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Mexico Travel Journal Winter 2017 p26

To get to Puerto Vallarta to catch our flight back to the States, we broke our journey into two days.  We took the ETN bus to Guadalajara and spent another night at the Hotel Dali, then took our final bus ride to Puerto Vallarta, again staying at the quaint Hotel Bellmar. We like to stay on the top floor, which is a huge grunt with luggage, but the view is worth the climb.  We stay in Viejo Vallarta Centro, so no beach views.  Instead one looks out on the busy, colorful street life.

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 4:30, so that gave us time to make one last drawing before leaving Mexico.  I took many photos of street life, charmed by the papeles banners, the shiny piñata-like sculpture banners, and other handicrafts Mexicans create to celebrate life.  I captured Calle Iturbide, an appropriate ending to my Mexico sketch journal.  (Iturbide was another revolutionary independence hero.)  The view is looking toward the ocean.  The street ends in a plaza on the beach where many artists display their work.  I wanted the emphasis of this drawing to be on the banners, so I eliminated the ocean view.  I chose to add paint only to the banners to further emphasize the celebratory theme of this ink drawing.

photo collage left to right/ top to bottom:  Tlaquepaque street view with shiny miller piñatas, Puerto Vallarta papeles,  Ajijíc papeles & street vendor, door knocker San Miguel de Allende, door knocker Pátzcuaro, veterinary clinic Ajijíc, antique bicicletas at the tire shop in San Miguel de Allende, street musicians Pátzcuaro, street view San Miguel Deb Allende.

Learn From the Masters!

Registration will be open through Friday 10/27/17.  Classes begin 10/30/17- register today or call Western State Colorado University Extended Studies to register: 970-943-2885

Bringing The Masters in Art Alive – Mondays and Wednesday 3-5 PM through Western State Colorado University Extended Studies: Oct 30-Nov 8
Do you love art? Bring it alive through creative discovery. Take a playful, exploratory, multimedia approach to exploring periods, movements, geography, and master artists through making art.  Emphasis is on creative expression and discovery.  Experience using a variety of art materials and technique while you learn about art history.  THIS IS NOT your professors’ art history classes! We take inspiration from master artists and famous artworks, as we create our own masterpieces. Join us for a fast paced course and get your creative juices flowing!  Cheri holds a Masters of Art in Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in Art Education.  $65 includes materials and instruction.  LEARN FROM THE MASTERS REGISTRATION

Oct. 30: Learn about the social justice artwork of contemporary artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith.

Create your own social justice collage on faux animal skin.

Nov. 1: Learn how Post-Impressionist Paul Cézanne sparked the Cubist Art Movement.  Create a pastel still life based on Paul Cézanne’s ideas.

Nov. 6:  Discover how the Neo-Dada artist Jasper Johns bridged the aesthetic gap between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art.  Create a Dragon Cups diptyche, (a two-part composition) in watercolor based on John’s famous print, “Cups for Picasso.”  Learn how graded watercolor wash can mimic serigraph techniques.

Nov. 8  Learn about the folk art tradition of Memory Vessels.  This form of art can be found world-wide.  Make your own Memory Vessel and explore 3D mixed media construction.

All levels welcome; beginners will be given extra support; experienced artists are given design challenges to deepen their understanding.

Materials List for Watercolor Workshops

In response to the request to post a materials list for my workshops, here it is:

MATERIALS & SUPPLIES FOR WATERCOLOR WORKSHOP:

  • pencils, erasers, & sketchbook (or white printer paper for sketching ideas and doing practice studies)
  • 1/2 sheet of watercolor paper- 140# cold press cut to measure 15” x 22” (I recommend Arches brand because it has superior sizing which allows water and paint to flow on the surface without the paper fibers swelling)
  • metal yardstick (for tearing paper into smaller sizes. I will be discussing how different formats change the focus of a composition.)
  • tube watercolors in basic triad- (At the very minimum, you will need a red, a yellow, & a blue. Transparent colors will yield better results than opaque colors for this workshop. I would suggest at least 6 colors, a cool and a warm of each primary. Colors I use: Permanent Rose- cool red; Windsor Red- warm red; Cobalt Blue- almost pure blue, leans cool, good for skies; Windsor Blue Green Shade- warmish blue, mixes well with yellow for pure greens; Hansa Yellow- almost pure yellow, mixes well for oranges and greens; Raw Sienna- transparent earth yellow, somewhat neutralized, warmish. I also like to have Burnt Sienna on my palette.)
  • palette (for holding pigments and mixing paint;you could use a ceramic or plastic white plate from the dollar store.)
  • variety of paintbrushes (At the very minimum, you will need a small round brush for details; 1/2” flat brush for drawing, blocking, lifting, and dry-brush techniques; & large round brush for washes- at least #10 size. I use these 6 brushes: round brushes- #2, #6, #12; flat brushes- 1/2”, 1” 2” size chart: link for watercolor brush size chart You can find inexpensive watercolor brush sets at JoAnn’s craft stores.)
  • water containers (at least two- one for washing brushes, and one for pure water which you will use for washes and color mixing. Minimum size for the washing container is 2 quarts; anything smaller gets too polluted too quickly, & you will be constantly stopping to change water. Good size for the pure water container is at least 1 pint.)
  • spray bottle for water (handy, but not critical. I like to spritz my palette to keep the pigments fresh. You can also get effects with a spray bottle, so feel free to explore this option.)
  • sponges (at least two- I can’t paint without 3. I also like to have a few rags close at hand made from old towels about 6” x 8”. Some people like to use paper towels, but I find the clutter of used paper towels too messy, as well as not environmentally sustainable.)
  • backing board and mounting materials (I use plywood pieces that have been varnished. For smaller compositions, I don’t bother to stretch and staple my paper. Instead, I use masking tape to mount dry watercolor paper to the board. Other options- MDF or other composition board from Home Depot, a thick grade of foam core, or in a pinch- very heavy cardboard.
  • Besides staples and masking tape, you can also mount paper to your board with spring clips.)
  • easel (or you can paint flat on a table.)
  •  liquid mask (At the very minimum, get liquid mask and a small round cheap brush. I prefer to use a mask pen for most of my work. Daniel Smith is my preference because it come with 5 nibs, and they are easiest to clean. http://www.dickblick.com/products/daniel-smith- masking-fluid/ I also use Grafix masking fluid for for applying mask with a brush and to refill the Daniel Smith pen. http://www.dickblick.com/products/grafix-incredible-white- mask-liquid-frisket/ Also look for a rubber cement pickup for removing mask, available through Blick.)
  • masking tools- you need dedicated tools that you will use only for masking, (including a separate water container, rags, and a cheap, small brush. Never mix your masking tools with your painting tools. For applying mask with a brush, you will also need liquid soap. Lately I have been using a small bar of hotel soap, which I reapply often to keep my application brush free of mask.)

Registration for “Getting Loose” Watercolor Workshop Open

This Saturday, September 29, 2017 from 10 AM – 4PM

a watercolor workshop will be held to benefit The Montrose Center for the Arts to raise funds for the Center to acquire a building for visual, performance, and educational events.

Getting Loose

is a series of watercolor workshops with a focus on playful, colorful compositions for the beginner, as well as the advanced painter.  Extra support assists beginners, and compositional challenges stimulate the advanced painter.  Each workshop explores new techniques, skills, and design concepts.  Pop Culture

This session we will concentrate on these design principles:FullSizeRender (1)

  • balance
  • harmony
  • movement
  • pattern/rhythm

while we play with the following watercolor techniques:

  • wet into wet color mixing
  • dry brush
  • negative painting
  • value control
  • graded wash
  • creating texture
  • line control
  • stamping
  • mixing “black” from primary color pigments

Registration is still open:  Call the Montrose Community Foundation to reserve your slot today:  970-596-5555

 

Anatomy of a Portrait

“Redheads Have More Fun”  portrait of Willy

I have been working on a commissioned portrait of a beautiful 8 year old chestnut warmblood gelding.  Commissions require extra care, because we all have unique perspectives based on our experiences.  I wanted my vision to capture the horse’s sweet generous nature and the owner’s expectations.

I took extra care with the pencil study, being careful with Willy’s anatomy, his stunning drop-dead-gorgeous-good-looks and conformation, as well as his sunny personality.  I took extra time drawing his face, as the face and especially the eyes are the window to the spirit.

willy 1
pencil study

When the pencil study was complete, I did a value map.  I would recommend this step to anyone who wants to ensure success with a studied composition.  This process is not suitable for alla prima quick painting, but it works out many of the compositional problems that could crop up in a larger studio work.  My process is to find 3 values- dark, medium, and light.  I combine close values from the pencil study into larger connected shapes.  When I get to the painting stage, I keep the values accurate, and add a variety of color within the value shapes.  This variety of color enlivens the painting’s surface and the subject of the painting.  I also like to create lost-and-found edges at this point.  Where the sunlight touches the edge of the horse’s body, I have allowed the shapes to merge with the background- (horse’s left front leg and hoof.)

willy #2
Value map

The next step is the underpainting.  The underpainting sets the tone/temperature for the completed work, as this glaze will glow from within.  I have a warm golden wash in a variety of tones and tints- (hansa yellow, gamboge, raw sienna, burnt sienna).  I masked the areas of white- blaze and socks, and left those white areas in shadow blank- no underpainting.  For this portrait, I want a warm painting with distinct blue shadows on the horse’s socks and nose, so I saved those shapes for later painting.

willy #3.JPG
underpainting

After the underpainting was dry, I painted the background.  I wanted a very soft, light background that wouldn’t compete with the horse.  I used both blues for contrast and yellows for harmony.  When the background was dry, I built up shapes, added color, and worked from light to dark, using my value map.  As the body was taking shape, I switched to a smaller brush to complete the face.  The face slowed the process down, as stated before, an artist must capture the soul here.  When the horse was complete, I added energy in the foreground with lively brushstroke and splattered color.  I wanted to convey the energy of a joyful gallop and the impression of a flowery meadow.

willy

This work will be previewed at my Open House Sept 29, 2017 5-7 PM at Backstreet Street Bagels & Gallery.    To purchase a painting or commission a work, use this link:     purchase painting

INTRODUCING THE BACKSTREET GALS — AN EVERYTHING BAGEL, WITH ART!

an article from Navigator Editor, Janine Rusnak

An award-winning, colorful square quilt hides twenty gems; a collection of four watercolor dream horses takes you to exotic places; a delicate, yet heavy handwoven copper piece boasts the title “Asian Study #6.”

 

These spectacular art pieces are now on display at Backstreet Bagel Company in Montrose and capture true, local talent in mixed
visual arts.

With a grand reception Friday, September 29, the Backstreet Gals exhibition features three local artists.  Each artist comes to this exhibition with a background in fiber art.  Though the artists create in diverse media, this common influence of fiber art is referenced in the collected works on display: including strong underlying composition and design, the ability to bring harmony to bright color schemes, and the use of geometry within a pictorial subject.

All That Glitters

Prior to her weaving career, Lynn Vogel made doll cloth- es as a child. She discover- ed the world of hand weav- ing in her early 20’s.  “The hand weaving process was natural for me.  It was like a puzzle— intricate, complex, beautiful —one that would take me a complete,” Vogel said.  She received a large, handmade loom as a birthday gift one year which  led to her and her sister making and selling clothing for several years in small boutiques and galleries throughout Denver.  A decade later, she found herself sitting on the library floor in the art section and became drawn to a new medium—copper. She said someone once told her it couldn’t be woven on a loom. She proved them wrong, and for the last 20 years has been weaving copper as her primary medium. The end result? Beautiful, one-of-a-kind works of art consisting of embossed copper and semi-precious stones. Vogel will have one of her looms present at the open house with the intention of offering a brief, yet in- formative, demonstration of how she creates her masterpieces.

One Stitch At A Time

Debbie Watkins has been designing her own quilts since 2014 after joining a small group of local quilters. Their encouragement and feedback helped her to achieve her goals of creating unique quilt designs as well as incorporating unfamiliar techniques and non-traditional media in each quilted piece.

Watkins began quilting in 1980 and since she moved to Montrose she has been a member of two of the Montrose quilt guilds and is also heavily involved with the annual Black Canyon Quilt Show.  Labels displayed with her work indicate what prize those pieces have won, including this year’s first place winner in the Mixed Media category at the Black Canyon Quilt Show titled, “Dragon Fly By.” This is a vertical piece that came to fruition by way of another piece Watkins ended up not liking.  “Mistakes are creative opportunities!” Watkins exclaimed.

In this show, Watkins’ quilts combine crystals, fabric paints and dyes, photos, painted and heat-stressed Tyvek, as well as buttons, beads, organza and more, all resulting in dynamic, one- of-a-kind pieces.  Also displayed at the Backstreet Gals exhibition are an assortment of “quilted” greeting cards, handmade by Watkins, and a 79” x 92” quilt.

Living In A Colorful World

Artist and painter Cheri Isgreen is fascinated by the relationship between light and shadow on natural forms.  “If you get the values and shapes correct, any beautiful color will look compelling, even a purple horse,” she said.  NobleIsgreen seeks fresh, unexpected color mixtures through the spontaneity of wet paint mixing on the paper. She strives for a sense of mystery and narration in each painting. As a former art educator, she taught the gamut of media, styles, and subjects, giving her the strong range she draws upon today when creating her watercolor compositions. Currently Isgreen’s work reflects her passion for horses, flowers, and travel, with each piece conveying personal meaning.

Isgreen maintains an active studio schedule, winning awards in juried exhibitions, showing in four Colo- rado galleries, accepting commissions through her galleries and website, and teaching art workshops through regional art centers and Western State Colorado University. Isgreen’s work has been showcased in museums, galleries, and publications both in the United States and abroad.

Isgreen’s colorful, contemporary watercolor paintings complement Vogel’s Bouquetcopper compositions and Watson’s art quilts. And with Isgreen’s elements of mystery and narrative, viewers will discover personal meaning in each painting for themselves.

All three artists will be available for questions and discussion at the public open house. Special exhibition pieces will be on display only during Friday’s open house. These women will transform the entire restaurant into a colorful gallery that embraces different media in a comfortable space.

The works displayed in Backstreet Gals is modern but not abstract. “It fits in all décor styles,” Vogel said.  There will be over 30 pieces displayed and are all for purchase.

Backstreet Bagel Company is owned by Scott and Debbie Cassidy. They offer an array of breakfast and lunch items as well as gourmet coffee drinks. Backstreet Bagel is located at 127 North Townsend Avenue in Montrose.

The public is invited to the Backstreet Gals Open House Friday, September 29, from 5-7 p.m. There will be music, complimentary wine, and gourmet appetizers available.

Open House 9/29/17

If you look on my Exhibition tab, you will see that it has been a busy summer.  Along with painting for the shows and commissioned work, I am quite busy designing courses for Montrose and Gunnison.  The Workshop Tab will be updated soon to announce the many course offerings.  I have also been asked to offer a tab for purchase of card sets and prints from my sketch books.  Stay tuned for that.

Because of all the new endeavors, I have not had time to keep the website as current as I would like.  Today I was asked to write a newsletter article for the Montrose Visual Arts Guild.  As I was putting the finishing touches on it, I realized this would make a good blog post.  The article gives a background of my beginnings in the art world and features my latest projects.  Hope many of the local readers can come to my Open House.

Cheri Isgreen works in watercolor, mixed media, and pastel.  Throughout her life, Cheri has created art.  Her first installation, at age three, was a self portrait with her twin sister scratched into the headboard of her bed.  For many years, Cheri worked as a master weaver with work featured in collections and publications in the US and abroad.  As an art teacher for 25 years, she taught the gamut of media, styles, and subjects.  She served as an Art Fellow with US Dept of Ed and consulted with Colorad Dept Ed, universities, and private companies.  Retiring from public education in 2010, Cheri began painting professionally.  She draws inspiration from her passions: horses, gardens, and travels.  She and her husband look forward to spending two months as visiting artists capturing the beautiful Baroque city of Guanajuato, Mexico this winter.

“I am fascinated by the relationship between light and shadow on natural forms.  Compositions for paintings develop as I respond to the interplay of light and dark shapes.  I seek fresh, unexpected color with spontaneous wet brushwork.  I strive for a sense of mystery and narrative in each painting.”

FullSizeRender

Cheri shows widely in galleries and exhibitions.  Recent awards include First Place, “Scent” Western Colorado Watercolor Society, (Sept 2017) .  Colorado Watercolor Society, (August 2017) Second Place “Orchid’s Glow” & Honorable Mention “No Hoof No Horse.”  

 

Collaborating with Scott Cassidy, they transformed Backstreet Bagels into an accessible gallery where Cheri regularly rotates new work.  On September 29, 2017 Backstreet will host an Open House for Cheri, Lynn Vogel, and Debbie Watkins.  Each artist comes from a background of fiber.  Their current work in painting, woven & embossed copper, and art quilts complements as a unified showing of creative exploration.  Please plan to attend 5-7 PM, 9/29/17, Backstreet Bagels & Gallery, 127 N Townsend Ave, Montrose.

Flight Behavior
“Flight Behavior” I have always been fascinated by the pattern of birds in flight, called murmuration. I pondered for years how to capture this phenomenon. Techniques: background poured watercolor. Birds & foreground: fast loose saturated brushwork with the color changing at every dip of the brush- no black pigment used.

 

First Friday Gunnison Arts Center

The Colorado Watercolor Society first show on the Western Slope opens at the Gunnison Center for the Arts Friday, Aug 4, 2017.  I will show three works; two florals, “Orchids,” “Cosmos,” and an equine themed work, “No Hoof, No Horse.”  The two florals celebrate the glory of light on natural forms.  “Orchids” is backlit, providing for a dramatic composition, while “Cosmos” shows reflected light of flowers in full sun.  “No Hoof, No Horse” explores lost and found edges and the fading of form through the phenomenon of smoke.

both paintings image 7.5″ x 22″  (frame size 13.5″ x 28″)  copyright C Isgreen          $350 each

FullSizeRender
award winning painting:  “No Hoof, No Horse” copyright C Isgreen                                                     22″ x 15″  (frame size 28″ x 21″) $500

In the upstairs gallery, the Arts Center is showing its annual fundraising exhibition, “Tiny Treasures.”  I have submitted two watercolor paintings of birds inspired by Japanese scrolls.  These “tiny treasures” were painted in a diamond format to give them a dynamic composition.  Both watercolor on paper and oil/acrylic on canvas will be offered.

from  GAC website:                 IMG_0357

Upper Gallery: Tiny Treasures “Fortune Cookie Quotes”
Celebrate the little things in life! For the third year in a row, the GAC’s fundraiser, Tiny Treasures, really is proof that good things DO come in small packages. Featuring a plethora of tiny treasures on canvas, all created by local artists. Treasures will be on sale at affordable prices all month where 100% of the profit goes to the GAC. A theme has been added this year; artists will pick a fortune cookie quote to use for inspiration. Enjoy tiny appetizers, a live tiny gallery concert with tiny instruments and more at the First Friday ArtWalk & Music!

New works at GAC:

In keeping with this month of tiny treasures, I am offering framed prints from my travels ($25) and small framed floral watercolors, all affordably price below $200.  I also completed an aspen series, where I fractured the light.  (see featured image preview above) These charming small works will complement the small niches in your home.

Nature Creates Art

I just completed a new work, inspired by the flight of starlings.  For years I have watched in awe as a flock of birds take flight to dramatically form a series of changing patterns in the sky.  In perfect synchronicity, the flock swoops, changes direction, and the pattern seamlessly morphs into a new shape.  The shapes are liquid in the sky, as they blend from one organic shape to the next.  Inspired, I wondered how to capture this on paper with paint?

This spring, I took a 1/2 sheet of watercolor paper and poured a sky that blended from blue to golden as it touched the desert horizon.  Big sky in Nevada.  By pouring paint in a series of glazes,  underlying layers are preserved while developing a depth of color and enhanced luminosity.  This beautiful background needed a center of focus- the birds I have been forever dreaming about!

How to start?  How to capture the dynamic fluidity of this aviary phenomenon?  Each night I dreamed how I would approach the painting.  Each morning I awoke and found I couldn’t attempt it.  I didn’t know how to begin; I couldn’t feel “the flow. ”  Finally I settled on my pigments- Windor blue shade, alizarin crimson permanent, and burnt sienna. I  made a small practice painting.

flight study.jpg
“Flight Before the Storm”

Encouraged with the results of that bird study and before I could “chicken out,” I jumped into the large painting.  I knew the painting would either end as an unmitigated disaster, or it would become a delightful surprise.  Each time I reloaded the brush, I added a different pigment to my palette mixture from my base colors to influence the tone.  The dynamic shape of the flock subtly changed in hue as it grew on my paper.   I continued to add defined bird shapes to the edges and loose bird groupings in the center, striving for a strong abstract shape and interesting movement throughout the painting.  The painting succeeds in capturing the dynamic movement of a flock of birds in the dance of flight.

Flight Behavior.jpg

Nature inspires wildlife to create beautiful creations of their own.  Enjoy this video showing a pufferfish creating a beautiful mandala to attract a mate.  Pufferfish 

More:

Left to right, clockwise:  Millipede, exhibiting its main defense mechanism, curling into a spectacular spiral, which protects its legs inside its body.  A celestial spiral, the Aurora Borealis, in the skies above Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.  Finally, a collection of diatoms, microscopic algae.  These images were found on National Geographic.  Enjoy more here: National Geographic link

The Ah Haa School of the Arts in Telluride is still accepting registrations for my watercolor class.  To register, click the following link: Cheri Isgreen Watercolor Workshop

“Poured Watercolor” Workshop in beautiful Telluride Colorado

FullSizeRender

The wildflowers are blooming, the mountains shine, and rainbows appear in the evening light.  Summertime in Telluride!  It’s time for a weekend mountain getaway.  Relax in beautiful Telluride while exploring some new watercolor techniques.  I will teach “Poured Watercolor” through the Ah Haa School of the Arts, Friday – Sunday, July 28 – 30, 2017. 

Break in the Clouds (1)

Forgo the brush and experiment with the process of pouring watercolor to produce paintings with unique results. Learn the pigment rules, color theory, and pouring techniques to give your watercolor paintings glowing results.  By pouring paint in a series of glazes,  underlying layers are preserved while developing a depth of color and enhancing luminosity.  Experience how this technique fosters a wide range of spontaneous colors while maintaining the harmony of a limited palette. Poured watercolor lends itself to a variety of subject matter.  All levels of painters are welcome, including first-time watercolorists.

To register, visit the Ah Haa School of the Arts registration page: POURED WATERCOLOR REGISTRATION

Time to Register “A Sense of Place” Sketch Journal Class in Montrose

I will be teaching part II of the sketch journal series, “A Sense of Place.”  Learn how perspective works, how to simplify perspective principles, and how to use this understanding to capture a sense of place in your drawings.  We will meet at the Montrose Plaza downtown under the covered pavilion on Tuesday, July 11, 4-6 PM.  The image above is a winding street in San Miguel DeAllende, Mex.  It simplifies a very complex street scene with multiple vanishing points.  You do not need to be concerned with the complexities of winding streets, hills, vanishing points, etc.  to capture a sense of  the place you are drawing.  Use this link to register:         sketch workshop registration

Please bring a sketch book, pencil, eraser, and fine line ink pen.

If you wish to add color, bring a small portable watercolor set.  For those without a professional pleine air travel kit, make a paint kit with the following items:

TRAVEL KIT

  • box of Prang watercolors found in the school supply section.  Do not buy Crayola washable watercolors; the paint has no color saturation.  They also come in a plastic box which breaks over time.  The Prang set comes in a metal box with a palette for mixing in the lid.  This can be refilled with your choice of tube watercolors as the original set is used.
  • watercolor brushes- at the minimum get a very thin round brush to complement the bigger brush that comes with the Prang set.  A 1″ flat brush is also handy to have.
  • a small container for holding water- go to a camping store and purchase a collapsible drinking cup.  They are plastic and come in bright colors.  They also come with a lid.
  • sponge- cut the sponge into small pieces that will fit inside your collapsible water cup.
  • old wash cloth- cut this in half- wrap your paint brushes inside the 1 of the washcloth pieces.
  • large ziplock baggie or zippered pencil case; small ziplock baggie; paper towel- use the paper towel to blot your paint set when you are ready to put it away.  Zip it into the small baggie.  Put the whole paint kit into the large baggie: sketchbook, pen, pencil, eraser, watercolor materials.