Cynthie Fisher uses zoologist perspective to shape art
A pack of wolves and a zeal of zebras have arrived at Hoffman Exotics and Fine Art.
The animal paintings are the product of Montana artist Cynthie Fisher, who is new to the art gallery and is ready to become acquainted with visual-art lovers in the Wasatch Back.
She is also looking forward for them to get to know her.
“I’ve been drawing since I was 3 and mostly drew horses, because I loved animals,” Fisher said during a telephone interview from her home in Hamilton, Montana. “That never stopped. I was born with this desire to draw and work with animals.”
Fisher continued her love of art and animals through her younger years and then shifted gears in college.
“I didn’t study art,” she said. “I studied zoology to make me a better artist and to become a biologist.”
As it worked out, Fisher taught herself to paint after she graduated.
“I won a few art contests and realized that I could study any animal I want to as a biologist to make my paintings more lifelike,” she said. “I moved to the mountains in Colorado where I opened up gallery.”
Her go-to medium is acrylic.
“My second is oils,” she said. “I’m trying different ones right now and I think it’s because I have been painting for 30 years and I need more challenge.”
Fisher, who was selected as the Mule Deer Foundation Artist of the Year in 2002 and 2008, is the cover artist for Safari Club International Magazine.
She is also known for her scratchboard art, as well as her glass mosaics and fused glass works.
She just started bronze sculpture in the past three years and is in the process of creating a series of mixed-media sculptures that look as if the animals are coming out of the walls.
“With my knowledge of anatomy and animals, I’m really enjoying that,” she said. “I can sculpt animals and then paint them, which is something I’m excited about.”
The works at Hoffman Exotics and Fine Art are paintings, and Fisher has come a long way from when she started using paint rather than pencil to capture her beloved subjects.
“When I started painting animals after learning about them through zoology, it was a technical challenge to paint them,” she said. “Because I had drawn all my life, I didn’t have a lot of trouble depicting the animal on paper or a canvas, but I had to learn how to paint and use color.
“I seem to be someone who likes and uses bright colors and strong lighting to enhance the animals and create the three-dimensionality,” Fisher said.
Most of what she depicts is culled from her memory.
“I don’t paint from photos often, but if I do, they are photos that I took myself,” she said. “I enjoy the challenge of using my knowledge and taking animals apart and putting them together.
“Before I put it down on canvas, I can see it all in my head and how the light will make it look,” Fisher said. “I can see the type of habitat that the animals will be in.”
Sometimes she gets ideas of the animals’ habitats while she is out hunting.
“I do hunt, which does bother some people, but to me it’s another step in enhancing my work to make it more accurate,” said Fisher, whose works are exhibited at the Safari Club International, the Wild Sheep Foundation and the Dallas Safari Club. “For example, I just got back from an antelope hunt and was able to see the sagebrush from an artist’s eye.
Once I got the antelope, I was able to run my hands over it to feel the anatomy and stroke its fur.
“It’s still taking a life and I know that bothers some people and it’s sobering to me, as well, but it all comes together when I recreate the animal in sculpture and paint,” Fisher said.
Once the images are set in Fisher’s mind, they don’t change much when she applies them on canvas.
“Some landscape elements might change a bit, but I’m not terribly spontaneous, you might say,” she said with a laugh. “I sketch a thumbnail to get the basic composition and then I dig through all my reference files that I have collected since I was 7 years old. and then enlarge the sketch and transfer it to my surface.”
Fisher also prefers painting animals in groups.
“Behavior of animals was my number one interest as a zoologist,” she said. “Painting a pack of wolves is more interesting to me than painting a deer on a hill. This allows me to tell a story and to share my knowledge.”
Cynthie Fisher’s paintings are on exhibit at Hoffman Exotics and Fine Art, 4207 Forestdale Drive. Unit B., at Quinn’s Junction. For more information, visit http://www.hoffmansfineart.com. For more information about Cynthie Fisher, visit fisherart.com.
Author Edward Massey will present a reading and book signing of his new historic novel “Fugitive Sheriff” at the Kamas Valley Branch on Friday.