Egg tempera painting of a charolais cow by Daniel Ambrose

Charolais, egg tempera painting

egg tempera on panel
18 by 14 in.
private collection

A couple of years ago I noticed the pastures around the studio in North Carolina were populated by pure white cows. Numerous cows, spread all over the land of the surrounding countryside. Beautiful creatures, going about their cow business; lying down, grazing and lying down again.

Apparently they tire easily.

Fascinated, I got acquainted with a few, made some drawings and sketches and painted one in egg tempera. Still not knowing what I had painted until the painting’s buyer explained it to me. I love when that happens. I just go around looking at stuff, interesting shapes, textures, inhaling the beautiful colors of  light. I’m always learning something new.

Evidently I had painted a Charolais cow, a breed from France.

French cows in the hills and hollows of  North Carolina, imagine that. Intrigued, I decided to paint more of them this summer, so I went on a cow hunt. But all the pastures were cow barren this year. Not a Charolais in sight. I drove all over 3 counties looking for them. I asked around. Nobody had seen them. I was assured there were bunches of them lining both sides of the road on the way to Plumtree. Last night I was painting the North Toe River and the property owner assured me again there were Charolais in pastures all along the road heading up to Plumtree.

Not being familiar with cows morning routine, this morning I got up early and headed up there  thinking I would sneak up on them.

There weren’t any.

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