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Thursday 8 December 2016

What lies beneath... Cow in the River

Cow in the River by Hazel Scanlon, Acrylic on canvas, courtesy of the artist and Annetta Kavanagh

Niall MacMonagle

Published 07/09/2015 | 02:30

Cow in the River by Hazel Scanlon
Cow in the River by Hazel Scanlon

People turned on the heating and wore coats during our jolly Irish summer. Isn't it time Fáilte Ireland promoted this little island as "an air-conditioned country". Heat and blazing sunshine we do not do.

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But Irish Summers produce glorious shades of green and an abundance of fresh air. Hazel Scanlon captures that lush green and growth in her vibrant image of a thirsty cow.

Since childhood, cows are an obsession. She spent summers on her grandparents' farm in Cuffs Grange in Kilkenny: up at 6 am to bring in the cows for milking.

Scanlon grew up in Tullow, Co Carlow about 15 miles from where she now lives with her farmer husband. Land and animals have always been a part of her life. "I love animals, especially cows and we have a Newfoundland dog, Lola, whom I adore."

Her obsession has spilled over into a collection of "tea-pots, tea-towels, ornaments with various breeds of cows on them".

The shaggy haired, long-horned Scottish Highland cow is her favourite.

This summer painting shows a more familiar looking cow about to drink its fill.

"Cows drink at least eight gallons of water a day" and in a sweltering [hah!] Irish summer, this cow has headed down to a nearby river. The fluid brush strokes suit the rich foliage, the fresh flow of clear, clean water, the animal's smooth flanks.

It's a relaxed, easy-going image by an artist whose day now begins at 6.30am in the company of Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Chopin.

"I love Marty in the Morning. I feel he is a friend at this stage". Her studio looks out over fields but Scanlon's life wasn't always so relaxed.

With a degree in Business and Law she worked for a bank's fraud department during the recession.

"I was driving 900 miles a week. It was tough going and while I miss the regular paycheck I'm no flat tyre as they say."

Artist and farmer, she turned the hay this August and when not painting (figurative and abstract; acrylics, watercolours, oil, enamel, foil, glitter) or writing poems and songs she still drives. But nowadays it's a baby Massey Ferguson and haybob. And tyre pressure? Perfect.

www.hazelscanlon.com.

 

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