Sometimes, late at night, when the lights of Broad Street shine in through her living room window, Augusta artist Jordan Mastrodonato has been known to talk to her cow.
For two weeks, Ms. Mastrodonato has been holed up with a life-size fiberglass bovine. Each spare moment has been dedicated to her Holstein friend and now, her work done, she's sending her livestock charge to seek its fortune in the big city.
In two weeks, Ms. Mastrodonato has transformed a 100-pound, featureless fiberglass farm animal into art. Her entry for the Atlanta CowParade, a charity event where artists decorate more than 200 cows for public display, is an ode to spring. Kudzu climbs up the cow's black-and-white flanks, flowers bloom somewhere around the rib roast and the whole thing is marinated with a generous portion of painted pollen. Ms. Mastrodonato, who applied for a cow on a whim, said she didn't fully grasp the enormity of the project until she saw the cow canvas.
"I really felt the pressure when I saw that the cow was, in fact, eight feet long and five feet tall," she said. "I knew then that it was going to be a little tougher than I imagined."
A medical illustrator by trade, the cow project represents the first time Ms. Mastrodonato has worked in the medium of hoof and horn. She said the three-dimensional canvas and the opportunity to break from the strictures of her day job have been appealing.
"It's a really good opportunity for me to get back into doing something fun with art," she said, offering her cow an affectionate pat on the head. "And of course, it is a totally different canvas. Yes, there have been times where it felt like it was never-ending, that I would never finish. But you push through that. You push through."
Although her creative cow efforts have put something of a crimp in her social life - she has been working until the wee hours of the morning every day - Ms. Mastrodonato has been careful not to alienate friends and family curious to hear how she and her cow are getting along.
"Yes, people are aware," she said with a tired laugh. "I've actually been taking digital photos every few days and sending them out. People want progress reports. They want to know where I stand with the cow."
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org
HAVE A COW
The Atlanta CowParade opens at Centennial Park on June 28. Following the opening, the cows will be arranged, in herds, throughout the city, until Sept. 26.