Cynthia (Whitsett) Vowell grew up in Jackson,Mississippi, graduating from Murrah High School (1970) and Belhaven College (1974).

She danced with the Jackson, MS Ballet company and continued to perform and teach dance after the birth of her two sons.  She also played classical piano and enjoyed the musical and artistic environment her family provided.

Inspired by her mother and family, Cynthia seriously began studying art in Nashville, TN, where she currently resides with her husband, Wayne.

She has studied with Jody and Pat Thompson of Franklin, TN,  Albert Handell from Santa Fe, NM, Michael Shane Neal, Dawn Whitelaw, plein air artist, Scott Christenson, and Anthony Ryder.

Cynthia is a member of the Tennessee Art League, The Chestnut Group (a plein air non profit art group), and the Portrait Society of America, and she is an active member of the Oil Painters of America.

She was awarded one of the ”Top Ten of Tennessee” artists by the Portrait Society of America in 2006 and has been juried into the Central South Art Exhibit for 2007 and 2008.

Cynthia continues to paint and study while running her home and hospital based personal training business,Better Bodies.

Why I paint

I’ve been fascinated with drawing and colors as long as I can remember.  When I was a young child, my father would demonstrate how to draw animals, shapes with shadows and light, and would model figures and busts from Mississippi clay.   Making paper or clay come to life to represent beauty or tell a story filled my young eyes with amazement and wonder and made me eager to learn this magical alchemy.  As the youngest of five artistic siblings, my youthful efforts always took place in a house filled with music, dance and artistic projects. The pleasure I gained from viewing art and from creating it myself, combined with the expressive happiness and energy emanating from my siblings projects caused me to equate art with joy, a sentiment that has never waned.

As I entered adulthood, those carefree days of unrestricted creativity gave way to the demands of child rearing and career, and my passion was put on a shelf, where it gathered dust for decades.

Many years later, my mother began painting (at the tender age of 85).  It gave her a new lease on life and she enthusiastically looked forward to every painting day.  She spoke frequently of the joy it brought her and she reminded me of the joy I experienced as a child. Inspired by her example, I started seriously studying art at the age of 50.  I am now  reconnected to my earlier fascination with colors, light and dark shapes, and life’s beauty emphasized through the manipulation of colors and shades on paper .  Not only do I enjoy the learning process and the painting process, but also a sense of what my mother learned and passed on to me in her last years: the childlike joy that springs from studying and creating art can sustain us and give us joy as long as we live.