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What Is It With All Those Cow Paintings?

It seems that as soon as there was a cow on earth, and a person with paint and a brush, there have been paintings of cows! Indeed, in the 1700s, the Dutch couldn't seem to create any painting that didn't have a cow in it somewhere!

With the popularity of Farmhouse style, cows have truly become stylish again, along with sheep and a few other animals, but the cows are standing proudly center stage. But there must be more to why we just love cows!

Take artist, Denise Rich at the right. In 2004 she received a commission from the California Milk Advisory Board to paint their famous Happy Cows of the Real California Milk Campaign. With the overwhelming success of this campaign, cows became the subject of almost all her paintings of which she has earned many awards. Denise finds cows wonderful characters and takes the time to meet the cows she will paint in person, working from photographs. You can read more about Denise at her website:

There are many reasons why we love cows. I knew why I loved cows before I did all this research. When I designed and built my home, the route between Gainesville and Maysville took me by beautiful pastures and thriving herds of cows, along with a few donkeys and goats, large and small. In the spring, you would believe you are in Ireland here in Maysville. I slow down to a crawl when I pass the pastures, and my heart just melts, particularly at the site of the mamas with their calves.

I must admit I'm a little jealous of those eyelashes!

The most important reason people gravitate to cows is that they are gentle, social animals that are very affectionate. They love to be petted and stroked just like dogs. They are very intelligent and know where their food and other things are and can go straight to what they want. They have great memories and will remember people they have met before and greet them with joy, but will shy away from anyone that has brought harm to them in the past. If they are raised by humans, it is hard to break that bond with their caregivers. When there is a loss, such as losing a calf, cows grieve for quite some time and tend to go off by themselves when they are upset. Cows can live twenty years. Someone famous once said that if he had a choice between human friends and cows, he would take the cows.

Cows make close friends and keep them for life. There actually is a "Queen Cow" in the herd that everyone seems to listen to. They are very maternal, very protective of their calves before and after they are weaned. If allowed, a cow will nurse her calf up to three years.

So many of these wonderful paintings are realistic. As an artist, a cow is not a truly difficult subject to paint, but some take a humorous approach like the ones below...

But most are designed to add grace to your home as in this slideshow.

"Daisy" is the first painting in the slideshow, an original oil, along with several others are from Southern ReDesigns at the Lakewood 400 Antiques Market. Jon Mraz is the Art Consultant there and can help you choose the right painting and the right frame for your choice. You can also take him a photograph of a cow friend and he can have it painted for you. I have a dream to commission a mama and calf painting through him for the new home. Jon is located in Hall E just inside the door on the Courtyard end of the building. You can reach Jon at


Take a field trip to a farm and meet the cows up close. This is great to do with your children and grandchildren. Be sure and take your phone for the camera and wear boots! You will see how wonderful these incredible animals are, and you will make a friend that you can go back and see again. Be sure and take lots of photos! Everyone will love the adventure!


On your field trip, take an instrument or have music on your phone ready to play. Cows curious about everything, but just love music! They will all come running for your concert! The video below is just one example ...

Ok, I have officially joined the Cow Parade. I will have a cow painting in my home, naybe more.

And it will be there to remind me of the love and grace cows share every day. I hope I will receive the same feeling that comes over me when I pass by the pastures, every time I gaze upon the painting.




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