Unlocking her love for art

Spending the lockdown in Daman, retired banker Cynthia Andrade from Ambora, Loutolim has been reconnecting with her love for art. ‘Big Mama’ as she is referred to by her daughter across social media; speaks to NT BUZZ about her paintings and more


Danuska Da Gama | NT BUZZ


Born in East Africa and having spent thirteen years of her life surrounded by wild animal safaris, Savanna climate, the Goan clubs, and beat of the drums, Cynthia Andrade came down to India as a teenager. “My family thought it wise to receive a good education here. So we experienced a land of vast culture,” says Andrade, who in those days enjoyed playing hockey.

Post her graduation, Andrade chose a career in banking. However, she also enjoyed art. “Goa being a land famous for its art is also one of the main reasons that made me want to paint. We Goans should continue its legacy,” she says. That said, her initial memories of drawing in school were not encouraging. “I remember in college when I had to complete my science journal, drawing specimens was difficult that my professor made fun of my drawings, saying that my amoeba figure looked like a horse. So maybe that’s why I never thought about art as a career. But, today, as I sketch, pencil flowing so easily, I wonder where my art skills were at that time? And then realise that it was there but just not meant for science specimens,” she says.

However, the jovial, and free spirited Andrade still has a dream to be accomplished – that of penning a book on her life in Africa, besides wanting to encourage young Goans to live their dreams and utilise talents. “One day I’d also like to teach little children to paint and draw,” she says.



In a fun chit-chat with ‘Big Mama’


  1. Take us back to the time you realised you could hold the brush, and use it pretty well.

Being a mom I always encouraged my daughters to draw and paint and they excelled in it. So I was always into art competitions with them buying umpteen materials. My eldest is a graduate in fine arts and my youngest is now pursuing a career in animation and graphic design. But all through I never found time to dabble in art myself, I was always busy in the bank. And so, when retirement dawned I finally focused on giving it a try and made a huge investment in art materials like brushes, paints, easel, etc.

But again, before starting I called up a friend who is an illustrator and asked him if I should take up art classes to which he replied: “The only thing you’ll learn there is how to open and close your paint tubes. We live in a world where you can get everything online.” And there my journey began as I scanned my favourite artists and learned a few tricks. And soon I was painting to glory.


  1. That’s really cool and inspiring. But, through this entire process how did you know what would be your specialty, and liking per se?

I started out with acrylic paints on a canvas board and churned out a lot of colourful paintings. To please my grandson, three-year-old, Joshua, I started painting cars and boats, and loved it. Then, subsequently one day I tried watercolours. My Goodness! I was hooked! The spread of colour, dry strokes, wet on wet, seeing the colours blend and form a beautiful painting was just amazing. I love painting European styled houses, florals, and boats.



  1. Since you began dabbling with water colours, what have you learned about the art form?

Since I do watercolour paintings, I like to buy the best tools. Numerous paint brushes of various sizes, a variety of HB pencils for shading. Paper is my forte and thus I’ve tried hot pressed, cold pressed, rough smooth and cotton. Texture and weight are two main factors to consider in watercolour paintings. Texture directly impacts each brush stroke and helps to create my own style of painting. I prefer A3 size 300 GSM cold pressed surface that are cotton based. And now I’ve realised that it’s so much fun to shop for paper and paints, (apart from shoes)!


  1. Away from Goa stuck in Daman during lockdown, you must have got the entire home messed up with your art, tools, etc.

My family would tell you that morning is when I work best and so every surface of the living room is filled with my art materials. That also means no one can hang out there when I am busy with my art. All I need is good paper, some inspiration and a great romcom on the television and I’m fine. Also, I need to nibble on some Indian snacks.

Also, with malls shut, in the lockdown online shopping is my new hobby. I also enjoy crochet and brushing up on vocabulary with daily crosswords and puzzles.


  1. Anything and everything can be inspirational. What inspires you?

Most of my inspiration comes from the photographs we clicked during world tours. Before the lockdown I visited West Europe with my younger one and so you’ll find a lot of European sceneries and buildings in my art portfolio. I also have a fascination for boats because I always found it challenging to get the shape right, and painting reflections in water is something that I find extremely captivating. I believe attending art exhibitions gives one a lot of ideas while also motivating me to one day showcase my own work.





Cynthia Andrade plans to host an exhibition soon along with her daughters Natasha and Ninoshka who also are artists of their own standing. At present she is taking sale requests by email, and proceeds from the sale will be given to causes that are dear to her like ‘Educating the Girl Child’, etc.