Cynthia Tollefsrud was born in California, raised in the Midwest and came to live in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1991. She is a self-made artist. Her artistic desires were realized when her parents gave her a John Gnagy Drawing Set on her tenth birthday. With charcoal smudged hands, she learned the basics of drawing. Art classes throughout her school years were always a requirement.

Looking for a steady income, she pursued the path of advertising art which soon became a bane to her creativity. The desire to truly create art never left. Prior to entering the advertising world, she had taken a year of college, during which she has fond memories of a wonderful art instructor. In that one year of college, she learned enough of the nuances of art to push her to learn more. Nearly all of her studies after her college experience have come from the collection of art books she has acquired over time, with the Flemish Masters being her favorites. An occasional evening or summer class at the University of Tennessee has aided in technical matters.

Cynthia's life as an artist began on January 1, 1996 when she finally left the advertising world. After completing a few oil paintings, she began to enter them into juried shows. One of the shows was at a gallery in Florida. She received a rejection notice with a hand written note on the back indicating that the gallery owner liked her work and asked that she send some paintings. This coincided with a gallery in Charleston, South Carolina requesting her work as well. She was included in group shows in both galleries and soon began to have solo shows. Cynthia's paintings are now in national and international collections.

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