“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

%22Cosmos%22
“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:

https://cheriisgreenfineart.wordpress.com/2016/08/19/solo-show-slated-for-september-2016-at-the-blue-pig-gallery-palisade-co/

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.

 

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Sneak Peak at New Artwork for New Gallery at Backstreet

Scott is working hard remodeling the bagel shop, including a new gallery space!  Please excuse the mess during the construction phase.  The artwork has been de-installed until the new gallery is completed.  In September artwork will be rehung, with an opening party to celebrate new work in the new space slated for later this fall.  Please stay tuned for more details……………

 

“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

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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

Poured Watercolor, part 2

In this post, I will show you how I take a poured watercolor composition from conception to finish.  In yesterday’s post, I noted the steps I feel are important in developing a successful poured painting.  Today, I will illustrate these points.

Critical concerns to Ensure a Successful Painting

  • The artist needs to make studies before painting.   For each mask layer to be successful, a careful drawing must be executed with accurate shapes and   values .  Additionally, the artist needs to consider all the elements, (line, color, texture, form,  and space, as well as shape and value), to insure a balanced composition.  Though pouring is primarily a studio technique and not suitable for pleine aire painting, poured watercolor develops technical skills, habits of mind, and the awareness of compositional elements that are critical in the field when an artist must work quickly to capture the light.
  • When initiating compositional studies, develop your ideas into connected shapes with three or more values.
  • Edges matter- draw and mask shapes very carefully, so the painting will read when the mask is removed.  Buy the best brushes you can afford for masking, (you will need a variety), and take good care of them, so the mask doesn’t destroy them.  Mask brushes and water containers must be dedicated for masking only.
  • Exploit lost & found edges, negative space, and counter-change when developing compositional studies.
  • Avoid details until the end, when the mask is off.
  • When the mask is off, find areas where the edges must be softened.

Make Studies:

The photograph below shows my daughter’s pony, about 17 years ago.  It is well suited for a poured demo, as it has large shapes and strong light.

Develop strong connected shapes in three values:

I made an initial drawing in three values.  You can see how the shapes connect- the white area of grass flows into the pony’s nose, and the dark area of grass flows into the pony’s legs.  This gives the painting nice use of negative space, and the lost and found edges compel viewer involvement.  In the actual composition, the white leg flows better into the white grassy area.  Without making the value study, I would not have noticed this.  At this stage there are few details, yet the painting clearly reads as a pony in his pasture.

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Consider each element of art:  (line, color, texture, form, space, shape, value)

I begin designing with shape, value, and space, then I consider the other four.  The light on the pony’s back and the lighter belly areas will define a well-rounded, solid form.  I will enhance this element after the mask is off, as I soften edges that define form.

Color, line, and texture come from my painted studies.IMG_1907

Raw sienna, cobalt blue, and manganese blue all produce granulation, which will add texture to both the pony and the foreground.  This color study tells me what to expect as the colors mix during the pour.

In making a small color study, I learned that my initial primary color triad- raw sienna (for yellow), burnt sienna (for red), and cobalt blue, needed a little punch to the earth pigments.  I added rose madder, because it is earthier than permanent rose, and manganese blue for its lovely green mixing qualities and granulation.  I use a limited palette of 4 blues, 3 reds, and 3 yellows for my paintings.   For poured paintings, I limit my palette to just 3-6 pigments.

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In the painted study, I connected the white leg into the white grassy shape, as noted above.  In painting the grass, I used a variety of long, short, and broken lines to convey both texture and to lead the eye into the pony, as subject.  Then I added juicy drops of color into the tail to blow tail lines that echo grass lines and blend into pasture.

Edges matter:

Shapes are carefully masked.  I use my value map, (first photo), to make order out of the chaos of masking and pouring.  Once the first mask is applied, it becomes difficult to see how the painting is progressing, so the initial studies are critical to organizing the pouring process.

 

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Preparing for the first pour.  Each pigment cup is labeled and dedicated for only that pigment, which I rinse & save after each pour.   Large syringes work well for mixing, and small syringes are handy when pouring into small spots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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mask and first pour- raw sienna, burnt sienna, cobalt blue. Note very light underpainting of soft trees and clouds before the first mask was applied.

 

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After the final pour, removing the mask.
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After the mask was removed, beautiful passages of granulation and texture were revealed

 Avoid details and soften edges when the mask is removed:

Check back soon for how to resolve the painting once the mask has been removed.

Poured Watercolor Demo

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“Riding for Rain” poured watercolor, sold/private collection; copyright Cheri Isgreen

Why Pour?

Painting wet-into-wet is so much quicker and uses far less paint.  Why would I bother to mask and pour?

  • Because the amount of paint applied to the surface of the paper is so saturated, (even when making early light value layers), spontaneous color mixtures combine in unique ways that can’t be achieved any other way.
  • Layers can be built undisturbed by any brushwork, resulting in luminous, clean colors with neutral mixtures occurring without muddy passages.
  • Though it appears that masking would restrict the element of spontaneity, pouring allows the artist to exploit the unexpected by controlling how the pour will run.  This is particularly effective in areas with large passages of color where there is potential for  a great variety of subtle variation in color, value, and texture.
  • Pouring allows the artist to emphasize shapes and negative space, as well as to imply meaning through the use of lost and found edges.
%22Out of the Shadows%22
“Out of the Shadows” poured watercolor, sold/private collection; copyright Cheri Isgreen

 Critical concerns to Ensure a Successful Painting

  • The artist needs to make studies before painting.   For each mask layer to be successful, a careful drawing must be executed with accurate shapes and values .  Additionally, the artist needs to consider all the elements, (line, color, texture, form,  and space, as well as shape and value), to insure a balanced composition.  Though pouring is primarily a studio technique and not suitable for pleine aire painting, poured watercolor develops technical skills, habits of mind, and the awareness of compositional elements that are critical in the field when an artist must work quickly to capture the light.
  • When developing compositional studies, develop your ideas into connected shapes with three or more values.
  • Edges matter- draw and mask shapes very carefully, so the painting will read when the mask is removed.  Buy the best brushes you can afford for masking, (you will need a variety), and take good care of them, so the mask doesn’t destroy them.  Mask brushes and water containers must be dedicated for masking only.
  • Exploit lost & found edges, negative space, and counter-change when developing compositional studies.
  • Avoid details until the end, when the mask is off.
  • When the mask is off, find areas where the edges must be softened.
%22pause in the day's occupation%22 *G
“Pause in the Day’s Occupation” 21″x28″ sold/private collection; sold/private collection

To schedule a workshop for your organization or find out where the next workshop will be held, comment below.

Tomorrow: steps for completing the demo painting begun at the Brush and Palette Club demo

 

Watercolor Demo at the Western Colorado Center for the Arts

An interested audience of close to 40 artists attended a watercolor demo by Cheri Isgreen at the Western Colorado Center for the Arts Thursday afternoon. The demo focused on the technique of poured watercolor, which exploits watercolor’s natural tendency to produce unexpected, yet rich luminous color mixtures. Cheri explained that this technique emphasizes lost and found edges, negative space, counterchange, and a strong value design. With its many layers of mask and washes, poured watercolor is primarily a studio technique. A good underdrawing, balanced composition, and carefully applied media ensure successful paintings. Though not suitable for pleine aire painting, poured watercolor develops technical skills and the awareness of compositional elements that are critical in the field when an artist must work quickly to capture the light. The demo, sponsored by the Brush and Palette Club drew one of the largest audiences the club has experienced for a demo. Elise Lind, president of the club remarked the club gained 5 new members after this demo. The club is working with Cheri to provide a Poured Watercolor Workshop in the coming year. If you are interested in attending, comment below.

To learn more about the technique and see how this demo painting is developing, follow the blog- https://cheriisgreenfineart.wordpress.com         The series will begin tomorrow, taking the demo painting from initial studies to finished painting.

A large audience of artists await the beginning of the demo by Cheri Isgreen:cheri5

Demo #2

Besides the landscape demo, I created a surreal composition of Lipizzan horses frolicking in the moonlight.  This painting employs a number of unusual characteristics, resulting in a modern painting, though rendered in traditional representational imagery of the 3 foot phases of the canter: (hind leg strike off, diagonal pair on the ground, and foreleg lead pushing into the suspension phase.  The suspension phase was not included, as it would have made this composition crowded.)

First, the moon was pushed forward to become the fourth character in the painting.  Second, I changed the color scheme to warm, though night paintings are usually portrayed  in cool colors.  Finally, I changed the format from the traditional horizontal format depicting a group of running horses to a vertical.  The hard edges resulting from the poured technique, combined with the vertical format gives this painting the flavor of an Oriental woodblock print.

"Frolic in the Moonlight" copyright C Isgreen 2015
“Frolic in the Moonlight” copyright C Isgreen 2015

Below one can see the results of the final pour with the mask being removed to reveal the painting underneath, as alluded to in the previous post:  Poured Watercolor Workshop at Western Colorado Center for the Arts,  https://cheriisgreenfineart.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/poured-watercolor-workshop-at-western-colorado-center-for-the-arts/

final pour dry; removing mask
final pour dry; removing mask

Poured Watercolor Workshop at Western Colorado Center for the Arts

For a successful pour, it is essential for the artist to have a strong design with connected interesting shapes and at least 4 delineated values.  In the photo below, Trudy transfers her value map, (large thumbnail) to her stretched watercolor paper.

transfer value map to watercolor paper
transfer value map to watercolor paper

Each value is masked in succession, with a separate pour for each mask.  The pouring process allows for spontaneous color mixtures.  Tilting the board after the pour allows the artist to “control” the direction of the color blending.

part 1- pouring the masked painting with a variety of paint pigments mixed to a predetermined value based on the artist's value map.
part 1- pouring the masked painting with a variety of paint pigments mixed to a predetermined value based on the artist’s value map.
Marilyn tilts her board to encourage the paint to move in a specific direction.

When the final pour is dry, the mask is removed, and the painting receives final touches to resolve the composition.  Sometimes an over-pour is required in different areas than the initial pours.  In that case, all mask is removed, and new mask is applied to areas where the initial pours are to be preserved.  Removing the final mask is like unwrapping a Christmas present.  By the final pour, the painting is quite obscured, and it’s always a surprise to see what lies underneath.

Helen removes her mask, revealing her poured, blended canyon landscape.
Helen removes her mask, revealing her poured, blended canyon landscape.

Because there is quite a lot of dry time between the masking and pouring process, each artist worked on at least two separate paintings simultaneously.  The photo shows workshop participants pleased with their results learning the poured process:

Each participant finished two paintings and had a third painting in progress to explore and finish at home.
Each participant finished two paintings and had a third painting in progress to explore and finish at home.  Helen plans to add more pours to her goats.  In the photo, the painting is still masked.  Because she has a strong design, the intent of the painting comes through, as does some of the color mixtures.

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