Caroline Shotton – The Hay Days!

Caroline Shotton has just released her new collection of cows, Titled ‘The Hay Days!’. Her cows are always charismatic and playful, but in this collection she has pushed them that bit further. Shotton explains in her own words:

“In 2003 I fell pregnant and as such had to leave my job painting murals on hotel ceilings or walls. Instead, I spent many an hour putting finishing touches to my child’s nursery, and was looking for some artwork to put on the walls. Whilst walking in the fields near my home, I noticed a herd of cows, just staring at me. At first glance, they seemed so gormless but on closer inspection they had a warmth and innocence in their eyes. It was then that I decided to paint cows…I created one for my son’s nursery to keep him company and watch over him as he slept. Years later, I still love to paint my cows, each with their own individual personality and charming expressions. These days I can be a million miles away from the studio and ‘ping!’ an idea will pop into my head. I didn’t think I was thinking about painting all the time until the ‘ping’ thing happened years ago and I realised that somewhere in the depths of my brain, I was always processing experiences and feelings, words and imagery into what will ultimately lead to a finished composition.”

“The Hay Days! collection continues to encapsulate the unique and simple differences in each of my cows. Hay is such a playful medium in itself; so it was perfect for this body of work, where I wanted to convey the humour and joviality of my characters. From a composition point of view, it also adds great texture and depth to the pieces.”

That's Amor-Hay by Caroline Shotton

That's Amor-Hay by Caroline Shotton

“This piece [above] is inspired from the scene in ‘Lady & The Tramp’ where they are sharing a plate of spaghetti, and are drawn together by a single strand, where they then realise they are in love. Replace spaghetti with straw, and you’ve got ‘That’s Amor-Hay!’. The cows are sitting at a makeshift wooden dinner table, sharing a romantic pile of hay, illuminated by a candle in a milk bottle. These are props that you could expect to find in and around a farm. The use of light is key in this piece; rather than the scene being moonlit, the candle draws us in to a much more intimate, romantic setting. The single strand that brings them together was hand-painted. If I had used a real piece of hay, it would not have looked as if it was going into their mouths. It also allowed me to accentuate the shadow of the straw cast on the chin of the cow.”

Hay Daze by Caroline Shotton

Hay Daze by Caroline Shotton

“Hay is a playful medium in itself, and it’s perfect for using with the cows. It suits their nature, and habitat, and it’s also a great natural colour, which works well in the overall composition, as well as adding to the texture and depth of the pieces. It brings something real from the field to the canvas. You can create lots of different effects depending on how the hay is applied to the artwork. Some is literally thrown on; some single strands are strategically placed.”

Hay! by Caroline Shotton

Hay! by Caroline Shotton

“I’ve tried to capture a sense of realism in movement – what would the hay look like if a cow suddenly burst up out of a stack of it?! I’ve kept the backgrounds fairly simple, so as not to detract from the narrative of the pieces. They still retain the trademark textured and stained backgrounds, however this collection is all about focusing on the playfulness of the cows.”

Caroline Shotton at Artworx Gallery

Other pieces by Caroline Shotton at Artworx Gallery

Hay, You're It! by Caroline Shotton

Hay, You're It! by Caroline Shotton

“There is an added depth and richness to the colour and a refined painting style in this new collection, as I am now painting in oils.”

Hay!...He Started It! by Caroline Shotton

Hay!...He Started It! by Caroline Shotton

For more information about Caroline Shotton and her work visit

Caroline Shotton at Artworx Gallery

Alternatively call 01543 502971 or email info@artworx.co.uk

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