Photo credit: Dean Davis

Cynthia Neely


Cynthia Neely is a painter and a poet who works mainly in imagery from the natural world. She has three award winning chapbooks, “Hopewell Bay,” Seven Kitchens Press (2017), “Passing Through Blue Earth,” Bright Hill Press (2016), and “Broken Water,” Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment (2011). “Flight Path”(2014), was the Aldrich Press book contest finalist. Essay and creative non-fiction work appears in The Writers’ Chronicle and Cutthroat Journal.

Birds often fly in and out of her works, sometimes as the subject of the painting or poem, sometimes to reflect the tone or feeling she is trying to offer – something airy and light, a complication of hollow bone and feathers.

What inspires you? 

Anything in the natural world inspires me.

What inspired the artworks you submitted? 

This particular painting was inspired by a poem I wrote:

Birding at the Potholes by Cynthia Neely

Red epaulets flash on marsh grass,
draw our scopes from familiar fields of view,
the hunt for something to lift us
from our narrowed focus. We search

for cranes, whose stilt legs barely
carry them, whose wings loft them
graceless – a run, stumble, flap – before air
becomes substance that will bear them.

Our son follows, crane-legged, iPod-eared.
He doesn’t hear the calls that pull us forward,
doesn’t see the meadowlark, bibbed and shining,
the porcelain painted puff of chucking quail.

His footprints are as big as ours, but he
won’t fill them, his head bowed, back bent
to minutiae: ants, scat, a feathered sign of struggle,
the treasure of pebble and spent shotgun shell.

He has no interest in our quest; the present
and the past are all right there
under his feet; no need to scan the sky
for cranes, already gone.

What is your favorite art medium? 

I am currently working in oil and cold wax but this painting is Acrylic.