Biography

"I first began to concentrate on the sea after moving to Eastern Long Island in 1989. Though there is a long history of landscape and genre painting on Long Island, I quickly realized that what I wanted to paint was just the sea and not the surrounding landscape. I was most drawn to the effects of light on the water and the surrounding atmosphere. Painting on site by the sea in the tradition of “au plein air” enables me to observe nature at moments of sublime drama.

I find that using encaustics (a wax-based medium) enables me to achieve the transparency, atmosphere and lightness that I seek. The encaustic mixture is layered onto the support with palette knives and then scraped off. Once dry, this procedure is repeated until I can sense what I call a “breathing action” in the painting, a certain interaction of the surface and the paint. I can build up a density of layers and the wax helps to create transparencies and resonance from within.

The horizon line is an important element in my work. It is constantly changing as the day goes by -- sunlight can cause it to go from silver to gold to blue or black, or it can totally disappear in the fog of a storm. Fixing the exact point of the horizon line gives my paintings their essence and its final placement is one of the last things decided.

In my paintings, I am not trying to capture an exact moment in time. I prefer to work when conditions are changing, the transition times of day into night, storm into clearing and vice versa. The use of encaustics enables me to transfer this mutability into the works themselves and the finished paintings keep changing constantly with the shifting light of various times of day."

-Cynthia Knott, 1998

For the complete biography, please download the PDF.
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