New Equine Works

2020 has been a productive time for me. So much time alone gave me the creative space to develop ideas and reflect on my artwork. During this time I worked in a variety of genre including equine art, still life, landscapes, and children at the beach. I have learned new techniques in watercolor, expanded my equine sculpture repertoire, explored new mixed media techniques, and “took a deep dive” into learning how to paint beaches, waves, and the ocean.

2020 has been a productive time for me. So much time alone gave me the creative space to develop ideas and reflect on my artwork. During this time I worked in a variety of genre including equine art, still life, landscapes, and children at the beach. I have learned new techniques in watercolor, expanded my equine sculpture repertoire, explored new mixed media techniques, and “took a deep dive” into learning how to paint beaches, waves, and the ocean. With so much creative expression, I’ve found limited time to write about my artwork. In these next blog posts I will discuss several new works I have completed since the quarantine in March.

Returning from Mexico in early March, I was bursting with ideas for paintings while also devoting much time to bringing my horse back into condition after two months of winter downtime. During this time of living and breathing “horse,” I painted four new equine compositions.

HEADED HOME, watercolor, matted/frame size: 21″ x 28″ (image size: 15″ x 22″) $600

The narrative painting HEADED HOME began the equine series, telling the story of the partnership between a horse and his cowboy working together to get the herd home before a storm. It was accepted and exhibited at “A Splash of Colorado,” Colorado Watercolor Society’s annual juried summer exhibition.  Featured in an earlier blog post, I discuss my painting process with demo photos. READ ABOUT HEADED HOME  Available for purchase: PURCHASE

LITTLE DANCER was inspired by the talented Lipizzan foals bred each year by TEMPEL FARMS. This painting celebrates the long tradition of classical dressage. The explosion of color and rich texture visually portray the young Lipizzan’s joy of movement that develops into a repertoire of haute école movements celebrated by classical dressage schools worldwide. 

Building on this theme, FROM BABY STEPS TO PIAFFE, shows the elegant shift in balance a dressage horse makes through years of progressive training.  A young horse carries 60% of his weight on his forehand. With careful training to develop strength and carrying power, a grand prix dressage horse learns to engage his abdominal muscles, lower his hindquarters, and shift his weight, carrying 60% on his hind end. The resulting shift creates enormous power, suspension in his movement, and elevated gaits. His withers rise, his neck arches, and he carries his poll as the highest point.  FROM BABY STEPS TO PIAFFE expresses equine nobility, grace, and stature.  PURCHASE LINK

As Monarch’s conditioning improved, we worked toward strengthening and balancing the canter in preparation for performing the flying change of lead. I took my arena focus into the studio, painting OUT OF THE WEST. In this composition, a violet horse bursts from the picture plane directly into your living room. Watercolor, framed size 16″ x 20″ $350,  PURCHASE LINK

OUT OF THE WEST, watercolor, framed size 16″ x 20″ $350,  PURCHASE LINK

 

RESCUE

     Living is a constant source of interesting connections, if we are open & aware to how life is interconnected.  Sometimes painting gives us interesting connections too.  Several years ago, the Spanish Riding School performed on a US tour to honor the veterans who participated in the rescue of the Lipizzans from Czechoslovakia during World War II.  My daughter and I met my dad in Houston to see an SRS performance.  While in Houston, my dad related his part in the Lipizzan rescue of WW2.
     Since all the breeding mares of the Spanish Riding School were in Czechoslovakia and all the stallions were in Austria, it seemed the breed was doomed.  The Russian army was advancing upon Hostau, Czech, toward the large stud where the 300 Lipizzan mares, along with other prize horses from Europe’s breeding elite were stabled, with the intention of using the livestock for food rations.   My father’s role, as part of the fighting force of the 94th Infantry Division, was to facilitate the surrender of the German troops and clear the way into Czechoslovakia for the US 2nd Cavalry to dash into Hostau to rescue the Lipizzan mares, as well as American POWs and the other horses.

"Rescue, 1945" copyright Cheri Isgreen, 2014
“Rescue, 1945” copyright Cheri Isgreen, 2014

     “Rescue, my final painting for the show, LIPIZZAN LEGACY, portrays the WW2 rescue from the Lipizzaner’s perspective.  It’s fairly romanticized.  Generally, my work is rather narrative in an abstract way.   I like to leave a strong element of mystery, so anyone can fill in the details to make it her own story.  This piece has so much personal meaning, that I think I’ve put more into it than I usually do.  Lipizzan lovers can relate to this story on a personal level, because of the direct line to their own horses.
     With the show, LIPIZZAN LEGACY, I am doing my small part for the Lipizzan Rescue Foundation  in the US.  25% of all sales go directly to the Lipizzan Rescue Foundation.  http://www.uslipizzan.org
I have also donated a watercolor sketch, with 100% of the proceeds earmarked for the USLF.
     **The Spanish Riding School performed at the dedication of the 94th Division dedication of the Peace Monument near Sinz Germany  Oct 16th, 1994 in honor of the 94th’s role in saving the Lipizzaners.

Back in the Studio

I’ve been away from the studio too long!  It gives me a feeling of anxiety and anticipation, rather like pregnancy in the later months.  There is something growing inside of me that needs to come out.  I’m very inspired these days by the dressage work I am doing with my horse Monarch, my trainer Deb Hindi, and my breed association, the United States Lipizzan Federation.  Deb is helping Monarch and I to become beautiful dance partners.  As we move up the training scale, we develop qualities of suppleness and connection which open the door to engagement.  With engagement, my horse’s engine gets revved!  He feels like a living, breathing, thinking Maserati with immense power that is directed by a conversation between two living beings collaborating to produce a beautiful dance.

photo 4

 

 

 

 

 

Deb has helped us to direct and refine the energy and movement to create harmony with increasing  elegance & grace.

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This year the USLF holds its annual symposium at Temple Farm in Wadsworth Ill.  (From the Temple Website):  http://www.tempelfarms.com/tempelfarmheritage.html

temple

The Tempel Lipizzans

The Tempel Lipizzans began in 1958 when the late Tempel and Esther Smith imported 20 Lipizzans from the Austrian stud farm in Piber and started what became the largest privately owned herd of Lipizzans in the world. The Tempel Lipizzans originally performed at private functions and charitable events. Their prestigious appearances include several Presidential Inaugurals and special exhibitions at the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Taste of Chicago, Ravinia Festival, Arlington Racecourse and Madison Square Garden. In 1982, the late Tempel Smith’s daughters arranged for the first public performances at Tempel Farms as a tribute to their parents’ dream of establishing an American center of classical horsemanship that followed in the tradition of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. In 1997, the President of Austria presented the Smith family with the Officer’s cross, Grand Declaration of Honour for Service to the Republic of Austria, in recognition of their “careful management of a cultural institution with such close ties to Austria.” Tempel Farms is the only place in the United States where these rare white horses are bred, trained and perform on the same property.

THE 2014 NORTH AMERICAN LIPIZZAN SYMPOSIUM

October 3rd – 5th   at the Tempel Farms, Old Mill Creek, Illinois

The United States Lipizzan Federation invites all Lipizzan enthusiasts to attend.

Hosted by Tempel Lipizzans and Temple Farms

http://www.uslipizzan.org

I am most honored to have a showing of my artwork during the Symposium.  My goal is to paint 12 new paintings celebrating the wonderful Lipizzaner breed.  This art show will be a benefit for the Lipizzan Rescue Foundation.

“Dancer” is the first of the series of 12.  It is inspired by and dedicated to our trainer, Deb Hindi.

"Dancer"   copyright C Isgreen
“Dancer”
copyright C Isgreen