Monday, August 15, 2011

Cows are Hard

As much as I enjoy the Fair, I've never before drawn a cow. I've taken plenty of pictures of cattle, patted their rumps and watched as they were washed and groomed. But actually sit down to attempt to draw an actual member of the bovine persuasion? Naw. No way.

Saturday was "Plein Air Day" at the Indiana State Fair. I decided to participate, but, since I buy my paint in quarts and pints, I did not have any little tubes of color, so I took some pastels and sheets of paper.

I think in terms of big gestures and can't draw small so drawing the Holstein lying on her straw bed was difficult; no matter what, I couldn't fit her on the paper in front of me. So her head's too big and her body is cramped. I think I truncated her trunk.

At least there's no black on my black and white cow.

Jenna, on the right, rests her head on the back of her stall buddy,
as they doze through the heat of the afternoon
Anyway, I like Jenna. She's my first cow and she seems to be smiling.

Given the sad events that occurred at the Fair last night, all events scheduled for today were cancelled and the grounds were closed. The Fair will reopen tomorrow, August 15, beginning with a memorial service for those lost and injured at 9 AM. While it hasn't been decided whether the concerts scheduled for the coming week will go on, other events will have their dates or sites shifted as needed to accommodate the circumstances. 


dive said...

Jenna's gorgeous, Speedway. A lovely portrait. Yay you for avoiding the black stick. Having spent a lot of time with cows (two uncles had farms and I dated a farmer's daughter for way too long) I can say you've caught her solidity perfectly. When you get up close and personal with a herd at feeding time you realise just how bulky (and heavy and bony) these beautiful creatures are. Your portrait of Jenna is the real cow.
And well done for capturing her at rest; when they're standing, cows' legs are a bugger to draw right.

I'm glad they're re-opening the Fair. It's right that people should be able to attend a service there, to grieve properly and leave tributes and condolences. It's not going to be the same as before but it will give the community a place to come together and become stronger.

Speedway said...

Jenna spent most of her time lying in her straw nest, standing only once -- to take a good pee. What a view! You could see her expression change in the anticipation of "something going on at my other end." She stood then, relieved, lay down again. Expression changed.

It was good to read your comment yesterday about color. As a kid, I thought I was the only person to see like that. In high school, I remember my instructor saying he wished he could find as much color in an object as I did.

In college, color theory was a blast for me. My prof gave me problems w/the color wheel, such as make a composition using a double-split complimentary scheme, and I'd run away with it. I loved it, somehow understood it almost intuitively.

Another prof, a print maker of high order, taught me to mix my colors, never using pure color as it was usually too flat, but to mix in a tiny bit of whatever compliment was needed.I mixed my blacks by mixing the compliments, then adding a bit of black at the very end.

Oops, prattling on.

dive said...

Not prattling at all! I remember my art master teaching me to make the best black (in oils) with Prussian blue and alizarin crimson, and lots of exercises where I'd have to cover up and object and just paint the colour of its shadow. And colour mixing. What fun! As I've rown older I've moved away from careful representation to more instant abstract gratification. All my paints are mixed on the canvas these days, something that would have shocked the twenty-year-old me. Hee hee.

Speedway said...

I keep thinking I should probably set up those color problems for myself, one more time, both for the discipline and the fun of exploration.

Maybe some colorful cows?

Going back to the fair tomorrow, to see horses.