"Cows crack me up," sayd Kathleen Gray Farthing. "They’re so nosy, but are a challenge to paint. You have the perfect composition, then they have to come right over to see what you’re doing. Just as quickly, they’re bored and leave."

There are some challenges that all plein air artists come across while in the field. Weather is probably the most universal and comes in at number one, followed by sometimes curious, sometimes dangerous, and sometimes apparently hungry cows.

Okay, maybe cows aren’t second on the list, but as the Plein Air Today editor, I’ve seen that it’s a common enough occurrence to make it worthy of a just-for-fun round-up. Enjoy the following collection of artist-submitted cow encounters. Tag us on Instagram @PleinAirMag to share yours, or tell us about your experiences in the comments below.

Of course, remember to stay safe while painting near any animals – we don’t want to have to run a “when animals attack” story!

Stephen Wysocki with a close-up portrait opportunity in Iowa during the Bluff Strokes 2019.
Just because they’re so pretty (and perhaps intentionally demonstrating elements of perspective) – here’s another shot from Stephen Wysocki
Tim Moore reports that this farm friend in Georgia was looking for some ultramarine blue.
Sheila Mac Nally may have stepped away from her easel to grab an apple for this little beggar.
Karen Cooper said that while she was set up, these cows wanted nothing to do with it. “They always run away from me!”
Melanie Stokes said she’s adjusting to living and painting in Texas and is comfortable – with a fence in place.
Agnieszka Matyjaszek tells us she was was painting at Durham Village in 2017 when the cows came to say, “Yellow!”
Georgia Mansur, was recently featured on the PleinAir Podcast (listen here!) enjoyed the company of this sweet little visitor.

When we invited artists to share their cow encounters, we saw a few bonus animals come through as well, and I couldn’t deny these cuties a spot! Enjoy these extra plein air furry friends!

Pamela McFarling Locke asked, “How about a donkey or two?”
Elise Phillips said her friend Max was giving her some pointers in this equine encounter.
When Elin Thomas was teaching a workshop on her friend’s farm in Georgia, she didn’t realize it would come with a free assistant.
“Not cows, but a flock of sheep came to visit me at Ghost Ranch during the 2018 Plein Air Convention paint out, right around when it started to snow on my palette. A first on both counts! The painting wasn’t too baaaaaaaad either 😂😂😂” ~ Cindy Compert
We couldn’t leave out this one! Matthew Ryder (also featured on the PleinAir Podcast, where he talks about painting in the desert!) shared, “Not a cow, but a very inquisitive camel in the deserts of Dubai.”

Remember to tag us on Instagram @PleinAirMag to share your photos, or tell us about your experiences in the comments below!


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