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I have painted this West Highland before, here. This painting was painted on toned masa paper. Due to the toned surface, I used white gouache for the whites on the nose and horns. The whiskers were painted in with the use of a rigger brush and white acrylic.

More on West Highland Cattle, here.


  1. Your paintings on masa paper remind me of batik. The cow is so wonderfully organic and I loved the information. Brand new to me.

    • I have heard that batik comparison in regards to paintings on masa. It is one of my favorite supports to paint on. There is a farmer on the southwest side of town, here, who raises these gentle cows. I have visited the roadside by their pasture. Thank you for your visit and comment! πŸ™‚

  2. I have seen these cattle before but never knew the breed. Thanks for the informative link. I love the close up and can hear this one munching away on grass, giving me a good look over πŸ™‚ I also love that bristly nose and want to rub his face! I look forward to your posts with pleasure as I never know what to expect. Great painting, Leslie, and fun too!

    • These cows are so cool, me thinks. I think most of them would let you rub their bristly face. They are supposedly quite docile. They are also small in comparison to other breeds of cattle. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  3. Oh my goodness, I love the long-haired cows! Maybe because they’re like a giant stuffed animal. I wondered about the whiskers because I have been doing some animals recently that could use whiskers. I had to look up “rigger brush” (which is just another reason I regret not going to art school! Alas!) I actually got a gel pen but it doesn’t have a consistent flow, it seems, and the line is also a bit too thick. I may need to try another brand. But I don’t see why I couldn’t use a rigger brush and white acrylic paint. Seems like a bunch of folks mix paint and markers, paint and ink, and things. Arrrgh, not enough time in the year. πŸ˜‰

    This is a really great cow. I love the background. And the horns have a particularly nice quality, too. Oh my goodness, I am jealous you have some of these guys nearby you can visit.

    • That’s what they look like, a giant stuffed animal! I did not go to art school, either, Cindy. I have a degree in education but not for art. The art came from reading, avid interest in drawing, and practice, practice, practice. Beyond the practice, viewing others’ work is probably the most huge inspiration for me.
      Yes….you can use anything that can complete your task of bringing your vision forward. I did the same thing, for a long time; just stuck with the watercolor medium. One day, I read an article where another artist suggested that we not handicap ourselves that way.
      πŸ™‚ I love visiting them. They come right up to the fence. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  4. What a stunning painting and a gorgeous breed of cow! I am so inspired by this piece, Leslie!

  5. I really like masa paper. Your paintings are always great, but I like when it looks all wrinkled πŸ™‚ It makes me think of when you painted fall with salt, and I fell in love with your painting πŸ™‚

  6. Just seen a cow that look like this on an Alaska show on Discovery channel, they are so cool looking and have a mop for a head. I need to buy four of them and call them Ringo, Paul, John and George. Very cool Leslie!

    • Scaled down my cable channels to afford the internet a couple years back. I would have liked to see that show, Ryan. I almost titled this post, “The Other Beatle”! Ha! Thank you for the visit and the comment.

  7. This is really beautiful, Leslie! I saw your moose and calf you did on masa over at theslumberingherd blog that I really loved, too. I just love what you do with masa! Have a great day!

    • I love what you do on masa, too, Beth! It is truly becoming my favorite surface to work on. Thank you!

  8. Love this art work, as always its pleasure to visit your site πŸ™‚

  9. This is one very cool cow, Leslie. His grand hair do robbed me to of your magical work on an eye, however! πŸ˜€

    • See that little bit of a dark spot to the left of the hair. Well, thats the eye just a hint of the side…. πŸ™‚ Yes it robbed us of the eye. Thanks, Amy!

  10. I just reviewed your postings about masa paper. I have used myself but in a different. I glue torn pieces of the masa…overlapping… to a nearly completed wildlife watercolor. This creates a foggy, mysterious quality to the painting. I redefine certain areas with additional pigment. In this process I have used homemade rice paste glue applied with a hake brush. I am planning to try your technique using the rice glue. I am always concerned about the permance of the painting. So far the paintings (very few) with rice glue and masa are framed and glazed. I have no reports of deterioration. Way back when I was a self-taught batik artist. In the beginning I didn’t know enough to use high quality dyes and the paintings faded. Taught me an indelible lesson. Any response would be valued. I will let you know the outcome of my project. And thanks so much for sharing all your information.

    • Wow. Your process sounds time consuming but rewarding, Gretchen. I have no problem with the permanence of the painting. I use artist quality watercolor paints and acrylic matte medium with some water for the glueing process. I have noticed no fading nor have I noticed any discoloration. Keep me up to date on what you do your side. Thank you!

  11. I like both of them…But you just keep getting better all the time!

    I have an award for you.

  12. Brilliant painting, especially the texture in the background. I like the roughness of it compared to the first version.

    • That is one of the things I like about working on the masa. I try to encourage wrinkles when I glue it to a support. Thank you, Edgeworth.

  13. You are working with such rich reds – and browns – this painting conveys ‘shaggy’ so well

    • I switched my brand of paints a little over a year ago, Stephen. These are a little more opaque than the other brand I was using. I like both but this brand seems to fit into portraying what I see a little better and I think it is because they are a little more opaque.
      Thank you for this comment because I was going for shaggy! πŸ™‚

  14. Love the cow – and the effect you get with this paper Leslie! Always appreciate that the viewer can zoom right into the image and really take a good look at the brushstrokes (you’d be amazed how many artists don’t) The whiskers are great too!

    • I am in total agreement with you, Lynda. When I see something, I want to zoom in and take a look at the movement in the artist’s hand. I want to witness the painting of the painting, so to speak. That is why I like artists who leave a few pencil marks behind or a bit of speckled canvas…It shows the painting of the painting. I could talk about that all day. πŸ™‚
      Thank you!

  15. It looks so kind Leslie. Beautiful.

    • To my understanding, these cows are very gentle. They look like teddy bears. πŸ™‚ Thank you, Hannekekoop.

  16. I’ve always liked your west highland cows and this one on Masa paper is no exception. So exactly how does that cow see? I love the way you painted all its shaggy hair and the masa give it such an interesting texture.

    • I think he must peek between the strands of hair. Poor thing. They may be the only species on earth who are thankful for a windy day so they can see where they are going. I love the textures this paper creates for me tobe able to take advantage of. Thank you, Carol!

  17. Beautifully done, I like both of them πŸ™‚

  18. This expressive painting would give you a leg (horn?) up here in Texas, while the previous picture takes me back to the New York of my childhood (where a cousin named Leslie still lives), so in two posts you’ve bookended my life.

    Steve Schwartzman

    • That’s right! You are down there in Texas with the longhorns. πŸ™‚ I like that idea about bookending your life, Steve. …and another Leslie? I know people who know Leslies but have never had one in a class that I have taken and I have only met one Leslie, in person. They are all over the internet, though! Thank you for the visit and interesting comment about bookending your life. πŸ™‚

      • And I have to wonder how long the phrase “bookending my life” will still be meaningful. I suspect there are already plenty of people in their 20s and younger who have no idea what a bookend is. What will the future equivalent be? “Earbudded”?

      • I know. I still like bookends and books. Guess you can tell I’ve been here awhile. πŸ™‚

  19. Yes I certainly do like this one Leslie πŸ™‚

    Androgoth XXx

  20. Woooww, Leslie!!! Cute cow and awesome effects. I love it. πŸ™‚
    Have a wonderful day.

  21. That is one burly beast, Leslie…but beautifully represented–very cool.

    • You are so right! These guys are “burly” looking, Gayle. Leave it to a wordsmith. Thank you!

  22. I’ve tried (in vain) to paint the same subject matter in acrylic, it sits behind the piano unfinished. This however is lovely.

    • Thank you, Keith. It’s just so much hair! I had to get out of my try to paint what is there and just move my brush and push color in the paterns I saw. I had to pitch two other attempts along the way. You have mentioned paintings hanging out unfinished by the piano before. I wish I could visit and take a look at them. I like all stages of paintings. So much fun to see the layers.

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  1. […] I am discovering that this surface is adaptable to any subject matter. I painted a Westhighland Cow here, Β a cat here, and a tiger […]

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