It's true - lately, my Instagram feed is full of cow paintings. I paint other farm animals too, wildlife and landscapes. But my current focus is most certainly cows!
So, why so many cow paintings? Why were all my canvases filling up with cows? I knew it had to be more than simply because I like them or enjoy painting them. After all, I'm raising them (except for the few 4-H animals my child has) or interacting with animals every day. It took me a while to work out exactly why.
I grew up on a mixed cattle and grain farm. My parents raise purebred Simmental cattle (they are supposed to be retired - let's call it semi-retirement). I loved animals as a kid, especially the cows. I participated in beef and horse 4-H projects, as well as a riding club. Those are some of my fondest memories as a kid. So yes, I was a farm kid through and through.
But to me, painting cows goes deeper than just liking animals. They are nostalgic. They remind me of my childhood - when life seemed very simple. They remind me of taking a drive on a beautiful summer evening to the pasture where the warm summer light bounced off the backs of the cows as they grazed peacefully, used of the truck coming to check on each one of them. The smell of pasture sage that always seemed to be present on the sandy pasture. Their big noses as they looked up with a mouthful of grass. The brown-eyed susans. Heads of grass catching the sunlight. Peace, calm.
The feeling of entering a warm barn at night in the dim light. Looking into a pen to see a brand new wet calf, just born. The mama cleaning it off and mooing low. Or seeing it the next morning, now dry, bouncing around in the straw, pleased with its new freedom. Magical.
That's why I paint cows. Because they remind me of these times in life. A simple life. An amazing way to grow up and learn about life. The good feelings and memories that the farm and raising livestock brings. That's what I hope my paintings bring to you. Warm feelings of farm and rural life. Perhaps you are a farm kid like me. Perhaps you grew up visiting your grandparent's farm and collected eggs, milked the cows and ate fresh produce out of the garden. Or maybe, you're currently in the throws of calving season, exhausted, but also living the excitement of the calves hitting the ground. It's for these moments, memories and the lifestyle you hold dear that I hope my art communicates and celebrates.
It's the same reason why I paint wildlife and other farm animals too. It's the whole rural prairie experience.
Now, as an adult, I feel super fortunate to live in the country. My family doesn't farm, but we do have a few 4-H steers and heifers around, a crazy dog and a small cat herd. The interesting thing is that I am allergic to cows. But that's okay! While I still enjoy my short interactions with them, I only need to sneak close enough to snap some photos and capture their personalities.
If you've stuck with me this far on my first blog post, I'm so glad. I'd love to hear in the comments (or shoot me an email) - what do you think of when you see my cow paintings? Do they remind you of moments in your life that you cherish?