Day 25: Ruminate Until the Cows Come Home

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“Ruminate” 6×6, oil on canvas [creativ_button url=”×6-oil-canvas/” icon=”” label=”Buy Now” colour=”blue” colour_custom=”” size=”medium” edge=”straight” target=”_self”]

Months ago I was listening to a podcast (can’t even remember which one) and the host described the origin of the word “ruminate”. Below is the etymology from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary.

Latin ruminatus, past participle of ruminarito chew the cud, muse upon, from rumin-, rumen rumen; perhaps akin to Sanskrit romantha act of chewing the cud.

As soon as I heard the description of a cow chewing and re-chewing regurgitated food, I got excited. What? You expected a different reaction?

This whole painting process has been one of ruminating– what if I try this or that? What if instead of that I do this? What if I do what I’ve always done but just tweak it in this nearly imperceptible way? What if I run my palette knife across this image that I’ve so diligently and painstakingly been working on? What if I become this other type of painter all together… What if?

As a little nod to these ruminations and the idea of ruminating all together, I started a cow painting this morning. For a reference, I used an older photograph I had taken at the Global Wildlife Center. That painting went okay. There are parts of it I really like and parts of it that are begging for more rumination. So I started another, smaller painting of the same cow hoping that what I’d learned in the first painting would help me with the second. I was cautiously optimistic. The second painting came swiftly and easily. I’m a little in love with it, so I’m using it for today’s painting and am saving the first for some reworking tomorrow.


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Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

October 25, 2017

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  1. This post is really speaking to me! Photographing a scene often goes like that in my experience: what if I change my angle just a little?; what if I underexpose on purpose?; what if I move to the other side of that building instead? Seasoned landscape photographers will tell you to follow the light, or I imagine that’s what they do! Regardless, that’s what I try to do whenever I go out to compose scenes. But that’s only one part of the process, even though it’s a very important one. But the process itself supersedes that. I’ll carefully pick out a location, set up and think through everything I should be doing, and then not be happy for whatever reason. At that point, I don’t force it. I keep trying new things until I do I come away with something pleasing. Sometimes, like with your second attempt at the cow, all the pieces fall into place at once. But that rarely happens for me, and I need to work through what’s bothering me.

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