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Cynthia Amrine Updated

March 15, 2021

I last spoke about the mid century illustrator Cynthia Amrine here back in 2019.

To set the scene… In 1965, Cynthia Amrine worked with librarian Mary Joan Egan to publish ‘Using Your Library: 32 Posters for Classroom and Library’, a lavishly illustrated book of tear-sheet posters for educators and librarians to promote library usage in primary and secondary schools. If you are aged 40 – 60 and have lived in the USA since childhood, you might remember her best for these kind of posters around your school.

and some of the other informative sheets too.

Since my last post, members of her family (Peggy, John, Chuck, Keith and Susan) have been in touch to share some of their memories and images of her work that they have saved as treasured possessions. These are a collection of hand made cards, created for different occasions by Cynthia.

3-D gifts too !! All lovingly made by Cynthia’s hand.

Keith (Cynthia’s nephew) shared these descriptive thoughts with me.. ” As aunt Cyn’s passing was some time ago, the memories I have of her are a tad foggy, but there a few that have not withered over time and are still quite vivid.  As many in the family may have already shared, Cynthia had a fondness for wrapping paper.  Every Christmas eve or day we spent at our grandmother’s house, I remember distinctly the collage of shape, color, pattern, texture, and reflection of the lights on presents under the Christmas tree.  Aunt Cyn wrapped her gifts with an eye that exhibited her attention to detail and an appreciation for the qualities inherent in art; the paper was always the highest of quality, folds and creases that made launderers jealous, and ribbons so elaborate that you wanted to take pictures before they were removed.  We were always cautioned to be careful in the removing of the paper, because Cyn was the woman who kept every scrap, every ribbon, for the purpose of re-use, either in the next season or in some other art project.  I even remember the candy dish on the coffee table that contained that old style ribbon candy, so vibrant in their colors, and how it always reminded me of the presents just a few feet away. ”

Indeed, as we can see below, Cynthia did paint that Ribbon Candy too.

Published illustrations in different journals.

She was also an accomplished painter, setting up still life arrangements to incude in cookery books, magazines and paintings that she passed onto her family and friends.

Her brother John shares these memories.. ” I was fortunate enough to grow up in a great neighbourhood in a new home, lots of kids my age, a surrounding woods to explore, large yards to play in, and a loving family that gave me positive attitudes about my future. Unfortunately, my sister, being ten years older, was not part of my early childhood. It wasn’t until my teen years, that I could relate to her life and realize what unique talents she had. I do remember riding with my mom and dad to pick her up from the downtown campus of RIT where she got her first art degree and heard about the various awards she received for her paintings.”

“As a teenager, I was impressed with her ability to get her advanced degree from the Rhode Island School of Design and it immediately got her job with the Instructor Magazine in Dansville.

I remember the Holidays and when I came home from my six years of college and the birthday gatherings when I would receive clever hand made cards and over the top colorful decorated presents. After Sue and I got married we spent many happy family times with her and her long time love of her life, Bob. When Cyn got transferred to the downtown NYC for a job, she hosted us and friends for a long weekend with visits to Soho, Grand Central Park and other traditional tourist sites. During these years Sue and I received many examples of her paintings, her amazing Christmas ornaments and were entertained at her homes in Naples, NY. Her immortality is part our present life as we enjoy her artwork that surrounds us at our home and at the homes of friends and family. ”

Paintings from holidays and journeys made over the years.

Harbour scenes.

Many different styles and a clear mastery of a variety of art materials too.

John goes on to say… “Cynthia was also a good athlete. She played soccer at Charlotte High School where she had to walk to several miles to get there every day. She would practice with me and helped give me the skills that I used throughout college. Sue and I skied with her at Swain Ski Center a few miles from Danville. Her favorite color was turquoise and blue which she used all over her various apartments and homes.”  Birthdate 2/6/31 to 10/26/03.

I want to sincerely thank the family for rallying round and photographing every keepsake and card they retained from Cynthia so we could enjoy seeing them today. I also thank them for sharing their thoughts and for recounting tales that show a warm love for a very talented lady who is very dearly missed. I hope this will help to keep her memory and work very much alive.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Peggy Amrine permalink
    March 15, 2021 5:50 pm

    Beautifully written! Thank you Craig! The entire Amrine family are so appreciative and grateful to be able to share Aunt Cyn’s work!

  2. March 15, 2021 6:03 pm

    Thanks Peggy, it was a joy to discover more about your talented relations. Thank you for contacting me initially. 😊

  3. March 16, 2021 6:24 am

    What a delightful update from the family members! I was lucky enough to find a box of Ms. Amrine’s library posters. I am so impressed by her paintings although not surprised. What a talent!

    • March 16, 2021 11:22 am

      Hey Cindy, so much talent in this ladies portfolio. I feel lucky to get to feature this today. 👍 Thanks for your thoughts x

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