From Herefords to Holsteins ~ Bucolic Landscapes

Part of what I have found interests me with my American Landscape series is the life that a bovine or two adds to a country scene.  In my Grazing Alongside Spring Creek painting, I feature a small herd of cattle including a Hereford and Black Angus.  I just completed this oil painting on board, entitled The Watering Hole, which features a number of black and white Holsteins.

The Watering Hole, 10 x 12, Oil on Board by William R. Beebe

The Watering Hole, 10 x 12, Oil on Board by William R. Beebe

On my last excursion to rural farm country, I rounded several bends, coming across several breeds I was unfamiliar with.  I’m anxious to research the different breeds and to paint them in their surroundings.  

As I photograph the large bovines, I notice the personality in their faces.  I get a kick out of how they start coming over to me when I approach.  Watching them chew their cud, swish their tails and graze captures my attention to the point where it’s hard for me to move on.  Whether it’s a Hereford, Angus, or Holstein, I’m enjoying painting them thoroughly and I believe they add life, personality and interest to what otherwise might be a lovely but somewhat lifeless landscape.

I hope you enjoy this quiet setting of the Holsteins by the willow and watering hole.  This bucolic landscape was one where I could have spent hours observing the cows, studying cloud formations and observing how changing light would affect shadows and color.

At the same time, as I took in the moment, I was reminded of a funny memory from many years ago, when my good friend, my brother and I were fishing at a farmer’s pond.  One of the cows seemed to take a liking to my friend and cornered him at one end of the pond, standing in the water with only a small evergreen shrub leading interference.  My friend would move one way and the cow would move with him.  He ended up dropping his fishing pole and eventually made a mad dash for the fence!  ☺

So this painting has a double meaning to me.  The captured moment is of tranquility, without the disturbance of man.  But in my mind, I can visualize my friend in the far right corner of the pond, standing in the shallow water in his waders with a large cow, full of “personality” cornering him and daring him to come out from behind the shrub.  ☺