As a child growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania, Cynthia Stroud was fascinated by animals, and dreamed of becoming a large animal veterinarian. Later, as her interests shifted to fine art she continued studying anatomy and physiology at the same time she was mastering the rigorous techniques necessary to creating versatile, vibrant artworks across multiple media. Throughout her life, Cynthia’s work has been driven by a strong sense of the need to preserve the natural world and care for the future of all species.
Today Cynthia lives on the coast of Maine where she works in a wide range of media; in bronze, stone, wood and clay, also in oil, pastel, watercolor, photography, and collage. Trained as a classical sculptor, her work explores a three-dimensional world of opposing forces – motion and stillness, light and darkness–that she calls the “choreography of life”.
Her sculptures capture the energy of wild animals and flying figures in action and at rest–from the leap and flex of a dolphin in midair and the tumble of bear cubs at play to the lazy poise of a sleeping bobcat. Through accuracy of gesture and form, Stroud achieves an elegant lyricism that moves us out of realism into the dynamic tension of her subjects that reverberates through all of her work.
On canvas, Stroud is equally at home as a painter and collagist. In New York she was honored with a solo exhibition for her series of stunning portraits of large predators–a pack of wolves with eyes burning like coals in darkness, big cats hidden from prey by jungle foliage, and stately elephants, ambassadors of the ancient memory of infinite habitat, of space to live and dream.
In a series of paintings of harbors and boats that toured New England and Canada, Stroud explores the nightlife of a port in the south of France. Using vivid patches of color, floating forms, and the play of light on water, she creates scenes to remember: the rush of waves in starlight, reflected in turn on painted hulls swaying across the canvas. Shadowy figures emerge along the quay, illuminated by the bright glow and bustle of restaurants and buildings huddled against the blue of the night sky.
Deeply inspired by coastal wildlife, her most recent bronze works defy gravity and celebrate the freedom of migrating birds and the aerial prowess of birds of prey. Our gaze is taken upward to see flocking songbirds, a rush of syncopated wings bursting into the sky. Or the fierce conflict between hawks fighting for a perch with claws in mid-air, and a majestic Cooper’s hawk, wings flapping to balance on a treetop, marking his proud return from the atmosphere high above.