Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cyndy Carstens Named Artist of Distinction in "True Artist" Exhibition

Cyndy Carstens has been named an Artist of Distinction in Still Point Art Gallery's latest exhibition, True Artist. Carstens is showing three pieces in the exhibition, but it is her wonderful work, Solitude, that really struck me. It brings back memories for me of growing up in San Diego. In those days I would throw out a towel or a chair and soak up the warmth of the sun and the sand. At certain times of the day or days of the year, the long beach would be quite sparsely populated, and it would be easy to find solitude while listening to nothing but the rhythmic sound of the waves. It was glorious. All of that is in this piece by Carstens; it has certainly touched my spirit.

But there is so much more here than a chair on a beach. Carstens' beautiful combination of cool and warm colors brings a surprising sense of warmth to this beach scene and a feeling of completeness. In addition, Carstens has a unique way of dividing her pieces into sections or blocks, which promotes a very strong sense of harmony and balance in her work.  In Solitude, the three main sections are the sky, the water and the sand. Along with these distinct sections, horizontal and vertical bars of color are used in the piece, and they not only add interest and color, but they also contribute to this sense of harmony that seems so important to Carstens' work.

A very important part of this painting is tiny and almost unnoticeable -- the figure walking along the shoreline. Solitude would be a very different painting without the figure. The figure is very small, slightly transparent, almost ghostlike, the same color as the water. The figure is not well defined, so it could be anyone the viewer wants it to be. The figure is walking out of the scene, away from the chair, away from the viewer, into solitude, into peace.

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Artist Statement

The purpose of my work is to inspire and foster a sense of hope and healing. Over the last few years, while caring for my ill mother, I have learned much about the brevity of life, the sanctity and dignity of death, and how important it is to heal our wounds in the present. My paintings are a reflection of living, dying and healing. The expansive skies represent an ultimate freedom of the soul tempered by images beckoning sensations of breath and struggles, rest and trials. Feathers are a favorite image as they can elicit a capacity for hope. Emily Dickinson wrote,

“Hope is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tunes without the words –

And never stops – at all.”

Composition and color are the basis of my large-scale paintings, capturing the eye with striking swathes of energy. However, it is the imagery and use of multi-layered color bars that exude an essence of solitude and compassion – simple yet complex – personal yet universally understood.

I sincerely believe bodily death is not the end of life, but a new beginning. My perspective is only unique in that I have been given the spiritual gift of illustrating my emotions, scars, joy, healing and hope on canvas.


Born in Minnesota, Cyndy Carstens currently lives and works in Phoenix, AZ. She won her first art competition at 6 years old – a summer scholarship at the Minnesota Art Institute.

The driving passion of pursuing art affected her life from that day on. She works in a range of mediums including oil, acrylic, watercolor and mixed media. Her work has won a number of awards and competitions including The Chairman’s Award at the Peoria Arts Council Annual Juried Exhibition, The Wichita River Festival Poster, and several Arizona Artist Guild Excellence in Painting Awards.

Carstens' work has been featured in many exhibitions throughout the U.S. including Manhattan Arts International’s “The Healing Power of Art”, NY. Exhibiting in 15 to 20 juried competitions a year, she has procured a number of one-person exhibitions at Alta Space of Phoenix, The Windmill Gallery of Scottsdale, Gallery Nineteen of Phoenix and the West Valley Art Museum, Surprise, AZ.

Cyndy Carstens has been honored to speak about her work in a number of venues including the West Valley Art Museum, “Coffee with the Artists” at the Windmill Gallery, the Payson Art League and the Alzheimer’s Institute and Consortium. She and her paintings have been featured in numerous newspaper and magazine articles over the years, and she has appeared as a special guest to discuss her work on local news programs including KSNW Daily News Show, KTVK Good Morning Arizona and KAZ-TV AM Arizona.

Solitude (20 x 20) oil, $670.

Return to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
August 18, 2010


  1. Thank you, Christine, for this wonderful and insightful post. I am truly humbled by your commentary of my work.
    With your permission I will forward the link to my clients, friends and family. Again, thank you.

  2. Congratulations, Cyndy. Your work is beautiful and inspirational.

  3. Thank you, Liz. Coming from you, it is a real compliment.