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Peaceful Cows, Peaceful Paintings

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Peaceful Cows, Peaceful Paintings

Published: 11:40 AM, 08/02/2012
Last updated: 12:25 PM, 08/02/2012

Nationally acclaimed artist Sheila Wood Hancock enjoys watching the cows graze near her home in Boone – so much so that they appear in many of her oil paintings.

“Cows just seem so peaceful,” Hancock said, “and I hope to convey a peaceful quality in my paintings. Cows and deer add life to paintings and add contrast to the lush greens we have in our trees, laurel and moss.”

Art-lovers can see for themselves at Alta Vista Gallery in Valle Crucis with Hancock’s new show, “Mountains and Meadows and Cows, Oh My!”

“The paintings for this show were painted with the comforting feeling that I get being in my much loved mountains,” Hancock said. “Everywhere you look here, you see cows, and around my house are deer eating the apples and drinking from the creek.”

The show’s title is a reference to a popular “The Wizard of Oz” line, “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” and was named such because of the large selection of High Country scenes – including mountains, meadows and cows – Hancock is bringing to Alta Vista.

“I really do paint many different subjects, but I’m most inspired by the beauty of our landscape,” Hancock said. “I know I’ve got a good painting when I lose myself in the painting as I paint. I’ve been told by customers that they lose themselves in the paintings, too, which makes me happy.”

Hancock said she paints with a soft, atmospheric palette on purpose, such as grayed down greens paired with distant blue mountains – colors reminiscent of Monet and Pissarro.

“Then, the bit of red that I include adds warmth to those cool, calming colors,” she said. “It gives balance.”

Hancock said she is “inspired tremendously by the Impressionists who use a very soft, neutral palette. I’ve tried to keep that palette since, in my opinion, it is easy to live for a lifetime with a soft painting.”

Hancock has studied with some of the most prominent landscape artists in the U.S., such as Dee Beard Dean, Bill Davidson and Richard Oversmith. “Each of these painters has added a layer to my painting ability, while encouraging me to explore and develop my own style,” she said. 

Alta Vista Gallery shows 100 artists in oils, watercolors, pastels and prints, as well as stained glass, fused glass, handmade jewelry, art tiles and Mangum pottery. The gallery is located in a National Register of Historic Places farmhouse at 2839 Broadstone Road in Valle Crucis, between Mast Farm Inn and Mast Store Annex. For a map and directions, visit, or call the gallery at (828) 963-5247.

Gallery Times

Gallery Times is a weekly news feature of The Mountain Times, featuring short news items submitted by local galleries.

For more information or to make a submission, contact editor Frank Ruggiero at ( or (828) 264-6397.