"Hard Pull" by Cheryl A. Harley

“I don’t know which I loved more as a child, my pencils, or my stick horses. I blame television’s Roy Rogers and Trigger for the horse obsession. Over time, I gradually began drawing realistic horses, and got more and more infatuated with the pencils. I still love the challenge of manipulating graphite between whispers of gray and the blackest of blacks. The play on positive and negative space fascinates me, so I leave much of the background untouched. There is beauty in what is drawn against the foil of blank paper.”

“The feel of a horse, as we work together as a team, helps me achieve the sensuality of mass, muscle, and motion I want to transfer to my art in order to give it a visceral quality. When I train a horse, it literally feels like I’m sculpting their body. When I draw, it is the other way around. I work from the inside out, placing the skin over what I know to be muscle and joint. Thinking in 3-D helps my 2-D representation: like Michelangelo, I draw on the physicality of the experience.”

“My work elevates the common but unique personalities that are emblematic of the West. Striving always for gritty realism, I capture the cowboy life, soul, and spirit of the people and animals I deeply admire as they live and work, displaying their zest and gusto for life.”

Play the Video Below to see more of Cheryl’s Artwork.

Music by Joyce Shaffer – Learn more about Joyce by visiting www.joyceusa.net.

Sandy and Wilson by Cheryl A. Harley

Her father was an architectural engineer. His artistic gene must have been dominant too as both girls are professional artists. He used to sit them down in his study with pencils, paper, erasers, French curves, scales, and erasing shields. They were entertained for hours. Cheryl still has an affinity for pencils and what they can do. Precision and a draftsmanship quality are prevalent in her drawings. She thanks him for that.Cheryl Harley has Western jeans in her genes. The factor must be dominant because her sister and she are cowgirls. I expect this comes from their Colorado, ranch raised mother. Cheryl was reared a “city kid” in Missouri, but had the delight of visiting her uncles’ Colorado cattle ranches every summer. The days were spent riding horses all over Cripple Creek and Victor, working cows, brook trout fishing, trapping chipmunks, and exploring old gold mines. It was exquisite.

These two hereditary traits are well-partnered in Cheryl’s art. With the beloved pencil being her forte, oil painting, mixed media, and ceramics are also passions. She loves the Western attitude and revels in competition, believing in the intense work inherent to both. The heart she has for the human soul and its connection to the spirit of animals comes to life in her work, giving a glimpse into her reality.

Cheryl A Harley - Western Artist

While still in high school, Cheryl studied drawing at the Kansas City Art Institute. She has a BFA in drawing and painting from Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colorado. Her father said she majored in art and minored in horses. I think he had it backwards. Cheryl later studied drawing and painting at Western States College, Gunnison, Colorado, and earned her art teaching license from Colorado State University, Pueblo where she fell in love with ceramics, earning enough credits for a BFA in that media.

Cheryl’s efforts have been blessed as she has won on a professional level in team roping and barrel racing. She’s also been juried into and won many awards in open art shows in Colorado, California, Kentucky, Arizona, Utah and Nevada, where she was accepted as an Artist in Residence.

Cheryl has built a base of collectors in nine states and Europe, and a website to actively promote her award winning work.

See more of Cheryl’s Artwork by visiting her website.

Cheryl A. Harley’s W.A.R.A. Art Gallery – Click image to View Larger.

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The Western Art Rodeo Association is proud to have Cheryl A. Harley as a member of our great organization.


Artwork by Don Weller

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