The other day I was looking through my old photos from Livermore hoping to find some source material for my next animal painting. Both the cows and donkeys inspired me and there was the usual complement of nice cat and dog photos. I found a photo of calves on a hillside that I was going to work on. I loved the composition and the poses of the calves, but there really wasn’t enough detail. That sent me to an internet search where I found several inspiring photos of Hereford calves.
On a whim, I search for Jersey calves and found this precious pair and couldn’t resist painting them. These two calves were born at a dairy. Since the dairy is in the milk business they restrict the amount of milk the calves get and separate them from the moms fairy early. To ease the stress, they are careful to raise them together. When I look at these two my heart both aches and melts. They are so innocent and seemingly content finding comfort in the closeness of the other. Of course the viewer knows of the perils they will face, hence the aching heart. I searched my mind for a title for the painting and came up with Lilies of the Field, a reference from the Bible – the Lord provides.
After carefully doing the drawing and transferring it to the velour paper, I began with the pastel. This is the first stage of the painting, the NuPastel, or hard pastel, layer.
The challenge in this painting will be making the poses of the calves understandable and convincing. And it will be critical to make it clear that Adam, the calf on the left, is nuzzling his nose into Lavina’s neck. The texture in the fur is challenging and very interesting. I am looking forward to working on this painting.