I have painted five “cow portraits” in all, recently. Here they are. I have enjoyed getting to know them as individuals, their long history in art and human society, and especially painting them.
In last two thousand years the cow has gone from a symbol of sacrifice, service and strength, to a commodity and a status symbol and most recently in the work of Hirst, to something whose dismembered carcass is designed to shock and repulse viewers.
Following on from my last post about the inspiration behind my latest cow paintings, here’s my painting of “Sitting bull”.
So I was inspired to revisit the subject of cows in my painting I decided to use this approach, changing the background to look like a studio setting, to give the painting more of Renaissance feel.
I have been pondering the place of the humble cow or ox in figurative art in the Ancient World. It’s a very long history which is not surprising as humans have depended on cattle for their survival. Cattle have represented at different times such things as life, wealth, power and even the divine.
Although I don’t think that I paint cows all that often, they have added up over the years.
My previous painting of Mewslade Bay, Gower, had been all about majesty and rocks but this one was different, it was more about colour and light.
This is a commission piece I have been working on this week. The brief was to paint this beautiful sunlit New York apartment.
Mewslade Bay is just round the corner from Worms Head and Rhossili Bay. There is no beach to speak of at high tide. At low tide, however, the sandy beach can be reached if you scramble down over some slippery rocks, and thick beds of seaweed that have been washed up against rocks.
As a painter, I feel that I have succeeded if I my work can provoke an emotional reaction.