SunRidge with "Kestrel Dancer"
The Creative HealerBy Chelsea Koressel
While art can beautify and enrich the life of its viewer, it also has the ability to heal and calls to the specific spiritual need of an individual. Abstract acrylic painter Cherilyn SunRidge employs circular forms throughout her art to represent a healing nature. Her earthy, dreamlike explorations of spiritual/nature-based forms have a narrative sense as well as a touch of mythology.
SunRidge has the need and desire to mend the split of the soul from Source and to translate a feeling of celebration and adventure.
Born in Denver, Colorado, SunRidge was surrounded by inspiring landscape and a need to challenge her early artistic desires. Even after moving away with her family to Nebraska, her summers continued to be spent in a cabin among the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The cabin, filled with artifacts from her Comanche grandfather, helped her recognize her innate artistic ability and connected her deeply with the natural environment.
“I continue to have a neurological and emotional reference library from living in the cabin,” recalls SunRidge. “I was afforded an enormous sense of play and exploration, cultivated with deep ease, and an interesting sense of purpose to discover the natural world.”
After living for a time on the Great Plains of Nebraska, SunRidge moved to Wisconsin with her family, where she also enjoyed discovering what the lush Wisconsin landscape had to offer. Her naturally curious personality drew her towards a career in both geology and art.
Upon completing her primary education, SunRidge pursued a degree in Interior Design at Stephens College in Columbia, MO. She then moved to Berkeley, CA to continue her education at the University of California, Berkeley, but altered course to study Geology. SunRidge also continued taking art classes whenever and wherever possible. She studied and engaged in many different artistic endeavors: painting, figure drawing, interior design, sculpture, watercolor, etc. She also found herself involved with university extension programs and local art centers.
Even while taking on a geological field assistant position in southern California, with fieldwork as far north as Nome, Alaska, SunRidge continued developing artistic skill and technique. “Being a field assistant let me see into the fjord waters, kayak near icebergs, and hike rain forests,” describes SunRidge. “Fifteen summers of field work produced documented and illustrated journals made in Alaska and during dozens of journeys to the Hawaiian Islands. From my work in California, the desert air produced large watercolors, illustrating a sense of creative expansion specific to territory.”
Watercolor was her primary medium in her early years when she painted weekly with a group of women at a local creative arts group center. The class was facilitated by renowned National Watercolor Society award winner, Magda Peregrin, who showed SunRidge how to better express herself on paper, how to destroy the surface of the paper for outstanding effects, and weave her story through the chosen medium.
“I was a watercolorist for decades,” SunRidge explains, “and my arm was free-as-a-bird. I stood to paint, never taking a chair. My work deepened in its palette, and I layered paint directly from the tubes, along with tissue paper for building. My sense of expressive abstraction came into my work at an early age.”
SunRidge found herself deeply attracted to spiritual, natural healing arts and began to explore her creative energies through many different practices. Once her geological studies and fieldwork was completed, she began a ten year immersion into practices with Hatha Yoga instruction, traditional Thai massage, and also studied core/non-culturally specific Shamanism and advanced Shamanic healing through the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. This love of natural healing contributes to the spiritual nature of her paintings and allows her to more deeply connect with her art.
"Birth of Turtle Island"
She discovered that she was deeply in tune with spiritual, natural energies even as a child. This deep connection to nature and a spiritual awakening of sorts allowed her to make the leap into becoming immersed in painting. She explains,
“The ‘why’ of my subject-matter is because it is in my bones. I am at ease giving imagery to words, concepts, ideas, philosophy, and imprints from real tangible places on earth. I care not to be literal or representational; offering flattened realism. I had a ‘crawling’ practice when I lived in Colorado, and this close awareness of Earth continues to inform my imagery.
She soon formed a concept from her healing practices that deals with circular form and what she calls, “spiritual hoops.” She uses these forms in her current work and explores a narrative of spiraling, growing, and healing themes. Canvases are underpinned/underpainted with an honor to the four sacred directions--no matter what the subject matter evolves to be. She likes endeavoring into the spheres she displays and likes to think that her work is a metaphoric translation of the natural senses.
After three decades in California, SunRidge found herself returning to her homeland of Colorado in 2005, where she spent many years gathering up her creative energy and continued to paint. Instead of working in watercolor, SunRidge chose a different direction at the prompting of a Taos, New Mexico collector. She began combining her circular forms with acrylic paints.
“Acrylic is different and fun, and many watercolor techniques can be applied with this plastic/water pigment,” describes SunRidge. “With acrylics, I was making floor canvases, table runners, and place mats, and pressing the floor canvases under weights brought the art product to a finish; they were vibrant and resilient, and utilitarian.”
The combination of meditation, fresh Colorado air, and plenty of time to paint led SunRidge to a body of work that incorporated poetry with each piece. Her book of images and poetry, Nothing Is As It Was - Every Day is Remarkable and Remakeable, became a National INDIE Excellence award winning book in 2012 for self-help and motivation.
"Wisdom Runs Through Innocence"
SunRidge’s work has attained national recognition. This year she was a Featured Artist in Renee Phillips’ Manhattan Arts International program; also an honor by Carolyn Edlund gave SunRidge recognition in her Artsy Shark Studio Tours article. She received first place for a piece accepted into The Mary Show, Fort Collins, CO, December 2010. She has also exhibited in abundance, with her most recent shows at VAMArts International in their Exhibition of American Contemporary Painting, Fall ‘14-Winter ’15; Three Rivers Gallery & Gifts, Oregon City, Oregon ; Open Studios of Beavercreek, Oregon, Spring and Fall since relocating to Oregon; and is preparing to participate as one of 11 artists from WA/OR in The Rain Show/La Lluvia Exhibition in the Columbia River Gorge. She has also exhibited in California, Colorado, New Mexico and is ever expanding her artistic reach.
“Stitch Your Soul To A Sacred Hoop”
While SunRidge continues to practice in the healing arts with a focus on yoga and sacred dance, art is her primary outlet for spiritual and healing expression.
Her work portrays her journey and offers the viewer a second chance, another way to connect. The earth tones and spherical designs within each piece allow for contemplation and clarity. “My work must come from a deep prompt to state a visual mantra which sustains, beckons, advises, heals,” explains SunRidge. “This makes my time significant, and anyone’s time in contemplation. Living with one of my canvases is also significant and even pertinent to an individual’s life journey and quest.”
"Hoops, Figures, Land Humming The Spirits of Place Into Life," Solo Exhibition, Chadron State College, Galaxy Series Memorial Hall Galleries, Chadron, Nebraska, October 2016.
Manhattan Arts International, Artists Showcase Gallery, 2016
Xanadu Gallery, on line, Artist Page
Columbia Center for the Arts, Juried La Lluvia Exhibition, Ten Artists Accepted, Hood River, Oregon, October 20015.
Art On Broadway, "March To A Different Drum," Juried Guest Wall, Beaverton, Oregon, March 2015.
Currents Gallery, TREES Juried Show, McMinnville, Oregon, February-March 2015.
Ceres Gallery, First Annual Square Show, New York, NY, 3-28 February 2015.
VAM Art Inc, Invitational to CONFLUENCE 2014 An Exhibition of American Contemporary Art, Metuchen, New Jersey, December 2014 - March 2015.
Peoples Art of Portland, Accepted 5 Small Panels, Peoples Art of Portland Gallery, Pioneer Place Mall, 700 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 4005, Portland, Oregon, 13 December 2014 - 16 January 2015.
Art on Broadway Juried Guest Artist Show: "Inside and Outside: The World Around Us," Beaverton, Oregon, April 2014
Art on Broadway, May-June 2013, Juried work into "Interiors" Exhibit, Beaverton, Oregon.
Poudre River Arts Center, Ft. Collins, Colorado, December 2010, The Mary Show: Interpretations of the Divine Mother, First Place Juror's Choice for "Live The Love;" two additional pieces juried into the show: "Play Your Original Light" and "Anoint Me, Grandmother Moon."
Oregon City Festival of the Arts, Juried Exhibitor, Oregon City, Oregon, August 2016.
Artists Outstanding In Their Field, Invitational, Damascus, Oregon, August 2016.
Open Studios of Beavercreek Tour, Juried Guest Exhibitor, Oregon City/Beavercreek, Oregon, June 2016.
Wilsonville Festival of Arts, Juried Exhibitor, Wilsonville, Oregon, June 2016.
Award of Excellence, HERStory Exhibition, Manhattan Arts International.
Lifestyle Nutrition and Massage, Reception Area & Treatment Rooms, Oregon City, Oregon, Spring 2016.
Currents Gallery, Juried "PORTALS" Exhibit, McMinnville, Oregon, March 2016.
Hopkins Forest of Arts, Public Exhibit and Tours to Educate About the Power of Nature-Inspired Art, Hopkins Demonstration Forest, Oregon City, Oregon, 19-20 September 2015.
VIEWArts, "For The Birds," National Juried Exhibition, Old Forge, New York, 27 June-2 August 2015.
International Biscuits Festival, Art Festival, Juried Exhibition Acceptance, Knoxville, Tennessee, 1-31 May 2015.
California Art Club, Associate Member, Pasadena, California, 2015.
ArtsyShark Feature: Art Studio Visit: What's Your Creative Inspiration? 20 January 2015.
Clackamas County Arts Alliance, Juried Artist Exhibit Program (AEP), County Offices and Public Venues, Spring 2015.
see.me.co|SCOPE, Art Takes Miami, Basel week, December 2014.
Manhattan Arts International, Featured Artist September 2014.
Soham Yoga Studio, Large Works, 7th Street, Oregon City, Oregon, September - December 2014.
Charbonneau Arts Festival, Charbonneau Country Club, Wilsonville, Oregon, 25 & 26 October 2014.
OSBC Group Show, Grapevine Graphics, Oregon City, Oregon, 16 September - mid- October 2014.
Open Studios of Beavercreek, Juried Guest Participant, Beavercreek, Oregon, 10-12 October 2014.
Bend Fall Festival, Juried Artist Vendor, Bend, Oregon, 4-5 October 2014.
Affirmation Series, Solo Show, Rain or Shine, 5941 SE Division Street, Portland, Oregon, 1 - 30 September 2014.
Abstraction, Group Show, Grapevine Graphics, 7th Street, Oregon City, Oregon, 2 August - 17 September 2014.
Portland Waldorf School, Prints, Books, Greeting Cards, 2300 SE Harrison Street, Milwaukie, Oregon, On-going.
First City Celebration, Juried Artist Vendor, Main Street, Oregon City, Oregon, 26 July 2014.
Gresham Arts Festival, Juried Artist Vendor, Gresham, Oregon, 19 July 2014.
Yamhill Lavender Festival & Plein Air Art Show, Juried Vendor, Beulah Park, Yamhill, Oregon, 12 & 13 July 2014.
Art and the Vineyard, Juried Artisan Marketplace Artist, Eugene, Oregon, 4-6 July 2014.
Carnegie Celebration, Juried participaton, Oregon City, Oregon, 21 June 2014.
Open Studios of Beavercreek, Juried participation, Beavercreek, Oregon, 6-8 June 2014.
Wilsonville Festival of Arts, Juried Artist Vendor, Wilsonville, Oregon, 31 May-1 June 2014.
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Artists Among Us, Juried participation special show "A New Heaven & A New Earth," 19th Avenue, Portland, Oregon, 16 May-30 June 2014.
Small Works, The Living Room Bistro, Oregon City, Oregon, 2014.
Three Rivers Artist Guild Gallery, Salon Style Group Exhibit, Oregon City, Oregon, January-March 2014.
221 Gallery, Public Spaces Exhibition, Citizens Bank, Molalla Avenue, Oregon City, Oregon, January-March 2013.
Public Space Art, Clackamas Volunteers in Medicine, Oregon City, Oregon, January- March 2014.
TRAG Art in Public Spaces, Citizens Bank, Oregon City, Oregon, January-March 2014.
Three Rivers Artist Guild Public Relations Officer, Oregon City, Oregon, 2014.
Open Studios of Beavercreek, Beavercreek, Oregon, October 2013.
221 Gallery, Public Spaces Exhibition, October-December 2013, Oregon City Community Development Office, 221 Molalla Avenue, Oregon City, Oregon.
Art Installation Window Style, August-mid September 2013, Coffee Rush, Main Street, Oregon City, Oregon.
Love Art! Gallery, Sellwood District, Portland, Oregon, 2013.
First City Celebration Street Festival, July 2013, Artist Booth, Oregon City, Oregon.
Gresham Art Walk, Juried Artist Booth, July 2013, Gresham, Oregon.
Sandy Mountain Festival, 41st Annual Festival, Juried Artist Booth, July 2013, Sandy, Oregon.
Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts, Open Show, June 2013, Lake Oswego, Oregon.
Carnegie Library 100 Year Anniversary Celebration, June 2013, Artist Booth, Oregon City, Oregon.
Wilsonville Festival of Arts, June 2013, Book Sale and Signing (my published work of images and their correlative poems), Wilsonville, Oregon.
Three Rivers Artist Guild TRAG, April-June 2013, Salon Style Group Exhibit, Oregon City, Oregon.
ThreeRiversArtistGuild Art Show, Clackamas County Historical Museum, February 2013, Polyvinyl Canvases, Art Cards, and Book of my Images with their correlative Poetry, Oregon City, Oregon.
National INDIE Excellence Book Award, Spring 2012, Finalist for "Nothing Is As It Was~Every Day is Remarkable and Remakable," ©2011, published by Balboa Press, a book of my Images and Poetry.
Book Signing and Art Sale, 2012, Nello's Bistro, Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
Albuquerque Home Expo, 2012, Art Exhibitor, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
2011 & earlier
Durango Coffee Company, Fall 2011, Salon Style Group Exhibit, Durango, Colorado.
Mask-Making Workshop, November 2010, taught a day long workshop creating plaster based personal masks, prompted by shamanic journey work.
"Your World Has You," October 2010, Collector in Los Angeles, California, commissioned as a floor canvas altar piece
Vallecito Arts and Crafts Fair, 2009, Polyvinyl Canvases and Art Cards, Vallecito, Colorado.
Sacred Dance/Bodyprayer Summer 2007, studio group instruction.
Claremont Colleges Healing Arts on the Quad Festival, 1995, Watercolors, Art Cards, Claremont, California.
Solo Exhibit, 1995, Look Within Bookstore, Arcadia, California.
Hair and Art for You, Group Exhibit, Watercolors, 1988, Pasadena, California.
Group Exhibit, 1987, Watercolors, Creative Arts Group, Sierra Madre, California.
Cherilyn SunRidge | 503.407.3771