This is the first time I’ve ever raffled one of my paintings for anything. I hope when you read the story behind this painting, you’ll understand why I’m choosing to give it away to contribute to the relief effort for Moore, Oklahoma. Raffle details are at the bottom of this post.
Some of my paintings I consider more special than others, for various reasons. Usually I don’t know whether or not the painting will be one of those ‘special’ ones until it’s finished.
Not this with this one. With this painting I knew before I’d even set the paintbrush to canvas that it was going to be different.
A couple of weeks ago was the anniversary of my husband’s death. May 14. Call me silly, but I was totally unprepared for how hard of a day it would be. I tried everything I could to get on top of the pain & depression I was feeling on that particular day. Nothing worked. I knew I needed to paint, to start a new painting, to get lost in my work so I wouldn’t feel so lost in my life.
As I stared at the blank canvas, pondering what to paint, an overwhelmingly strong message came to me. Paint cows.
Cows?!? Now, why on earth would I paint cows? It’s not that I don’t like cows. I do. But cows don’t ‘fit’ into any category that I’m working on.
That didn’t matter on this day. It was as if there was a pull, a magnetic draw, to start a cow painting. I don’t know where it came from. Was it Marlon, sending me a message? Or some other intuition? Wherever it was coming from I knew I needed to paint cows. So I did what I always do when I plan a new work – I googled Images. Nothing appealed to me though. Oh, there are tons of cute cows on google but none of them spoke to me. Where can I find some good photo references of cows?
Another message came through – The Pioneer Woman.
Of course. The Pioneer Woman, an incredible photographer, not to mention gifted wordsmith. PDub, my blogging she-roe and inspiration. Of course she’ll have some photos of cows.
With the subject matter decided I got to work, painting the soft background and penciling in the outline of the cows.
Then, another block. The canvas sat there on my easel for a few days. I gave in and let the depression win. It’s a daily battle and I couldn’t muster the strength to fight it.
Until May 20. The dark cloud lifted a bit and I posted the sketch on Instagram, ready to dive in and start painting the cows.
Posting unfinished pieces on Instagram is always a bit of a leap of faith. Especially a sketch. But when someone asked if this was a sketch of Eulalie, a beautiful painting by Cindy Austin, I took the question as inspiration and ran with it. The depression was going to lose this time.
As I sat painting, safe and sound in my studio, the unthinkable was happening in Moore, Ok.
I put down my paintbrush to watch the news reports, worried for the people, the children, the animals, and feeling utterly helpless.
I wasn’t sure where Moore was located in Oklahoma so I looked on a map. The only person I know in the state is Ree. (Ok, so I don’t actually know her but the way she writes makes me feel like I do. That, and I’m painting two of her cows. So that kinda counts, right?) While googling the map of Oklahoma I made the connection of the cows-Oklahoma-painting-maybe I can help.
Maybe I can help!
What if, instead of just sending a small donation to the Red Cross, what if the painting of these cows could help even more? What if there was a greater purpose to these cows? What if I could help? Just the thought made me feel better. Oh, I had plenty of doubts. Would it be good enough? Would anyone even want a painting of cows? But each time I’d post an update of the painting-in-progress the compliments poured in and I’d put aside my insecurities.
Maybe, just maybe, this is my chance to pay it forward and honor the many who had helped me in my time of need.
I don’t know if I received a message from my husband on the anniversary of his death to paint these two cows. I don’t know if this painting can actually help those who are now suffering such loss and pain in Oklahoma.
What I do know is that painting the cows helped me during a very painful time and raffling the canvas to help others during their time of need just feels right.
This is a picture of the finished 16 x 20 acrylic painting on stretched canvas.
There’s something about cows’ eyes, you know? Something soft, yet deep. I hope I captured a small part of their serenity in this painting.
The canvas is stretched and I carried the paint onto the borders so it’s ready to hang, unless the winner chooses to frame it.
The winner will receive Two Cows for Oklahoma, an original acrylic on 16 x 20 canvas painted by me.
Donations larger than $5 will count as additional entries. $25 = 5 entries. The winner will be chosen using Random.org on June 30, 2013.
Prints & Notecards – Other Ways To Help
The prints and cards are available for purchase now.
As I said, this is my first raffle in close to 20 years of painting. Putting a value on my artwork has always been a struggle.
I’m praying that the value of Two Cows for Oklahoma goes way beyond monetary value and truly helps people in need, even more than it helped me while I painted it.
Thank you so much any donations, shares of this post, and good thoughts. It means more than words can say. God Bless You!