Thursday, December 31, 2009

A conversation with Gary Sauder: Part 11

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What would you like to do more of in the future?

I would like to do more of the same, but I would like to travel more and do more field work in many different places.

Picture credit: "Ideal type Guernsey Cow", colored pencil drawing on paper

Click here to learn more about this dairy cow drawing

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A conversation with Gary Sauder: Part 10

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Do you ever have goof ups or work you don’t like?

I have made many goof ups and have done more than a few paintings that I don’t like. I also find that as the years go by some of the paintings I did ten years ago that I liked back then, I don’t like as much now and the opposite is also true.

Picture credit: "Ideal type Holstein cow", colored pencil on paper

Click here to learn more about this dairy cow drawing

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday's agriculture website of interest: MEAT SCIENCE AND MUSCLE FOODS

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Today's agricultural website of interest is the Meat is Neat blog, maintained by meat scientist, Dr. Chris Raines. Chris is the Extension Meats Specialist and is an Assistant Professor at Penn State University in the Department of Dairy & Animal Science. He researches factors that affect meat quality, and helps meat processors, large and small, national and local, with the quality and safety of the food they produce.

The Meat is Neat blog follows his experiences and thoughts about meat as food – where it comes from, how it’s produced, how people consume it, and the health implications of it. Some entries may be highly technical, and others may be total stream-of-consciousness. Some entries might address hot-button topics facing meat today, while other entries might address long-term ideas or speculative ideas about meat in the future.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

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While everyone takes a moment to spend this joyous occasion with family and loved ones, myself and all the artists at Cow Art and More wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for letting us brighten your day with our art. We wish everyone a wonderful holiday and look forward to what 2010 has to offer!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A conversation with Gary Sauder: Part 9

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What else do you do besides painting?

Right now I distribute an amazing nutritional beverage called Mona Vie. It is a product that has wonderful health benefits.

Picture credit: "Ideal type Ayrshire cow", colored pencil on paper

Click here to learn more about this Ayrshire cow drawing

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A cow painting in progress

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Enjoy this link to see Gary Sauder's pastel drawings progress from a simple pencil sketch on paper to a completed piece of cow art!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A conversation with Gary Sauder: Part 8

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What advice to you have for aspiring painters?

The only advice that I can give to aspiring painters is to paint often and treat it like a profession. I have found the more that I paint the better that I get at it and the more professional the result.

Picture credit: "Pleasant Nook F Prize Circus", pastel on paper

Click here to learn more about this Jersey cow drawing

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday's agriculture website of interest: CHRISTMAS TREE FACTS

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For those new to the Cow Art and More blog, every Monday, Kathy shares a different agriculture themed website with readers.

With Christmas coming this week, I thought it would be fun to share with everyone some Christmas tree facts from the University of Illinois extension. The website details information from the most popular trees and states they are grown in to when the first tree was decorated and lit in honor of Christmas.

Happy decorating!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

How to keep sterling silver jewelry free of tarnish

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In the process of designing, constructing and selling sterling silver jewelry to customers, I am often asked how to keep the jewelry clean and free of tarnish. Here are a few of my recommendations along with customer mistakes (and how to fix them!).

1. The first thing you need to know is that "tarnish happens" when it comes to jewelry. Even gold jewelry, after many years, will eventually tarnish. Tarnish is caused by the reaction of the copper, in the sterling silver, to humidity and elements. Even perfumes, lotions, hair care products and sweat will accelerate tarnish on jewelry.

The remedy: Try to make sure all your "body products" (hairspray, lotions, etc.) are dry before putting on your jewelry. After you are done wearing your jewelry, wipe it clean and dry with a soft cloth (I prefer plush cotton or flannel) before storing it.

2. Leave jewelry sitting out, exposed to the air most of the time, tarnish becomes inevitable.

The remedy: Store jewelry in a place that is cool, dark and not exposed to air. Other jewelers advocate placing jewelry in a ziploc bag for storage. You must make sure your jewelry is absolutely dry and the bag is free of air when doing this. Otherwise, you create a "rainforest" in the bag and it will tarnish in a matter of days! If you want to do this, I would recommend wrapping the piece in a soft cloth first, then place in a ziploc bag. Squeeze all the air out of the bag before closing. For those that like having their jewelry in a box where you can easily see it, place a piece of chalk in the box. The chalk will absorb the moisture. Be sure to replace the chalk monthly.

3. My jewelry is tarnished. What is the best way to clean it?

The remedy: Always opt first for a polishing cloth to remove tarnish from your jewelry. I sell and recommend the Sunshine polishing cloths, but have also had good luck with Haggerty's silversmith polish sprayed on a soft cloth. (Do not spray this product directly on the piece.) Sometimes I will use the tarnish removing dip to clean a piece, but ONLY if the piece is metal only (no stones) and if there is no "patina" on the piece. (Patina is the intentional oxidation of the piece to highlight details.) These dips mush be used with care as they are removing the outer layer of metal on a piece (like the cloths) and can act very quickly!

4. I use a tarnish removing dip cleaner for my silver and now it tarnishes so much faster. Why is it doing this?

The remedy: While the liquid dips that remove tarnish will do so, they leave a sulfur residue that makes the jewelry react with the air and tarnish more quickly than before. If you are going to use the silver dip, the jewelry must be rinsed for a minimum of 15 minutes under running water to remove all the sulfur residue.

5. Someone told me to use toothpaste and/or baking soda to clean my jewelry. Is this okay?

The remedy: Using either of these is only okay only IF the sterling silver has a matte finish. If the jewelry has a shiny, mirror polish to it, these abrasives will remove the tarnish but will also scratch that shiny finish. Should this happen, they only way to remedy the situation is to have a professional properly polish the piece again, assuming the damage isn't too great.

6. What about ultrasonic jewelry cleaning?

The remedy: This is only an option for pure metal jewelry (no stones) or jewelry with stones hard enough to withstand ultrasonic cleaning. Stones such as coral, turquoise, tanzanite, and others are not ultrasonic cleanable. When in doubt, please consult the designer of the piece or a jewelry repair expert.

Learn more about caring for art and jewelry on the Cow Art and More art resources page.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A conversation with Gary Sauder: Part 7

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How long does it take you to get an average painting?

For the most part I can do a painting in a week but I have done and average size (14 X 19) in a day it just depends on the subject and the complexity of the painting. I have also taken as long as three weeks to complete a painting.

Picture credit: "West Lynn Tom Dee", pastel on paper

Click here to learn more about this cow art pastel drawing

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A charm bracelet boxed and ready to be a present

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I've been selling agricultural themed charms for over a year now and know that people buy them both for themselves and as gifts. When I started making charms, I anticipated that ladies would start with a bracelet and a charm or two, eventually adding more to their collection. I was excited to have someone order a bracelet with five of my cow art jewelry charms the other day, and I just had to get a picture of them in the box before I shipped it out.

I was excited with how great they looked as an ensemble and hope someone is very surprised and happy come Christmas morning!

The box is finished with a raffia bow. A gift card can be added for those having me ship the gift directly to the recipient.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A conversation with Gary Sauder: Part 6

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How do you decide what to paint?

I really don’t know how to answer this question, because I don’t know what kind of mood I’m going to be in order to decide what I want to paint. Right now I’m in a horse mood and that could change after I finish the next painting. I have a duck painting that I need to finish and then I could go really exotic as I haven’t painted any big cats in a while. I guess I paint whatever moves me or happens to hit my hot button.

Picture credit: "Profile of Greatness", pastel on paper

Click here to learn more about this pastel drawing of the horse, Secretariat

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday's agriculture website of interest: HOW TO CREATE A COMPOST PILE

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As people are becoming more aware of their actions on the environment, they are looking for ways to "reduce, reuse and recycle." Today's website of agricultural interest is the EPA's page on How to create your own compost pile. The finished compost, in turn, can be used in flower beds and potted plants to provide nutrients.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A conversation with Gary Sauder: Part 5

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Why do you paint?

I paint because of the unbelievable sense of accomplishment and expression that it gives me. I think that it gives me a chance to express how I view the world and the beauty of it. And I think that it gives me a chance to show other people the things that I find interesting.

Picture credit: "Ideal type Brown Swiss cow", colored pencil on paper

Click here to learn more about this cow art pencil drawing

Friday, December 11, 2009

How to buy a bracelet for a gift

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Today's art themed article to share with the group is some of my (Kathy McComb Swift) experience with helping customers buy cow jewelry charm bracelets for gifts.

1. Find out all you can about the gift recipient before you start.

  • Is she allergic to any metals? Some women have issues when wearing silver.
  • Does she have a metal preference? Look at the jewelry she has already. Is it mostly gold or silver?
  • Does she have a charm bracelet already? Don't get her a second one unless it's a style different that what's she's got and something she's asked for. Women generally don't have multiple charm bracelets.
2. Size the bracelets she's got if you can.

  • When measuring bracelets, stretch the bracelet out and measure from end to end, including the clasp.
3. Try to ascertain the style of bracelets she likes

  • Does she like a nice heavy style or something lighter? I sell two different kinds on Cow Art and More to give customers good options on what to choose.

4. Don't know much about your recipient? Always order the bracelet a little larger rather than a little smaller!

  • This is the most important of advice I can give. Wrist size has NOTHING to do with body weight! People think that since someone is petite, they need the smaller bracelet.
  • Another way to tell what size a woman might need is to pay attention to her shoe size. Women with larger feet generally need the larger bracelet.
  • In the end, it is usually easier for the gift recipient to have a couple of links snipped off at a jewelry repair shop rather than to have more soldered on.
5. Still not sure you got the right bracelet? Always ask about the return and exchange policy.

  • Cow Art and More has a seven day return policy on purchases and items can be exchanged between seven and thirty days.
  • I am also happy to work with customers in having them return bracelets to me to exchange for a larger size and reattach charms to that size.
6. One last piece of advice to share:

  • I, personally, love wearing bracelets and am grateful that I can get them on and off by myself. If you're giving this to someone who may have difficulty navigating a clasp by herself, you might consider giving a bracelet helper as a gift.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A conversation with Gary Sauder: Part 4

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Where did you learn your technique?

For the most part I am self taught, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything from other artists. I have taken workshops from other notable artists and have done several lessons in technique from master artist’s publications. And have viewed and studied the techniques of the artists that I admire the most. I also have taken to not hanging my own work on my walls at home and hang other artists work for me to see so that I don’t become too enamored with my own work.

Picture credit: "Zandra in Lupine," pastel on velour paper

Click here to learn more about this cow art pastel drawing

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Help Cow Art and More artsist win contest

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Cow Art and More artist Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson has created an ad for Fluevog shoes and needs our votes to be selected the winner. Click here to be taken to the gallery of applicants..

Elizabeth's submission is the "peacock" themed ad "Birds of a Feather, " seen at right. If you can't find her artwork right away, type "peacock" in the search box. The purple peacock is one of Elizabeth's mixed media creations. Her cow-themed pieces are in the mixed media section of Cow Art and More.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A conversation with Gary Sauder: Part 3

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What is your technique?

I suppose my technique mostly depends on the surface that I paint on. I generally work from very loose to very tight by and by working darks to mid tones to light to highlights and follow that progression about four to five times until I feel that the painting is finished. And I suppose that you would call the technique would be called realism or super realism.

Picture credit: "Generators Topsy", pastel on velour paper

Click here to learn more about this cow art pastel drawing

Monday, December 7, 2009


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Monday's agricultural website of interest to share with readers is a frequently asked questions page on agricultural biotechnology. This site discusses some questions and answers about biotechnology focused primarily in the crop and plant sciences. The site is maintained by Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).

BIO is the world's largest biotechnology organization, providing advocacy, business development and communications services for more than 1,200 members worldwide. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology technologies. Corporate members range from entrepreneurial companies developing a first product to Fortune 100 multinationals. The group also represents state and regional biotech associations, service providers to the industry and academic centers.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A conversation with Gary Sauder: Part 2

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Where do you get your inspiration?

I get my inspiration from my own experiences and my love of the natural world. I think that every day that I get to paint is a good day and a day that I learn something about myself. I hope when you see one of my paints that you can feel my inspiration.

Picture credit: "2:24", pastel on paper, the artist's rendering of the Thoroughbred Secretariat

Click here to learn more about this horse art image

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday's article of interest to art enthusiasts: HOW TO BUY JEWELRY FOR A GIFT

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With the holidays upon us, I know people are considering buying jewelry for a gift. I am happy to say that a lot of my jewelry gets bought for gifts. I wanted to share some of my thoughts and experiences with the blog readers to help them make the best decisions for purchasing jewelry for someone else.

1. Get to know as much about your recipient as possible (discreetly if you can).
  • Does the wearer have any allergies? The one I see most often is to "nickel silver" (which isn't really silver at all).
  • What does your gift recipient normally wear? If she normally only wears earrings, now is not the time to get her a bracelet.
  • Can you find out appropriate sizes of her current jewelry collection? Is there a particular chain length she likes? Find a ruler and measure the length of her pieces in her jewelry box.
  • Does she actually have pierced ears? I've seen people get wire/post earrings for women that they're not even sure have pierced ears!
2. Earrings and necklaces are generally better choices than rings and bracelets if you don't much about your recipient.
  • Earrings and necklaces are generally closer to a "one size fits all" types of pieces. Bracelets and rings require knowing more about the recipient's exact size.
3. What color (if applicable) would the recipient like?
  • People make the mistake of "Well, she always wears blue, so I'm going to get her something red." Wrong! She wears blue because she LIKES blue. It's always a good choice to get someone more of what they like.
4. Is my recipient going to care for her jewelry completely or would something easier to care for be in order?
  • Does your jewelry gift recipient have the time and knowledge on how to care for their jewelry?
  • Can she keep the piece clean and maintained properly? Sterling silver pieces in humid climates (Florida especially!) will tarnish very quickly if not cared for and stored properly.
  • Are you considering an "everyday wear" type piece or is this something that is considered a "special occasion" piece?
5. Always ask the person or store you are buying from what their return and exchange policy is.
  • Can the recipient return or exchange the piece if she doesn't like it? I typically offer a 7 day return policy and a 30 day exchange policy on my pieces.
  • Can you get a gift receipt? I am happy to offer a gift receipt. This is important in cases such as Christmas where the purchaser may be buying the piece several weeks in advance of the holiday.
  • If you have questions or concerns about the returns or exchange policy, always ask! I am always happy to work with customers if they let me know up front what the concerns are. For example, if some is buying a Valentine's Day gift in mid January, I am happy to extend the return period until after February 14 to let the recipient have time to decide if she likes the piece.
6. Ask what the warranty is on the jewelry considered for purchase.
  • Ask for instructions on how to care for the piece. I cannot stress how important this is! Unfortunately, I have had to repair several pieces I have made for customers because they weren't careful with wearing and cleaning the piece. If you aren't sure about your piece, have a professional give advice on how to clean and care for your jewelry.
  • Ask for directions on how to return the piece to the artist/store for repair if necessary. Any good store should have the ability to repair your jewelry or recommend you to a reliable person for repair.
I hope this helps everyone this month. I will be posting more information over the next couple of weeks on how to purchase individual styles of pieces and such. Happy shopping!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A conversation with Gary Sauder: Part 1

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How did you get started?

I had always been drawing as long as I can remember and had been more or less apprehensive about painting because I didn’t quite know how. I had grown bored with drawing in graphite and hadn’t done it for a long time. Then one evening I saw a movie about a sketch artist for the police and he was using colored pencils and I decided to find out more about them. I got some books on the medium and I conquered my fear of color and shortly there after I graduated to pastel and even water color and oils. I enjoy them all but I prefer to paint in pastel.

Picture credit: "Old Mill E Snickerdoodle", pastel drawing on velvet

Click here to learn more about this drawing of Snickerdoodle, the Grand Champion Brown Swiss and Reserve Supreme Champion at the 2009 World Dairy Expo

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Exhibit of work by Valerie D'Ortona

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I was fortunate enough recently to view a exhibit of Valerie D'Ortona's work. If you through Gainesville, Florida sometime soon, drop us a line and we can give you details.

You can see more of Valerie's work in our watercolor painting section.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December's featured artist, Gary Sauder

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Cow Art and More is excited to announce December's featured artist is pastel drawing and painter Gary Sauder. Gary grew up on a small farm in Sonoma County, California. He grew up showing registered Jersey cows in the local 4-H club. Over his career, he exhibited many grand champions and was showmanship champion numerous times. At the same shows, he was the dairy showmanship champion as well as the Round Robin Master Showmanship Champion. He earned the Paul Jackson Scholarship that same year.

Gary attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, for two years. After college, Gary took a position caring for and exhibiting the show cattle for then, Meadow Glen Farms of Orland California. About that time he was introduced to colored pencils. Having always been an avid artist with a pencil, this produced an exciting jump into the realm of painting for Gary.

Gary's art is featured in our specials section. Purchase his art and it will ship for free during the month of December.
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