There’s no shortage of talented interior-decorators-to-be in the Residential Interiors Certificate Program I teach for the University of Alberta in Edmonton but occasionally I come across a student that is not only talented in that field but also in another. I’ve written blogs on other students before but this time I’m talking about Cindy (Cynthia) McLaren, interior decorator and artist.
Cindy was born in Prince Edward County, Ontario. From the time she was little, Cindy taught herself to draw with pencil, charcoal and pastels from books and by studying her surroundings. After high school she attended Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario and graduated from an Advertising/Marketing program with a focus on graphic design, photography and copywriting.
In 1989 she moved to Sidney, British Columbia and joined the Sidney Arts Council and became a director. Cindy proposed and developed the city’s first successful Artists’ Studio Tour.
In 2000, Cindy found a new career interest in interior decorating but before she had time to establish herself, her husband’s work took the family to Athabasca, Alberta. She continued her work in the graphics design field and was chosen by Alberta Pacific Forest Industries to create a series of “poplar leaf” paintings depicting Alberta’s landscape and wildlife.
Eventually the family moved to Edmonton. She spent several years working and training in the field of interior decorating and recently completed her certificate with the University of Alberta’s Residential Interior Decorating program – which is how I met this talented person.
I spent time with Cindy helping her develop a business plan for her art when it became obvious that this was truly the direction she wanted to focus her life on. She creates large, realistic landscape paintings (I love her majestic skies) but often will delve into her graphic arts background and design smaller pieces that are converted into cards that sell well in the galleries that carry her work. Summer is a busy season too as she showcases her artwork at various summer festivals. If you see her work at the following festivals, (see below) introduce yourself and say you read about her in this blog.