Here are a couple of my most recent paintings. One is a Hereford/Angus cross- that explains the white face on a black body. This one I did in a representational mode – meaning that it looks pretty much like the real animal. The other is two Herefords, one with horns and one without – take your pick. This painting, I did showing full bodies and using lots of liberty on the colors. Notice how the shadows are using to allow your eye to come into the painting. Both are available on https://www.etsy.com/shop/AnnetteBennett?ref=hdr_shop_menu
I thought it might be interesting to follow me as I work on my next watercolor painting. This is a behind the scenes look at the creative process- for me, anyway.
First I take a ton of photographs of a subject, honestly, usually over 1,000 images. Yes, I have a “continuous shot” option on my camera and I use it. Animals can make a movement quickly and give no warning. So, if you have to try and anticipate what they are going to do and if it will be a good shot – it’s hopeless. So, after I take 1000+ shots, then I download them on my computer, and quickly scan through them to decide which might have potential. I go through several “culling” processes until I end up with 8-10 photos that I think have potential. Then, I enlarge, crop, adjust the brightness ( to see more of the animals color), darken the shadows, etc all on my computer. Then, once I have a picture that I think would make a good painting, I usually print a black and white image of it. I like to print black and white – it kinda frees my mind to explore colors and not be restricted to trying to match what is actually on the animal. Then, I decide how big of a painting I want to make.
I try to make all my art so that it will fit in pre-made frames – kinda standard sizes, to keep the costs down. Once I have decided on the size, then I draw the image onto my paper. This one that I am working on is two black Angus calves. I took the photographs at Linda Treibs, Fredericksburg. They had gathered up the cattle into a pen and so I was able to get some group shots.
Now, the fun begins…Stay tuned for further developments
This is my latest painting. The cow is a “black baldie”, it is a typical Angus Hereford cross bred. The black comes from the Black Angus and the white face from the Hereford. I took this photo in the winter, so the hair is nice and fluffy around the ears and top knot. There was a whole group of cattle that had just been put in this pasture and it was a beautiful sunny day. see all my watercolor artwork for sale
When I majored in Animal Science and received my BS and my MS degrees – I gravitated more toward the statistical analysis and research aspects of the degrees. I always was attracted to the large animals, but realized that having not grown up around them, that I could never have the same degree of understanding that comes only from experience. All mine was “book learnin”. So, I liked them – but I didn’t KNOW them in a sense.
After I retired, I watched a movie called Temple Grandin, click here to watch. She is an autistic who was able to look at cattle in a way that no one before her had – she realized that they needed to be treated with dignity and that some our handling procedures could be improved on. She found ways to keep cattle calm when they were being worked. Her work is revolutionary . That movie had such an impact on me that it had an influence on what and how I wanted to paint.
When I first started watercolor, I was taught to paint what I saw, but I knew that wasn’t how my heart wanted to paint. So, I took more classes, explored different techniques and as I moved along the learning curves were brutal – I struggled with every thing that I did. Slowly, my own technique began to evolve. I began to paint animals that developed a personality all their own. I painted then – with an artist interpretation – my own.
So, when you look at my paintings, I hope that you too will see the admiration that I feel for each animal and the dignity that they exhibit.
As you drive around the Texas Hill Country, you will see mostly Angus and Angus cross cattle. I tried to do some black cows many months ago – and they are quite a challenge to do – especially when you do them as close-ups, as I do. You can’t just paint a cow all black – that really isn’t the true color and doesn’t show definition, etc. So – I have struggled a bit with the black cows. But here are two of my latest – I incorporated purple, turquoise, Hope you like them.