The Artwork of Cynthia Nault
By Amy Sellors
“There’s no other way I can be,” multimedia artist, activist, and cultural sensitivity coach Cynthia Nault says frankly. Her different roles intertwine to help her to heal both herself and others. “It’s not a job, it’s my calling. Those things working together—that’s what I was put on this Earth to do.”
How do you translate what you see in your mind’s eye to a canvas? “I’ve always been an artist, but I struggled to find the medium that was right for me. Having your creation be so far away from the thing you want to create can be so unsatisfying,” says Nault. But when she first touched fluid acrylic paint—a happy medium between watercolour and acrylic—she knew this was what she was looking for. Her confidence and portfolio grew.
Often, her subjects are animals. These animals act as spirit guides providing medicine in every painting—they heal Nault as she paints, and the viewer as they see the finished piece. She speaks candidly about her struggles with mental health and its roots in the intergenerational trauma her family has experienced. Nault has learned that as people grow and heal, life gets better. Art aids in healing so therefore, art makes life better.
For Nault, painting has become a spiritual practice, a deliberate mindfulness that helps you listen to your inner guidance. Last year she shared her knowledge in her four-week course, Painting as a Spiritual Practice. Participants acquired painting skills, and also learned a great deal about themselves. One student shared that the course “provided the opportunity to know and understand myself better and explore my creative side in a safe and nurturing space. The environment allowed me to challenge my limited views or self doubts with gentle guidance and opportunities for self reflection. Painting skills and technique were offered in a way that allowed for intuitive guidance and free flow, so the painting experience was fun and fostered joyful self-expression.” Nault is rewarded as well. “I love witnessing people finding their style and finding satisfaction in the finished result. It’s a special experience to go on that journey with people. I get to witness a lot of personal growth. And it helps me too.”
For many artists, the pandemic made it hard to create, and it was difficult to express why. And along with the pandemic came political and cultural movements that stirred our emotions. During this time, Nault found herself beading—an art form abundant with physical, mental, and spiritual healing—and she is coming out of this pandemic creating art that focuses on healing, but also, drives change. Art is the bridge to go from feeling to doing.
“It’s so hard for me to see the world the way it is, so I have to do something. I just can’t not do it,” says Nault. “So many Indigenous people didn’t set out to be activists. They’re just trying to survive.”
Nault is doing much more than just surviving. She creates beautiful art that enriches our hearts, minds, and souls. And she can help you do the same. This September, you can enrol in her Painting as a Spiritual Practice course. No painting experience is required, and she will provide the tools and inspiration you need to get started.
Follow Cynthia Nault on Instagram or Facebook @sacredcolours for more information.