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Cynthia Ehrnstein



I have been drawing since I could pick up a pencil. I received my first paid commission when I was 15 years old.  My client required a “sign-in” board for a party that was scheduled for the next day, and I was asked to create the artwork.  My early work included a lot of photorealism and many portrait commissions.


I moved to Colorado days after receiving my Bachelor of Fine Art (Illustration/Graphic Design) from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.    I began working in Denver and living paycheck to paycheck doing graphic design at an entry level job.  One day, while at a local mall, I was approached by a person doing a market research study.  The representative offered me and several other volunteers the sweet deal of $50 if we would sit in a room at a long table and give our opinions about various advertisements. The room had a one-way looking glass so the eager mall visitors participating for the easy money could be observed while providing opinions.  I doodled the entire time.  After the session, much to my surprise, I found that everyone at the table wanted to look at my doodles and some even wanted to take them home. It was at that moment that I realized that my doodles were desirable! Following that experience, I began a series of brightly colored abstract designs based on my doodles that evolved over the years to include my illustration style.


After years of painting, a new idea occurred to me.  My husband and I were playing a role playing game in which my character's hobby was embroidery and I became fascinated with that. I decided to learn the old art of needlework. Anyone who has ever done embroidery knows that it takes an enormous amount of time to produce a decent sized piece so I decided that making my art from embroidery was not realistic. Quilting seemed like a better way to translate my sketched images into large full-sized pieces.  After one day in a fabric store quilting class I got the gist of the technique and decided that I could translate my odd shaped paintings utilizing this traditional craft. 


I went on to take some terrific classes at the Great American Quilt Factory and the staff there encouraged me to join Front Range Contemporary Quilters.  I enjoyed being a member of FRCQ and served on the board as the Newsletter Designer. Since that time I have completed a series in fabric using dynamic colors and patterns with abstract compositions and I also continue to paint adding a hybrid art technique involving decoupaged fabric. 


Over the past twenty years, I have done a great deal of work in representational portraiture, both people and pets, drawing, graphic art and logo design.


My illustrations have been used to accompany text in magazines, on t-shirts, posters, greeting cards, logos, party “sign-in” boards and a variety of other applications.


My clients include McCormick and Co., Inc., Affair with Flair, KOSI 101 Radio, Downtown Denver Dental Arts, Colorado Land and Water, Water and Stone Bodywork, Children’s Playmate Magazine, Health Progress Magazine, the American Spice Trade Association, Shalom Park Residence for Seniors and private clients in Texas, Maryland, Illinois and Colorado.


I am a member of Front Range Contemporary Quilters and I have previously been a member of the Littleton Fine Arts Guild.  I currently work as an art instructor at Sipping N' Painting Hampden.

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