"Daisy," oil by Sharon Yates
"Daisy," oil by Sharon Yates

Landscape artist Sharon Yates always makes friends with the cows before she moves into their field to paint them. But before that, she makes sure there are no nasty bulls to contend with.

Once that's taken care of, she settles down and paints the gentle creatures in their natural settings for hours on end, giving new meaning to en plein air painting.

Yates shares her latest work in a solo exhibit at Lowell's Whistler House Museum of Art from June 19-July 27, with a reception on Saturday, June 29, 2-4 p.m.

The cattle and dairy farms of rural Maine, where she lives, have opened new avenues of exploration for this seasoned painter, who has also done her share of coastal paintings.

"Painting outdoors in the landscape directly from nature has been my passion for a long time," she says

"And the agricultural landscape has become my focus -- particularly the cattle and dairy farms in Maine. While I am struck by the loss of farmland and smaller, family-run farms in my home county, I am not driven by nostalgia. The ever-changing light, weather and animals interacting with the land is what I find most compelling and challenging."

Before she starts, she watches the cows roaming the fields, woods and barnyards, sometimes for hours, waiting for them to slow down or settle to rest.

"It's always a gamble, but I seem to thrive on the unexpected," she said. "Constant movement, slight or dramatic, keeps me on the edge."


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The Whistler House is located at 243 Worthen St., Lowell. Visit www.whistlerhouse.org for info.

Art picks

  • MENDING BOSTON: The New England Quilt Museum, 18 Shattuck St., Lowell hosts an Etsy craft party on Thursday, June 20, 6-9 p.m. to work on a special project To Boston With Love. The public is invited to the free, drop-in "come when you can, leave when you must" event, where there will be opportunities to make hand-sewn flags in the style of the prayer flags now on display at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston to honor the Boston Marathon bombing victims. All materials are provided and the flags will be sent to the MFA and added to the installation. Call 978-452-4207, ext. 16 to register.
  • FREE FUN FOR DAD: Dads get free admission into Old Sturbridge Village on Father's Day, June 16. In addition, OSV hosts its music and art weekend, June 15-16, with a variety of programs geared to all ages. Visit www.osv.org for details.
  • EUROPEAN ART AT MFA: The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston recently opened a suite of five galleries, including the newly renovated Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century and the Alan and Simone Hartman Galleries that showcases nearly every facet of art from Great Britain. Highlights include seven paintings by Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn and the re-installation of the Newland House Drawing Room, which has not been on view since the 1970s. Visit www.mfa.org for details.
  • SUMMER AT THE ICA: The summer season is in full swing at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. Exhibit highlights include the hit show Barry McGee, a 20-year retrospective of works by the influential graffiti artist, plus Jeffrey Gibson, Love Song and the 2013 James and Audrey Foster Prize. Other events through the summer include summer block parties, waterfront concerts, chef demos and special menu items in the Water Café. Visit www.icaboston.org or call 617-478-3103 for details.

Nancye Tuttle's email is nancyedt@verizon.net.