A Few Pages from my Sketchbook

I have been working on some pencil studies of Conversano Mima, a friend’s 20 year old Lipizzan stallion at White Horse Vale Lipizzans in Goldendale, Washington.  The studies are very different.  The first is a dynamic expression of horse power, while the other is a formal portrait.  Because the drawings are so different, the approach to these paintings suggests different techniques and strategies.  The next step is to test out some of my ideas with watercolor.

study of Conversano Mima, pencil, copyright CIsgreen 2015
study of Conversano Mima, pencil, copyright CIsgreen 2015
portrait study of Conversano Mima, pencil, copyright CIsgreen 2015
portrait study of Conversano Mima, pencil, copyright CIsgreen 2015

Dream Horses

I’m dreaming of long-legged horses with fantastic hair dos.  This has become a pursuit I have been investigating this past month.  The images come into my mind, and since the horses are not based on real anatomy, the research is in working out pleasing proportions for these fantasy horses.

Dream Horse #1 "Queen Bee" copyright Cheri Isgreen
Dream Horse #1 “Queen Bee” copyright Cheri Isgreen

Like long legged fashion models,  questions arose-

*Do I include joints, or do I simply suggest long legggggggggs stretching to infinity?

*If I show the joints, (knees, hocks, fetlocks),  where do I place them along the continuum?

*What is more pleasing, normal sized joints within long legs, or elongated, like the legs themselves?  If I elongate the joints, what happens if I exaggerate their sizes?  If I make substantial feet, I can express the power in the hoofbeat…  What is the effect if I make tiny hooves with the joints becoming progressively smaller as they got longer?

Plenty of decisions to make & a lot of variables to draw, explore, and think about.  In my first three compositions, I’ve decided to include the joints, as I love articulating them.  I decided not to exaggerate them, either smaller or larger.   In future compositions, it will be fun to play with some other solutions.

These horses embody lots of pattern and fanciful hairstyles.   I’m enjoying the different ways to use pattern & dreaming up new hair dos…..

“Queen Bee” is modeled after Stella, the lovely warmblood mare I recently painted as a commission.  As I have mentioned, this mare has such presence and attitude.  Here she is in the dream realm.  I started with an all-over geometric design with a mask pen.  After the mask was removed, the pattern only appears in the places that received paint.  In the white areas, the pattern is implied- a vehicle I enjoy using in all my painting. I’m always looking for opportunities for lost & found edges, defining with negative space, and using implication to tell a story.  The palette is a strong use of contrasts with “orange” (burnt & raw siennas) and “blue” (cobalt and maganese for their granulating effects, and ultramarine for its mixing properties).

Anatomy of a Commission- Part 5

Here the painting is ready to begin.  Paper is stretched, and staples are covered with tape.  The figures and the aspen trunks are covered with masking fluid.  You can see how over the course of this process, the composition has changed based on design decisions that are occurring at each stage.

pre-painting stage
pre-painting stage

Anatomy of a Commission- part 1

The painting project I’ve recently begun was initiated by a commission for a daughter-in-law’s birthday.  After meeting the recipient, and learning about her style and tastes, we reviewed my paintings, noting which ones appealed to her.  Then we set out to meet her horse.  Stella is a lovely warmblood mare with tons of personality.  Arriving in the rain at the ranch where she is boarded, we slogged through wet grass and mud to her field.  It was magnificent!  The rain had lifted, and the rays of sun highlighted a mesa here, an aspen grove there, with layers of mountains peeking through a curtain of mist.   All along the way, Ashley told me stories of her mare. And there she was,  amid a large herd, in glorious surroundings with acres to roam.  Listening to the stories, watching her, and photographing her antics, I began to know Stella.

Later I reviewed my photos and chose a group of 5 that I would develop into a painting.  The photos included Stella running across her field,  other horses in her herd, a shot of  Mt. Sopris, the iconic peak of Carbondale, Colorado, and a grove of aspen trees spotlit against the stormy sky.  The photos suggested a narrative with an interesting cast of characters in a beautiful setting.  I began to see the painting as a movie!  The star of the show is Stella, the lovely grey warmblood mare.  Her supporting actors include the Bay, the Chestnut, and the Paint.  The setting is Strang Ranch, in a pasture aglow with blooming rabbit brush.  Mt Sopris looms in the background, jutting into a stormy sky.

The next step was to really get to know Stella, through a detailed pencil drawing.  Drawing allows me to slowly study the whole horse, learning about my subject through close observation.  Though I am drawing what I see on the outside, somehow her nature shines through, and I become acquainted with her personality also.  Most of my paintings begin with detailed pencil drawings.  When I drew Stella, I saw a strong Alpha mare.  Suddenly I had a title for the painting, “Leader of the Pack.”

study Stella
study Stella

HIGH POINT Opens Tonight at the Creamery Arts Center



  • Original watercolors , monoprints, and greeting cards by Cheri Isgreen
  • Original acrylic paintings by Barb Haynie
  • Found objects sculpture by Cheri Isgreen & Barb Haynie
  • SILENT AUCTION: framed original watercolor collage by Cheri Isgreen to benefit SPIRITWIND HORSE RESCUE
  • horse-approved, barn themed appetizers for horses & their humans
  • Year of the Horse Chinese appetizers
  • fresh garden veggies and dip
  • register for a door prize each time you visit the show, runs through Nov. 10th

“Heritage” for LIPIZZAN LEGACY

From Xenophon to Podhajsky, the cavalry has innovated and refined equestrian arts.

Heritage, copyright Cheri Isgreen 2014
Heritage, copyright Cheri Isgreen 2014

Is this a troop of soldiers riding forth into battle——-

——-or a troupe of artists riding into the spotlights?


It’s the last week before I pack up and head out to Illinois for the US Lipizzan Symposium and my art shown Lipizzan Legacy.   I have painted the last 3 works for the show.

“Legacy” portrays the beauty, nobility, and talent of the Lipizzan breed.  With fire in his eye and an arch in his neck, this horse is ready to burst forth into the animated grace of the Lipizzaner.

Legacy, copyright Cheri Isgreen
Legacy, copyright Cheri Isgreen





new works in watercolor by Cheri Isgreen

celebrating the grace, beauty, and nobility of the Lipizzan

Showing at Tempel Farm

October 3-5


sales to benefit the Lipizzan Rescue Foundation

High Point Updates

This is your last opportunity to see “HIGH POINT, the Art of Showing Horses” in Teluride at the historic Mélange Gallery.  HIGH POINT closes Thursday, August 28th.

HIGH POINT opens Saturday, August 30th in Redstone, at the newly remodeled Redstone Art Gallery.  Hours for the opening are 10am-5pm.  Cheri will show 2 new works, “Stormy Monday” and “Two Step.”  Both paintings  developed from ideas generated from previous works.

 “Two Step” evolved from the painting “Dancer.”

"Two Step" copyright Cheri Isgreen
“Two Step” copyright Cheri Isgreen
"Dancer"  watercolor, 16"X20" $300
“Dancer” watercolor, 16″X20″ $300












 “Stormy Monday” is a poured water color based on her Storm series.   “Storm’s A-Comin” and “Who’s got the Blues” are other paintings in this series.

"Stormy Monday" copyright Cheri Isgreen
“Stormy Monday”  poured watercolor, copyright Cheri Isgreen
"Storm's A-Comin" copyright Cheri Isgreen
“Storm’s A-Comin” painted watercolor, copyright Cheri Isgreen
"Who's Got de Blues?" copyright C Isgreen 2014
“Who’s Got de Blues?” painted and splattered watercolor, copyright C Isgreen 201




















HIGH POINT will sponsor 3 “creation stations” where visitors can try their hands at Chinese brush painting, zen painting, and origami.   Cheri is donating a painting for the silent auction to benefit homeless artists.  All visitors to the art show can register to win a HIGH POINT tee shirt.


“High Point” and the Telluride Jazz Festival Open Today!

Mélange Telluride, a contemporary artist studio and gallery, run by working artists is hosting “HIGH POINT, the Art of Showing Horses” for the month of August.

showing August 2014
showing August 2014

History and myth are  staples of Telluride, the historic mining town in SW Colorado, nestled in the beautiful San Juan Mountains at an altitude of over 9,ooo feet. With abundant snowfall, Telluride boasts a world class ski area, as well as world renown festivals.  The gallery occupies the historic Telluride Bank, where Butch Cassidy blew into town on June 24, 1889 and robbed his first bank.  He fled with $21,000 to a remote area of Utah, known as Robbers Roost.


In August, the Vault Gallery showcases athletic horses displaying their beauty and artistry through the skills of their English riders in the disciplines of dressage,  show jumping, and eventing.  The Vault is an intimate, unique space to exhibit art.  Enjoy the installation of Cheri’s and Barb’s visions and expressions of the equestrian arts in watercolor and acrylics.













"Spring" & "Starting the Colt" by Brarbara Haynie
“Spring” & “Starting the Colt” by Brarbara Haynie










Drop in to see the show while enjoying fabulous jazz, breathtaking scenery, a summer of amazing wildflowers accessible on abundant hiking and mountain biking trails, haute cuisine, and that “je ne sais quois” atmosphere Telluride is known for.

RECEPTION AUGUST 7, 5PM-8PM during the Telluride First Thursdays Art Walk