Posted on 17 Comments

Beautiful Cow

Many years ago my sister gave me and wonderful book called “Beautiful Sheep“.There were others in the “Beautiful” series, pigs and cows I believe, but this is the only one I had.


In it was a series of photographs of coiffured pedigree sheep photographed in studio settings. I spent a long time looking at these photos. What I particularly liked was the way the dark backgrounds made you really look at the sheep. Away from their usual settings of fields and farmyards, it brought out the natural gravitas and dignity of these animals.

I was inspired to revisit the subject of cows after researching and writing about the History of Cows in Art in the Ancient World and I decided to use this sort of approach, changing the background to look like a studio setting, to give the painting more of  Renaissance feel.

This is my first “Renaissance” cow. The title “The sitting” refers simply to the action of the cow as well as implying that she is sitting as my model.

The Sitting, an oil painting of a black and white cow
The Sitting

I am working on a companion piece called “Sitting Bull” which I will post very soon.

17 thoughts on “Beautiful Cow

  1. Brilliant idea and painting, Emma!

  2. i love the ‘studio effect’

  3. Looking forward to seeing “Sitting Bull”. 🙂

    1. He’s coming soon, I promise!

  4. Your animals have so much presence! I really like this a lot.

  5. Interesting to see how your preferred style of simple light/dark and minimum brush work translates from landscapes to a living creature. It worked out perfectly!

    1. That’s an astute observation, Alli. Thank you.

      1. PS: I noticed a mountain-type landscape on the back and belly of the cow…LOL! Reminds me of the time my mother looked at my first painting of some mountains and commented that she saw a cat! I have to admit that after I took a second good look I also saw the cat…

  6. well done Emma! Very Mooooving.

  7. I love cows they are a part of the landscape and so natural

  8. Loves cowns they are a part of the landscape

    1. I love them too, thanks.

  9. […] have painted five “cow portraits” in all, recently. Here they are. I have enjoyed getting to know them as individuals, their […]

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