Self Portrait ‘Just Me’ - Study by Cindy Wider. ‘What is with having to “smile at the camera”? We don't always have to smile for the camera you know; this is just me. I am happy to be me even when I don't smile.’ (Charcoal and white conte on grey Mi-teintes paper) Artwork courtesy of Cindy Wider.
‘I was born in Brisbane so I am a Brisbane girl...a
Queenslander in spirit!’
Cindy Wider is an award-winning fine artist and illustrator and a passionate art educator. She
is the author of Paint in Your Pyjamas: every woman's guide to finding your life purpose through art, and several art education books and manuals. She has also written
four soft cover books as well as the 37 eBooks that form the Complete Drawing and Painting Certificate Course.
original paintings have been sold in many countries around the world and grace the walls of corporate boardrooms, public spaces and private homes.
Cindy Wider was born in Brisbane in 1968 and grew up in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea along with her two older sisters and younger brother. How does a Brisbane-born girl end up in PNG?
‘Back in 1971 my parents were travelling up the coast of Queensland and decided that they wanted an exciting adventure. My Dad comes from a
line of creative people and he is an inventor of sorts but has never had anything patented or sold. He invents to help things operate better, or out of necessity for his own purposes, to help with whatever he is doing. He loves to build and fly radio controlled
model planes; usually one-third scale real ones. He’s a very clever man and I am so proud of him.
they wanted this big adventure and my mum saw the advertisement in the local paper for a Motor Mechanic. He had his first job in Papua New Guinea as a motor mechanic, but by the time we had left he was running his own mechanic business with a team of Papua
New Guinean people working for him.
‘Australia always seemed so foreign and exciting to us kids and every
year at Christmas time our family would fly back home to our grandparents for the Christmas holidays. Because we had few toys, and no television, going back to Australia was always something out of a fairytale fantasy for us.
‘We could barely sleep on the nights leading up to the big flight as we dreamed about the amazing white beaches that seemed to go on forever,
the long lingering days by the seaside, playing in the sand. The colours were etched in my mind. I could imagine the brightly coloured sun hats, towels, beach umbrellas, buckets and spades. Then there was icecream and watermelon, hot fish and chips. Giant
pelicans and seagulls squawking for our chip bits were all a part of the wonderful Australian beach holiday.
can read all about it in the first part of my book Paint in Your Pyjamas. These experiences certainly shaped me as a woman and made me who I am today. It has made me more audacious I guess; more willing to explore what life has to offer me. My simplistic
hard edge style of painting is inspired by the wonderful masks and tribal style of art; designs that I grew up with, along with gorgeous foliage and colourful insects, birds and animals.
‘With little access to technology in PNG, nature was our playground, along with a miniature dachshund called Fred and a tabby cat called Charlie. One of my favourite childhood homes was made
of woven bamboo and nestled within five acres of superb gardens.
‘We were surrounded by the magnificence of
nature and I often sat for long hours looking at tiny beetles and bugs, glorious butterflies and giant towering trees. Long hanging vines with luscious green leaves and all kinds of brightly coloured flora and fauna were all a part of our everyday existence.
‘My very first experience with art was playing with clay gathered from the river banks in my own back yard. Along with
my two sisters and brother, we would make clay sausages and chocolate, mud and leaf stew and other imaginary dishes.
mother was very creative, making our clothes and even our Christmas presents. One year mum worked all hours of the night to sew us these wonderful ‘Raggedy-Anne Dolls’ because there were no toys in the shops. She encouraged me to draw and write
from a very young age. We would create cards, letters and artworks to send back to our grandparents in Australia.
lived up there from 1971 until 1979 – all my formative years. When I was eleven-years-old we came back to Australia. I am very happy about my wonderful life in PNG. Living on the second largest island in the world was a privilege that I will hold
forever in my memories and I am grateful to my wonderful parents for giving me that special time in my life.
couple of the PNG series paintings are available for sale. They are actually in our private collection, but I am happy to move them to make room for new ones. I sold almost everything in a big art sale before we left Australia including several works from
various galleries I was with.’
In 2013 Cindy, husband Stuart Wider (also an excellent artist and a man of
many talents) and their two young daughters moved to West Yorkshire in the United Kingdom to be near family.
decided it was time to take his wife and kids [daughters Isha and Sumaya] back home to show off to the relatives! We are really loving the change of culture but Stuart misses Australia at times. I don't, because I am so in awe of the great art scene,
history and heritage that I see here. England is a very old mother country. Australia is just a young cheeky teenager filled with explosive hormones and plenty of feisty spirit.’
Cindy has written 37 eBooks that form the Complete Drawing and Painting Certificate Course. This course is presented as a fully supported internet based art curriculum with her
personally trained team of professionals, who teach the course at several websites including her own drawpj.com, which she co-founded. Cindy’s course is also is also taught by trained professionals in the ‘real
world’ in various countries.
‘I continue to maintain Drawpj.com where I have trained three instructors
to work for me, teaching my 42-week art course online through email interaction – I wrote it about 4 years ago and continually update. It’s about to go into full video.
‘As for my darling Stuart, he isn't painting at the moment and hasn't been for about four years. He is doing software creation and selling that – coding for Word-Press themes, but says
he will get back to painting one day. In the meantime I continue to keep the flag flying. I adore painting and could never give it up.’
So, does this mean we will see no more of Stuart’s ubiquitous jelly men in tropical settings or lost in space among the stars, and does Stuart currently have a website to display his work?
‘Stuart doesn't have a website for his art at the moment. Although he has a great tongue-in-cheek site called creativitypro.com
which is also a good read. He flogged all of his paintings before we left Australia. All we have left is our own collection. At this stage he is far too busy to wrap his head around painting, but maybe later on down the track he might do something.’