Part of the fun of painting outdoors is experiencing first hand all the elements of nature. This includes weather, light, insects, and animals.On one of the fairest days while painting in Scotland we went to the Tweed River and set up on a private road by a farm. It was really an excellent location with a view of the river and hills, but off the main road and sheltered from the wind. The farmer, riding an all terrain vehicle, was just bringing a few cows through as we arrived and gave his permission for us to be there. He mentioned that the rest of the herd still in the pasture would likely be curious and want to watch us. As we set up our easels we did indeed notice quite a few cows clustering by the gate peering at us, wondering I'm sure, just what we were up to. However, when we approached them to take a picture they all turned and quickly shuffled off - apparently camera shy.
We all went back to work, eventually settling down to paint, working as quickly as possible in case the weather decided to change. When we next looked up, right behind us the whole herd had returned. They must have tip toed silently up behind us, for now they were all lined up at the gate staring intently while we painted. Perhaps these were special ninja cattle, because I never heard a sound.
Later on we saw that further down the path there were cows coming from the other direction and since we were set up directly in their way it seemed wise to break down our easel set ups and get ourselves out of the way. It was about time to go anyway, so we quickly commenced capping and stowing paint tubes, wiping off brushes, packing up paintings, and folding up our tripods. Cows it seems, are not only stealthy, but in spite of their size move quickly, because quite soon a large grey one was right there before us. Did I mention how large cows are? Rose, who was closest, reassured the cow as she packed up her things, that we would soon be out of the way. The grey cow waited, shifting her weight from side to side and occasionally swishing her tail. At last we were completely packed up and able to move aside to let the grey cow by. What did she do then? She turned around and walked back the way she had come.