Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Anyone have Happy Heifers out there?

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In case you haven't become a fan of Cow Art and More on Facebook, we invite you to come over and join our community. Every Thursday, we have our "Happy Heifer tHursday" contest, where the person who shares a picture of the happiest heifers receives a $10 Cow Art and More gift certificate. Don't have happy heifers? Come on over and leave comments to help influence the judges.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Q & A with Victoria Whorley: Part 12

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What else do you do besides your art?

I love to drive back roads taking lots of photographs; am also a scrapbooker and a collector of rocks and gemstones, colored glass bottles, and antiques.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: ANTIQUE FARMING

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Today's agricultural website of interest is Antique Farming. This site is an all inclusive informational site about anything and everything vintage farm equipment. The site has pictures of antique tractors along with the histories of the major tractor manufacturers. There is even a downloadable tractor wallpaper for computer screens! The Antique Farming site also links to message boards for fans of a particular brand or type of tractor to meet and interact. For anyone into farm equipment, this site is certainly "eye candy".

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Q & A with Victoria Whorley: Part 11

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What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Paint what you love and don't be afraid to try new techniques.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday's art themed article: How to Hang and Properly Showcase Your Artwork

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If the walls in your home seem a little too plain, try livening up your living space with some art. Framed photos or paintings are a great way to show your style and add personality to a home. Sadly, many wince at the tricky business of properly hanging art. Fortunately, you've come to the right place. These simple guidelines will help you get that artwork looking great and hanging level in no time.

To start, take your available wall space into consideration. Are you looking for a piece that will dominate the living room, or just something that will add interest to a small section of a hallway or staircase? There are frames and art for almost every situation, so be sure you know what you're looking for before you buy. You'll also want to make sure that the artwork doesn't clash with your existing furniture or color scheme. For instance, abstract works of art will generally fit better with IKEA furniture than a classic Victorian style, though of course the choice is up to you. Also, if you plan on being able to see the art, make sure the area you choose is well-lit.

Once you've got your artwork, it's time to figure out your placing options. Most experts recommend hanging art so that the center of the piece rests at eye level, usually around 60 inches from the floor, although this will obviously not always be possible. Measure and plan carefully before installing hanging fixtures, as you don't want your wall to end up full of holes from botched attempts.

If you're hanging a series or set of pictures together, place the most important one in the middle position, since the eye will be naturally drawn to it. Differently sized pictures will look more level if aligned along their centers rather than their edges.

Now that you've got your artwork and your location, it's time for the hard part, actually hanging the picture. You'll want the picture to rest flush against the wall, and of course, hang levelly. Your own gallery hanging system should be easy to use, simple to install, and most importantly, sturdy and reliable. Avoid using a wire hanging system, as they tend to slide around and become crooked, however, if you must use a wire hanger, try using two hooks instead of one for added stability. Hooks with more acute angles will also hold a picture better and rest flusher with the wall. If possible, though, try solid fixtures such as D-rings or triangle loops instead, as these are much more reliable. Another excellent option are bracket cleats, which securely lock the artwork in place, and are very sturdy. Double-check the fixtures to make sure that they're level. If they're not, you'll have to adjust your wall-mounted fixtures to compensate.

Carefully mark where the fixtures will end up on the wall, and install the other end of your fixtures. Make sure to use a level before and after installation to make sure that you are completely straight. If hanging your art from drywall, make sure your fixtures are well anchored in a stud in order to prevent cracking or tearing.

If you've done everything correctly, you should now have an attractive piece of artwork that looks great, straight, and steady. Enjoy!

Many thanks to guest author Steven Rosen for this post.

Steven Rosen is a marketing consultant and content writer for AS Hanging Systems. He has an educational background in marketing and communications and is quite the handyman in terms of home improvements and decor.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Q & A with Victoria Whorley: Part 10

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

Paint more animals and birds.

Photo credit: Victoria in her studio

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Art that's good enough to eat

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Need a unique and interesting way to promote your event? Cow Art and More is excited to announce that artists Amanda Raithel and Robin Maria Pedrero have their cow art available on candy bar wrappers. Personalize the wrappers with your organization or event's details. These are also good for groups looking to sell them as a fundraiser. It's the perfect memento!

Each Hershey's chocolate candy bar is carefully wrapped with a foil wrapper, then the cow art wrapper. The last step is to package each in a cellophane overwrap (not shown). The candy bars are carefully shipped with an ice pack to prevent melting in transit. Prices start at $2.35 each for a minimum order of 10 bars. (Shipping is additional.) Price breaks are available for quantity purchases.

Due to the delicate nature of packaging and shipping these cow art novelties, orders are only taken by speaking to someone at the Cow Art and More office. Please allow 10 business days for delivery.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Q & A with Victoria Whorley: Part 9

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

Goof-ups are a normal part of painting. Some can be fixed easily; some not so easily. Other paintings just aren't liked for any of several reasons; usually because I feel I didn't portray enough detail.

Photo credit: "Winter's Edge", watercolor on paper

Click here to learn more about this beef cattle painting

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: FOOD FESTIVALS

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Who can think about agriculture without thinking about what happens to the food we grow? Today's agricultural website of interest is a listing for food festivals in the U.S. Why not take the opportunity to try something new and different? This site allows users to search for events within a specific state and sometimes even by city. Some of the listings include chocolate tastings, wine and food pairings, and a "chili throw down". I would be interested to hear if any readers have tried these and what your experience was.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The "Father" of my artisan jewelry career

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In a Father's Day tribute of sorts, I would like to thank Doug Harling for being the "father" of my jewelry career. (I have to put that in quotes because he's not really old enough to be my father.)

Full Measure, 2006
by Doug Harling
22k gold, black coral branch,
padparadscha sapphire
3.5" x 2.5" x 2.25"

I met Doug in the summer of 2003 when I took his granulation jewelry making class at the Penland School of Craft. I was a last minute addition to the class and his was the only one that had openings. (The other ironic part about this is that Doug was a replacement for the original teacher for the granulation class who had been injured in an accident.) Doug is a very gifted jeweler and was on staff at the University of North Carolina at the time. Another neat thing about Doug is that his father is also a veterinarian. We hit it off immediately.

I joked that I was the class misfit. I was the only one that didn't have or wasn't pursuing a bachelor's or master's in fine art. I was incredibly touched that Doug didn't treat me any differently. In fact, the second week of the class, he took every available moment he had to teach me EVERYTHING I wanted to know about jewelry making. It was such an incredible gift, one that I will always be thankful for. There is no way I can possibly repay him for all the knowledge I have gained.

Thank you Doug! I will forever be grateful!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Q & A with Victoria Whorley: Part 8

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How long, on average, does it take you to get a finished painting?

Time spent on a painting is based on the size of the painting as well as the amount of detail involved. Several hours are spent on what would seem the simplest of paintings.

Picture credit: "Winter's Way", watercolor on paper

Click here to learn more about this beef cattle painting

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday's art themed article: HISTORY OF STAINED GLASS

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As a student, I remember learning about the history of paintings and sculptures, but it seems as though some of the other disciplines got "lost along the way". I recently found the article The History of Stained Glass on the website maintained by the Stained Glass Association of America. I love reading about how the history of arts is affected by the politics, economic and social situations of the time. A warning, pack a lunch before you tackle this article! It's a very long and inclusive history; it's definitely not a quick read. Overall, it was interesting to learn about how current events impacted how stained glass was made and shared with others.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Q & A with Victoria Whorley: Part 7

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How did you get interested in creating art of farm animals?

Having grown up with dogs, cats, chickens, ponies, goats, a cow and ducks, I have always loved all types of animals . . . as an artist, painting them just seems the natural thing to do.

Picture credit: "Time Out for Spring", watercolor on paper

Click here to learn more about this Jersey calf painting

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Original Ayrshire cow pastel drawing up for auction

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Enjoy the opportunity to bid on this Ayrshire cow original art! The piece by Gary Sauder sells this Friday at the National Ayrshire convention in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Interested in placing a bid? Please call the U.S. Ayrshire Breeders Association at 614-335-0020 for more information.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Q & A with Victoria Whorley: Part 6

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How do you decide what to paint?

I look through my multitude of photographs. Several photos will 'jump' out at me and I choose one to paint from those photos.

Picture credit: "Pasture Pals", watercolor on paper

Click here to learn more about this dairy calf painting

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: COUNTY FAIR DIRECTORY

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Looking for something to do this summer? Visit the nationwide County Fair directory to find one in your neighborhood. There is an interactive map where users can click on their state, then give qualifying information to find a county fair that meets your criteria. I have to warn readers, though, it's not user friendly and it looks like fairs are submitted to the directory by that fair's management. It is, though, a good place to start to get some travel ideas.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chocolate cake recipe

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This is my favorite chocolate cake recipe. I love that it's meant to go in a 9 x 13 pan, which makes it ideal to go to picnics and cookouts. I was getting my thoughts together about what to take to an upcoming 4th of July picnic and remembered this recipe!

Texas Sour Cream Cake

Cake portion ingredients:

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1/4 cup dry cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream (I always use the full fat version)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 metal cake pan.

In a large saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa and water. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Sift the flour, sugar and salt together. Add this to the hot mixture. Mix well. Beat together the eggs, sour cream and baking soda. Gradually add this to the chocolate mixture. (A note from me, I use a handheld electric mixer versus a stationary one to be able to mix in the saucepan.)

Pour into the cake pan and bake for 30 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick or broom straw. Allow to cool 5 minutes out of the oven. Pour on the icing.

Icing ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1/4 cup dry cocoa
  • 1/3 cup milk or half and half
  • 1 pound of confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
Melt the butter, cocoa and milk or half and half. Bring to a boil. Beat in the confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Pour the icing across the cake. It will be runny! (Don't worry as it will firm up as the cake cools.)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Q & A with Victoria Whorley: Part 5

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Where do you get your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from the life and animals around me. I love driving the back roads of Virginia looking for that inspiration.

Photo credit: "Lucky", watercolor on paper

Click here to learn more about this Holstein calf painting

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday's art themed website: ART FAIR CALENDAR

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One of my favorite things to do is to exhibit or attend art festivals. Nothing says relaxing like spending some time outdoors, in nice weather, enjoying some art. The Art Fair Calendar website is useful to find art fairs in large, metropolitan areas. It's not necessarily an all-inclusive list, but it's certainly a good place to start.

The site exists to promote the work and sales of the artists and craftspeople. Their creativity and passion for fine craftsmanship provide art fair attendees with beautiful, unique items not available in chain stores and shopping malls.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Q & A with Victoria Whorley: Part 4

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What is your technique?

I am a realistic watercolor artist. Each painting is layered from the lightest of colors, working toward darker layers.

Picture credit: "First Step", watercolor on paper

Click here to learn more about this Angus cattle art

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Out to Pasture" wins award

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The mixed media collage "Out to Pasture", by Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson, recently received a first place award in the mixed media category from The Artist's Magazine online competition. Elizabeth's work was selected from more than 1,800 entries. Read the online press release about Elizabeth's winning piece of cow art.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Q & A with Victoria Whorley: Part 3

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Where did you learn your technique?

I learned my technique from a very knowledgeable teacher and from art instruction books.

Picture credit: "Ima cow", watercolor on paper

Click here to learn more about this Holstein calf painting

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: MIDWEST DAIRY ASSOCIATION

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*For those new to the Cow Art and More blog, every Monday, gallery jewelry artist and blog writer Kathy Swift shares an agriculture themed website or article with readers.*

Did you know June is Dairy month? June Dairy Month, an annual celebration that began in 1937, is traditionally a time to reflect on dairy foods and the industry that makes it possible. It was created as a promotion to help distribute extra milk when cows started on pasture in the summer months. Today, its rich history continues, with communities, companies and people from all over the country observing June Dairy Month in a variety of ways.

Head over the the Midwest Dairy site to learn more about June Dairy month and dairy farming. You will have the opportunity to meet some dairy farmers, learn more about how they take care of their cows, and learn how to cook with dairy products. Moms can also get nutrition advice and recipes.

The Midwest Dairy Association is a non-profit organization financed and directed by the dairy producers in nine states in the midwest. The association implements programs that help increase sales and demand for dairy products and dairy ingredients and help improve the economic well-being of Midwest dairy producers. The association's education division promotes a healthy diet through nutrition education and the use of dairy products to consumers, health professionals and teachers.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Q & A with Victoria Whorley: Part 2

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How did you get started?

My dad bought me art sets and pastels when I was really small. We used to watch art instruction television shows together in the 60s, and he would explain the techniques as we watched.

Picture credit: "Heads or Tails", watercolor on paper

Click here to learn more about this Holstein dairy cow painting

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday's art themed website: ARTCYCLOPEDIA MUSEUM LISTINGS

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*For those new to the Cow Art and More blog, every Friday, gallery jewelry artist and blog writer Kathy Swift shares an art themed website or article with readers.*

With summer travel plans being discussed, why not add an art museum to your list? Artcyclopedia has a directory of all the art museums in the United States. You can select a state to look at all the museums by cities within that state. The museums are also listed with their website links.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Q & A with Victoria Whorley: Part 1

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Why do you paint?

Painting fulfills the creative side of me. The feeling of accomplishment when an animal is accurately portrayed is a great motivator.

Picture credit: "Gentle Snow", watercolor on paper

Click here to learn more about this beef steer painting

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

And the new jewelry charm is....

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In case you haven't stopped by the Cow Art and More jewelry page or our Facebook page recently, I ran a contest allowing visitors to select the next cow jewelry charm.

Drumroll please....

By ONE vote, the winner is a cow bell! I have my task and will be happy to keep everyone updated on the process. Thanks all for stopping by to vote!

P.S. If you want to get notified by email when this charm becomes available, sign up for the Cow Art and More email list and check the box for NEW JEWELRY NOTIFICATIONS

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

This month's featured artist: Victoria Whorley

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Watercolor painter Victoria Whorley is the featured artist for June at Cow Art and More. Victoria enjoys painting pictures of beef and dairy cattle as a way to capture the beauty of her home area of southwestern Virginia. She mostly paints from pictures she takes on her travels around the rural countryside. Enjoy reading a series of questions and answers all month on this blog as Victoria describes her work, inspirations and processes.

Victoria's work is featured all month in the Cow Art and More specials section. Enjoy free shipping on her art from now until June 30.
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