GBWC Featured Profile

Cynthia Rodday

Wheaton Class of '92

by Gillian Sutton '01
August 2017

An accomplished artist and free-lance graphic designer, Cynthia "Cindy" Rodday has been artistically inclined from a young age. Cindy says that she was constantly drawing as a child, and during junior high and high school she made sure to have an art class on her schedule whenever possible. She remembers taking an outside art class at the deCordova museum during high school as well. This constant inclination towards artistic endeavors led her to decisively tell her Wheaton advisor during the first week of her freshman year (a time when many new students are still trying out options) that she was going to be a Studio Art Major!

After graduating from Wheaton with her degree in Studio Art (with a concentration in charcoal drawings), Cindy went on to earn an MFA at Georgia Southern University, where she fell in love with the process of lithography as well as expanded her graphic design skills. She subsequently found employment as a graphic artist and web designer in Boston, eventually moving into free-lance work as she grew her career. Just recently, Cindy has also started working for Albright Art supply + gift, an independent art store in Concord MA, where she finds herself frequently looking back to her instruction at Wheaton to help her recall various artistic processes and styles when assisting a customer or even drawing on tips from a public speaking class as she prepares a web-demonstration on pastels.

The same dedicated focus and motivation that prompted her Studio Art major declaration has helped make Cindy into the well-rounded artist she is today. Although she greatly enjoyed lithography in graduate school, lack of easy access to a printing press following graduation turned her concentration more pragmatically towards mixed media prints, a personalized process where she takes a digital image and manipulates its printed surface with other media (such as watercolor, pencil, or pastels) to create a visually unique finished piece. Cindy explains that she developed this technique when asked to prepare work for an alumni exhibit at GSU; "I wanted to do something they might not expect from me," she said. Knowing her professors often favored abstract work she was inspired to try something different from her previous style, which to this point had been representational and realistic.

After working with these striking mixed-media images for several years, Cindy returned to charcoal drawings for a while before deciding in 2015 to delve into pastels. Since then she has taken part in workshops and classes that have allowed her to progress in style and technique. After the black and white imagery of charcoal, she says it is nice to explore more use of color. Other than the addition of color, Cindy was expecting pastel work to be relatively similar to charcoal but was surprised to find how different the medium was and that pastel pieces are actually considered to be paintings not drawings. However, she still finds some familiarity between pastels and charcoals through the directness of the artist's interaction with the creative surface.

Currently, selections of Cindy's pastel works are being shown in a solo exhibit at Sargent Memorial Library in Boxborough, MA. Journey Through Open Spaces is organized around a theme of outdoor spaces, featuring local sites as well as locations from her travels to different national parks. Over the years, Cindy has found the opportunity to participate in many such art showcases and contests. Last fall Cindy was one of three alum artists featured in a special exhibit in the Mars Arts and Humanities building at Wheaton. Additionally, she has taken part in several juried exhibits with local art associations, where she has won awards for different charcoal, pastel, and mixed media pieces.

Cindy first became involved with the Wheaton Club after a luncheon networking event at the Union Oyster House, where she approached Heather Corbett '86 and offered her skills as a web designer to update the group website. She has been a valued member of the steering committee since 2003 and continues to design and maintain the GBWC website and Facebook page. Cindy is currently putting her webmaster skills to work for the newly formed Providence Wheaton Club as well.

Visit Cindy's website, www.cynthiarodday.com. to view examples of her beautiful work, and find links to her Etsy shop and newly launched blog. You can also follow Cindy on Facebook and Instagram. Her exhibit Journey Through Open Spaces will be on display through the end of September at the Sargent Memorial Library in Boxborough MA which is open Monday-Thursday from 10 to 8 and Saturdays 10 to 3.