An artist from Gloucestershire explains how her hobby of painting farm animals has become a rural business.
When Samantha Morris gave her friend a painting of her cow little did she know it would inspire her to realise a lifelong dream.
But the praise she received after painting her farming friend and neighbour Lucinda Morgan a picture of her Holstein heifer encouraged Samantha to pursue a career as an artist.
"I thought I'd give it a go as a surprise. Lucinda loved it and I really enjoyed the process. Once I gave it to her I really missed painting, so I decided to do some more," she said.
In May, Samantha showcased her contemporary collection of cow art at her first ever exhibition - the Animal Art Fair in London. (View the gallery of some of her paintings below).
It also gave Samantha a chance to represent farming - an industry she's become very fond of over the years. She spent time volunteering on farms in Pennsylvania, Borneo and Costa Rica.
"Farmers are so passionate about what they do and I'm very lucky to live next to a farm and witness people who are so passionate about their skill."
Living close to Lucinda, who shows livestock and runs a photography business, motivated Samantha to start painting cows. The animal has now become her trademark.
"Cows are brilliant at engaging people because they are a universally loved animal. I would always like to specialise in agricultural art and try to represent a side of rural life that urban people don't see very much."
Samantha is trying to do this by using her artwork to bridge the gap between urban and rural communities.
"At the Fair, people kept asking why I'd left the ear tags in. I explained that my art is realism. It represents a true picture of agriculture and I want it to create a greater awareness of what is rural."
Now what was just a hobby has turned into a small business and Samantha has already attracted interest from a gallery and sold numerous pieces at local agricultural shows and through her website.
For more on this topic
Read the full story of Samantha and her art in the 9 November issue of Farmers Weekly magazine.
See more rural and farming art
Rhian Price on G+