“I have one thing to say.” Painted December 2022. 12”x12”. Acrylic on stretched Canvas.
I’ve been wanting to tackle a cow painting for a while and the opportunity came up the other day, so I grabbed it. I probably didn’t spend as much time observing cows as I should have growing up, considering that they were the main reason for the ranch. On reflection, I have come to appreciate their gentle nature and what great subjects they make for painting. I just wish I’d taken some photographs of my milk cow. I spent more time with that cow on a daily basis than any other animal on the farm and now I’ve got nothing but rapidly fading memories to fall back on. Actually, I wish I’d taken a lot of pictures of farm animals growing up. It would have been a treasure trove of reference photos.
In some ways, my milk cow was the bane of my existence growing up. She had a habit of going out to the farthest corner of the pasture at the end of the day, so that I would have to walk kilometers to bring her back to the barn for the evening. If you didn’t finish milking before she had eaten all the grain in the trough, she was capable of whipping her tail across your face or stepping on your toes to tell you to “hurry up”.
On the other hand, there was something deeply zen about milking a cow in the early morning, with the sun dancing across the motes of dust floating in the nearly still air of the barn. Nothing but the rhythmic sound of milk hitting the pail or the cow chewing her cud to break the silence. In many ways, it was the perfect start to a day. A moment of tranquility with time to reflect on life before chaos took over.
This painting is based on some pictures a friend took while travelling in Quebec. I’m not exactly sure of the breed of cow, probably a Limousin or Red Angus, but it was a beautiful animal. I loved how the light reflected off the swirling pattern of hair, which was also my main challenge in this little painting. The fact that the cow in the reference photo was calling for its calf was a bonus that gave the painting a little extra narrative. I’m pretty sure this won’t be my last cow painting.