Local artist Cynthia Kinard recently experienced an exceptional honor. One of her paintings was accepted into an exhibit with the International Guild of Realism, a highly prestigious exhibit that requires a high level of talent, skill, and dedication to be accepted. Kinard has worked hard for many years to achieve such standards.
“When I saw that I was accepted, I just couldn’t believe it. I was so excited,” declared Kinard, whose honored painting, as well as a profile on her art career, was featured in the November issue of American Art Collector Magazine.
Kinard’s artistic passion began in a hospital. As a child, she was diagnosed with a terminal cancer that guaranteed her only 15 years of life, at most. While she was receiving treatment for cancer, many people donated items such as toys, clothing and more. Her mother gave her one toy to open each day while she was in treatment. One day, she received a paint-by-number pad.
“I fell in love with art,” said Kinard.
In fact, that one paint-by-number gift fueled her passion for art and she never gave it up. Miraculously, Kinard’s cancer was cured and she has remained cancer-free. She wrote about the experience in her recent book, “The Life of Faith and Divine Health.”
Pursuing a Life of Art
After she discovered her artistic gift, she continued to pursue it. “I drew or painted on anything and everything I could get my hands on.”
She first studied at Western Carolina University, graduating with honors. Under William Whiteside, a noted watercolorist who also taught former president George W. Bush, she learned the medium of watercolor painting. She then used those skills in her first professional career as a commissioned portrait artist.
As her career progressed, she traveled to Florence, Italy, where she studied under renowned art Maestro Michael John Angel at the Angel Academy of Art. She continued her studies under another art master, Benjamin Long IV. At his school, back in the United States, she learned fresco, cast drawing, and cast painting. Out of all of the people she studied under, including individuals well-known in the art world, such as Richard Lack, Roger Nelson, and John Dempsey, Kinard feels she learned the most from Long.
While the International Guild of Realism honor is noteworthy for Kinard, she pointed out that “getting a piece into the Art Renewal Center would be my biggest goal.”
The Art Renewal Center is an online museum format with a focus to revive the art style of realism.
“I’m very picky with the exhibits I submit my pieces to. If they are all about modern art, I am not interested. I only submit my works to exhibits that are focused on realism, so getting a piece featured in the Art Renewal Center would be a great accomplishment,” said Kinard, adding, “Of course, I continue to enter my pieces into exhibits that are bent to realism. You just cannot get better than the Old-World Masters’ works.”
Kinard uses many different mediums to create her works, including watercolor, charcoal, oil paints, pen and ink, colored pencils.
“[My favorite subjects to paint are] faces and figures,” she said.
Due to her history with cancer, she realized that life is not to be taken for granted. She believes that it is important to convey “special moments” through her artwork as a tribute to those who have dealt with suffering.
Kinard seeks to glorify God through her artwork. Her artwork is displayed in churches in Franklin.
“L’Innocence,” can now be viewed in All Saints Episcopal Church. She also has painted a “Pieta” (representing Mary sorrowfully contemplating the dead body of Jesus, who she holds on her lap) that can be loaned out to churches in the area.
Her creativity extends beyond one avenue; Kinard is not only an artist, but also an author. She has written three books and continues writing.
“When I was a little girl, I would climb up in a tree and write in this hole on the bark, and that’s what sparked my passion for reading,” she said. When asked if she ever plans on taking a break, Kinard responded, “No, I don’t see myself taking a break. When I’m 110 years old, I will probably still be painting. You know, God gives us individual talents. Everything just moves so fast that I do not get the chance to stop and appreciate or even consider my accomplishments.”
Kinard’s artwork is displayed locally at NC Mountain Made, located at 36 East Main Street, Franklin.