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jane feeding calf

Passion pour des vaches

In the Valais region of Switzerland one of the more rural but no less impressive passions is for the fighting bovines known as la Race d’Herens. I spent 3.5 summer seasons in a local alpage with about 90 of these beautiful black cows.

For more than a hundred 17hr-days each season my boyfriend did all the hard work looking after the ‘ladies’, starting at 4am for milking, while i kept more reasonable hours, enjoying the ever changing beauty of the high mountain pastures, taking 1000s of photos of the cows, and often sitting around painting before finaly giving a hand with attaching the 'girls' each evening. Quelle belle vie.

Weighing up to 800kg, the cows fight to establish the herd's hierarchy, from first - Reine - to last, all for the right of best grass and easiest path on the mountain. To the cows the sound of each bell is a name: from it they know who is where and whether they need to give way or not. They are a calculating bunch, watching each other for an opportunity to improve their rank and not hesitating to take advantage when it arises. They are equally 'copine' and have preferred company, spending much time grooming one another. The cows are always hand-reared and often seek our company 'en champs' for caresses and scratches, but they can be cheeky and you need to watch out for them eating any loose bit of clothing, and also be aware in case a higher ranking cow moves in causing swift relocation. I love them, my time observing them felt very 'national geographic'.

 

fierté painting

cow fight in the snow painting

springcowspainting

cowfightpainting

summerainpainting

brumepainting

bucolique painting

catognepainting

chitapainting

combatpaintings

dragonpainting

daddygirlpainting

entreluttepainting

frimousepainting

jeunevachepainting

lunepainitng

luttespaintings

oragepainting

sittingcowpainting

belleneigepainting

 

It is great kudos (and financial benefit with regard to bloodlines) for an owner's cow to become queen. A catchphrase for the Valais region is 'ou les vaches sont reines'.

What better way to immortalise the family pride than with a mural of one's queen on one's cowshed or an oil painting for the living room.

 

rubinemural

 

 

letroncmural

 

 

 

madonemural

 

 

 

verneyazmural

 

 

 

saphiremural