Artist Cynthia Gatien


I am a self-taught artist. I’ve learned by quite simply putting in the hours, setting goals for myself, reaching them, and then setting new ones. My education was actually in nursing school but after graduation, I only worked in a hospital setting for two years, then was content to be a full time Mom.

While living in Atlanta in the 80’s I went to photography school. This had the unexpected bonus of my not just becoming better technically, but opening my eyes to nuance, detail, colour… it was all around me. These skills have stood me in good stead. Back to Canada, living in Montreal, I met a group of friends interested in learning the popular decorative painting techniques, so we immersed outselves in this for many years. We went from painting walls , marbelizing, dragging ragging to opening a studio where we painted floorcloths and all kinds of objets. Wonderful years, doing craft shows all over the east coast of the US. Both of these experiences have helped me approach painting in a unique way.

In 2002, we moved back to Eastern Ontario where both my husband and I grew up. We bought a lovely old home in the beautiful little hamlet of South Lancaster on the St. Lawrence River. During this time, I moved away from decorative painting and immersed myself in painting on canvas. However, all those years of working with pattern and colour certainly had, and continues to have, a profound affect on my work.

Over these years I did many shows, experimenting with different genres….in a way, it was like taking myself to art school. Eventually, built a large studio. Initially, I worried about a. the money spent on it and b. would I use it/deserve it? It turned out to be the best thing we ever did. It is where I spend all my time ….I still get a little buzz coming in each morning. I feel fortunate that at this stage of my life (mid-seventies), I look forward to being in the studio every day, totally engaged in my work

Artist Statement

Each painting presents its own unique challenges. It’s this aspect, call it problem-solving if you will, that I’ve come to appreciate over the years. I start with an idea and then let it slowly emerge, finding its voice. What used to frustrate me, I now recognize as an integral and necessary part of the process.

My goal is to make art that pleases, lights up a room, makes people happy, and, equally important, that they can afford. I think people often underestimate the importance of having art in their environment. If I can, I’d like to change that.