Friday, July 4, 2008
They’ve got to be related to wooly mammoths somewhere down the line. And the Irish strain of them at that, masses of red hair & all. I’ve rather enjoyed the company of cattle, having had the opportunity to work at length around them in my college days. Peaceful creatures for the most part – pleasant, plodding munchers turning vegetable matter into animal protein. I find Highlanders even more appealing with their thick coats, all but reminding one of teddy bears sporting horns for play. And the long shaggy fringe hiding their big, glossy dark eyes – well, aye – I know it’s got to have evolved to help fend off midgies, but it just adds to their overall fuzziness, & makes you just want to hop the fence & give a good scratch behind their ears & make friends!
This painting was inspired by a pair of great bullocks lazing on Nover Estate north of Dingwall in summer. The closer animal struck me as rather statuesque reclining in the lush grass, appearing to have taken great care to distribute his bulk evenly for balance and appearance’s sake to the benefit of passers-by (although it was on the quiet lane of a large estate). The more distant fellow reminded me of a lump. Melted butter, but red-brown. Caramelized. But a lump. Must’ve been hot out there in the sun with all that hair. I enjoyed the challenge of describing the ‘lump’ & the ‘statue,’ adjusting colours and values just enough to give the impression of a hot summer day and the Highlanders taking their ease.