Watercolors Accepted to Colorado Visions

Paintings selected by juror, Sheri Farabaugh for 21th Annual Colorado Visions Exhibition of Art

May 1-31, 2018

Opening Reception May 10, 5:30-7:30

Westminster City Hall;  4800 W. 92nd Ave; Westminster, CO

Below is a short background to the paintings, “No Hoof; No Horse” and “Orchid’s Glow.”

No Hoof; No Horse

“No Hoof, No Horse” copyright C Isgreen  $500

tells the story of skill and craft behind the farrier’s art of hot shoeing.  A farrier carefully trims each hoof, then shapes each horseshoe to ensure comfort, balance, and performance.  Skilled work by talented farriers enhance the movement of sport horses, provide therapy for rehab horses, and prolong soundness for pleasure horses.   The painting captures the drama when a hot shoe is placed on a horse’s hoof to test for fit.  This painting spotlights the incredible trust horses place in their human partners.

Orchid’s Glow

Orchid's Glow

is a study in light.  Light reveals color and form.  The backlit forms of the orchids give the illusion of a glow from within each flower.  This semi-abstract composition puts the emphasis on design first and subject matter second.  Deep rich color give the painting harmony.  Strong movement and contrast provide interest.


“Three Passions: Horses, Flowers, Travel” now showing at the Blue Pig Gallery in Palisade

“Three Passions: Horses, Flowers, Travel” features new works by Cheri Isgreen.

Horses highlights my deep connection with horses, especially my special relationship with Monarch, who I have raised and trained from green colt to seasoned show, clinic, trail, and special events horse.

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“Ebony and Ivory” is my newest watercolor.  It depicts a Lipizzan and a warmblood in joyful camaraderie.  These horse create their own “liberty pas de deux.”  Look closely at how suspension enhances the beauty of horses’ movement.  Light on living forms creates a unending variety of interesting and harmonious shapes.  The white horse is defined by shadows, in contrast to the highlights defining form in the black horse.

Flowers, like Horses focuses on my interest of how light defines living forms.  Unlike Horses, (which I paint in a narrative style), Flowers are painted in a looser style that explores pure design and composition.

Travel samples a collection of entries from my travel sketch journals in a variety of media, including pencil, ink, watercolor, and collage.  Works are presented as 5″ x 7″ framed prints from Colorado, Utah, Texas, and Mexico trips.

“Three Passions: Horses, Flowers, Travel” Preview of New Works

“Three Passions: Horses, Flowers, Travel” opens tomorrow at the Blue Pig Gallery in Palisade, Colorado, running through September 30, 2016

“Cosmos”  framed watercolor          27″ x 13″  $350                                 copyright C Isgreen 2016


“Three Passions” features new works inspired by my love of horses, flowers, and travel.  All the horse and flower paintings are executed in watercolors, and explore the effects of light on living forms.  While the horse paintings are narrative in nature, the flower compositions are pure design.  They focus on movement, space, color, pattern, rhythm, and line.  My travel pieces are framed 5″ x 7″ prints from my sketch journals.  They represent a wide range of work including pencil, pen & ink, watercolor, watercolor & ink; Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Utah.

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I have one more piece on my easel, a narrative equine painting which will be titled, “Ebony & Ivory.”  This is the study for “Ebony & Ivory.”  (Note difference in style between equine & floral compositions.)



“Cosmos” will be one of the featured works for my upcoming show at the Blue Pig Gallery running Sept 1-30, 2016.  For more information about this show, visit the following link:


The Blue Pig is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 5:30 pm and Sunday – 10 am – 5:00 pm

101 W. 3rd Street, Palisade, CO 81526

The Blue Pig can be reached by calling (970) 464-4819.


“Three Passions: Horses, Flowers, Travel” Preview of New Works by Cheri Isgreen

Horses!  Total synesthesia: pure poetry in motion; my original raison d’être for painting in watercolor.  “Noble” evolved  from the contour line studies and sketch classes I have been giving this summer.  Using saturated color and pure water with a large mop brush- value, color, and form developed from the contour lines based on the pencil study for this work.

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“Noble”  watercolor; framed size 16″ x 20″  $350  copyright Cheri Isgreen 2016

“Noble” will be one of the featured works for my upcoming show at the Blue Pig Gallery running Sept 1-30, 2016.  For more information about this show, visit the following link:


“First Pal” finished painting from Demo

“First Pal” is a portrait of my daughter’s first pony, a section B, 12 hand Welsh Pony, which I bought as a weanling for her fifth birthday.  Capriceaux and Marissa grew up together.   You can read more about them at Marissa and Capriceaux or just watch the video Pony Pals video

Taken on Marissa’s 5th birthday

It took me awhile to finish this painting; sometimes how to resolve/finish a painting can be elusive.  When that happens, I’ve found the best strategy is to stop painting and simply think about different approaches.  Returning from the sketching trip to Texas reignited my creative flow.  I played up the negative grass shapes, adding some counterchange and juxtaposing negative grasses from the pour with positive grasses, painted with the brush.  I added atmosphere in the background with wet-into-wet painting, and finished with textural splatters.  To review the painting process for this painting, visit Demo part 1 and Demo part 2.

First Pal
“First Pal,” watercolor, 15″ X 11″  $350; copyright Cheri Isgreen, 2016

“Art in the Park” Rocky Mountain Horse Expo Juried Show

Artist Reception, Art Show, Sale and Silent Auction
Saturday, March 12, 2016 from 4:30 – 6:30 PM
Art in the Park area of Hall of Education Building

Over 45 sophisticated and talented artists who blend their passion for horses with their creative intuition highlight this one-of-find art exhibit. The artists selected to exhibit their works at the “Art in the Park” gallery in the Hall of Education Building at this year’s Expo will display paintings, equine-related photography, stained glass, bronze sculptures and various mixed-media all celebrating the horse from their own perspective and artistic interpretation. Come meet the artists at the reception starting at 4:30pm. All artwork displayed is available for purchase. Click here to view the works on the BlackTie Colorado website. You will also have the opportunity to bid on additional artwork donated by the artists specifically for the silent auction.

Conversano Mima White Horse Vale Ranch, Goldendale, WA Lipizzan Stallion

I will show three pieces:

“For a Good Time, Call Ed” watercolor, juried

“Conversano Mima” watercolor, juried

“A Pause in the Day’s Occupation”  small monoprint, auction


“Hot Shoe” (part 3, final painting)

The finished painting: “Hot Shoe.”

I originally thought the title  would be, “For a Good Time, Call Ed.” This is a reference to common graffiti found on a public bathroom wall.  For equestrians, the title is a double entendre meaning “no hoof, no horse.”  Ed is a master farrier.  I rely on him to not only keep my horse sound, but to maximize my horse’s movement.  He helps me to understand the structure of the foot, how the approach he will use translates to my horse’s comfort and way of travel, and how to solve the occasional problem that arises in the pasture or in training.  A farrier can make all the difference between an enjoyable ride and a disaster.  In fact, I found Ed as a result of a disaster from a previous “hoof expert.”)

"Hot Shoe" copyright C Isgreen 2015 $600
“Hot Shoe” copyright C Isgreen 2015 $600

It is interesting the comments I received while this painting was a work in progress.  It ran the gamut from “leave the smoke out; the composition is strong without it,” all the way to the opposite end of the spectrum, “approach it as an abstract painting, make the subject the smoke.”  My vision was to include all the drama of the hot shoe touching the prepared hoof, while still retaining a realistic narrative.  That is the approach I followed.

Hot Shoe, part 2

I was eager to return to this work after the painting dried.  This morning I worked on legs- the horse’s weight bearing foot; the farrier’s chaps and initial wash for his boot.  Treatment for the chaps was approached in a different manner than the very modeled and harder-edged shirt.  The leather in the chaps still had shadows and highlights, but the surface of the leather is softer, requiring a wet-into-wet approach.  Lifting the highlights while the paint was still wet also added to a softer edge.  I found I needed all 6 pigments to complete these pieces of the painting- dominant pigments: raw sienna- lower chaps; burnt sienna & ultramarine blue- upper chaps & hoof tool; burnt sienna- hoof.

Hot Shoe part 4 copyright C Isgreen
Hot Shoe part 4 copyright C Isgreen

Next steps: finish the boot and paint the jeans, then pull the painting together with final touches.

New Work; Hot Shoe

Sometimes the paintings we see in our mind’s eye take a bit of incubation before they appear on paper.  Two years ago I became inspired to paint my farrier doing “hot shoe” work.  In this work, new shoes are shaped to the horse’s individual feet with a forge.  We set a time for me to photograph him working; I took many reference photos.  Much later, I sat down to make a study for the painting.  I used a variety of media for this study, including graphite pencil, colored pencil, and charcoal.  The finished drawing suggested a pastel painting, but I knew I wanted this to be a watercolor with lost and found edges.

study for "Hot Shoe" copyright C Isgreen
study for “Hot Shoe” copyright C Isgreen

I thought I would work on it last fall or into the winter.  Instead, I studied the effects of winter storms.  We had quite a bit of snow this past winter, so I observed how the atmosphere creates lost and found edges.  I went out to paint some storms safely ensconced in my car.  Most recently, I began the painting process.  In the drawing, there is no smoke or lost edges.  I felt for a study, I needed to learn how the edges articulated and the shapes joined.  I did like the idea of using primary colors as my color scheme.  For the painting, I decided to use the following pigments- 2 neutrals- (one leaning toward yellow and the other leaning toward red), raw sienna and burnt sienna; 2 blues- cobalt blue and ultramarine blue; 2 reds- permanent rose madder and permanent alizarine crimson.  This is a rather traditional palette, and for this painting these six pigments worked quite well.

After transferring my drawing to a half sheet of Arches 140 pound cold press paper and stretching it on my watercolor board, I set out to create the background- the elusive smoke and the atmospheric effects that smoke would create.  I relied strongly on my winter studies of storms, mists, and fog.

hot shoe. step 1 copyright C IsgreenThe initial wash was laid down with cobalt blue, burnt & raw sienna, (and rose madder for the sleeve.)  When the wash dried, I felt the edges were too defined, so I lifted quite a bit of the initial wash to better express the smokey environment when the hot shoe is tested to the horse’s hoof.  (See next photo.)  Now, with no strong edges, my mind was having a hard time organizing the shapes and seeing how the final result should progress.  I needed to create some hard edges, value range, and definition.  I did this by painting the head and the hand.

Hot Shoe part 2, copyright Cheri Isgreen
Hot Shoe part 2, copyright Cheri Isgreen

Later, I added the first wash on the red shirt in rose madder.  Now the drama of the farrier placing the hot shoe on the horse’s hoof is beginning to emerge to become the centerpiece of the painting.

hot shoe step 3 copyright C isgreen
hot shoe step 3 copyright C isgreen

With the initial red wash dry, I used alizarin crimson and ultramarine blue to define the shirt.  The top peaks of the fabric folds were lifted to create highlights.  (It’s interesting how that word perfectly defines what an artist does.)  While still wet, I added more rose madder to saturate the red at the point just before the fabric moves into shadow.

Please stay tuned to see how this painting progresses………and hit the FOLLOW button to read more about Cheri Isgreen Fine Art.follow