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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Cows Next Door ....Impressions of France part 5

'The Cow Next Door'           5x7         pastel             ©Karen Margulis
available for purchase here $95
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There was a certain fascination with the cows. They were exceptionally pretty cattle and very photogenic. But more than that I think it was the magical setting that made them so appealing. We all fell in love with the French cows of Meuvaines. 

We were surrounded by pastures and wheat fields. It was the ultimate fairytale bucolic setting. Old stone and stucco farmhouses on quiet dirt lanes that led past the meadows filled with fat and happy cows. No matter what road you chose you would see them and hear their moos and bellows and snorts and grunts. Cow sounds along with the buzzing of bees made up the soundtrack for our week in the country.

We didn't want to leave our cows. Like them, we were quite content staying near the Manoir St. Paul.

They posed for us!

'The Cow Next Door II'             5x7         pastel          $95

Kathryn makes friends in the back pasture

Curious Cows

After observing them for a few days and taking many many photos, I was compelled to paint them. Painting cattle en plein air can be a challenge. They don't often stay still long enough. It becomes a matter of capturing their gesture. I worked quickly and blocked in the large shapes with a dark value. I then quickly moved to a middle value and finally the lights. I painted the background last.

It was simply my impression of the cows in the meadow. I could have painted them all week long!

'The Cows of Meuvaines'   5x7   plein air pastel    $95

Not all of the cattle were sweet and gentle. There were several pastures that were home to some very large (in every way) bulls. Several of the artists in the group had some close encounters with one bull in particular. His pasture was next to the church. It was the ideal location for painting the church but the bull made that a dangerous proposition.

Watch out Stan! This bull means business!
 I probably took over 100 photos of our cows. Yes there was a fascination with them but they added the spice in a very peaceful and beautiful landscape. They will certainly be the subject of many more paintings.

Early morning frisky cows

 Today's paintings are 5x7 on Sennelier LaCarte paper with a mix of pastels, mostly Terry Ludwigs. Visit my Facebook page on Thursday to see step by step photos of the paintings. Be sure to 'like' the page while you are there!


Unknown said...

Lovely! So much personality!

robertsloan2art said...

Oh wow! I painted the tan cow and loved her, these photos are great! You're right, the cows look a lot better than most of the cattle I've seen. Gorgeous paintings and fantastic photos. Love all of them! You paint them with so much lively conciseness! That is the same way I have to paint my cat, even if he's sleeping. I get two minute gestures and he'll reposition. Sometimes he repeats the pose. Whole sketchbooks full of that same cat from life and only one pose lasted more than two minutes. He was in very deep sleep and let me detail him before he woke on one sketch.