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.

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Poured Watercolor Demo

For the month of August, I am the featured artist at the Gunnison Arts Center.  I decided to do a painting demonstration for the First Friday Art Walk.  Working on three subjects: a chile market in Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico; a series of flamenco dancers; and a Norwegian Fiord horse, I need to decide which piece will be the subject of my demo.  I choose the Fiord horse, because Gunnison hashas a strong horse culture and tradition.  Additionally, I am well known for my equine paintings, so this gives my audience an insight into how I work.  Studying the ink value drawing, I decide the painting’s design lends itself to the poured watercolor method.  This will be a crowd pleasing technique!  When the paper is wet and the paint is flowing, exciting mixtures and effects occur.

fiord1

 

 

The Norwegian Fiord has a distinctive black and white mane and tail, along with a dorsal stripe running from the end of the mane to the beginning of the tail.  The goal of my study is to spotlight the Fiord’s unusual and distinctive markings.

 

 

 

 

fiord2

 

 

After mounting my watercolor paper on a sturdy board, I transfer my drawing to the paper and mask the areas that will remain white.   When the mask is thoroughly dry, I pour the first layer using light values of permanent rose, raw sienna, and manganese blue.  These pigments will be my primaries for this painting- (red, yellow, and blue).  Using my drawing study, (above), as my value map, I mask the areas I want to remain light.  I use both a mask pen for small areas and a mask brush for larger areas.

When the second mask is dry, the painting is ready for the medium value pour.  This I will do in Gunnison at the Arts Center during the First Friday Art Walk.  The colors are bright and dramatic, eliciting ooo’s and aaaah’s from the audience.

fiord5For the final dark layer, I choose to apply color loosely with a large mop brush.  I mix colors wet-into-wet directly on the paper in selected areas where the Fiord’s distinctive black stripes appear.

I’m not concerned with a realistic reproduction of the horse’s markings.  A camera can do that job.  My objective is to celebrate the unique and instantly identifiable beauty of the Norwegian Fiord.  For this purpose, I am using bright colors in darker values than previous layers.  At this point, I must wait for the paint to dry thoroughly before I can remove the mask.  Because it is getting late at the Arts Center, I plan to do the next steps at home.

Above Right, I begin removing all the mask layers.  This is my favorite part of the process.  I feel like I am unwrapping a gift as the image begins to emerge beneath the mask.  With the mask removed, the hard work of pulling all the elements together to refine and resolve the painting begins.  I spend as much time studying the painting as I do applying paint.

Good Hair Day.jpg
“Good Hair Day”  framed 20″x16″  $350  To purchase visit: PURCHASE LINK

Watercolor Paintings Accepted for Exhibition at Alpine Artists Holiday

Two paintings have been selected for exhibit in Ouray at the 58th Annual Alpine Artist

“Orchid’s Glow” 13″ x 27″ watercolor $350 Copyright C Isgreen

Holiday: “Orchid’s Glow” (pictured at right) and “Hillside Guanajuato” (featured above in preview).   The 58th annual Alpine Artists Holiday is a national juried exhibition, held every summer in the Ouray Community Center, 340 6th Ave, Ouray, CO.

OPENING RECEPTION:

JULY 25  7:00 PM

The show runs July 26-August 5, 2018.  Hours vary so visit the website: SHOW HOURS

“Orchid’s Glow” explores the glorious array of color occurring when light shines through the petals of an orchid.  Executed in a loose manner, flower forms are highlighted in a semi-abstract composition of light and shadow.

“Hillside Guanajuato” was painted on a recent trip to Mexico, in the capital city of Guanajuato, Guanajuato.  It depicts the charming jumble of sherbet homes that appear to almost tumble down each hillside.

Each painting is offered for sale during the show $350.  If you are unable to attend the show, visit the link to purchase online. PURCHASE PAINTINGS

 

Dream Horses at Pop Up Gallery

Montrose Center for the Arts and Weehawken Creative Arts present a “POP-UP GALLERY”  May 19 – May 31, 2018 at the Montrose Field House, corner of Rio Grande and Colorado Ave.   Join me for the Opening Reception, May 19 from 2-4 pm.  Light snacks and refreshments provided, and sales will be open!  Commission proceeds benefit the Center.

I am showing three of my Dream Horses, “Carousel,” “Spanish Walk,” and “Walk Like An Egyptian.”

Unlike my equine portraits and pastoral compositions, Dream Horses arise from a deeper, mysterious place- the confluence of my experiences, emotions, and energy.  Dream Horses are part nocturnal dreams and part dream goals; part whimsey, part wistfulness, and part triumph.  The process of mastery and harmony with the horse is a long dedicated journey traveled by luminaries Xenophon, de la Guérinière, Podhajsky, and mere mortals, such as myself.  Dreams Horses are elusive, unpredictable, free spirits.  During the artistic process, I release control to the emergence of the horse, which evolves from old world cultures, shared traditions, modern design, and playful exploration, synthesized with my experiences, (the sensation of fluid power, connection, and engagement upon his back) and profound feelings of awe and gratitude for everything the horse gives.  Dream Horses represent idealized beauty, power, grace, generosity, and wisdom.

 

“Spanish Walk”  &  “Walk Like An Egyptian”

watercolor 20″ x 16″ framed; $350 each;  to order visit purchase link

“Carousel”

%22Dream Horse #4.Carousel%22
“Dream Horse #4, Carousel” copyright Cheri Isgreen 2015

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

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“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.

Upcoming March Workshop at Ah Haa School for the Arts, Telluride, CO

Time to register for POURED WATERCOLOR with Cheri Isgreen

Fri-Sun March 23-25 10 am – 4 pm. $355

Forgo the brush & experiment with the process of pouring watercolor to produce looser paintings with unique results. Learn pigment rules & pouring techniques, as well as color theory, composition, & strategies for successful painting. Learn how pouring watercolors in a series of glazes allows depth of color to develop while preserving underlying layers and enhancing luminosity. Experience how poured watercolor fosters a wide range of spontaneous colors while maintaining the harmony of a limited palette. All levels of painters welcome, including first-time watercolorists. Extra support for new painters and design challenges for experienced artists will be provided.

REGISTER FOR POURED WATERCOLOR

Mas Color

Raining down the hillsides of Guanajuato is a riot of color, as depicted in the painting posted yesterday. The joyful colors permeate city life and culture. Everywhere it is expressed in art and song by los ciudadanos de Guanajuato. Valentine’s Day inspired the posted collage. (Mixed media: watercolor, ink, ephemera, old-style cinco centavo)

What a big surprise to learn that Valentine’s Day is celebrated en masse with colored lights and/or balloon displays throughout the barrios. The whole city turns out to celebrate with padres giving ninos small gifts of heart-shaped candies, balloons, and toys; sweethearts exchanging flowers and huge stuffed animals; families receiving blessings of small crosses on foreheads given by the parish priests; restaurants and bars hosting special dinners and live music; and plazas filled with families eating al fresco at the numerous pop up eateries.

The centerpiece of my collage features an invitation to El Midi Bistro. We enjoyed a three course meal with champagne while serenaded to the sounds of French cafe music in the style of Edith Piaffe.

The preview showcases la Virgen de San Juan de Los Lagos. After witnessing the pilgrimage from San Miguel de Allende, I became interested and did some research into the Candlemas Festival and pilgrimage of San Juan de los Lagos. The town is visited by over two million pilgrims each Candlemas. While in San Miguel, we were awakened at 6AM by 1,000 or more of the faithful, singing, and carrying banners and a statue on their way to San Juan de Los Lagos. From my research, I learned the statue is a representation of the Virgin de Los Lagos. The original statue is just 2′ tall, wears elegant gold trimmed clothing, a gold Byzantine crown, and stands on a crescent moon. With a new awareness, I began to see the Virgin in many places. While walking in the Pastita Barrio, I noticed her image in ceramic tiles on a modest house. (See Pastita Barrio). According to legend, in 1623 a young acrobat, a girl of seven, fell and impaled herself on daggers. The bereft family brought her to the chapel in preparation for burial. The church caretaker, Ana Lucia Antes placed an old statue of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception with the body, instructing the family to keep their faith and pray with her. Within an hour, the lifeless body began to stir. Her father unwrapped the shroud to discover his daughter alive and unscathed. News of the miracle spread, and the 90-year old tattered statue, made of plastered cornmeal and orchid juice was sent to Guadalajara to be restored. Miraculously the statue arrived fully restored and has remained in pristine condition to this day. Today, the faithful make pilgrimages to the Virgin throughout the year, with thousands walking, even crawling or being pushed in wheelchairs, throughout Mexico to San Juan de los Lagos during the Candlemas celebrations. (Read the whole story here: Virgin de Los Lagos)

Many walls and casas are adorned with ceramic plaques telling their histories. My favorite is the plaque from the Prussian Consulate of 1864. I used two motifs from different plaques in my collage.

Colorful cut paper banners, called “papel picado,” are hung during celebrations, (also see Papel picado). Walking through a papel picado strewn street, one can’t help but feel festive.

Flowers abound in Mexico. The flowers in my collage came from a mural in one of the small family restaurants where we shared breakfast with friends. Last night for Valentines Day, flower vendors were set up on every plaza. I bought mine from the florist on Plaza de Embajadores. I made a new friend, as we discussed the joys of working in a flower shop, a job I held many years ago. I left with a hug, a kiss, and a exquisite bouquet. As I arranged them in water, I marveled at their exotic beauty and ready availability.

From murals to street art; graphic design to folk arts; indigenous clothing to painted houses; music to theater; food to flowers, Guanajuato abounds with “de colores.”

Guanajuato Color

The city of Guanajuato is a Unesco World Heritage site, named for its opulent Baroque and Neoclassical buildings, elegant plazas, and abundant theaters, museums, and galleries. Over and above, (quite literally) the rich heritage in Zona Central Historical, the city’s innate expression of color manifests itself in vibrant markets and neighborhoods. The city sits in a “valley bowl” with bright houses crammed into the steep slopes, ringing the city, and coloring the hillsides.

“Guanajuato Color” watercolor 16″ x 20″ $350

Mexican love of color is expressed everywhere from folk arts, to charming business signs and posters, to flower-filled balconies overlooking every street and callejon. (Stay tuned…….I have a post planned for this theme. Today is Valentines Day. Our landlady just gave us a most charming invitation to her restaurant for a special dinner and musical evening. “Musica Francesa” will feature French cafe-style music, in the vein of Edith Piaffe, one of my favorite singers. Our reservation is for 7:30).

Colorful Hillside

From above the classical theaters and baroque churches crammed within the labyrinthine alleyways of the city center, haphazard stacks of sherbet-colored houses rise along the hillsides in perfect disorganization…..Moon Guide to Guanajuato, p. 123 San Miguel de Allende, including Guanajuato & Queretaro, Julie Meade

This perfect description draws me to paint the city. Small watercolor 6″ x 9″ on Arches cold press watercolor block using my new Koi pocket field sketch box of pan watercolors and small travel brushes. The brushes and pan colors took some getting used too.