Skip navigation

I promised Alonso, if I finished this, I would post it. The above painting was drawn a couple nights ago on Arches 140lb Hot Pressed paper.  Why hot pressed for such a textured scene? Oh, you know; just to see if I could do it. I found another splotch of time to paint the cow on the far right and some of the one next to him, but then off to other things that must be done.  I was able to get classes taught and student artwork posted and had a FREE NIGHT last night! I decided to paint this scene. I was about an hour in and the electric went out. 50 MPH winds we were having. Angered by this change of events, I lit two candles and held a flashlight and painted away in the dark.  I know. I know. I know. Artists are not to paint in the dark. I think if I waited for everything to be perfect in my life I’d never create anything. So, this is my candlelight painting. Cows, no less.

As I painted, my anger began to subside and my thoughts wandered to people who had suffered much more and I was humbled. Many lost their homes in these storms that tracked across the midwest the last two days. Some lost their loved ones. My condolences to all of you.


  1. So beautiful Leslie, full of light, movement and freedom.

    • I saw the speckled light and had to try to paint this. I am so glad I captured something of freedom and some movement. Thank you for this comment, Hannekekoop.

  2. I often paint in the dark. Most times, by choice, other times when the electricity has gone out. I, too, am grateful for the roof over my head and the warmth of the fire. During power outages my attention is focused on those who no longer have the houses for power to illuminate. I am grateful.
    In light, in dark, I paint. That is what I do. A lot can be learned in the dark.

    • Thank you for saying this, Chris. I agree with you about the learning part. You are so right…so many have lost their homes, too.

  3. Love these cows. Why are cows so interesting and peaceful to look at, I wonder. Maybe because they walk slow and eat slow and lead a slow life. (If they are lucky and have a good life.) I wonder if the candlelight affected your painting because the quality of light is just a little different. So bright and full of depth and life. Great cow faces, too!

    • I agree with you on that wondering, Cindy. This painting is lighter and brighter than my paintings usually are. I think any different circumstances can affect an artist’s work, don’t you? So, why do some worry about changing things up so much?
      I think it is a learning experience every time we try something new. Thank you!

  4. I’m glad you’re safe. I wonder if you have more “lightness” in this because you painted in the dark.

    • I think that is what caused this “lightness”, Yousei. What fun to discover something like that from this experience. Thank you for that comment toward my being safe.

      • How can one not worry a bit? The devastation last week was stunning. I just watched a video (which I’ll post on the 11th) about the Tsunami last year. Aftermath is what we all forget about, and some linger forever. Anyway…very glad you’re safe.

  5. I’m so glad you are okay. When I hear about these wretched storms, I get concerned about my blogger friends… Candlelit bovine. Trust you! I bet you were excited to see it in light. Gosh, Leslie, I can see those animals walking toward me. You amaze me – again and again.

    • Thank you, Amy! I can not imagine what some of my neighbors in southern Indiana are facing. I have taken cover quite a few times in my lifetime but have not had to suffer loss of home and family members due to them.
      Thank you for saying the above about my cows, “Candlelit bovine”; I like that! 🙂

  6. Oh my! I am all the way in MD and we had a BAD thunderstorm. I can’t imagine anything worse like tornadoes though! It’s so sad! I am glad that you could create artwork through stormy weather. I love the spatter drops near the feet, gives a real sense of noise and movement. You are so good at that. sorry that I have been away, I am trying to catch up on blogs now…haha take care

    • When in doubt, I spatter, Roni. 🙂 I want to try spritzing a few paintings with water once I finish them, also, but have not had the “guts” to do that yet. Other artists are getting fantastic results with it.
      Yep. I would rather be blogging! Thank you!

  7. They make a beautiful composition together, so full of energy. The splatter has added a nice dimension and I also like the background. Glad to know you are safe, yes such moments do make us realize that we are blessed.

  8. Such a sweet painting. I sometimes wonder how it would be painting if I didn’t have the use of my eyes or fingers.

    • I know there is a lady who is blind that paints and have heard of an artist who paints with his feet. The only way we would really know is to try it. I often do blind line drawings to help me concentrate on feeling a form, but have never ventured any furthur. I know it would look nothing like the above, though, Gretchen! Thank you!

  9. You could never prove it by me that these were painted by candlelight. I think rules were made to be broken and you turned out one darned gorgeous bevy of bovine beauties in the breaking!

    • I think most people would not know why this painting came out so bright and light, but I think the painting by candlelight did affect the lightness of this painting. I agree with you about the rules. We learn them so it helps us know when and how far we might be able to stretch them or break a few. 🙂 Thank you, Sherri!

  10. Life is always messy with events that seem designed to keep us from what we love. But in the subdued candlelight your spirit quieted and you found peace in your work. The grace with which you met challenges is reflected in the painting and expressions of the cows. Thank you Leslie for a lesson in perseverance and grace. 🙂

  11. Thanks for keeping your promise and my heart and prayers goes out to all those people who suffered from the disaster and for the people who has lost loved ones also.

    This lovely painting reminds me of my homeland that I miss so much. Reminds me of a time when there is a actual bond between people, animals and the land. The wonderful outdoors, the freshness of the air, the smell of the green grasses, sounds of insects talking to each other and the calming blue colored sky. However and sadly all that is changing as modernization replaces spirituality, culture and love of nature.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely painting of yours:-)

    • You share a lot, here, Alonso. I’ll bet you miss your homeland. I just moved across the country for a short time, once. Where I moved had a different climate and nothing felt like home, so I can identify with that feeling. I came running home as soon as I could. You are very brave to face change. I am so glad this reminds you of home. What a great comment! Thank you!
      I think the human race will pay for any destruction of nature we have caused. I, too, miss the great wide open spaces of my youth.

        • Ras Alonso
        • Posted March 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm
        • Permalink

        You’re more than welcome. Have a good night:-)

  12. great post! wonderful positive energy with it as well, Leslie. You are absolutely right: if we waited for everything to be perfect, we’d never paint anything! I like your painting, you did well despite the adversity!

    • Thank you, Frank. I always like to know the circumstances surrounding the creations of some artist’s work. I think that is one thing I appreciate about reading yours and others’ art blogs. I not only get to see what you have painted but understand what you saw and thought about while you painted it.

  13. Your post reminds me of something one of my teachers said about waiting for just the right conditions…it rarely happens so learn to work with what you have. All these years…it still makes sense even if you don’t make art. We dodged a bullet in Louisville and the tornadoes took out their fury twenty miles from here and in Eastern Kentucky. The local tv stations have shown the extant of the damage which in many places is total. Southern Indiana is going to need a lot of help and so if you can please donate to the Red Cross.

    • So many hurting . I saw the ticker tape on the bottom of TV screen asking for donations for the Red Cross. It is like you said on your recent post. The weather seems more windy when there is wind, more water when there is rain, drier and hotter where there is no rain…Our climate has changed. I, like you, believe we humans played a part in it, Al. I think it is time we turn the tables back and give back. Thank you for the comment.

  14. Leslie, this is so joyful to look at, especially considering it was a candle lit painting, being painted in frustration. I can tell that you calmed down, because the results are wonderful!!! I love all the colors! It was one of the things that drew me to your art in the first place.

    I think I read that a whole town in Indiana got wiped out by tornadoes. I am so glad that you were only blown around a little and not sucked up off the earth. My heart also goes out to those who lost so much.

    • You know that it was color that drew me in to your blog, also, Beth. You and your positive nature and ability to be “free” with a photo reference has fed my creative spirit. Thank you for this comment!

  15. I saw many of the destroyed communities on TV and my heart when out to them.

    This is a beautiful painting and I can’t believe you did it in candlelight. I love the sprinkles of white and black, the cows pink noses and your foliage in the background. I don’t know why, but that foliage reminds me a bit of a Henri Rousseau painting.

    • I am going to have to try another of these. It seems like painting in the dark leads to a very bright painting, perhaps. Thank you for that Henri Rousseau comment. I visited some of his paintings and that is quite a compliment to my work. Those background trees do give off a feeling of his compositional use of foliage. His kind of trailed a line across the page and I think it may be that that gives off that feeling. They did have pinkish noses. I was fascinated by their coloring. They were sort of like a Guernsey but more white faced like a Hereford but not the deep reds of Herefords and they were bigger. That is part of what drew me into trying to paint them. Thank you, Carol!

  16. This is an amazing painting! Love the details and the textures you have used!

  17. I do like your cows.. So much light, so alive …

    • The lightmust have happened because I painted this in the dark, Isabelle. It is lighter than the majority of my paintings. Thank you!

  18. Amazing that you painted this in the dark. Maybe I should turn my lights out. On second thought…

    • Oh yes…… Lights out make for a painting full of light. 🙂 You rock, Bongo!

  19. I can’t believe you painted that by candle light.. lol.. It’s amazing… Next you’ll be painting masterpieces with your eyes closed !!… 🙂

    • Wouldn’t that be great, if I could do that; masterpieces with eyes shut? 🙂 Thank you, Brian

  20. sorry to hear about the rough weather you’ve been having. i can’tbelieve you painted this by candlelight! its beautiful. i used to be scared of cows would you believe but now i think they’re wonderful creatures that unfortunately humans exploit terribly. your painting captures their inquisitive expressions perfectly.

    • I’ve been lucky enough to have helped a neighbor farmer milk his cows when I was a teenager. They are large, but surprisingly gentle if not startled. They are curious! Thank you, Nicola.

  21. Just read this and thought of you. Spark any painting inspiration? I couldn’t handle it but I thought if it resonated with you you might take it on.

    • Hi Yousei,
      I am so sorry I did not notice this comment of yours until just now. I am not playing with a full deck these days, it seems. I have no extra time for anything, lately. Kind of like that period of time you were devoting to your boys …was it last year? Thank you, though! 🙂

      • No problems. I understand. I wish it was just last year. I don’t have to worry about one, since he graduated…at least no academically. Still struggling with the youngest though. Hope things are just busy for you. Wish you all the best, and I’ll see you when I see you. 🙂

  22. I love the texture on the cows coats. They are such curious yet cautious creatures. We have a herd down by our mail box and they like to watch me get the mail. I should take some pictures of them, especially when the calves come. They are not the lovely browns of yours but black angus so the palette os somewhat limited.

    And I love that you persevered through mother nature’s attempted diversions. There sure has been a lot of wild weather this spring and I am so grateful that i and everyone I know is safe.

    • Oh Ruth! I have been a bit off kilter, lately, with all I am trying to address and did not notice I skipped replying to you and Yousei above you on this post until just today. Thank you for this comment. I could stand and watch those cows across from your mailbox for quite some time. I like their inquisitive natures and enjoy their expressions. I always wonder what they are thinking. Thank you!

  23. I think it’s perfect. It makes me feel that I can touch them and puts me in mind of this, which will make you chuckle.

    • Thank you so much for posting this, here, Jamie! I remember viewing this on your blog and replayed it several times and laughing. I even thought of this post of yours when I painted the above. How in the world do you insert a video into a comment? I’ve added links for others on their comment section but do not know how to insert a video. Thank you, again. I couldn’t be more pleased.

  24. the colors are, as always, a feast, leslie! and ‘though it was frustrating for you, the image of you going at this in candlelight evoked a smile. so much we have to be thankful for…

    • Thank you, J Ruth, for mentioning the image of someone painting by candlelight. It was actually a rather peaceful experience and better than doing nothing or complaining and feeling bummed out for having missed the opportunity to paint.

  25. Painting in candlelights?!!Yikes! Never tried that. I don’t trust the colors I see in that light. But I like your spirit; the spirit to get it done and see it through.

  26. Sorry to hear about your storms. I often paint late into the night, but without much success. I purchased a special lamp which floods the paper, but my arms cast shadows. I love your cows and the technique. I should try to be more experimental with paper.

    • I work at night, mostly, because my daytime hours are usually consumed by other things I need to address. My light source, when I have electric is in front of me so the shadows fall behind me instead of on the paper. Otherwise, I would be casting shadows, also. Thank you, Keith. I even thought of you and your wonderful sheep compositions when I painted this! 🙂

  27. All the best artists of the past painted in candle-light or by oil-lamp or whatever, don’t forget electricity’s not been with us forever! 🙂 Love the cows… me, I couldn’t start a watercolour and then return to it, I have to do it in one sitting or it doesn’t get done.

    • You are so right, Val. So much has been made about the light we choose to paint in and what about the past? Good observation. Many watercolorists finish their paintings in one sitting and I admire them for that. I have painted a few that way. Much of the time I see more I want to add, thus the return to including more. Thank you for this comment! 🙂

  28. Marvelous cows! And, wrong, artists always paint in the dark! Good work, Leslie!

    • I guess you are right about “being in the dark” and bringing something forward, Lois. Thank you! 🙂

  29. I love your cows. They are so expressive.

    • Thank you, Jay. That middle one does look a little sleepy. Ha! What a “cool ” comment.

  30. Leslie, you are amazing, and so are your cows!!!

  31. hi there leslie,

    i have to mooo, sprightly mood here to see your cow paintings, lively and pastoral. excellent!

  32. Leslie, this is a stunner! Really amazing work and I can’t believe you were working in the dark! I have to say, the one with added collage is equally gorgeous, maybe a touch moreso. Amazing, truly!

    • Thank you for taking the time to click back and view these cows as I first painted them, Laura. It was kind of fun painting by candlelight.

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] The original painting can be viewed here. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: