InSight Gallery, May 1-31
This story was featured in the May 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art May 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Seemingly proud and content with their peaceful life on the range, the stalwart bovines of Teresa Elliott’s paintings are portrayed with dignity and honor. More than a dozen paintings of Texas longhorns, baby bulls, and Charolais are on view this month at InSight Gallery beginning May 1, with an artist’s reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on May 2.
Known for her cow paintings, Elliott continues the work she started in 2005 when she dedicated her artistic energy to portraiture in oil, with an emphasis on cattle. “Cows are everywhere in Texas,” says the artist, whose home is in the sparsely populated West Texas city of Alpine. “But some areas are so remote and so spread out that most of them can only be seen at a distance. I like to study the expressions on their faces and to paint them as if they are family members.”
Most of Elliott’s works feature only one or two animals—out on the range, surrounded by a warm and expansive Texas sky. She considers a longhorn, portrayed in a head-on view from head to hoof, to be her classic painting. So when she added three cows to a single painting, it was a step in a new direction. “It was really fun to work with three figures,” she says. “Most of my one-cow paintings are quiet, but this one has a lot of action and animation in it.”
The Charolais are also a new addition to Elliott’s body of work. Originally from France, these blonde-colored cows were introduced to Texas in the 1930s. Elliott was able to get quite close to them during a visit to a collector’s ranch in the southern part of the state. “This was the first time I got a really good chance to look at a Charolais,” she says. “Because it was hot, the cows spent a lot of time in the ponds on the property. I loved seeing them in the water and watching the expressions on their faces.”
A few years before Elliott began painting Charolais in water, she paint- ed several pieces of children playing in water and mud after a rainstorm. SPLASH, which portrays a young girl happily immersed in a muddy Texas gully, is included the show. “I was so fortunate that I happened to be there when three kids were playing in the gully,” she explains. “I don’t direct people. I took photos of them being themselves.”
Meredith Plesko, owner of InSight Gallery, is thrilled that Elliott’s portraits of cows and children will be part of the artist’s first solo show at the gallery. “The show is two years in the making,” Plesko says. “Teresa has created a lot of wonderful work for it. She has a huge following, so I know her collectors will be excited.” —Emily Van Cleve
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