A beautiful ancient Greek art form called encaustic painting, based on melting beeswax and resin to create mysterious and luminous images, is enjoying a modern Renaissance thanks to the high quality encaustics made by R & F Paints in Kingston. Artists from all over arrive there to learn the techniques at the hands of Gardiner resident Cynthia Winika, who has lived in Gardiner since 1978 and is inspired by the Gunks and surrounding area.
Easy, outgoing, imaginative, and very engaged, Cynthia is a talented mixed-media artist whose life has given her a background in both Western and Eastern traditions. She loves sharing the wonder of painting with wax, and in 2014 was named the best teacher of the year by International Encaustic Artists.
In her own work, Cynthia is constantly exploring ways to bring life and art together. One literally explosive example is the use of fireworks, which she lights above a large paper. As the fireworks die, their afterlife of marks and fired elements become part of collages to which she adds her own drawings and sketches, bits of found objects, colored papers, and transfers. Anchored in wax, visible from two sides, the works assume a new life in a larger, created whole.
Similarly, Cynthia brings her adventures as a serious mycologist (the study of fungi) to bear in her art. Gathering all manner of fungi from as close as her backyard woods on Hasbrouck Road, she experiments with making mushroom spore prints in encaustic paintings that illuminate the imagination as the stars illuminate the sky. These natural and mysterious elements are gathered into beautiful works of art.
Cynthia’s resume is a long and rich list that reflects a life of teaching, creating, and displaying art in institutions around the United States. Her studies took her to Hawaii and Taiwan, as well as more familiar venues closer to home.
She is a stalwart of the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale and her work has been collected by several museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2006, an exhibition of her fungi-based art in New York City was written about in the New York Times. Closer to home, you may have seen her work in the Gardiner Library.
Cynthia can be reached via email at email@example.com.