Cynthia Armstrong is a graduate of the Science Communications/ Illustration Graduate program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In addition, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree from San Jose State University and a Master's Degree in Education from Stanford University.   A freelance scientific and natural history illustrator since 1997, her work ranges from environmental education materials and  publications/advertising to fine art, employing a number of traditional techniques in a highly detailed manner.



For as long as I can remember, science and art have been twinned influences in my work.   Drawing and painting brings me close to my subjects, and as a meditative practice, it allows me to slow down enough to ask questions.  When drawing anything, it seems that  many more questions arise than are answered by mere observation.  The interplay of rendering and questioning is my primary learning mode  and is  terribly exciting and gratifying.  It's not surprising then, that I would gravitate to Jean Cocteau's quote, " Art is science made clear", which I whole-heartedly embrace.   I've tried to introduce various aspects of that method of 'draw - question - draw' to my students when I teach, and they often surprise themselves with their discoveries.  And really, isn't that what it's all about, to revel in the joy of discovery?

I view my art as the process of resolving contradictions. I love the wabi-sabi notion of beauty coaxed out of the often overlooked and inconspicuous, and yet, I am drawn to bold, vibrant colors. My paintings often explore the tension between ordinary subjects as interpreted in extra-ordinary colors and textures. My training as a science illustrator lends itself, at times, to fine focus on details and realism. Other times, I veer wildly into a revelry of emotional expressionism. I enjoy the challenge of creating dynamic and sensitive images that entice contemplation.

 - Cynthia Armstrong