When painting these two head portraits of longhorns, I got the impression that they were both introspective and melancholy, perhaps drowning in a bit of reflection. What I do know according to research, is that animals have emotions just like we do. They are generally quite intelligent animals who can remember things for a long time. Animal behaviorists have found that they do interact socially in complex ways, i.e., developing friendships over time and sometimes holding grudges against other bovine who treated them badly. I think that is part of the reason I am so sensitive to the animals I paint, that is, knowing that they feel all the emotions that we feel.
Getting down to the actual painting. I worked on the longhorn on the right for what seemed like eternity. I kept having to straighten out parts that didn’t seem like they were working well. For example, the brindle coat took me sometime to integrate the reddish patches with the black hairs. Then, I had an issue with the symetrical logistics of the horns and making sure I got the right angle. This was followed by the last part of the painting, which was the left eye. I wanted to make sure I portrayed the introspection in his eye.
This week, I am working on the mate to the one on the right. This longhorn is speckled with a white background and ruddy red peaking in most places among the white. I still have a lot of work to do on this one. My goal is to finish it by Monday. After that, I’m not sure what I have on my list of subjects.