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Worcester’s Cynthia Woehrle Emphasizes Color Contrast in Her Work

Monday, December 17, 2012


Many of us have caught ourselves staring at the sky in wonder, losing ourselves in its vastness, mystery and beauty. This feeling is what Worcester's Cynthia Woehrle tries to capture in her elegant and rich oil paintings, and she has been quite successful in doing it. You don't become Gallery Manager of ArtsWorcester for nothing.

What fascinates her most about the sky is the distinction between light and dark, and the correlating feelings identified with the two opposites.

"What compels me most to paint is the desire to wrap myself around a feeling. It is my practice to associate lights and darks in atmosphere with both positive and negative implications," she says, opening her artist statement.

Moreover, the sky represents best the subtle shifts between light and dark, and as it has been often said, they is much beauty in the subtle. This is especially true in the realm of art. Woehrle takes advantage of this reality.

"I have always been fascinated by very subtle tonal changes, the subjects of the landscape and sky allow me to explore such tonal changes in the atmosphere, light, fog and shadow."

Woehrle takes her art very seriously, and her love and passion for it is palpable. She plays whimsically with the distinction between light and dark, painting the cloudy, the clear and everything in between.

"I allow myself to get lost in the painting as I explore these themes," she says. "My preferred medium is oil paint as it has a glow, translucence and extendability that I love to use in my work," explaining her preferred method of artistic expression.

For her every painting is a product of great effort and agonizing concentration. "I am a very slow painter, working allows me to focus and think thoroughly through the direction of a work. Sometimes I sit in front of a painting longer than I have actually put brush to surface," she continues.

"The process of creating is subjective to my mood and the theme. But no matter how the work came about it is gratifying to finish a piece, as I only paint them for me."

Given this methodology, her intimate and prideful feelings toward her finished work is understandable.

"I feel a strong relationship with the surface of every work I've finished and in the end they become my babies."
Two of these "babies" include Green Hill Park and Going Home-Mass Pike, both showing a storm breaking up right when the sun is setting.

"When the land is covered by the shadow of clouds, the sky is piled high is tones of grey and blue and then just a peak of sunlight breaks through as if the sun wanted to remind you that it's still there. It represents hope, something to look forward to and makes me feel inspired to take a moment and live in that moment," she says eloquently describing them, both the visuals and the purpose behind them.

She also remarks on the very different Heavy Sky (over Lake Quinsigamond). It's "about the darkness, this work is about a destination and the road in which my life travels. There is acknowledgement of the negative an appreciation for its own beauty and solace.'

Her passion for art has been groomed since an early age. It almost all seemed pre-destined. Her love of the outdoors began where she grew up she believes, surrounded by the picturesque New England landscape of New Hampshire.

She enjoyed art as a kid, pointing out she was always encouraged to pursue her talents by her teachers, but Cynthia did not truly fall in love it until learning how to oil paint at the Montserrat College of Art in Beverly.

"I looked up to my teacher George Gabin as a mentor. I credit the teachers there, Rose Olson, Kathleen Speranza, as well as George Gabin, with guiding me towards my artistic aesthetic," she says.

The rest, as they say, is history. She has been exhibiting art in Massachusetts since 1993 and living in Worcester since '97.

Perhaps the fact she acknowledges that so many have helped her along her journey is what inspires her to contribute to ArtsWorcester which also does so much to help the local art community.

Woehrle's art has been seen at a number of high-profile venues including the Fruitlands Museum, the Boston State House, the Academic Artist Association in Springfield, ArtsWorcester, the Zullo Gallery in Medfield,  and the Cultural Arts Alliance in Hopkinton.

Her work, along with the work of several other artists, is currently on display in an exhibition entitled "Visceral Murmors" exploring the themes of the landscape at night, the moon and tornadoes is on display at Fruitlands. The exhibition ends December 22, but she intends to create 7 new works following the same themes over the next year.
Those who choose to view her art are always in for a visual and emotional treat, no matter what she chooses to express with a given work.

"Most people who comment on my work, tell me that they relate to it in some way. Whether it conjures a memory of a place, or stirs an emotion. It is my hope that if someone stops to look at my work that they see a glimpse of what fascinates me, those subtle colors and tonal changes," Woehrle says.

For more information on Cynthia Woehrle and to view her work, visit her website here.


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