Cheryl, ready for the rodeo dance or art reception.

" Horses, dogs, team roping, my family, Jesus, making good art, these are a few of my favorite things, not necessarily in that order."

"Turpin Gallery, Jackson, Wyoming during Fall Art Fetival


Cheryl and "Trinket"

"While graphite is my forte, my personal quest for unique, alternative media combinations and drawing surfaces is never ending. Can't help myself...don't want to."

Cheryl Harley-Volz

Mr. and Mrs. Mike Volz

Mountain Oyster Club

Tucson, Arizona

 I don’t know which I loved more as a child, my art supplies, 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. While I still love the challenge of manipulating graphite between whispers of gray and the blackest of blacks, I have a fascination  with new media and drawing surfaces.

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.

- Cheryl Harley-Volz


Cheryl has Western jeans in her genes. The factor must be dominant because she is an accomplished cowgirl having won various collegiate in goat tying and pro rodeo titles barrel racing and team roping. Cheryl was reared a “city kid” in Missouri, but had the delight of visiting her mom's two 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.

Her father was an architectural engineer. His artistic gene must have been dominant too.  He used to sit Cheryl down in his study with pencils, paper, erasers, French curves, scales, and erasing shields.  She was entertained for hours. She still has an affinity for pencils and what they can do. Precision and a draftsmanship quality are prevalent in her drawings.

These two hereditary traits are well-partnered in Cheryl’s art with the beloved pencil being her forte. She loves the Western attitude and revels in competition, believing in the intense work inherent to both.

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. He might have 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