Brahma Chickens

I don’t know a lot about chickens but I had a client ask me to paint his. This was the first time someone who wanted a painting didn’t have a picture to give me. He wanted me to come to his farm and take my own photographs. I did. He said paint what inspires me.

What I learned from this experience is to provide a sketch of my vision before I begin to paint. I had not done that. He assumed I was going to paint the chickens in one way but I painted them in another.

It was a learning experience and I hoped he really did love the pictures as he claimed. But next time I will approach this commission entirely different. Show a sketch then pick up a brush. These are the final paintings.

Done!!!

I grew up partly on a farm. I didn’t see the kind of cows I just painted but to a little kid the cows in the barn were enormous. My parents didn’t own the farm. The family farm was owned by my dad’s older brothers. His family owned two farms; at one point dad worked for them too.

Dad was a hired man. Life as the hired man included a salary, housing and a certain percentage of beef. It was a simple but difficult life. Dad worked hard. It wasn’t the work that did him in but the chemicals he handled. Dad had to leave the farm; his health would no longer let him do what he loved.

Years later while on family road trips my dad would always point out how well the crops looked to be doing. He would comment on how big a particular farmers herd was or how successful a farmer was based on the number of silos.

I always say there is no such thing as a lazy farmer. If you see a lazy farmer he or she won’t be a farmer for long.

“Texas Steers Don’t Play”. 18”x28” acrylic on canvas

Texas Steer Legs

My daughter moved to Texas over 10 years ago. I hate that she lives so far away but that’s another story for another time. I think she is a fabulous photographer a hobby that I wish she had time to do more often but I digress.

She took a photo of a group of steers standing in a field across the street from her subdivision. They look intimidating with their intense stare. They look like a scary gang!

So yes mom had to paint this four legged gang of beef. Well the challenge turned out being in legs. There are more legs then heads in the reference photo. To ensure each steer gets four legs and the four legs lined up with one head requires the use of my magnifying glass. It also requires that others assist me with which leg is with which steer. It helped.

So let me show you the reference photo and my progress with the painting. I still have much to do. It’s been a journey. 🤪