The Inspiration Behind Kathy Winkler's "An Old Fashioned Longhorn Bath"
It is always an honor to be acquainted with so many animals. I love creating memories of some of these animals behind my paintings. Of course, a bonus is to meet the people behind the animals, i.e., in a good many cases, their caretakers.
For the subjects of this painting, I discovered them after the rancher gave me the okay to drive my SUV into a pasture of about 40 or so longhorns in the Plains, VA. I was thrilled when I saw several of these magnificent bovine hanging around the nice sized water hole on a very hot, summer day. I just stood around admiring this one particular longhorn cow who had decided to saunter down the bank of the pond into the water, leaving her unhappy calf on solid ground. She just stood there looking at him, with the little fella stretching his neck and head out over the water, but not putting a foot in the pond. I could see her eyes looking at him and him looking at her to see which one was going to cave in; was he going to wade out into the water, or was she going to give up her cooling down in the heavenly pond. After awhile, it was clear that she was not going to get out of the water. So, the little fella had no choice but to wade into the water and nestle close to his mama.
That is what is so special about painting. I love these extraordinary experiences of not having any idea what I am faced with, when I get to witness one day in the life of any animal I come across. I am always taken back and have a wow moment because that is just the way it is with animals. You get to become part of their lives in such touching moments.
I loved the way the calf nestled next to his mama and the cow gracefully swung her head to nuzzle him as acknowledgement for what he had accomplished. I was enraptured by all of these little nuances, and I hoped I could convey the feeling in a painting to share with people who love animals. I loved even the little dance this mama’s tail did across the water, and then how the water dripped off her hairy tail back into the pool.
I felt honored that the owner of the property let me visit whenever I wanted to. His longhorns are affectionately known as “lawn” ornaments. I had the privilege of driving past his property during the different seasons when he had his herd in the front pasture. I was always on my way to the barn to see my horses or on the way back home. What a bonus!!!!! (This painting is named “Someone to Watch over Me.”)