When you take a look at Cynthia Tipton’s artwork, you may find that it’s looking back at you.
Cynthia is, as she puts it, a jack of all trades, so it’s difficult to pin her down. If you visit her studio, you might find her occupied teaching a figure drawing class, or even knitting, but what may catch your eye, and keep it, are the portraits that hang about the walls and sit on easels. For the next month, though, many of these will hang at Tomato Head Market Square in Tipton’s exhibit, “Discord and Rhyme.”
Two of the most notable of these portraits feature the nearly iconic faces of Scott and Bernadette West. Both are engaging works of art, vibrant and almost pulsing with the energy of the subjects. In fact there’s so much life in them that one might think that they were looking back.
Cynthia likes to paint people, but, she says, she’s really interested in more than just a pretty face: “I love painting people, always have. Usually I have some understanding of the person that interests me enough to paint them…. I’m really trying to capture their essence, some part of their personality other than the stoic kind of portrait. “
That interest moves through the paint and across the gulf between canvass and viewer – whether it’s Bernadette West’s kind and colorful gaze or a young girl in the midst of some emotional fit – the paintings speak through eyes as well as through the tilt of the head, the subtle lines of lips and cheek.
Although it’s easy to classify her as a portrait artist, Tipton isn’t comfortable with that mantle, she says, “I’m a portrait artist, though I hate saying that – it doesn’t quite say what I do. So, perhaps, Painter of People?”
But it’s not just the eyes and attitude of faces that seem to look back at you in her work. A verdant landscape with its life and changing color also seems to peer back – perhaps it’s the sense of a breeze stirring in the leaves, or the movement of light over the greenery.
But the exhibit only touches a small portion of what Tipton does to fill her life with beauty. As she said, “I’m a little bit of a jack of all trades. I’m also in the Foothills Craft Guild for fiber art. I’ll be teaching a class on that at the KMA in the fall. I knit and felt – generally every year I set up at the Farmer’s market Holiday market and sell my knitted stuff.” She also buys and sells vintage jewelry and turns some of her art work into smaller pieces, decorative pieces that you can find in the gift shop at Broadway Studios and Gallery – just across the street from K-Brew.
“Discord & Rhyme” an exhibit of oil on canvas/board by Cynthia Tipton will be on view at the Market Square Tomato Head in downtown Knoxville from September 5th thru October 2nd. Cynthia will then exhibit at the West Knoxville Gallery Tomato Head from October 3rd thru November 7th.
You’ll want to stop in see the work for yourself – or, perhaps, let yourself be seen by it.