On the Hoof 5 – Ruben’s Cows, Drawing Studies vs. Photography.

Cows 5 graphite A5
Cows 5 graphite A5

my drawings of my neighbours’ cows in the  field opposite – drawing studies from life


on the hoof 😉 get the joke? if u don’t then u shpould know that colloquial (en-gb) ‘on the hoof’ means on the trot, on the move, improvised, ‘sur la vif’ (fr) … ie gesture drawings of moving objects.


Cows 6 graphite A5
Cows 6

Cows by Reubens

Look at this amazing study of cows by Rubens. Not surprising that Rubens was drawn to cows. Observe how in the two cows in the bottom corner how he studies their bone structure. From flesh (top three) to bone (bottom two). Mind you, cows in the seventeenth century were probably more boney than modern day cows, with steroids & genetically modofied cattle feed.Observe how Rubens is trying to understand anatomny, really looking. He wouldn’t have had any photographs to copy back in the studio by had to rely on the information harvested from this drawing. There is a great difference when you just copy a photograph as opposed to when you understand the structure, the anatomny of something.

Rubens Drawing of Cows, British Museum
Drawing of Cows, British Museum

I’m hoping to teach life drawing classes this autumn/ winter here in the Dordogne. Contact me if interested. (Nude humans not nude cows ;-).