Cindy House, born in Rhode Island in 1952, grew up in the coastal town of Bristol along Mt. Hope Bay. From the time she could first walk, she followed her mother, a natural history teacher and photographer, into the woods, fields, and along the shorelines to observe nature. She first developed an interest in wildlife art during high school while working at a local bird sanctuary. Rather than art, she chose to study wildlife biology while at the University of Maine. It was during her final year that the urge to express herself creatively became overwhelming and she took on an assignment to design, write and illustrate a small handbook on wildlife for the Boy Scouts of America. It was this handbook that prompted initial interest in her work.
Without formal training, Cindy began her career by illustrating A Guide to the Birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. She has illustrated numerous books including the National Geographic Society's Guide to the Birds of North America, Book of North American Birds for the Reader's Digest Association, and A Field Guide to Warblers in the Peterson Field Guide Series. She has exhibited numerous times at the prestigious Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum's 'Birds in Art' show. Her work is included in the permanent collection of that museum along with those of Bausch & Lomb Corporation and both the Rhode Island and the Massachusetts Audubon Societies. She is a member of the Society of Animal Artists. the Pastel Society of America and Artists for Conservation.
In the late 1980's an exhibit of the landscape paintings of William Merritt Chase at the National Gallery in Washington, DC so inspired Cindy that she immediately enrolled in a pastel workshop given by Albert Handel. The focus of her work gradually changed from bird portraiture and illustrations in watercolor to that of pastel landscapes. Cindy has since studied the works of many of the French and American Impressionists and the Group of Seven in Canada. In describing her work, she feels that it has been greatly influenced by impressionism but developed into a technique that, in the end, is considered realism.
Cindy considers the greatest gift given to her by her mother was the ability to see and observe the splendor of the natural world. She now uses that gift to express herself with pastels and occasionally oils. Her goals in painting are twofold - to depict the beauty of commonplace segments of the environment and to capture a particular moment in time. Composition is a strong motivating factor when choosing her subject matter. Cindy feels it is important to paint the landscape that she knows and understands intimately, that of New England. Likewise, her choice of avian subjects reflects the more common species found in the Northeast. When out photographing or painting the landscape, Cindy notes what birds are present at the time for possibly inclusion in her paintings later. She feels it is often impossible to separate one from the other. Lately, undeveloped scenes which can be recorded in Cindy's paintings are getting harder and harder, to find, since she prefers to capture the beauty rather than the destruction of nature. Local land trusts and various private and governmental conservation groups actively seek to preserve open spaces. If you enjoy viewing or purchasing landscapes, Cindy strongly urges you to support not only the fine museums and galleries that offers the art for viewing but also the organizations which directly protect what is most important to the landscape painter - the land.
Cindy and her husband, Eric L. Derleth, a Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, currently reside in New Hampshire.
You can visit Cindy's website to view more of her work here.