Sunday, November 9, 2008


The past few days I've been hanging out some with Bobby, one of the duo of cattlemen leasing the barns and pastures. We're a bit alike in being obsessed. I think of almost nothing but art; he thinks of almost nothing but cattle. "Cattle are my life." It makes for really interesting conversation, and since he's working all the while, I try to be helpful (this morning we built a gate.) and let him do most of the talking. As a relief from the sprawling research for You'll Always Come Back, it's refreshing to listen and learn about something so focused. He speaks the old farm way (saying ye for you, etc) even more than Cebah does, and there's something very pleasant and settling about that to my ears.

The interest in cattle was catching, and when I started watching them with the sort of attention Bobby gives, (well not quite that level of devotion...) I started wanting to draw them. I've drawn cows before a few times, but I've never tried a herd.

Cattle are very curious creatures. This drawing was informed by a photo that I took just as the herd ran across the field, halting suddenly right in front of me to see what I was up to. I suppose someone who hadn't been around cattle very much would have found this last second stampede stop alarming. As a herd movement it never hurts to scare something in your territory, just in case.

Bobby confirmed a thought that came to mind, after soaking up some of the peaceful placid feeling that a herd of cattle can generate - bucolic - cow-easy, as it were, and a paradox too; the reason cattle have such a deep sense of calm is that they stay very alert.


Apifera Farm said...

Can Bobby come live here? I yearn for a couple milk cows - I suppose that would not fulfill his obsession. But he couold help out at the Longhorn place down the road a ways. I admire your ability to actually draw realistically.

Dan Dutton said...

I think he does like longhorns. I got him a field guide to cattle and he was wowed by the African cattle bred especially for their gigantic horns.

I feel like a slug for not drawing more. This was done with a brush & sepia ink. Somewhere here I have some steel quill pens that I love to draw with - they're more demanding and I'm not sure my eyesight is good enough now to work with them, but I'm going to hunt them up and try.

I used to draw every day - mandatory! I like the ease that you draw with ~ creatures are whimsical but have substance.