THERE are a fair few cows in West Kerry but for talented artist and Baile na nGall native Kelly Hood they provide a constant source of inspiration.
Kelly, a native of Ardamore, is preparing this week to open a new show in the Draíocht Gallery in Adare which features her trademark collection of cow portraits in bold black and white.
Kelly specialises in uniquely Irish images and animal scenes and her cow paintings in super-realist style have won her fans all over the world with Terry Wogan and some membes of The Cranberries band among the owners of her work.
Kelly, who attended Meanscoil na Toirbhirte before going on to study at the Limerick College of Art & Design, grew up in Ardamore, Ballydavid and spent her summers helping to milk the cows on her grandmother's farm.
"I eat them, I wear them, and I paint them," Kelly quipped, "so I owe them something, don't I?
"In Dingle, I'm never short of a willing model. I found my first in 2008 and we bonded over a barbed wire fence. I determined then that I would paint her — and one cow led to another."
As well as her beloved cows, Kelly has painted a variety of typically West Kerry images such as men saving the hay, fishermen with their lobster pots, fiddle playing and even the Dingle Races.
Her new exhibition – The Cows are back in Town – opens tomorrow night in the Draíocht Gallery, Adare at 7.30pm. The show will run until December 16.