Galaxy, Dream Horse

Galaxy is the eternal horse; he glows in subtle shades of the blue heaven above. Visit Galaxy and Liberté  at the 610 Arts Collective on Clinton Street, Ridgway Colorado. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:00 am-5:00 pm. Each sculptures is 18″ tall; $250.


Mixed media process includes ceramic sculpture, integrated legs from cured forsythia, multilayered surfaces including hand-rubbed metallic finish, copper wire hair treatments, and enameled wooded bases.

If not in the area, purchase and shipping can be arranged by calling the Gallery and speaking to Trisha: 970-318-0150 or visiting this link: purchase a Dream Horse


Liberté, Dream Horse Sculpture

Introducing Liberté, completed on the 4th of July.  His hand rubbed metallic finish is evocative of the copper patina on the Statue of Liberty.  With an explosion of fireworks in his mane and tail, he symbolizes a celebration of freedom, both freedom of the wild horse, as well as freedom the United States guarantees its citizens.  This sculpture is dedicated “with liberty and justice for all,” especially for the least of us.

Mixed media sculpture includes ceramic body with textured patterns, cured forsythia legs, various proprietary compounds that blend forsythia to ceramic body, acrylic base coat,  metallic hand rubbed finish, acrylic clear coat, black enameled wooden base, and copper wire hair finish.  To learn more about this sculpture process, visit this link: Dream Horse process


You can visit/view Liberté at the 610 Arts Collective in Ridgway CO.  To purchase this free spirited celebratory horse, contact Trisha at the 610 Gallery,  970-318-0150.


Dream Horse Equine Sculptures


Meet Sazerac, the first horse in my new mixed media equine sculpture series.  Sazerac is a jazzy horse, inspired by New Orleans.  He’s mellow as a fine whiskey with a touch of fire.

Requiring many steps to complete, my mixed media sculptures are a journey of art, fine craft, decision making, and most importantly playful creation.  The horses begin with a foraging trip to find legs from the many trees and shrubs on my property.  I like to use fruit wood and flowering shrubs, which are easy to shape while green and become quite hard during the drying process.  The legs for this series are exclusively forsythia.  As I forage, I am looking for limbs which suggest the anatomy of the horse, bumps and protrusions that echo fetlocks, chestnuts, hocks, knees, etc.  From my basket of gatherings, I sort legs into fronts and backs; then I find pairs that go together.  These groupings are sized, then bundled together for drying.  Some of the legs are shaped while green to push the suggestion of animation.

After the sets of legs are determined, I begin to sculpt the horses with a white clay body.  Each horse evolves organically, with its own gestures and personality.  Using a variety of found objects, I press a pattern into the soft clay.  Then I position the legs as they will appear after firing, checking for balance, anatomy, and temperament.  I note which legs will go with each horse before I remove them for drying and firing.  Drying the wood, as well as the clay takes patience- at least a month.


After the clay is fired, each set of legs is permanently attached to the selected horse using a special adhesive, allowing 24 hours to cure before sculpting the final musculature where legs join the horse’s trunk.   Over time, with much experimentation, I have developed a proprietary  compound that stays soft long enough to build the muscles and flesh, blending legs into the horse’s body, then dries hard and  bonds to the fired clay.  As everything cures, the horses get their own paddock to keep them safe.  As you can see from the photo, the drying process involves shrinkage, so sometimes another coat of the blended compound is applied to the upper legs before the finish work begins.IMG_9927After everything is dry, each horse gets a base coat of black acrylic paint.  When dry, each horse is hand rubbed with colored metallic pigments, and sealed with clear acrylic glaze.

I enjoy watching the interaction of the horses in their paddock after each application.  The copper green horse seems “buddied” to the red horse.  When all receive their finishes, they again come back together as a herd.  When the sealer is dry, I use a fine gauge wire to create hairstyles and attitude for each horse.  In the preview, you can see a close up view of Sazerac, detailing his pressed clay texture, metallic finish, articulation of limbs merging wooden legs with ceramic body, and copper wire mane.

Sazerac was shown at the 610 Arts Collective in Ridgway and sold in August.  Please contact Trisha: 970-318-0150 to learn of available Dream Horse Sculptures.


















Second Place Award at “Ridgway Open”

My painting, “Una Calle Vieja, San Miguel de Allende,” (An Old Street), received 2nd Place at the Weehawken Arts “Ridgway Open” last Sunday night, April 14th.  The show runs through the end of May at Weehawken’s exhibition space, the 610 Arts Collective, 610 Clinton, St, Ridgway, CO 81432.  610 Arts Collective

I’m getting stronger 3 months post-op, and beginning to participate in art events and finally able to make art again.  The painting, “Una Calle Vieja, San Miguel de Allende,” was actually repainted just a week before I entered it in the “Ridgway Open” show. Last year when I originally painted it, I was never happy with the composition. To me it felt unresolved, and I wasn’t sure how to correct that. On that inspired day,  I revisted the painting.  I decided to go back into the painting with pure Windsor red- an opaque pigment- in the shadowed background areas. It was just what I needed, pulling all the red areas together. Then I used manganese blue- another opaque color in the foreground shadows where the road tiles create a linear movement into the heart of the painting. Wow! Cool- using opaque pigments to lead the eye into the focal point and around the painting.  Overpainting with opaque pigments also made a good vehicle for bringing unity to the red/blue accents found throughout the painting. I love it when experimentation leads to new understanding.


In deciding what to enter, I decided to showcase my travel work.  The second piece I entered was “A Break in the Clouds,” which was accepted last year, May 2018, for exhibition at the Colorado Watercolor Society annual national exhibition of water media.  It also received 3rd place at the Montrose Visual Arts Guild annual show, October 2018.  These paintings complement each other with the San Miguel piece executed in warm glowing colors and deep shadows, while the Nicaragua painting features cool colors, sunlight, and strong contrasts.

Both paintings are 16″ x 20″ watercolor on paper, framed under glass, $350 each.  Paintings can be purchased by contacting the 610 Arts Collective, 970-318-0150.  If you are local to the Western Slope of Colorado, take a drive to Ridgway and check out the entire show.  Spring is in full glory, and the drive is spectacular.


Reprinted from an article in the Ouray County Plaindealer, Jan 1-7

Two artists with different styles at different times in their lives will display their artwork together during the Legacy exhibit at Ridgway Public Library starting Jan 10. (through March 13.)

What artists Cheri Isgreen and Sabrena Soong share is a deep passion for art.

The duo met in an Oak Grove School first grade classroom in Montrose in 1987.

Isgreen was a student teacher and Soong was a budding first grade artist.”I noticed (Soong) had an unusual talent even as a six-year old,” Isgreen said.

“Even when I was really little, I wanted to be an artist,” recalled Soong.  “She took me under her wing.”  Soong said Isgreen took her on field trips to art galleries, but her encouragement that art was a worthwhile pursuit was the most important part of their relationship.

The two artists stayed in contact through the years, despite Soong moving out of state.

Isgreen, who taught art in Montrose schools for over two decades before retiring to focus on her watercolors, said she feels art is a means to “express humanity and connect us.”  Isgreen said many of her works highlight the power, grace, and beauty of the horse; an animal she noted which has been painted throughout history, from the cave paintings in France to petroglyphs in southwest Colorado.

Dream Horse #2 "Walk Like an Egyptian"  14"x10"  $350
Dream Horse #2 “Walk Like an Egyptian” 14″x10″ $350

Soong now owns a combination coffee shop and art gallery in Colorado Springs.  Working with acrylics on canvas and wood, Soong’s abstract art is layered and defies simple description.

copyright Sabrena Soong
copyright Sabrena Soong

“This show is sort of a retrospective of both our works,” said Soong.  Both artists will be present for the opening reception at the library on Jan 10 from 4 pm to 7 pm.  Refreshments will be offered.  The show will be on display until March 13.

Dream Horse #4, “Carousel” part 2

When the mask dried, I was able to do the final overglaze in manganese blue.  Manganese blue is a beautiful color, but tricky because it is an opaque pigment.  Overglazing in the wrong area will either make mud or kill a lively, transparent surface.  In overgrazing this painting, I only painted over the warm, light value areas.  As you can see, the overglaze was influenced by the hue underneath.  Conversely, in the dark areas, the paint would have just sat on the surface, killing the paint quality underneath.  I had to paint very carefully around the dark shapes.

When all was dry, it was safe to remove the mask and discover the final result.  I was very pleased with the strong movement in the pattern, the luminosity of the paint quality, the integration of the dark, hard-line geometric shapes with the organic flow of the masked pattern, and the overall composition.

"Dream Horse #4, Carousel"  copyright Cheri Isgreen 2015
“Dream Horse #4, Carousel” copyright Cheri Isgreen 2015

See all the Dream Horses at my new show, “Legacy,” showing Jan 10 through March 13 at the Ridgway Public Library, Ridgway, CO.  Ridgway is part of Colorado’s Creative Arts Districts.  Opening Reception is Saturday, Jan 10 from 4-7 pm.  Refreshments will be served.

Spanish Walk inspires Dream Horse #3

There is debate among classical riders about the origin of Spanish Walk. Some historians state it originated with Xenophon.  Others believe it  emerged in Naples with the development of Neapolitan horses, bred for greater collection and maneuverability, while others profess the Spanish Walk arose from the classical French School.  Though seen today as a “circus trick,” Spanish Walk remains important to the education of Iberian horses, who show great aptitude for the movement.  For dressage horses, Spanish Walk is an effective exercise for stretching, strengthening, and improving collection.  In Spanish walk, the horse shifts balance toward the haunches to free its shoulders, resulting in a free, high step with the front legs. Spanish Walk becomes a tool to teach the horse expressive passage and extensions.

I find the balance, strength, and grace expressed in Spanish Walk very beautiful.  It inspired my next set of paintings in the Dream Horse series.

"Pas de Noir" copyright Cheri Isgreen 2015
“Pas de Noir” copyright Cheri Isgreen 2015                                                                                                                    ( To purchase this painting, please visit the Web Gallery in the menu bar.)

With a white Lipizzan, I have spent much of last year painting grey horses.  In these two painting, I wanted to explore black horses.  To create a lively paint surface, I used several blue pigments, including an interference paint.  I learned that the interference paint was quite opaque and didn’t mix well with the transparent pigments.  For the painting “Pas de Noir,” I decided to use it only in the highlight areas of the horse’s body.

In the second version, I wanted to continue my exploration with pattern. The horse’s highlights were first masked, then an underglazed in a light value was applied.  Over the first glaze, a pattern was masked and a deep violet wash was poured.  With the pour dried and the mask removed, a lively surface was revealed.

"Spanish Walk" copyright Cheri Isgreen 2015
“Spanish Walk” copyright Cheri Isgreen 2015                                                                                                            To purchase this painting, please visit the Web Gallery in the menu bar.

To complement the busy surface design in the figure, the background called for a lively treatment of interference paint applied with dry-brush and splatter.

For my new show “Legacy,” I will show four Dream Horses, “Queen Bee,” “Walk Like an Egyptian,” “Spanish Walk,” and “Carousel.”  “Legacy” is a retrospective art show of the work of Sabrena Soong and myself.  It includes Sabrena’s mixed media abstract compositions, including pieces from her “Meditation” series.  Along with my “Dream Horse” series, I will show some landscapes in watercolor and pastel, some still life compositions, and newer equine watercolors.  The opening reception for “Legacy,” is scheduled for Saturday, Jan 10th, 4-7 pm.  The show runs through March 13, 2015.

“LEGACY” Jan 10, 2015

SAVE THE DATE:  “LEGACY” opens at the Ridgway Library Jan. 10. 2015.

Legacy is a collaboration between artists Sabrena Soong and Cheri Isgreen, celebrating the continuing traditions in art.

I first met Sabrena in 1987.  She was a “cute-as-a-bug” tiny, but mighty first grader.  I was student teaching in her classroom.  We clicked the very first time that she read to me.  Though quiet, I saw that Sabrena was an independent spirit, full of surprises.  Instead of bringing a normal-sized book to our reading nook, she chose the class-sized big book, “Mrs. Wishy Washy.”  Measuring over 3′ tall, the book was nearly as big as she.  It was early in the school year, yet she was actually reading, not just reciting memorized words from the predictable text.  Later during a social studies lesson, students were asked to draw flags.  Normally, a first grader draws a rectangle, then adds geometric design into that shape.  Instead Sabrena drew an accurately rendered flag draped with folds on a flag pole.  At that point, I realized Sabrena was not only special, she was a talented artist.  Later, after I received my teaching license and became her art teacher, I watched as her talent unfolded.  She became one of the highlights of my teaching week.

When Sabrena’s family moved from Montrose, we lost touch for awhile.  It was lucky for me that she had a large extended family in Montrose.  For her high school graduation, she returned for a big celebration for her and her cousins.  I was invited.  She brought several pieces of her artwork.  Just as I suspected, she was developing into a skillful artist.  With time and maturity, her art has continued to develop.  Today, as an accomplished artist, Sabrena’s abstract compositions focus on pure design: shape, color, placement, movement, etc.

copyright Sabrena Soong
copyright Sabrena Soong

True to her freethinking, individualistic style, Sabrena continues to follow her unique path.  She has opened an art gallery-coffeehouse in Colorado Springs that specializes in distinctive pies that become works of edible art.  When I retired from art education in 2010, it was Sabrena that gave me my first one-woman show.  That led to my watercolor pursuits today, and the yearlong art tour I just completed with Barbara Haynie.

I am choosing artworks that will complement Sabrena’s work, including my newest geometric Dream Horses, as well as some abstract landscapes.  The show will be held at the Ridgway Public Library from Jan. 10 – March 13, 2015.  Opening reception is scheduled for Jan. 10, 4-7 PM.  Refreshments will be served.

"Aurora Butte" copyright Cheri Isgreen
“Aurora Butte” copyright Cheri Isgreen