When I first started sketching and painting, I used to paint lots of landscapes, but then quickly moved to just sketching stuff instead. Landscapes just didn’t hold my interest, though I do rather love sketching animals, so for today’s prompt of landscape, mine will be interrupted by this cow. Cows fascinate me because it’s rather difficult to guess what they might be thinking. This one could be sleepy, or a bit bored, or plotting to take over the world. It’s just impossible to tell really. Or perhaps, it’s simply thinking, “the next time someone ‘moos’ at me while passing in a car, I’m totally going to lose it!” But mooing at cows was quite a treat as a kid. I’m not quite sure why we only felt we could talk to cows. We didn’t really neigh at horses very often or attempt to communicate with chickens that passed by. Cows, though, were apparently just there waiting to have a little chat with us and so we always obliged. Looking back, they don’t really seem like chatty creatures at all and were probably just wishing we’d hurry up and pass by so they could enjoy a bit of peace and quiet.
Though I was often around cows for long periods of time on my grandmother’s farm they were always a mystery to me. It was years later that I learned they are actually rather intelligent animals who may seem to live a carefree and even dull life, but they have the ability to remember things for quite a long time. They will develop grudges against other cows who mistreat them and possibly irritating humans who like to moo at them while driving by. They are good at problem-solving and have been known to heroically escape slaughter by leaping a tall fence and then traveling miles to reunite with their calf. This isn’t really all that surprising. No animal ever really wants to be separated from its family. And lastly, they possess an emotional complexity that gives them another interesting ability. One that is often thought to only be something humans would ever bother doing. They have the ability to worry about the future.
This fact was the most startling, as I always thought we humans were the only ones bothering to fret about what will come next. I always assumed animals were just a bit smarter than we were on that front and could happily roll with the moment without letting something that hasn’t actually happened yet affect them. So, in some ways it’s a bit comforting to know that many living beings contemplate what the future might hold. I can spend countless moments wondering and worrying about what might or might not come next. But, in those moments, I always have to remind myself that the future is not entirely in my control. And honestly, what’s happening in this very moment, is probably the most important thing of all. Something to relish and enjoy. Don’t get me wrong it’s good to think ahead on things, but only if it’s part of planning, with no real worrying at all. At least that’s what I know in my heart. So, I have to wonder sometimes, why I can still find myself side-stepping the present to worry about the future, like a cow in the field.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Opus (Vivid Pink), Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!