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2003/04/03

Tennessee Artist Captures Heartstrings And More On the cover of this month's Mid-South Horse Review is the artistry of Sherrie Engler from Jackson, Tennessee. Her First Love, the first of fifteen from Engler's "The Heartstring Collection," is a Giclee image based on "a friend in college who took a photograph of her friends little girl and her pony, and the photo just touched my heart." "The tenderness of the moment reminded me of my own love for horses as a little girl, so I just had to capture on paper what I saw in the photo." "I spent so many hours as a child with my pony that it just brought back so many fond memories." "This portrait, Her First Love' was the first print to be published in my Heartstrings Collection. The original still hangs over my desk." All of Engler's works are drawings, although they look as if they are paintings. She uses special colored pencils and then follows up with a technique called burnishing. It is considerably more difficult than painting, since many layers may be required to achieve the correct color and once a color is down it really cannot be taken up. Whereas with painting, colors are mixed together and covered. Fumes from the paints bother Engler, so she uses the pencils instead. But Engler is more than just an artist. She and her family promote and sell her paintings. "We do everything ourselves," says the degreed graphic designer, including the website, www.headed-west.com where everything may be purchased online. They also print all of the prints themselves, which gives her a control over quality that many artists do not have. "I can keep sending it back and reprinting it until it is exactly what I want. People who have purchased prints have a very difficult time distinguishing them from the originals." With Her First Love above her desk, she uses it to remind herself "of what I love best about my equine art, capturing the relationships we have with horses." "I would hope, that if my art lasts for many years after me, that I'm remembered for capturing those qualities in my work. "The Heartstrings collection is closest to my heart. It's always the favorite collection with women as well, I think like myself, it reminds them of their youth and their fondest memories of their own time with their horses."Sherrie's love for horses has never waned since being placed on one at the age of three. She began drawing stick horses not long after that. She continued to further herself as an artist individually, but during and following college pursued a career in graphic design. It was her grandfather who made her promise to fully delve into her horse artistry. "Whenever I look at your pictures I see something that I don't ever see in other horse pictures. I can see the love in the picture," he told her. For medical reasons she was not able to go to work and began illustrating a technical book, Conformation and Anatomy. Through the journey of doing the text in conjunction with veterinarians, she developed a keen eye for correctness. The practical experience translated well to her works now. There are four other series to which she is constantly adding drawings. "Spirit of Equus" is a symbolistic representation of breeds. "Cornerstones" pays tribute to the foundations of the quarter horse breed. "Champions" captures the royalty of the eleven triple crown winners. The "Sport of Kings" collection pays homage to those thoroughbreds who "have truly left their mark on the heart of America." "I try to have a variety of horses and styles to show my range as an artist." All of Sherrie Engler's works can be viewed at www.headed-west.com. Not only are prints available there, but also greeting cards with her artistry and the book she illustrated Conformation and Anatomy, among others. You may also contact her at (731)427-9520.

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