So another successful fortnight up in Sydney, the third time I’ve been the resident artist in the livestock pavilions at the famed Easter Show. I love that I’m always in the thick of it up there – below is a photo of the traffic in front of my table at any given time…

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It’s quite reminiscent of my days in America actually, I’m given a space in the giant room, hang my work as best I can and sit back, await the crowds and hope to sell some paintings. In the States I shared the room with 50-100 other painters, here it’s me and about 500 head of cattle. Less competition from the cattle, but at least the artists, to the best of my knowledge, wouldn’t periodically relieve themselves right in front of my display…

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At the Easter Show though it’s less about selling work off the wall and more getting commissions from farmers, who spend up to a week camping out here with their livestock, with hopes of winning one or more ribbons for their prize bulls or cows, which in turn raises the profile and stature of their stud.
As my early blog entries attest – I really adore painting livestock, and it’s become quite a specialty of mine over the last six or seven years – not surprisingly since my studio was located on that bucolic paradise, King Island.

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Simmental Bull
(watercolour)
36x42cm
Private Collection

How it generally works here at the show is a farmer approaches me about an animal they want painted, and I’ll come over to their stalls and sketch and photograph the animal/s as they request.
Below is a shot of me photographing three superb Charolais’s(two bulls and a cow), which in this case will be a triple portrait as a pair to a similar painting I did for her two years ago(pictured also).

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Charolais Triple Portrait
(watercolour)
50x68cm
Private Collection

When time allows I’ll do a sketch from life also.

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The finished result will be a portrait of one of these superb animals, in the case below a quite formal, full body portrait of Archer, named best Australian Shorthorn this year.

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Archer
(watercolour)
32x47cm

Of course one of the perks of spending two weeks at the show is my lunch breaks, where I get to wander around the grounds grazing on sheeps’ milk feta(practically straight from the ewe…), the fruit and veggies brought in from the districts, and then marvel at the livestock that’s made it’s annual journey from a hundred secluded valleys and plains into the big smoke. And if I’m particularly lucky I get to paint it.

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Jersey Cows, sketched from my table display.
(watercolour)
28x34cm