My Heart's in the Highlands Wherever I Go

An oil painting of Black and Tan Highland Cows by artist Shannon Reynolds © 2016
Black and Tan, Highland Cows, oil on panel, 11" x 14" © Shannon Reynolds 2016
I was thrilled to find a beautiful small fold (rather than herd, apparently) of Highland cattle at our hotel in Baie St. Paul in the Charlevoix region of Quebec when we stopped there for a couple of days en route to Nova Scotia.  Bred for the harsh climate, rugged landscape, and wily predators of the Scottish Highlands, this breed looks the part completely with their impressive horns (even on the cows), shaggy double coats, and sturdy legs.  I was able to observe and sketch them right from the balcony of my room.  The only drawback was the high railing which partly obscured my view.  If I went again, I'd request a lower floor. 

Highland Cow sketches in watercolour and gouache by Shannon Reynolds
Sketches of Highland Cattle, watercolour and gouache in Moleskine sketchbook 
Over a couple of days of observation, we could see the hierarchy in action.  The beautiful black cow was the matriarch of the fold, and the mother of the one young calf (who seemed to outrank one of the other cows by association).  She was the first to run to the farmer in the mornings for the special feed and often stood atop the hay manger as if to claim it for herself.  Besides cows, the hotel had chickens, a sow with piglets, sheep, and ducks and a beautiful produce garden.  It's a bucolic place with sweeping vistas to the St. Lawrence and luxurious rooms...and a fantastic place to draw.

Cow in the manger at Hotel Le Germain in Baie St. Paul 

Sketching the highland cattle from my balcony

No comments: