|'Mother Earth' - acrylic on canvas 76cm x 50cm (approx 30 x 20 inches)|
I decided to call this painting 'Mother Earth' because cows are wonderfully nurturing and protective mothers. Although this isn't technically one of my spirit animal paintings, I decided to look up what a cow represents and strangely (as I'd already decided on the title at this point) this is what it said:
'In many cultures animal symbolism of the cow is married to the concept of Mother Earth and has been linked to the symbols of fertility, nurturing and power for centuries.' So, seems I chose well!
Today is Mother's Day in Australia and the USA. I'm not sure why they observe a different date to the UK so I did a little bit of Googling and found out that the American version of Mother's Day was created by a woman called Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official American holiday in 1914. Anna Jarvis later denounced the day's commericalisation and spent her later years trying to remove it from the calendar.
Celebrating motherhood and mothers can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome where they held festivals in honour of mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele but the most recent link is the early Christian festival of Mothering Sunday - this was once a major tradition in the UK and Europe and fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful flock would return to their 'mother church' - the church closest to their home - for a special service. Over time it became more secular (probably once big business saw a way to exploit it) and it became a day instead when people buy their mums cards, presents and flowers to remind them they are loved.
Why am I talking about this, you may ask? Well, this painting depicts a mother and her child and I thought it was appropriate to remember that it isn't only humans who are mothers and who have children that they love. Cows form very strong bonds with their calves but unfortunately because they are generally seen as units of production, rather than the sentient creatures they are, when it comes to dairy farming they have their calves taken away from them, often within 24 hours, so that the milk isn't 'wasted' on them when it could instead be sold to humans.
Beef cattle, like these Highland cows, are a little bit luckier in the parenthood stakes as they get to keep their calves with them to wean naturally over a few months rather than mere days and get to enjoy the close bond they form with their calf more in the way nature intended. At least for a little while (bearing in mind that the 'highest quality beef' apparently comes from animals under 36 months). Food for thought.
Thank you to local photographer, Gavin Paul Bird, who very kindly gave me permission to paint from a beautiful photo he'd taken of this mother and her calf. I simply removed the horrible yellow tags from the calf's ears and added the northern lights!
These larger paintings are so difficult to photograph. The paint has a lovely sheen which is great but not so much when it creates a glare no matter what angle you try to snap. I've tried to show the colours as accurately as possible but none of these photos really do them justice and they seem to change with each one.
|Hard at work on a beautiful sunny day!|
Anyway, sorry for the post going on a bit of a vegan rant but it breaks my heart to think of how we treat these beautiful creatures and hearing a cow bellowing for her calf is one of the most hauntingly sad sounds you'll ever hear.
Right, I'll finish on a lighter note. Normally when we're driving past a field with cows I'll say 'aw look at that wee calf' and S will inevitably say 'I could do with one of those' to which I'll roll my eyes and sigh and say 'what?' knowing full well what's coming and he'll say 'A week off'(a wee calf/week aff?! - perhaps only works when said in a Scottish accent!) Ah, the hours fly by!