By: Audrey Levinson
Artist Cynthia Schmidt was on the very first cover of Women of Upstate New York in December of 2013. She is the inventor of The Cranky Cat. Many see her paintings of these whimsical cats at pop up well attended art shows like the show that takes place every summer in Columbus Circle, Syracuse, NY and Plowshares, in November at Nottingham High School. Cynthia is always with them of course. You will find that her booth has more than just paintings of these kitties on paper. You can buy trivets, cards, framed prints and the like.
There are many businesses around the country that carry The Cranky Cat Collection as well. A few years ago, the Bradford Exchange Catalogue contacted her and wanted to print her cats on checks to be put into the catalogue for sale. Cindy, although a bit skeptical at first, decided to go for it. Today she’s selling her Cranky Cat designs on not only checks and checkbook covers but key chains, small zippered purses, compacts, eye glass cases and Jackets. More importantly, she loves creating her amusing, comical, mischievous, fantastic cats. She said that color is probably the most important thing to her, and loves to create unique color combinations for her cats. She is so good at making these characters play from her imagination. She creates cats for the different seasons and holidays. She has them getting into all kinds of kitty trouble and as we all know cats are curious and trouble is their middle name. They are adorable and affordable. Cynthia was watching her cats play and enjoyed how they put their ears down when bothered (probably by another kitty), That was something that sparked Cynthia’s creativity. Cynthia is part of a co-op of artists at Lakeside Artisans in Oswego, NY. She said she loves being a part of this group because she really enjoys the camaraderie she has with all the other artists and working with the customers who come in to explore all the wonderful art there. Cynthia continues to create and participate in many art shows on the east coast.
The women of upstate New York will always be a group of women with stories that teach us, empower us, show us and astound us. I have been so very fortunate to be able to write about the artists in Upstate New York through this publication. I want to Thank Mary McCandless for giving me the unique opportunity to write about artists. It has been an incredible learning experience for me to be allowed and welcomed into artist’s homes and studios to talk about what I have in common with them, a passion for being visually expressive. Every single woman whom I interviewed has extraordinary talent not only artistic talent but qualities that coincide with the creative mind. They are all such genuine people. I will remember every one of them with great reverence for what you bring to these towns in Upstate NY. There are so many women artists whom I never got to meet.
However, I have been so lucky to have even scratched the surface by bringing their stories to our readers. I hope that the readers
will continue to support the arts. It’s very important to maintain a culture if ingenuity to not only be able to express ourselves, a form of communication, but also to use the creative mind for problem solving on a positive scale. Thank you readers I have enjoyed bringing an array of interesting painters, sculptors, ceramicists, etc., in hopes that you understand and make your own discoveries of the next piece of art you come across. They say that the average person spends three seconds looking at a piece of art. My advice is to take your time. Look deeper and question why? You may be pleasantly surprised at what you come up with.