur…the majestic Rainbow Falls. Then as you hike up higher you will find smaller waterfalls cascading down the rocks and foliage around it. My hubby and I just sat there for hours enjoying the sight of this powerful rush of water from this awesome mountain.

I felt joy and was glad as I finished my paintings.  Painting with mixed media again is exciting! I love to express all the different textures, the sounds and the sweet smell of the forest. Moreover, fall evokes and symbolizes the beauty of life’s seasons and transformation. I hope that art can help all of us find a new focus and perspective during these challenging times. May we pause, reflect and find rest in the process as we embrace our own seasons.

View my new works online :

New Paintings for a New Season (click to leave comments)2020-10-21T10:46:48-04:00

Interview with Cynthia Llanes

Overlooking the Pisgah mountain forest from my porch

“Misty Morning at Reeves Cove”

Interview with Cynthia Llanes

by Rapid River Magazine

We are excited to share important highlights of Cynthia’s  journey as an artist. Here are a few events and new happenings. Here below is an  interview article by  Rapid River Magazine, Asheville’s online arts and culture magazine.

RRM:  What is your philosophy on art’s relevance to modern society? 

Art is an expression of a personal experience that can be shared with others. It multiplies and connects us with each other in an emotional and expressive way. It reminds me of a quote by Cy Twombly (painter, sculptor) “Every line is the actual experience with its own unique story.”

RRM:  At what age did you say, “I’m an artist,” and how long had you been doing art before making this statement to yourself? 

I was 16 years old when I realized being an artist is my true calling. I have been drawing and designing clothes for my paper dolls since I was seven years old.  Then I discovered painting oil on canvas.  So I decided to pursue a Fine Arts degree in college. 

RRM:  To quote Ray Bradbury on talking about what it takes to create, he said, “You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.” To create you cannot let fear dictate your art. How did/do you overcome the fear of “I cannot do good enough,” or “I’m never going to be the next (fill in the blank)” or “What will people think of this art?

Often there is fear when I face “the cliff, as I prepare to jump” because I know there is no parachute waiting for me.  The challenge pushes me to go beyond the place of safety.  I learned to love that!  Those moments of boldness to explore and discover are the goals I continue to aim for. To me this is true freedom!  Being authentic to myself is how I overcome the fear of “I’m never going to be the next Picasso.”

RRM:  What art most inspires you? And this doesn’t need to come from your chosen media, and it doesn’t need to be one singular thing, it could be classical jazz and post-modern realism in literature, etc. 

Classical ballet and classical music most inspire me.  The techniques, the rigorous training and the dogged discipline entailed to achieve excellence is mind boggling to me.  The sacrifices and the focus involved to attain great performances are almost too painful.  But these artists are willing to go through it all for the sake of their art.

RRM: How have COVID-19 events changed your creativeness? 

Covid-19 has given me a new perspective, a new appreciation on being isolated. It has actually brought a spotlight to us Creatives. Why did I say this? Because as artists we already know what isolation is (and I still complain about it ). The loneliness of being isolated in the studio to finish a body of work can be overwhelming.  But during this quarantine season, I have stopped whining about isolation.  As a result, I discovered new resources to explore new angles and subject matters.  I have since revisited a couple of art projects that I put aside for a while and I started working on them alone.

RRM:  Some of the best art, across all genres and mediums, seems to come from suffering to some extent. Why do you feel this is so? 

Many great artists have experienced suffering, pain, and rejection. Their painful struggles have given them the courage and the drive to persist and to rise above it all.  The persistence, fearlessness, and the willingness to fail again and again as they do it a thousand times more until it is right, have produced success. Their failures and full dedication to their craft brought them to greatness. 

RRM:  What has being an artist brought to your life?

Being an artist has brought me joy and I love to bring joy to others as well.  It has also brought me confidence in fulfilling my purpose here and beyond.

We are also happy to announce that Cynthia’s paintings can be viewed now at the Asheville Gallery of Art at the heart of Asheville’s downtown.

” I like to capture a moment in time… share my experience and translate
it with colors, texture and light. “



Interview with Cynthia Llanes2020-10-11T13:00:00-04:00

The Many Colors of Spring

 Color Your Heart

at The French Broad River Connection

I wanted to paint a colorful palette of Asheville’s Blue Ridge parkway.  And express the many colors of spring. Hiking up the Parkway leads to many surprising trails and vistas. One of them is the overlook of the French Broad River. It was nearing the end of winter and new leaves were starting to grow as if welcoming the beginning of spring.  The evergreens were refreshing to see amidst all the bare trees and bare branches. I brought with me my plein air gear and wide brimmed hat and I started to find a good spot to paint. However, to my disappointment it was mostly a gray palette in front of me.

Then I started walking around to find suitable options for an interesting composition. As a result, I  sketched a few thumbnails that gave me ideas on how to proceed with my brush. Because I explored possible options I got my creative mojo back.  And I thought, this is really going to be fun.

I decided to play with colors as I continued to change my composition.  Then I created two sets of color combinations where I could base my final choice.  Discovering new color contrasts and values as I built my new masterpiece was exhilarating!  I closed my eyes and I saw the colors of spring unfold. I saw shades of blues, teal greens, turquoise, and purples, a touch of alizarin crimson, and many shades of gray. The golden yellow and soft oranges at the far end of the horizon that reflected on the water came to life.  I sat there enjoying the wintery scene but happy to break out of the natural world as I allowed my imagination to capture springtime as I visualized it. And now, the many colors of spring have arrived ready to color your heart!

Thank you for visiting my blogpost. Let’s connect. Leave me a comment on the box below. I would love to hear from you!

For details and info about this watercolor painting, visit:        

” I shut my eyes in order to see “
Paul Gaugin
The Many Colors of Spring2020-06-19T17:10:07-04:00

Finding Inspiration As An Artist

layers of colors of sunset or sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mtns

The colors of the sky speaks to me

Finding Inspiration As An Artist: Just Begin!

Everyone needs inspiration. Whoever we are and whatever we are doing we need something to prod us along. I wake up in the morning with many things in my head, like is there anything new for me today and my cup of coffee! Finding inspiration as an artist is where we begin to express our hearts and minds. I believe that overcoming these hurdles are what makes a creative journey worthwhile!

Staring at a blank paper or canvas can be the most intimidating part as I start to paint and it begs the question: How do you find inspiration when you don’t feel inspired?

To reckon with this first and difficult step, we need to JUST DO IT and decide to JUST BEGIN! Procrastinating will never help get us inspired and believe me, I have a million excuses.  So I might begin sketching, composing with geometric shapes and sizes.  Or arranging and re arranging what may be possibilities.  And oftentimes playing with a few color studies serves as a jumpstart. So follow your heart. Because there are no mistakes where to start.

Don’t Beat Yourself When You Can’t Find A Spark! Keep Going!

I take a break and leave my studio. Then I take a walk in our woodsy neighborhood. I call it my Inspiration Walk.  I become more attuned to what is around me.  As a plein aire painter I try to be more adventurous as I discover new shapes, colors, and textures in the landscape. Then I take photos of scenes and objects which sparks my heart. As a result I find that  all I need is a spark, or a nudge. So the rest is now expressing an adventure through this journey. And yes your muse abound  everywhere.

I am so blessed to live here in North Carolina with its wondrous landscape and the Blue Ridge mountains. However, there are days I can still feel uninspired and stale!  I am sure we all go through this season. I shake this off by simply doing something else, like cleaning my studio, or browsing through my photo references. Or even just going out to eat in a restaurant I have never been to.

sunset drama

A spark of inspiration: Sundown at the Blue Ridge Mountains

During one of our weekend hikes with my hubby, I took a photo of an arresting sunset at the top of Max Patch. And then I forgot all about it. One wintery, snowy day, I could not paint outdoors.  So, I browsed through my photographs and voila, an inspiration came over me. I knew I wanted to paint this scene which I entitled “Land of the Sky”.

Recommended reading for inspirational tips!

Nature’s Inspiration: Visit my watercolor paintings:

When God sends His inspiration, it comes to us with such miraculous power that we are able to ‘arise from the dead” and do the impossible.  The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life and power comes after we “get up and get going.” God does not give us overcoming life – he gives us life as we overcome.”   By Oswald Chambers

Blogpost 3: March 17, 2020

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Finding Inspiration As An Artist2020-03-17T20:34:32-04:00

Discovering Historic Charleston / February 14, 2020 Post

Discovering Historic Charleston, SC

Can you believe it is February 2020, the second month of the beginning of another decade? It’s exciting to see this as a new  beginning. Every new year is a chance for new expectations, resolutions, dreams, and changes we vow to make. Mine is to focus on every opportunity for sharing and finding inspiration from my getaways, travels, and adventures with hubby and friends through my paintings. It is to pour my heart and energy into creating…

In this blog I share my visit to Charleston, South Carolina last Christmas. It is such a beautiful, charming city filled with art and history and of course – its sumptuous cuisine!

My hubby and I decided to explore downtown Charleston by horse and carriage!

Horse and carriage, Charleston

Horse and Carriage Around Town

It was a great way to navigate old Charleston’s historic streets. With seasoned guides and strong, powerful horses we trotted along the cobbled streets. I can still hear the rhythmic sound of the horse’s hoofs echoing down the narrow streets. It felt like Circa 1820 as we listened to the guide’s stories and anecdotes about the city, ghosts that still hover around a few haunted buildings.  It was just like walking back in time as we passed by the historic homes, plantations and churches.  I was completely enamored by this moment in time. The architecture was from the influences of both American Colonial and French designs.

The Circular and Congregational Church is amazing, dating back to 1890. Its architectural style is Greek Revival, Romanesque. It is not really circular but a modified cloverleaf design and continues to be known as the Circular Church.

Circular Congregational Church

The Circular Congregational Church

Another church that stood out to me is Saint Philip’s Anglican church.  The steeple of this church is 200 feet tall and its glass windows once served as a lighthouse.  The bells were donated to the Confederacy and melted for the iron. New bells were not installed until 1976. The main central doors are 25 feet tall and were ripped from their hinges by Hurricane Hugo in September 1989. Wow! During Christmas it is well known for its most solemn candlelight service. George Washington, John Wesley and Robert E. Lee are just some of noteworthy individuals who worshipped at St. Philip’s.

St Phillips Anglican Church , Greek revival, Romanesque architecture

Sketch of St Phillip’s Anglican Church

We passed by many beautiful historic homes like the Aiken-Rhett House at Elizabeth street circa 1820, virtually unaltered and preserved. This was the former home of Gov. and Mrs. William Aiken Jr. The Calhoun Mansion at Meeting Street is the largest privately-owned home in Charleston circa 1876. This remarkable 24,000 sq. ft. private residence and its formal gardens are open daily for tours.

1800s Charleston home

An 1800s Charleston Home

After an hour of cruising the downtown of Charleston we dropped by a delectable restaurant, Florence’s Low Country Kitchen. We were hoping for a good casual Christmas eve dinner and weren’t disappointed.  Florences’s is popular for its delicious low country seafood cuisine. I must say it was the best seafood fare I have tasted in a long time. Gosh, great food can alter your state of mind!

On Christmas day, we headed to Folley Beach. I can’t miss a visit to the beach! The weather couldn’t have been any better. It was such a lovely day and I was ready to paint ‘en plein aire’! The ocean always gives me a special lift as I smelled the sea breeze. We found an ideal spot for painting and voila, I feverishly created several watercolor paintings.

Painting en plein aire at Folley Beach

Painting en plein aire at Folley Beach

The next day we visited The Gibbes Museum of Art.  I loved the informative, inspirational and enlightening galleries and its architecture. When the Gibbes Museum opened in 1905, the nation celebrated what Charleston has always understood: “the power of art – to inspire our imagination, heal our hurt, and nourish our souls.”  The permanent collection of the Gibbes Museum of Art has deep roots in history. The collection contains artworks inspired by the low country of South Carolina’s unique landscape and cultural heritage.

As the old adage says, a picture speaks a thousand words. As I viewed the paintings and artifacts housed in this magnificent, high ceilinged, three-story building, I really sensed the struggles artists of that era have gone through as they expressed the sentiments of their generation. From wars to slavery and colonization, this museum is filled with awesome history.

view of Charleston by Henry Joseph Jackson

“View of Charleston” by Henry Joseph Jackson 1853

Let me begin with the early landscapes. A new appreciation for landscape painting emerged in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. A fascination with ancient civilizations and a renewed interest in classical landscape paintings by Nicolas Poussin, Salvador Rosa and Claude Lorrain shaped artists’ work. Early works of landscape painting were imported to America from Great Britain, where Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable and Paul Sandby led the landscape movement. The generation of American artists working between the American Revolution and Civil War learned painting techniques by traveling to Europe for training. Some of the earliest American landscape compositions were created in Charleston.

But here is the sad part –The civil war left Charleston in ruins. It destroyed family fortunes, and fires and looting devastated homes and art collections. Artists were not isolated from the effects of war and of African slavery. During the war, painters such as William Aiken Walker and Conrad Wise Chapman who had successful careers became artists for the Confederate Army. They explored issues of slavery, and enslaved artist David Drake expressed resistance to his condition through his ceramic art. I have seen many sketches, historical objects,  etchings, and paintings depicting slaves. One section of a gallery showed tags with numbers identifying the slaves.

Slave tags Gibbes Museum Collection

Slave tags in the Gibbes Museum Collection

I share some of the sentiments these civil war artists expressed. I came from a country that was colonized by Spain and the United States.  Spain landed in the Philippines in 1565 and stayed there for 400 years!  The United States granted us independence on July 4, 1946.  For many long years my country has experienced its own tumultuous struggle for freedom and independence. Many of our history books, journals and works of art have documented the pain of being colonized. But ultimately independence was gained and we now have sovereignty. But sadly not without a price.

Collection Gibbes Museum

Oil Painting, Collection of Gibbes Museum

What a great gift we have now in this big country I now call my own, America, the beautiful. We can enjoy the freedom to express our own minds and hearts as painters, sculptors, writers, film makers, journalists, men and women to the whole world!

Today, the Gibbes Museum of Art hosts art exhibitions from contemporary artists of various media and styles not only from South Carolina residents but artists from other parts of the nation.

FUN FACT from Gibbes Museum of Art on the Secret Life of a Painting: Museums prolong the lives of objects and paintings through specialized handling, storage and environmental conditions. If a painting is in poor condition it may need conservation or repair. Conservators use many techniques to examine a painting. Previous repairs require a Black Light to see them. Black light is a spectrum of energy that causes materials to react in different ways. A conservator can understand what a black light uncovers, such as another layer of paint or prior restoration, and about the painting’s authenticity. Visit:

Well, bless y’all for reading all the way through my ramblings! Feel free to comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!

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Discovering Historic Charleston / February 14, 2020 Post2020-02-19T10:21:02-05:00

My First Blog! December 2, 2019

Hello Art Lovers and Friends!

Welcome to my new website and blog!  It has been a long process revising and recreating my presence on the World Wide Web.  I am excited to share my new works from Windy Porch Studios here in beautiful Asheville, N.C. and my desire is to connect with all of you like-minded, creative souls, and those who love and support the arts and artists.

In these blog posts, I will be discussing a wide range of topics beneficial and relevant to artists, art lovers, and art collectors.  I will also be referencing and providing links to sites that I find interesting to my readers, and updating my web site with new art works as they are developed.

I feel this is all a new beginning. Moving from California to North Carolina was a big change but from West Coast to East Coast was another change. Not without its challenges but now we live up on a hill overlooking the Pisgah mountain range, with lots of evergreens, foliage and a view of the sunsets and sunrises. Truly a refreshing source of subject matter for my painting — but bugs are everywhere! And wildlife too but not all of them are bad. Ladybugs and leaves dominate the garden and the porch in autumn. Summer evenings we have fireflies which I love. But not the mosquitoes. Oh well, I realized we live in a temperate rain forest. The birds wake us up in the morning. I must have seen over 20 species of these adorable creatures! The cardinals are my favorite. They perch on the dogwood tree just across our bedroom window. Sunday mornings we watch the deer nibble on some of our plants. Seems like they love to visit on Sunday mornings. And yes there was Teddy Bear one afternoon who toppled down the bird house to enjoy the bird seeds. The pros and cons of living in the midst of Nature. We are thirty minutes away from downtown Asheville so we often visit the galleries to view incredible art. Blue Spiral, Haen, Momentum galleries are some of my favorites and the River Arts District and Asheville Gallery of Art are always a treat.  Another favorite past time is dining at Asheville restaurants for the eclectic and farm-to-table good eats.  The Asheville chefs have a knack to elevate any recipe. For one, I love the Kimchi fries at the White Labs brewery and restaurant. Yum! It’s a another Asheville fusion of Asian and American cuisine. Oops,  this is an art blog but I can’t stop talking about food!

I am looking forward to exploring the terrain of North Carolina with its luscious, enchanting beauty  as it continues  to inspire me, and open my heart and soul to new visions.

In my website, there is contact info for those who wish to reach out and engage with me and other readers.  But most of all, enjoy the journey with me. I am happy to connect, or chat via social media or even a visit to my studio!

Here are a few of my WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS:

Color Your Heart Painting Social is a group I started here at Windy Porch Studios to bring together art enthusiasts, hobbyists, and those who love to dabble with paint and brush while enjoying social interaction and making new connections and friendships.  I enjoy sharing my studio and artistic skills with others as part of my intention to  connect with the local community!  My studio is open most weekdays and weekends for two-hour sessions. Join us at Windy Porch Studios for creative time, snacks and refreshments, and ample gab! Check my Events Calendar on the main menu.

Asheville Plein Air Painters meet every Thursday at selected scenic locations. During wintertime, they have indoor sketching of clothed models. I have joined many of their paint outs and met wonderful, talented artists. I enjoy the camaraderie and sometimes an exchange of thoughts on art and life. It is a real treat to paint plein aire amidst Asheville’s gorgeous landscape. All types of artistic media are welcome to join for its weekly painting sessions. It is free!

If you love painting outdoors check it out at:

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Asheville Art Museum

Attending the opening of the newly renovated Asheville Art Museum.  Visiting the museum was a truly inspirational walk.

art lab pix-72

Inspired after the museum visit. Back to my studio with my favorite tools.

a visit at Asheville museum of Art

Enjoying the Asheville Art Museum at downtown Asheville. It will remain as a great landmark for generations to come.

My First Blog! December 2, 20192020-03-11T14:08:19-04:00