Artist of The Month

Cheri Allen poses with a “signature” painting.

Cheri Allen poses with a “signature” painting.

Bringing beauty into homes is Cheri Allen’s goal

LaVerne Kyriss

Cheri Allen’s creative bent showed up early. She was designing rooms as a five year old, pushing her bed around to create different arrangements. It really took off in fifth grade when she won an art contest for her drawing entry at St. Thomas Aquinas School in Yakima, Washington. “I’ve always drawn,” Allen reflected, “I took art classes in college, but I didn’t begin painting until much later in life.”

She explored her creative talents by working in interior design. For many years, that satisfied her creative need. Being able to draw sketches was also helpful as she helped clients envision changes to their homes. “My goal was, and is, to bring beauty into homes,” Allen said. “This is true whether I’m creating a painting or working with a client to redesign a room.”

When the Allen’s moved from their hometown of Yakima to SaddleBrooke in 2009, Cheri joined the Fine Arts Guild. “The Guild gave me permission to do what I wanted to do-—explore art. I started out with almost no expenses—-just paper and pencil for drawing. I took a drawing class from Laurie Brussel. Her nurturing, support and guidance were instrumental in my development as an artist.”

“I love the support I get from guild members and I love being part of a group,” she said. Allen regularly participates in the SBFAG’s Monday morning open studio session in the Topaz Room. “We all bring our work. We paint on whatever we’re working on. If we want help, we ask for it. Just being around other artists stimulates you. We break and have lunch and sometimes we even stay past lunch and continue working.”

Allen is drawn to vivid, intense colors. When she took up a paint brush she started with acrylics and now works primarily in water-based oils. “I’ve tried watercolor and a few other media—-but with watercolor you have to plan your work right from the beginning. You have to know where you will end up. With acrylics and oils, your work can evolve as you paint.”

She tries to paint three or four times a week and usually works on one piece at a time. “I work for a while and then set it aside. My trademark is a piece of chalk. I keep it by my easel and when I walk by, I mark things to come back and fix. It’s easy, it wipes off and I don’t worry that I won’t remember.”

Allen loves architectural features and courtyards, so building facades and features often find their way into her paintings. “I’ve never really been attracted to painting or drawing landscapes but now I’m thinking about venturing out to inject a person into an architectural setting. I’m thinking about learning how to add contours to my work; to turn flat surfaces into rounded and curved shapes. I love learning new techniques and pushing myself out of my comfort zone—-as long as I have the support of my studio group,” she smiled.