Howdy! | Steel Cow

Howdy!

Hello Steel Cow Fans!

It’s been awhile since I last checked in, but we have been just a little bit busy. Ellison Bristol was born in late June, a full two weeks late! He is our third boy and although I already confessed in a previous post I was hoping for a girl, he is absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t change him for the world. We are so happy he has joined our family and that Josh and I were chosen to be his parents! Ellis was a big boy and was 10.5 pounds at birth. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I had to have an emergency c section. I knew c sections were difficult, but now I can say from experience they are no picnic and I have a new found respect for you mommas out there who have multiple c sections for your kids - you are amazing!
Here is Ellis, along with his proud big brothers.

"Deer Friends"™

It took a bit longer getting back into painting after Ellis was born, but I have started painting a bit again. (When I go too long without painting I get a bit grumpy and our family was starting to feel it - so back to the paints I went!) I have a new wildlife series called "Deer Friends"™ started and hope to have it finished sometime early this fall.
We shared a few photos of the beginnings of the paintings on Facebook and Instagram earlier this year, and then again yesterday, but just in case you missed them - here they are again. I’m excited about them! I will never be done painting cows and farm animals, but it’s fun painting something else for a little bit and most farmers I know have several or all of these animals on their land - so it still fits in with our theme. 

World Dairy Expo

World Dairy Expo is a little more than a month away and we will be attending again this year with Ellis in tow. (Just don’t be offended if you visit and I don’t let you touch him 😷). We will be exhibiting in the same location we have had in the past and if you attend World Dairy Expo please stop by to say hi or to pick up a print or two or some gifts. We will have great show specials on everything and maybe a new painting or two! 

What goes into a painting?

This week we were alerted by many of our steel cow fans that a page on Facebook was using a copyrighted image of one of my paintings for a T-shirt they were selling online without our authorization. We did not give them permission to use this image of "the girls and friends"™ and this was a copyright infringement of our intellectual property. We have alerted the proper authorities and gone through the proper channels to get it taken down and stopped, and it has since been removed and sales of those products stopped, but as you can imagine we were a bit peeved.
I don’t like to focus on the negative, so I won’t. I will just say thank you to all of you who alerted us to this post and unauthorized use of our copyrighted image. We are lucky to have loyal fans and we appreciate you!
I have a few pet peeves that get me really riled up and although people copying my style or composition of my paintings or our style of marketing my paintings is definitely at the top of my list - this was a downright theft and it’s just plain mean. Whoever these guys are, they were doing this intentionally with no care that they were stealing an artist’s work.
Anyway, it got me thinking - for these guys coming up with an image was as easy as finding a cool image somewhere online (that’s us!) and copying and pasting it onto a template from a company who will make the T-shirt’s for them.
But for me to come up with a Steel Cow image is an entirely different process. For each painting I do, I meet the animal in their environment (sometimes even traveling to different countries) and I usually end up taking hundreds of photos of the animal to get just one or two I like. Then I spend countless hours looking at the photos before I pick which one to paint. After that I spend many, many more hours, weeks or months painting the painting.
(Sometimes even the kids "help" me paint the paintings!)
Then begins the process of turning those paintings into awesome Steel Cow products.  We print all of the prints in-house on massive industrial presses and printers so we have total control over the quality (I'm a bit picky about this.) We even hand make each and every one of our stretchers for our prints.
We have years and years invested of honing our skills whether it’s all the years it’s taken me to become the painter I am today (including a four year college degree in art) or all the years it’s taken us to develop the photography, graphic design, and woodworking skills along with printing industry knowledge - there is a lot that goes into each image and product you purchase from us.
Heck, I knew when I was 7 years old I was going to be a painter and honestly a lot of my 31 years since then has gone into becoming a better painter bit by bit, year by year.
We are in this for the long haul and not here to sell a few poor quality products quickly to make a buck.  This is a lifelong dream of mine and we are really happy and grateful you guys make it possible for us to do what we do on a professional level each and every day and we really thank you from the bottoms of our hearts!!

Thank you!

Valerie Miller


Valerie Miller
Valerie Miller

Author