Project Photo Gallery: Highland Cows

I think this project photo gallery really shows how it’s our individual preferences and interpretations that make us paint familiar things differently, keeping things interesting both for ourselves and others. (It feels somewhat like a continuation of the topic of my last Monday Motivator of 2019: Subject Isn’t the Most Important Part.) Enjoy!

By Cathi: “A pencil rendering. I love drawing and think that pencil is so often overlooked.”

From Marion: It’s a subject that lends itself to pencil. I agree that in my enjoyment of colour I often overlook the joy of pure pencil.
By Cathi. Ink and watercolour with fabric collage.

From Marion: That quirky bit of fabric works so well — the black-line design on it echoes your ink cow without dominating; it anchors the cow whilst leading my eye across and upwards as I realise it’s not an abstract pattern but flowers.
By Erika: “1. I didn’t like the background.”
From Marion: I think the background’s too calm compared to the strong texture on the cow. Or maybe there’s just too much of it — possibly crop the top and side so the cow dominates the space.
By Erika: “2. Timid and waiting…”
By Erika: 3. Because of “artistic abuse” of canvas, the paint wanted to puddle, no matter, how much medium I used – so I let it puddle. Materials used: paper, acrylic paint and a cut-up vegetable brush.

From Marion: I think this cow is the most successful as it’s got more variation of colour in it and it feels as if it’s sitting in the landscape rather than on it.
By Eddie: “This is ten minutes with a brush and Indian ink. I decided to just go for it and see what happened.”
From Marion: Working wet into wet with ink is very much “go for it” territory, and then trying to repeat “happy accidents”.
By Eddie. Pen, brush and watercolour pencils.
From Marion: There’s a joyous energy to the pen mark making that not only creates the cows but also a sense of rain.
By Eddie: “I did try mussing up the cow’s hair as you suggested but I think the whole thing is overworked.” Pastel.
By Eddie: I went with your advice about scale changing everything. This is 65x45cm. and I like it a lot better. I was surprised to find that the background caused me more difficulty than the cow.
From Marion: It could be because you’d painted various cows just before this and had consolidated all that into what you’d do next. Love the colours, depth, and energy in the mark making.

These are the cows I painted in December:

By Marion. Oils. 8×10″. The colours got a bit murky and I might still glaze some orange over the cow’s coat to liven things up a bit.
Highland cow painting
By Marion. Oil paint applied with a palette knife over an underpainting in acrylics. I feel the right-hand horn got too wide towards the top, but the oil paint wouldn’t scratch off what is quite an “grabby” surface (clear gesso on wood) and I couldn’t overpaint it with the blue without it mixing. I might fix it once it’s dry, or I might find it doesn’t bother me when I look at it again with fresh eyes.
Highland cow painting in ink
By Marion.Acrylic ink on A2 watercolour paper. I drew horns, earsn, face, and outline of the body with a rigger brush, then used a dry flat brush to spread out some of it
Highland cow painting
By Marion. Mixed media (acrylics and oil pastel) on watercolour paper. I started this with an ink drawing, then layered on top, ultimately with oil pastel.

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