Artist website – https://www.cherichristensen.com
Cheri Christensen is a fine artist who does a lot of drawings and oil paintings of animals. Her main focus is conveying the effects of colour and light on form. In particular, she focuses on capturing farm animals which are part of the reason that I decided to research her, as there is a great significance.
I like the way the brushstrokes add texture to the painting and make it seem like real feathers. I also love the colour scheme of this painting as it is very balanced with complementary colours. I always find it interesting to see the way different artists use colour.
Cheri Christensen does paintings of individual-focused animals as well as groups of animals in the same painting which is really interesting and something I hadn’t considered doing in my own work. However, this could take away the sympathy for the animals as they have company so individual animals may be the best idea within my own work. Lots of animals do survive by having company and I feel that Christensen truly captures animals in a realistic and beautiful way. The focus on lighting is very effective and I am drawn to the golden shades of the sun in most of the paintings I have seen.
The playfulness of this painting works well as goats are very playful animals. I feel that this painting resonates with me as I have painted a lot of goats in my project so far. The layers of colours are built up to create a captivating result. Again the colour scheme works nicely even though it is quite simple and I like that.
In particular with this painting, I love how the bright colours work well together yet contrast with the darker areas as it is eye-catching. I like that Cheri Christensen does paintings of zoomed-in segments of the animal as it allows her to capture a lot of small details and create a different effect compared to the full-body paintings.
Things I learned from the video:
- Cheri Christensen was a part of the 2021 Texas Masters show, she discusses her love for backlighting
- She does a lot of photography and considers the time of day vital, she doesn’t just go and rim light anything
- The Colour is reflective, the weather affects the outcome of the lighting. She mainly wants nice sunny late afternoons
- The fun yet challenging part of her process is finding the animals during that time period as a lot of them are free-range so it’s not guaranteed that they will always be there
- She enjoys working with cool and warm colours to make her work pop
- In some of her paintings, she combines using brushes and palette knives
- When painting roosters in particular she likes to use mostly palette knives as it gives more energy and it’s more realistic as they are always moving
- She uses a lot of paint as the texture is important
- She sometimes paints while listening to music to get a rhythm going
Influence of Cheri Christensen’s work on my project:
I am interested in the ways that Cheri Christensen varies her focus on animals in her paintings – doing groups of animals, individual animals and certain segments of the animals like faces. As I explored earlier, doing a group of animals wouldn’t go well with my intentions for this project but I could always try to eliminate that option for my own project. I also feel that it could be interesting to explore doing segments of different parts of the animals that I am focusing on in my work to show variation.
Although lighting is not something I am focusing on within my own work necessarily, I still find it captivating to see and learn from Cheri Christensen how she captures the lighting and how it can completely change a painting.
Cheri Christensen uses a lot of contrast with her colour choices which is an aspect of her work that I am very interested in. The colour aspect of my work is used partly because I enjoy working with colour, and partly to show the irony of people claiming to care about animals in captivity but never doing anything to actually help them. All talk, no action vibes. Although some could consider this making the subject less serious, I feel that it works well when the paintings are grouped together.
In some of her paintings, the animals are gazing directly at the viewer which is something I love to explore in my own subject as a way of making a connection with the viewer and making them uncomfortable or sad for the animals.