Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I love to hike with my dogs. I love to be creative in the kitchen. Entertain. Practice yoga. Play with plants…Listen to beautiful music..Spend time with my daughters and go for scenic drives with my husband.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Get ready to work really hard but don’t forget that you have to learn to be a good business person as well.
Photo credit: "Rooster painting on wood tray"
Click here to learn about this piece of farm art kitchen decor
Friday, November 26, 2010
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- Can the recipient return or exchange the piece if she doesn't like it? Cow Art and More offers a 7 day return policy and a 30 day exchange policy all the art it sells.
- Can you get 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!
- 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.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
1. Thank you to all the farmers that work 24/7/365. Farming isn't a job, it's a lifestyle.
2. Thank you to all those who choose to work in a place to allow me to get this food. Whether you're a trucker, grocer, or processor, thank you for helping to bring food to my table.
3. Thank you to the charities and organizations that make sure people around the world can avoid hunger.
4. Thank you to the people who teach others how to use food to their advantage by improving their health and well being.
5. Thank you for those that choose to make preparing food your profession, especially when you're one of my favorite eateries.
6. Thank you for those involved to help me get some of my favorite can't live without foods: any dairy product, coffee, chocolate, wine, fresh herbs, garlic, ripe tomatoes, and a really good filet.
7. Thanks to those who are producing technology to help provide food security for those around the world.
8. Thank you to wineries and Food Network television (and magazine!) for helping me to appreciate the art of food.
9. Thank you to those who lose sleep over keeping our food supply safe.
10. Thank you to the local farmers who sell at farmers' markets. Those relationships are such a wonderful things to have.
What are you giving #foodthanks for today?
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Large paintings of farms, buildings, trucks and herds of horses, sheep, goats, or cows and beautiful skies.
Picture credit: "Beef cow painting on handmade wooden tray"
Click here to learn more about this unique cow gift
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Oh definitely. I just repainted a new painting over an old one that I was not happy with.
Picture credit: Wendy in the back of one of her vintage trucks with her two dogs.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Those people deserve our thanks, especially during the Thanksgiving holiday. Please remember to give #foodthanks this week on your blog, facebook pages, and twitter, especially on Wednesday, November 24.
I want to take the opportunity to personally thank each and every person for helping to provide the food myself and my family will consume for our Thanksgiving meal. I know there are a lot of hands involved and my thanks go to every one of you. Thank you for providing a safe, affordable, nutritious product. I am also proud of the small role I play in helping to bring food to the table of many families. It makes me proud to say that I help farmers take care of their animals so they can feed people.
Regardless of who produced your food or how it got to you, I hope we can agree that they all deserve our thanks. As you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal this week, please remember to give #foodthanks.
P.S. For those of you on twitter, #foodthanks is the hashtag to express your gratitude there as well.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
A couple of weeks. I get the main composition down in a few days…I need to leave it alone for few days and then I come back and work on it some more till I am satisfied.
Picture credit: "3 in a row"
Click here to learn about this vintage truck painting
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I am in love with the rural landscape. Farms fascinate me. The machinery intrigues me. The animals make me smile and lend a humorous vibe to the whole scene.
Picture credit: "Heel that Tractor"
Click here to learn more about this vintage tractor painting
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The office is run by me, Kathy McComb Swift, veterinarian and jewelry artist. I have a small commercial space to conduct some business, but mostly work from the dedicated office in my home since I usually have small children to tend to as well. I have two part time assistants with varied hours who help with taking orders, making deliveries and preparing company mailings. One of them may answer the phone when you call, but more than likely, I will be the one on the other end of the phone. Since I'm also a large animal veterinarian and mom, there are times when no one is available in the office to take phone calls and customers may have to leave a message for a return call.
One of my mantras for this business is to treat customers like how I want to be treated. For that reason, I will return phone messages and emails outside of normal business hours and am happy to speak with customers over the phone nights and weekends. I encourage patrons to call with any specific questions they may have, whether it be about the availability of a piece of art, art care instructions, or even the combined shipping cost possibilities. While I like to be able to offer many of the conveniences of large shopping chain stores, I also like providing the "high touch" aspect of customers being able to speak with someone knowledgeable and understanding of their needs, problems and concerns.
I also have a short video on the office at Cow Art and More so you can get a feel for what it's like here in the office.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
When I see something that inspires me it just hits me…something clicks inside my heart and I instantaneously see the painting in my head…
Picture credit: Wendy's art booth at a recent art show
Monday, November 15, 2010
The organization takes an all inclusive approach to food and farms. In addition to promoting farmers' markets, it has a cookbook, organizes farm tours and provides nutritional education to school children. The website also provides a multitude of gardening ideas for children, in additional to kid friendly recipes and and children's literature.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I was an art major in college. I majored in graphic design and studio art. Then later on, I took faux finishing classes. My paintings are a combination of these three influences. I combined what I learned from each one and created my own style.
Picture credit: "Wood serving tray with cow painting"
Click here to learn more about this piece of cow art
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
My technique starts off with observation of the rural views around me. I look for farms, old trucks, animals, and vintage buildings. Then, I photograph the subject when the light is falling on it just right…when the shadows describe the shape and dimensions. Then I come home, print out my pictures, and start drawing. Sometimes I combine elements from the different scenes that I have found. So I kind of create a puzzle for myself to solve. Then I lay down a colored wash and draw out the images with a watered down sienna color. Then I start painting in the darks and the lights in acrylics, using glazes and layers of colors…
Picture Credit: "Big Black Chevy", acrylic on canvas
Click here to learn more about this vintage truck painting
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Cow Art and More photographer Kent Weakley will be starting a Night Photography eClass beginning on November 13, 2010. This class is held online with a mix of photo examples, graphics, text, videos, interaction, student photo critiques. You work at your own pace.
Take your photography skills to the next level. As Kent states, "I wish I had this class when I started to learn the camera." The topic is all about night photography, however Kent will be covering camera techniques and skills that you will use every day in all forms of photography.
Photo credit: "Purpose Served", infrared camera image printed as an archival giclee
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I paint because nothing makes me happier. It calms me when I am anxious and I am still fascinated by the magic of what comes out of my paintbrush.
Picture credit: Jars of paintbrushes wait for use in Wendy's art studio.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
I am inspired by the natural world around me here in Montana. I am blessed to live in a place of beautiful light and spaciousness. I also am inspired by many of the artists around me and on the internet.
Picture credit: Wendy posing with one of her vintage truck painting subjects.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I got started by being born into a family where I was exposed to wonderful art. My mother was a gallery owner and an artist. Our house was filled with a variety of art from pottery to lithographs to paintings. In art class in middle school, I remember how intrigued I was with every project we did. My art teacher encouraged me which make me very happy as a child.
Picture credit: Wendy standing next to a collection of her paintings in her studio
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I am excited the project was enough a success last year to do it again this year. The future of agriculture is with our community's young people. I am honored and proud to help.
The charm is available for purchase in the jewelry section of the Cow Art and More catalog or by calling the toll free customer care number, 888-613-6019.
Picture credit: sterling silver Jersey jug milk can charm
Click here to go to Cow Art and More to learn more about this piece of cow jewelry
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
View the entire collection of Wendy's paintings and mixed media pieces in our specials section. Purchase of her art during November and receive free shipping.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Crayons, markers, pencils, clay, paper, chalk, beads and paints don’t stand a chance in our house. Our resident “Little Artist” (L.A.) dreams up creations not seen in the adult world. I shouldn't be surprised, given the fond memories I have of drawing and writing books in elementary school. But I do have to say that LA. takes imagination to a whole new level.
L.A. is inspired by animals and has discovered the beauty of nature. Horses are a favorite, much to the chagrin of Holstein breeder dad and mom. Cats and dogs are right behind – along with birds, plants, rainbows and insects. We take great pride in L.A.’s love of our rural world; it’s something we hope will be a foundation for life.
Our rural countryside doesn’t just provide inspiration for art - it provides lessons for life. Lessons that those animals we cherish in real life or in art are meant to live and die to give us food. Lessons that work ethic, honesty and dealing fairly with others bring great rewards. Lessons about perseverance and balance when given a load that seems too heavy to carry.
The lessons that are taught on a farm are irreplaceable. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer children are exposed to that as we see people 4-5 generations removed from the farm. Frankly, that scares me because I’ve seen the consequences of a society detached from where their food is produced.
L.A.’s friends’ attraction to the barn gives me hope; their favorite activities are learning about animals, playing for hours in the haymow and going on nature walks by our fence row. I only wish those activities would still be favorites when they’re 16! That likely won’t be the case, but I do hope they remember their times on the farm and that those pretty black and white cows are where milk comes from – not to mention cheese, ice cream and yogurt.
As an art community, I’d encourage you to get to know some of the beauty behind the animals and barns. If only more people would stop to reflect on the purpose of our farm animals and meaning of our countryside, we'd have a more realistic connection to food.
Farms are not just a pastoral scene, but also the home of people who produce our food. Farms are still tended by families, even when red wood barns have turned to white metal buildings and GPS auto-steer tractors have replaced antiques. Our countryside continues to change, just as we see progress in computers, schools and doctor’s offices.
L.A. reminds me that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I believe today’s modern family farms offer just as much beauty as those from Charlotte’s web. The beauty is in watching farmers tend to animals and land with great care – and appreciating the sacrifice involved to make food. Beauty can also be found in the consistent family values handed down through generations. Beauty is in the entrepreneurial creativity that it takes to make a farm work today. Beauty is in watching the next generation find their way…
There’s no telling if L.A. will find a way in agriculture, just as there’s no way of knowing where that wild imagination will lead. As a mom, I’ll encourage both. But at the end of the day, I know this is a masterpiece in the making - and we’re going to do everything we can to add as many colors of the countryside as possible. Are you doing the same with your masterpiece?