Real Faces of Dairy Project

"Birth of an Industry" is the title of this new painting now complete for Bachem Animal Nutrition & Health!  I was honored to be chosen as the artist for this nation-wide dairy industry celebration!  This project is a commemoration of a lifestyle and the people who nurture and share this livelihood!  This painting and reprints of it will be debuted at the upcoming World Dairy Expo, Madison, WI, October 4-8, 2016.  The original oil painting will be auctioned off for a chosen charity, you can vote your favorite charity here (Shay, it is under the tab THE ART on  For more details of the painting project, check out my July 5th blog here. 

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Peek #1

I am honored and happy to be a part of the REAL FACES OF DAIRY project!  Spring brings new life and on the farm - this is especially exciting if you are a dairy farmer.  Newborn calves symbolize genetic advancement and high hopes for the next generation.  Here is PEEK 1 of the new painting I am creating for REAL FACES OF DAIRY or should it be Balchem. This experienced mother cow is fully engaged and very alert and concerned with her baby, but is also letting nature take it's course - as she apprehensively recognizes her calf is taking it's first steps into the world.  The calf - strong, eager and full of life begins it's journey into the new day with self assured zest and confidence.  New hope lies in new beginnings! 

Peek #2

I am settling into the 'feeling' of this painting, and it is beginning to take shape - this is both a scary and exciting stage of a painting.  To the average eye, it looks like a mess - like a 5 year old got a hold of a brown color crayon and did some serious construction!  This is a view of the painting that not many artist like 'to show' including me
; )  But, here you go.  The brown underlay is my new road map for this painting.  I use a thin wash of turpentine and burnt umber to create this 'blue print' .  It lays a foundation for tonal development and richer colors, as I layer paint on top of it.  You can see that in the upper left sky and tree area, I have already applied the first layer of paint, over the 'under painting'.  I will continue to set up the entire tree and sky area this way and then get busy on mother and baby!  The fun has begun - stay posted!!

Peek #3

It seems perfect that I am working on this painting as June Dairy Month kicks off!  Born a dairyman's daughter, being connected to the dairy industry my entire life and being married to a good looking - hard working dairy farmer himself, John and I have been blessed to raise our five children through this honorable way of life!  Lets just say we are passionate about June Dairy month and all that it celebrates!  Although I took a few days off to spend Memorial Day Weekend with family and friends, I'm really enjoying the continued development of this painting.  During this stage, it is critical to nail down the correct anatomy, bone structure, and muscle detail.  I have over compensated the dairyness of this cow (as we all know, the gestation period will bulk up most cows with some extra weight before the milking cycle begins again) and will correct that in my 'second pass' of painting when I adjust color values and composition.  Once the facial expressions, and especially the eyes, are established there seems to a deepening connection for me with every painting, including this one!  It's when the painting is really taking on a new personality, and my own awakening and emotional attachment for the work sets in - I feel it every time ; )  Until next time - enjoy a fresh glass of milk today ; )

Peek #4

My work on this painting is 'rounding 3rd base' and the home plate is in sight now!  Since the last PEEK, you will notice that the baby calf is completed, the background has been more developed with added sunshine, and I am now working through the foreground area, laying in my foundation.  Once I finish the foreground I will go back over the entire painting once more adjusting detail and temperature (the warm or cool colors used in the painting) on everything.  Although the cow and calf probably look complete to many of you - there are many little details that I know need to be completed, and the same for the background.  This stage of the painting feels like the 'day before the wedding!'  You are almost there, but there are a boatload of details and a fair amount of work to be done yet!!  Just a little shout-out to all dairyman - we will complete making 2nd crop hay here in Glencoe, MN today - Good Luck with yours!

Peek #5

I am excited to share this final posting of the completed painting for Balchem and the REAL FACES OF DAIRY PROJECT! The homestretch of this painting was peaceful and enjoyable. Some paintings just go that way - they seem to be 'problem free' and each brush stroke is a pleasant surprise leading to a finished piece that reflects the vision you had hoped for at the start.  Our main goal for this painting was to create a presentation that would invoke the spirit of pride, love, and hope of the very essence of who we are and what we do - namely care for dairy cattle with a desire to better the future of our industry through the husbandry and management of these beautiful animals.  There is no doubt that dairy farmers are passionate and committed to this industry and lifestyle.  It has been my pleasure to be a part of this project, thank you for the opportunity!  I too am looking forward to the next stage of development for this painting as Balchem's creative team takes over with the final phase of creation with this painting!

For those of you who have been following me, and for those who are just learning about the REAL FACES OF DAIRY project that I have been working on, I am excited to report that my two month painting journey on this exciting project is complete!  I am honored to be a part of this nation-wide dairy industry celebration, being sponsored by Bachem Animal Nutrition & Health, and Dairy Herd Management.  This project is a commemoration of a lifestyle and the people who nurture and share this livelihood!  I spent May and June working on this painting that celebrates the foundation and future of our industry, thus the title BIRTH OF AN INDUSTRY!  The mama cow and her newborn baby handily portray this place and destiny!  It is new life that holds the promises of tomorrow - and the early morning sunrise represents the hope in each new day! I hope you will enjoy this new painting - new art on this painting should be available by World Dairy Expo - stay posted!!

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Thanks for Reading,