I’m Cynthia Morris and I live in sunny Denver, Colorado. I visit Paris every year and travel around Europe and the US a lot. This year I will break free from the norm and visit Japan, which I know will change me and my art forever.
While I am a dedicated homebody, my travels inform my art and give me the feeling that I am living a full and rich life. As a girl in Ohio, I always yearned to go somewhere exciting, and I am grateful to have crafted a life where I get to wander and nest too.
I’ve been a writer for most of my adult life. Having received an F in high school art, I put art making away to focus on writing. But the desire to draw and paint never died. In the mid-90s, I discovered Frederick Franck’s books, including Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing. This introduced me to the concept of drawing and art as a way to be engaged deeply with the world, instead of showing off prowess or skill.
I began keeping a sketchbook and over the years my skills developed. As a coach and teacher, I began leading creativity workshops in France in 2005, helping others gently and playfully engage with their inner artist. Having low expectations about skill development seems to be a good way to trick the inner critic into hiding and the inner artist out to play.
In 2012, I published my Paris historical novel, Chasing Sylvia Beach. I finally was free to devote myself to art. After twelve years in the sepia-toned past to research my novel, it was pure delight to paint the world around me in bright colors. I’m drawn to depict flowers, every day objects, clothing and now, people.
I’ve been deeply engaged in the process of studying art, taking classes and giving myself challenges. It’s incredibly gratifying to see improvement over the years. I’ve had fun developing my lettering, drawing and painting skills. I’ve created several bodies of work and a deck of illustrated blessings for writers.
I’m inspired by the beauty of the world – flowers, architecture, cities, people, books. My travels keep my curiosity alive and give me lots of things to paint and draw. The creative process fascinates me and I love reading about and hearing master creatives talk about their work. I believe making art – making anything – can reflect a deep engagement with oneself and with the divine forces that infuse life with such mysterious grace.
My favorite notebooks are ones with watercolor paper. I love Moleskine and also Hand Book Paper Company, especially their watercolor square journal. I started out using Caran d’Ache watercolor crayons (still love them!) and now mostly use watercolor paints in a travel palette. I love, love, love line drawings and use the Uni-Pin in all sizes for my drawing.
Currently, I am in the middle of the 100 Day Project, where I paint a daily portrait of people both imagined and real. It’s so fun to blast away the notion that I can’t draw people, and to give myself an A every single day for showing up, eager to learn, play and create.