Teesdale Cattle

I stumbled upon these ladies last weekend whilst exploring some of the old woods in Teesdale.  The woodland floor was littered with ambers and gold. I spent far too long examining the leaves, of oak, maple, hawthorn and ash, pushing some of the better specimens into my holdall for close examination, alas only to be forgotten.

From the river I noticed a small footbridge spanning Bow Lee Beck just before feeding into the river Tees. Figuring this path wood take me to Newbiggen and not along my intended route, I decided to follow for a short distance. The narrow path is tightly squeezed between two dry stonewalls. After a short climb, the muddy path brings you to a stile leading into a lovely meadow.

Peeping over the wall, I spooked a heard of cattle that suddenly stampeded a few yards back into the field before stopping to view the trespasser.  They were inquisitive, watching me for several minutes, puffing warm clouds into the cold air.  Realising an opportunity was quickly slipping, I reached into my bag for pad and pencil. They proved to be good models, although by the time I added the colour they’d changed position.

The picture like the path became a little muddy and after rain threatened to spoil the moment I packed my things and stumbled back down the path to follow my intended route along the river. It was the only painting I made that day. Pleasant end to autumn. Hello snow. 😦

Teesdale Cattle



8 Replies to “Teesdale Cattle”

  1. That’s pretty amazing, and I have the utmost respect for someone who can just stop and capture a scene like this on paper… I know I certainly couldn’t do it. By the time I’d finished sketching those cows would likely be 3 or 4 miles away… lol…

    1. Thank you for your comments. I think the cows wanted to come back over to the stile, but me standing there prevented them from doing so.
      Grass must be greener closer to the wall. I think the end has come to sketching outdoors, my fingers were freezing on that day, I wore gloves
      without any fingers!

  2. Ha! had you not snuck up on them and surprised them, they may have stayed right where they were and you would have had to do portrait studies as they begged for your attention, Keith. I do so like your paintings with animals in them.

    1. Leslie, they were slightly agitated by my presence. I know these ladies and how inquisitive they can become. Walking with a dog through livestock is always a risk, however on this occasion Doris was at home, no doubt curled up on a rug by the fire. I’ve noticed people have vanished from my paintings, but at least the wildlife is making a come back! Thanks again for your reply.

  3. Will you paint any of the leaves you collected? Love how you captured the cattle’s curiosity, alert but staying put. I guess you didn’t seem too threatening 😉 You must have painted this soooo quickly! I too really enjoy your animal scenes. They’re charming!

    1. Amber, I have the leaves on my desk as I type… they’re a bit withered 😦 The cattle were waiting for me to go so they could return to the wall,
      I think I was more afraid. I’ve had a few close shaves with cattle during my rambles and take nothing for granted. But, yes, I’m obviously just a big
      mo-mo on the other side of the wall to them 🙂 Really pleased you took the time and effort to reply.

      1. Paint the withered leaves, Keith. They’ll be really good in your style of painting and drawing.

        You’ve got snow there already? We’ve had horrible winds, and lots of rain – the noise was appalling and I couldn’t sleep through it. Doesn’t help that our bedroom windows are above a rattly metal garage door!

        I love this painting of the cows – particularly the expression you’ve captured (or put) on the face of the one second from left!

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