Student Reviews – Santa Cruz Art League

“Bijou” – French for Jewel (Bijou Box = Watercolor kit for the field)   One of the many things I learned in “Keeping a Nature Sketchbook” class, Cynthia is a jewel in our community!  Santa Cruz is lucky to have such an experienced instructor willing to share her vast knowledge of the medium.  She teaches us to open our eyes to the beauty around us.  Cynthia communicates techniques in a clear, interesting way.  She shows many examples and demos.  The atmosphere is light and fun.  I learned to focus on textures, diverse surfaces, interesting shapes and patterns.  I don’t think I have ever looked at anything so closely.  She pulls you out of your comfort zone and encourages you to test and explore artistic boundaries.  She is always helpful and answers any questions that come up.  Cynthia is a “Bijou” indeed!  What a privilege to spend time with such an entertaining and engaging artist.  I can’t wait to sign-up for another class.  Gaye Muir

“Cynthia is a very well-prepared instructor who makes lessons accessible to all levels of artistic experience.  Her class is a great balance of direct instruction, independent practice and supportive individual coaching.  She has a good sense of humor.  I highly recommend Cynthia’s classes.”    Shoney Sien

“I took a few journaling classes with Cynthia and now I have a great journal about journaling.  Not only can I look back and remember the exercises I did and the techniques and tools that I experimented with, but I have pages of notes regarding authors, artists, art supplies, and all sorts of information regarding color, format, process and composition. After that I took her classes on gouache and watercolor landscapes and found them as enjoyable and productive.   It was easy to see that there was a lot of planning and preparation for each class but Cynthia was also open to feedback from the class in terms of what individuals were interested in around a topic.  Factored in was time for practice exercises and individual check-ins and feedback during the process.  Being in her class was a pleasure and helped my knowledge base and confidence tremendously.”    Beverly Flemming

“Cynthia is one of the best painting teachers I’ve had.  She’s super organized, which allows her to cover a lot more material in a few hours than most teachers.  She’s serious but has a wicked sense of humor.  From her good direction, for the first time in my life, I actually think I ‘get’ how to paint the lights and darks in pine trees!”      Kristen Davis

“Cynthia is a wonderful artist and a generous teacher.  I have taken several of her classes and can say she takes her students seriously.  She meets you where you are in your skill level and starts with the basics everyone should know. At the same time she is creative in presenting challenges for those ready to move ahead.  No one gets lost in the shuffle.  Everyone’s understanding of the material is addressed individually.   She is always well prepared, with visuals, demonstrations, exercises to improve skills, new materials to try, and books to read.  There’s no pressure,  just a wealth of information for you to use as your time and interest permits.  She shows you the path to becoming a better artist.”   Janet Platen

“I have to confess that I always felt overwhelmed and challenged by watercolor media.  After taking a few classes with Cynthia, where she practically took me by the hand and showed me different ways to gain control of watercolor, I now have a clearer understanding about paints and composition.  I love the clarity and systematic way Cynthia presents this vast ocean of information.”   Yonat Michaelov

“Where to start….I have taken a number of classes from Cynthia and each one of them was a treasure!  She is a gifted teacher who comes to class highly prepared to present and share her considerable knowledge of art and watercolor, in particular, with her students.  I had some art training previously but no other teacher in my experience dove as deeply into color theory, composition, materials, etc., as Cynthia.  She spends time with her students analyzing the ‘order of operations’ from examples.  This in particular has really helped me improve my skills and understanding of watercolor.  Don’t miss an opportunity to take a class from her.”    Katy Foster

“I have learned a tremendous amount from the 2 classes I have taken from Cynthia (The Illustrated Journal and Landscapes in Watercolor).  Her knowledge and expertise is seemingly boundless, and her ability and intent to pass on that knowledge through well organized presentations, demonstrations, and personal feedback has helped me expand and develop as an artist.  Her classes are comprehensive, including everything from addressing the inner critic, studying in-depth characteristics of the medium, choosing appropriate tools and accessories, examining and exploring the principles of composition, color theory, color mixing, and learning very practical strategies for creating desired effects, all of which I so appreciate!  I actually am grateful that she pushed us to do homework, to do multiple studies, to consciously expand our awareness in so many ways.  I would not have the motivation to follow through on my own to that degree, and I now have a better appreciation of the benefits of following through and maintaining that focus.  What a resource to draw on! ”   Khalila Alldis (student and artist)

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