Why I paint cows- the truth revealed

 My last blog post asked and answered the question, why so many cats in my art?  People are always asking me why I paint the cows too and asking me if I grew up on a farm. Well, I grew up about as far from a farm as you can be in Trenton, New Jersey. I never worked on a farm, spent much time on the farm or at petting zoo's. I did have one experience milking a cow at the 4-h exhibit at the state fair once, but beyond putting them on the grill, my contact with cows has been very limited.    My standing joke when asked why I like cows so much is to respond with "because they're really cute and they taste good". I know-groan- and vegetarians hate me, LOL.  The deep down dirty awful truth is that I painted my first cow when I was ginormously (is that a word?) pregnant with my daughter. I guess you could say that I was so big that I felt like one!   Being primarily self taught, my first attempt at painting a cow, which I tried to do realistically, ended up with a look that was somewhat disturbing as I didn't really know how to paint the cow eyes and they came out more human and just a bit angry looking.

My last blog post asked and answered the question, why so many cats in my art?

People are always asking me why I paint the cows too and asking me if I grew up on a farm. Well, I grew up about as far from a farm as you can be in Trenton, New Jersey. I never worked on a farm, spent much time on the farm or at petting zoo's. I did have one experience milking a cow at the 4-h exhibit at the state fair once, but beyond putting them on the grill, my contact with cows has been very limited. 

 My standing joke when asked why I like cows so much is to respond with "because they're really cute and they taste good". I know-groan- and vegetarians hate me, LOL.

The deep down dirty awful truth is that I painted my first cow when I was ginormously (is that a word?) pregnant with my daughter. I guess you could say that I was so big that I felt like one! 

Being primarily self taught, my first attempt at painting a cow, which I tried to do realistically, ended up with a look that was somewhat disturbing as I didn't really know how to paint the cow eyes and they came out more human and just a bit angry looking.

MadCowjpg.jpg

After that, I attempted a few more cows in the field realistically and even a Van Gogh style painting with lots of impasto texture, but hadn't really found my own voice or confidence in painting them. 

 

For one of my birthdays someone sent me a T-shirt that had cows on it and the spots were all different colors. I really liked it and thought to myself, "Hey wouldn't it  be fun if all of the cows were all different colors."

I agreed with myself and that's what started me off with the colored cows. I liked painting them in sort of a balloonist fashion without eyes or much detail being able to express the cows thoughts, emotions or attitudes without getting into facial expressions, so they became sort of abstract. My first ones were a little rougher around the edges than those that I have painted in the years since. They were acrylic on board illustration board whereas later works are on canvas. 

 

The more of them I painted, the more I found my mind kind of reverting into the corners of my childhood imagination, putting the cows in all types of impossible situations and in places where cows can't possibly be. I started to call my style- "Folk Art Meets Surrealism."

In my world, the cows can do anything that they want- things I can't do and things that are pretty funny. They've taken on a life of their own and keep expanding they're territtory, even wandering into my "People on the Couch" paintings and stampeding onto my pottery.  They really are just out of control!