Sheri Cook / Happy Horse Studio
Website & Places you can find my work online
Facebook: Sheri Mills Cook
etsy: Sheri Mills
Follow Sheri on twitter: @I_Draw_Horses
Where I am
Granbury, Texas (USA)
Texas but my heart yearns for New Mexico.
Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
Born and lived in Texas my whole life. Like so many others, I am self-taught. I have numerous books on technique on multiple mediums. I have enjoyed workshops under Marilyn-Todd Daniels and have learned much. I look forward to seeking other equine artists to learn from and their various workshops. An artist should never stop learning and growing.
When did you first start drawing & painting horses?
My desire to draw horses started at the age of five. I have loved horses as far back as my memory can reach. I would sit in front of the TV watching old westerns and draw all the time. (Anyone remember FURY, THE LONE RANGER, THE RIFLEMAN, etc???).
I collected Breyer Model Horses and figurines for many years. When you don’t have a horse of your own you possess their form by any means you can. Plus, creating horses on paper was a way to feel close to the one thing you wanted more than anything but did not have.
Oh how I remember the pain and longing of wishing and hoping for that illusive childhood dream of owning a horse…that someday I will own a horse dream!
Fortunately, my someday came in the form of two horses. I was blessed with grey roan Welsh mare at thirteen and a sorrel QH mare a few years later. Looking back, I survived a bitter childhood of abuse because of those two companions. They saved me and my sanity. As of this writing I am horseless but I dream of yet another someday…
What is your favorite breed?
I love the color and variety that Paint Horses offer as an equine artist. I am especially fond of Andalusians, Lusitanos and Peruvian Paso Horses for their unique lines and presence in real life and as subjects of art. I tend to have a soft spot for Miniature Horses. Recently I have been introduced to the elegance and shape of Saddlebred Horses. They intrigue me. And finally, I also love the Gypsy Vanner Breed! So many choices!
Who are your main influences?
I admire and appreciate Stubbs work. Within the past few years his collection came through Fort Worth, Texas. When I walked in and gazed upon the massive creation of WhistleJacket it literally brought me to tears. I will never forget the experience to see such timeless work.
As an artist, it strikes me deeply that every generation has artists who admire horses and save that legacy through art. It is a real tribute to the ability this animal has to touch so many in different ways.
Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
I am particularly fond of dappled grey horses. I am keenly aware of this only because my first little mare was a grey. Pretty much all horses become a muse to some degree.
Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
If I told you my secret rituals they would no longer be secret. Then I would have to kill you. Then there would be the whole mess of me having to relocate underground and that would sorely interfere with my creative career…and…ohhhh, I’m sorry…what were you asking?
Actually, I like to light candles in my art room. I enjoy listening to movie soundtracks like LOTR and Harry Potter. My newest music is songs performed by Enya. I love Celtic flavored sounds. I even have a CD that plays rain and storm sounds. I love grey rainy days and living in Texas I just don’t see as many of those as I would prefer.
Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
My wonderful library of over 300+ horse photo books is a great start. I won’t even begin to tell you how many magazine tear sheets I have in file cabinets! Then there are the photographs that I have shot from the rails at horse shows or back country roads.
I could live ten lifetimes and still not use half my reference library in creating horse art. I LOVE IT!!!!!
You artist’s out there know this because most of us suffer this affliction of constant collecting of things with horses in or on them! Beautiful, wonderful, magnificent creatures that they are! They stir our souls and we must release our emotions they inspire onto canvas, paper, or photograph!
What effect do you think the Internet will have on art in general?
On the positive side, I think the internet has been wonderful for artists. It is a fantastic tool for reaching more collectors and connecting with others artists and their works. A means to keep updated on what’s out there. There are so many venues to showcase one’s works.
On the negative side, copyright infringement abounds. That is a drawback and abuse for artists who put so much time and effort into their creations only to have them stolen or misused.
Has it had an effect on yours?
A definite YES! I have gained many collectors and fans of my art via the internet.
Which one is your personal favorite piece?
I created a 4 x 6 oil portrait of this sweet miniature horse named SH Sunset Bay. When I had completed this little jewel it just felt right and the style of art I would like to lean towards. It is featured on my twitter background page as well. I enjoy creating smaller works of art. Maybe because I lack space! LOL.
Would you ever sell it?
Yes! It is in the possession of the owner Sherri Hill of SH Miniature Horses in Oregon. I love how she shares images of all her fun miniature horses. They are inspiring little subjects.
What else are you passionate about?
Actually it is writing. I am working on a YA Fantasy novel in hopes to become a published author one day. Also would like to create children’s books featuring horses as well.
Working on anything new?
As a matter of fact, I am. Years ago my first love was pen-and-ink pointillism. I created many works average in size plus a couple of large pieces. This medium is tediously but lovingly created by applying millions of dots to the page to create an image. These works are beautiful and even more striking when the viewer gets in close and learns that they are just seeing lots and lots of dots! I always LOVED those reactions.
So, recently I have begun an 8×10 work of a Thoroughbred head portrait in bridle. I will post its development step-by-step via my BLOG soon.
More to Come
Thanks to Sheri for answering the interview and sharing her work. Be sure to check out her art website periodically for updates about her latest works.
Also stay tuned for more interviews with horse artists and photographers.
Are you a horse artist or do you know an equine artist you’d like to see featured? Add your name and website in the comments below or drop me a note to get involved.