Bay Area abstract painter, Cynthia Spillman, is primarily a self taught artist, living and working in Aptos, Ca.

After dropping out of college, she spent several years in Hawaii as a Radio DJ and artist, making hand-painted Lava Lava's from her Kalapana, Big Island studio. In 1990, both her home and studio were destroyed by the Kilauea lava flow.


Relocating to San Francisco for a radio job, she met the painter Linda Geary and was inspired by her work, friendship and approach to painting. It was not until a later move to Los Angeles that Cynthia began taking herself more seriously as an artist. She was invited  to attend the Santa Monica College of Design, Art and Architecture,  a school centered in an idiosyncratic “free rein” approach. At the DAA, she was given a studio space and was able to pursue a way of working that unfolded from her child-like drawing skills. The influence of cave paintings, the Japanese aesthetic wabi sabi, along with the art of Chuta Kimura, informs her painting today. A fundamental thread is woven through her work and her process; an instinctive mandate to express Truth, above all else.


Spillman’s work is included in numerous private collections, and has been shown in galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, and Santa Cruz. Her studio is located inside a giant bamboo nursery.






1959    Manhattan Beach, Ca.



College of Design,  Art and Architecture (DAA), / Painting. Santa Monica, CA.   

Santa Monica College / Painting, Photography.  Santa Monica CA.

Shari Carlson Studio/ Acting, Singing, Directing. San Francisco, CA

Rachel Adler Studio/ Meisner. San Francisco, CA.

California State University, Chico / American Studies, Religious Studies


Selected Solo Exhibitions:


2020    The Self/The Eye,  Monterey Museum of Art,  Currents Gallery. Monterey, CA. 


Selected Group Exhibitions:


2021     Zip Us Up, Baldwin Public Library, Birmingham MI.  (collaborative public art project)

2019     No Creative Boundaries,  Museum of Encaustic Art.  Santa Fe, NM

2019     Encaustic Art, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards,  Santa Cruz CA.

2018     The Whole Ball of  Wax,  Felix Kulpa Gallery,  Santa Cruz, CA.

2018     The Year of the Dog,  Sebastopol Center of the Arts.  Sebastopol, CA.

2017     Hopeful Darkness,  Atlantic Gallery.  New York, NY.

2000    Synopsis, Julie Rico Gallery.   Venice, CA.




Gentes residence Enfresco, Olive Grove.  Encaustic and oil in clay plaster. 

Soquel, Ca.

Shepherd-Smith residence, Nandi and Lupe.  San Bruno, Ca.




2021    450 Pieces, Radius Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA

2017    12x12  An Open Invitational, Cabrillo Gallery.  Aptos, CA.

2016-19    Santa Cruz Open Studios. Santa Cruz, Ca.



2017    Develop Grant,  Arts Council Santa Cruz County, California.