Saturday, October 30, 2010

Q & A with Donna Greenstein Part 12

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What else do you do besides your art?

I am an avid gardener in the summer. I am the Treasurer of the Schomberg Horticultural Society and go to their monthly meetings. My husband runs a dog and cat boarding kennel and I help him by walking the dogs in the morning. I tutor local high school students in Math. I have been in a local book club for 30 years and am a passionate reader.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday's art article: How to Mount a Watercolor Painting on Board

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This video by Annie Strack (@anniestrack) shows how to mount a watercolor painting on paper to cradled art board.The resulting artwork can be displayed without frames, mats or glass!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Q & A with Donna Greenstein Part 11

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What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Take courses at first as the learning curve is steep for starting art then draw, draw, draw and paint, paint, paint. Start or join a group of like minded artists and meet regularly to paint and discuss. I have painted with five friends for about four years. We call our group Kaleidoscope. We have presented a few group shows and meet every other week. We have gone to each other’s lake cottages for 3, 4 or 5 day extended holidays to paint. Joy!

Picture credit:  "Two Draft Horses", watercolor on paper

Click here to learn more about this horse painting

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Selecting artists for Cow Art and More

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One of the questions I get asked by the art and agriculture communities alike is how artists and their work are selected for inclusion on Cow Art and More. I would say only one in eight artists, where contact has been initiated by myself or the artist, end up exhibiting their art with Cow Art and More.

Why is that the case?

First, while Cow Art and More is not a traditional "brick and mortar" gallery, we still hold ourselves to the same top standards. We not are not like an Ebay or Etsy site where anyone can list their art. If an artist's work meets an initial appeal, I make a point to interview the artist.

I like to get to know the artists because we like to include ones who have a genuine interest in agriculture. More than half of our artists live on a farm and/or own livestock themselves. It is that understanding, we feel translates into the beauty of creating the art of farms and farm animals.

Once the artist has passed an interview, the work is reviewed by committee for its uniqueness and appeal to our customer base. We feel very strongly that the art must "add something" to the agricultural art portfolio we offer. That same art must also offer good value; it needs to be something the new owner will cherish for years to come.

If the committee finds that the artist is a good fit, an official invitation is extended. While there are a few artists that find they're unable to make a commitment to us at this point, the ones that do understand our business and the efforts we make in providing high quality art and excellent customer care.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Q & A with Donna Greenstein Part 10

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

I plan a series of barn paintings. I have many books about barn buildings and took a tour this summer of local barns with an expert Dr. John Carter. He explained that many of the old barns are not being used anymore and are falling down. Our own barn was built in the 1800s by pioneers who knew how to build a barn to last. When we first moved here in 1975 the bank barn was falling down from disuse. We recemented the floors and back wall and restored it to its past glory. Beautiful !

Picture credit: "Two Cows", watercolor on paper

Click here to learn more about this beef cow painting

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: PUMPKIN PATCHES AND MORE

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Looking for a fall activity for the family? Check out the Pumpkin Patches and More website for a state by state listing of pumpkin patches, Halloween events, and hayrides. There is even a link for Halloween crafts and recipes. The website also includes articles on what to expect when visiting a pumpkin patch or corn maze.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Q & A with Donna Greenstein Part 9

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

Of course. I have stacks of paintings I no longer like. I just don’t frame them.

Picture credit: "Rocky San", watercolor on paper

Click here to learn more about this horse painting

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday's art related article: USING MILK TO MAKE ART

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Need a cool way to experience art with your kids? Check out this video on how to create moving art images with milk and a few ingredients.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Q & A with Donna Greenstein Part 8

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

From concept to finish I take about 30 hours as there is so much detail in each painting. The trick is knowing when to stop. I like much more detail than most artists. Photorealism is my goal.

Photo credit: "Golden Boy", watercolor on paper

Click here to learn more about this beef bull painting

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Video: Meet mixed media artist Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson

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Learn how artist Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson juggles her career as an artist, mom, and graphic designer from her central Florida art studio. Viewers will also enjoy the tour of her creative space and learning what difficulties in her life have helped to mold her into the person she is today.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Q & A with Donna Greenstein Part 7

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

I grew up in Illinois in farm country and now live on a farm for the past 35 years. The animals are all around me. What better to paint than that which surrounds me.

Photo credit: Donna with two of her dogs.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday's agriculture article of interest: BEST FALL FESTIVALS FOR FAMILIES

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There's something about fall and festivities. Perhaps it's that it's finally cool enough to be outside and relax of perhaps it's because we're being nudged ever so closer to the holiday season. Whatever the reason, I love fall and all the festivals that come with it.

There is a ton of information on google if you just look up fall festivals. Today's article, however, struck me because it lists the top family friendly fall festivals across the country. The article details festivals from New York to California, New Mexico to Ohio. Where ever you live, hopefully, a fun fall festival is only a few hours away.

What is your favorite fall festival?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Q & A with Donna Greenstein Part 6

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How do you decide what to paint?

I take my camera everywhere, leaving it in the car. Our farm is ten minutes away from the local towns. If the lighting is good and I pass animal herds I stop to photograph them. If a photo grabs my fancy and inspires me, I will paint it.

Picture credit: Some of the animals that live on Donna's farm in Ontario.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday's art related article: How To Add Hanging Wire to a Picture Frame

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This short video (less than two minutes) details the proper way to add a hanging wire to the back of your framed piece of art.

How to Add Hanging Wire to Photo Frame -- powered by

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Q & A with Donna Greenstein Part 5

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Why do you paint?

My favorite pastime is photographing animals, planning a painting then executing the project. I love to paint in the evening when the business of farm life has calmed down. I put on music, usually classical, and paint away. Bliss!

Picture credit: Donna's painting area in her art studio

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The founding of Cow Art and More

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It's hard to believe this collection of cow art has been online for two years now! I have loved every minute of making art and connecting with cow art lovers worldwide. One question I continue to get asked, just how did this get started?

I decided to become a veterinarian when I was 11 or 12. (I promise, I will get to the question at hand.) Once I made that decision, I knew I had to do everything possible to get into veterinary school. This meant taking lots of science based classes and other academic classes to get me into college. While I took art classes in high school here and there, they just didn't fit into the schedule to take as many as I would have liked.

I went on to college, still with a love of art, but still with a desire to go to veterinary school. Veterinary colleges spell out very clearly what it takes to apply. Unfortunately art classes aren't a prerequisite. While I took a few arts and humanities classes in college, I didn't get to fully investigate any potential art talents.

The hard work and dedication paid off. I was accepted to veterinary school and headed off with zeal. This time, there was not even the option of taking art classes. (imagine that) I continued to explore art museums when I had the chance, but veterinary studies took priority.

When I graduated veterinary school, I took my first job as a cattle veterinarian and moved to Florida. While I wasn't crazy about living in Florida, I did love that art and culture seem to be the "norm" here. In the spring and fall, there are regular art festivals and within the city of Gainesville, (where the University of Florida is and where I live now), visual and performing arts are just a way of life. (I can't remember why I took this cow's picture, but I suspect it was because she had quite the special head wrap from her favorite veterinarian. Anyway, it's an example of what I do as a cattle vet.)

It was in the summer of 2001 that, at a friend's barbecue, I met a well known local jewelry artist. She explained that she was teaching a beginner level metalsmithing class in a couple of weeks and suggested I take it. I did and I was instantly hooked. That was the beginning.

That year for Christmas, I made jewelry gifts for close family and friends. It was after a friend of my mom's saw the necklace she was wearing and asked if I could make her one too that I made my first sale. I continued to take a few classes from my original teacher. She was impressed with my skills and encouraged me to apply for art shows. I chose a small local show, applied, and was accepted. That was October 2002.

While I was making jewelry during this time, it was much more "artsy". My agriculture friends asked if I made cow jewelry. I simply looked at them like they had 3 eyes and replied, "No." As much as I love cows, I really didn't want to make jewelry of them. Veterinary medicine doesn't leave much room for creativity and I really wanted to do something different when I was in the studio. As I realize now, though, I just hadn't found the right idea yet. (The pendant at left is from 2004. It is a pin/pendant of chrysocolla, sterling silver and bronze.)

My farm friends continued to pester me about making a line of farm jewelry. It wasn't that it was a bad idea, I just wanted something extra special. I wanted something very unique and classy, but most of all realistic. While attending a local veterinary meeting in the fall of 2007, I saw someone selling charm jewelry pieces of cats and dogs. It was then that the idea of the cow jewelry came to me. After doing a little visual research on the internet, I realized I had some unique ideas to make realistic farm jewelry. I knew my experience within agriculture would allow me to make cow jewelry that not only I found to be realistic, but agriculture enthusiasts would too.

Along the way of my jewelry career, I also met other artists who had a fascination with cows and created art representing them. I thought it would be great to include them in my venture as well. The planning for Cow Art and More began in the spring of 2008. I began production of the charms and recruited other artists to become a part of my "family". I officially launched Cow Art and More on September 1, 2008, with a few charms and a handful of artists. I now represent over 25 cow art artists and have 7 charms, with 3 more to launch any day now. (Left is my rosette charm, shown in 18 K yellow gold).

I'm very enthusiastic about the future of Cow Art and More. I was excited to be asked to sell cow art at the 2011 National Holstein Convention and honored to have coordinated the unique stained glass trophies given last month at the All American Red and White Holstein show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It is quite satisfying knowing that the beauty of agricultural art can bring joy to people's daily lives.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Q & A with Donna Greenstein Part 4

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Where do you get your inspiration?

My husband and I have owned an organic cow-calf operation selling sides and quarters for 35 years. My present inspiration comes from the cattle and horses around me.

Picture credit: "Future King", watercolor on paper

Click here to learn more about this beef bull painting

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: LIST BY GUEST BLOGGER JANICE PERSON

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*For today's post, I asked blogger Janice Person (@JPLovesCotton) to share some of her favorite agricultural websites. Janice was born and raised a "city girl" but ended up taking her first job within the agriculture industry after receiving a journalism degree. Her blog,, details her adventures within the agriculture.*

It sounds like a simple question – what are your favorite agricultural websites / online resources? When Kathy asked if I’d write it, I thought that sounded fairly easy. Then I’ve given it more thought. And still more thought. There are so many great ones.

Luckily I was reminded there is no reason to wait for perfection in blogging but rather use it as a discussion so I’m sure I’ll remember some that I can’t believe I left out of here and other readers will have ideas to add… and through that process it will definitely get better.

I’ve decided to focus on blogs that tell the stories straight from the farm itself. No filter. And while I was asked for a top 10, there is absolutely no way to rank these. My post has a stream of consciousness version.

· Martin Family Farms – I have chatted with Doug Martin a couple of times on Twitter. His blog is a way to see what’s happening in a short, easy to access format. He routinely has taught me a simple fact or two. And since he puts an occasional photo of the family up as well, it helps remind you that there are real faces to the plate.

· Dust on the Dashboard – Kansas farmer Glenn Brunkow has a way of putting his thoughts together that grab my attention with virtually every post. He will write about the things you talk about when driving around a farm in a pickup or visiting at the tailgate.

· Pond Seed Company – Fred Pond was one of my early Twitter connections I made in real life and I love how he uses his company’s Facebook page to keep folks up-to-date with what’s happening in northwest Ohio. He combines field information from his farm with various resources he finds on the internet and passes things along to farmers in his area.

· Griggs, Dakota – Farm News From Our Family Fields – This blog is updated almost daily and almost always has great visuals. I think they may be the only farmers I know growing pinto beans on a broad scale. I’m intrigued to see what all they will have going on in the winter because if I was in North Dakota, I’d be a hermit, but I bet they are busy then too!

· Agriculture Proud is an effort by Ryan Goodman, a recent college graduate who’s working at a feedlot. Ryan started the project as a hashtag on Twitter so various folks could share their pride and it’s grown to include a blog and Facebook page. He does a great job of encouraging others to share.

· Wag’n Tails is a blog that Val Wagner launched September 1, 2010 after attending the AgChat Foundation’s first training conference. She’s got the innate ability to tell a story, draw pictures with words that you can’t learn at a conference but she says the how to & confidence building helped. Hearing or reading her stories of raising four boys on the family farm definitely helps me!

· FarmFresh is Kelly Whatley’s blog. While Kelly and I haven’t met, I feel like I know her. The biggest connection point is cotton but with a connection point like that, the connections grow! Yes, we know people in common, share the same excitement when pickers or planters begin to roll, etc.

· Weeks Enterprises, Inc. A Five Generation Family Farm – My friend Ryan Weeks keeps us up to date on what happens on his farm through Facebook. I love that he’s playing with video a little bit more and that you get to know his kids a bit too!

· I Love Farmers, They Feed My Soul – This was the first agricultural group I joined that grew virally and continues to grow at an incredible pace. The team – students and recent grads of Cal-Poly all of whom have an ag connection or interest – encourages people to share their stories on the page. I’ve got several of their t-shirts, etc and frequently post photos to share in the buzz of lovin’ farmers!

· Walking the Off-Beaten Path, Lana has great snippets and stories about life on the farm. She frequently will share a laugh with her readers, and is glad to have people laugh along with her as she learns a new lesson.

That’s 10 of the farmer-written or farmer-hosted pages I find interesting on a regular basis. I have a lot more and have posted a long list on my personal ag blog. If it’s okay, I’d also like to mention my company’s blog, Beyond the Rows, I contribute to on occasion.

Thanks Kathy for the chance to so this! I could go on and on about the farmers out here on the net having great conversations with other farmers and people like me who depend on them. I could go on for days!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Q & A with Donna Greenstein Part 3

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Where did you learn your technique?

I have taken scores of courses and workshops over the years. I love learning new methods. I also belong to a painting group called Kaleidoscope. We meet regularly and give each other advice.

Photo credit: Donna Greenstein (center left) painting during a recent art class

Friday, October 8, 2010

How to Hang Heavy Objects Using Toggle Bolts

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So you have the really nice painting you want to hang in your foyer, but you're not sure how to do it. This is a 100 second video that shows viewers how to use toggle bolts to hang a heavy object on a plaster wall.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Q & A with Donna Greenstein Part 2

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What is your technique?

I love realism. The more realistic the better. Abstract I don’t get.

I start with a great photo, build my composition, draw on tracing paper, transfer to Fabriano 300 lb watercolor paper. I then do a test sheet to figure out the colors I will use making sure to use the minimum number of colors to maximize color consistency then paint until I am satisfied the painting is finished.

Picture credit: "Billy Goat", watercolor on paper

Click here to learn more about this goat painting

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Collage artist on magazine cover

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Collage artist Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson's work is the cover art for the October 2010 edition of Winter Park Magazine. The publication covers the events and happenings of the central Florida and Orlando area. Visitors can also read an online version of the magazine, which features a spread of Elizabeth's work.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Q & A with Donna Greenstein Part 1

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How did you get started?

Like most artists, I drew and painted from the time I was a young girl. I lived in a small town, Walnut, Illinois, south of Chicago. My dad was a large animal vet there and he took me around with him on calls. I drew and drew and drew. After retiring as a high school Computer Science and Math teacher in the country north of Toronto, Ontario, I took up watercolors starting with botanical art, painting my garden’s flowers, fruit, vegetables, etc in a highly realistic way. I then concentrated on birds and now I have painted farm animals for a few years.

Picture credit: Donna Greenstein painting on location

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: A FARM WIFE'S LIFE

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*For those new to the Cow Art and More blog, every Monday, blog author Kathy Swift shares and agricultural themed website of interest with readers.*

In looking through my favorite websites to share, I wanted to find something with lots of pictures showing farm crop harvest. Harvesting crops is a big part of farm life and generally happens all across the country in the fall (depending on the crop). While looking for a good website to share, I came across A Farm Wife's Life blog. The blog is a written by Janet Phillips, a farmwife in rural Kansas. Her latest entry shows soybean harvest, but she also chronicled their yearly corn harvest as well. She shares a ton of pictures, which are worth a "million words" all told. Janet also talks about her family life and shares a few recipes as well.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October's featured artist

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This month's featured artist at Cow Art and More is Donna Greenstein. Donna's "photorealism" watercolor painting techniques allow her to capture her horse and cattle subjects in a realistic fashion. She enjoys painting from her ranch in Canada and finds her subjects simply by walking out her back door. Enjoy a series of question and answer sessions all month long on this blog.

See Donna's complete collection in our specials section. Purchase any of her work during the month of October and receive free shipping.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday's art related article: How To Select Art for your Home

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Today's art themed article helps readers Select Art for your Home. Purchasing art can be an intimidating experience. What if I choose the wrong thing? What if I'm overpaying? What if it doesn't look right in my home? This article helps to put readers at ease by telling them a few key points to consider before making an art purchase.
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