One of my collectors lives on a cattle ranch here in Florida.  Yes, we have ranches!  Not like Texas where the ranches are thousands of acres, but they ARE called ranches.  Anyway, this collector's family raises Florida Cracker Cattle.

     For those of you who've never heard of "Cracker" cattle, let me give you their background,  They look like Texas Longhorns, but their horns are shorter. Don't get me wrong though, those horns are not short, being about a foot long.  These cattle are smaller than some of your typical beef cattle and they have all kinds of markings, including almost tiger-like stripes, and they tend to be gentle in nature. These are really cool cattle!  They were the original cattle in Florida and the herders used whips for herding, hence the name Cracker comes from "cracking" the whip.

     A few months ago I had painted their main bull.  He is really cool with his tiger-stripe markings in red, yellow, brown and black.  She wanted to train him to ride so she worked with him from the time he was very young to "tame" him.  She got side-tracked and never broke him to ride, but he is a responsive bull.  I have a photo of his portrait below.

     This ranch was featured on a Food Network show because they grass feed their cattle which makes the meat very tender and tasty!  That show was very cool to watch, and I learned a lot about the cattle business.  But to get to the point of this blog, they approached me about doing a logo for them.

     They wanted to have hats made for friends in the Cracker Cattle Association but were told they needed to have an artist design the logo to be printed on those hats.  So they came to me!  They brought a license plate they had previously done as a sample.  We talked about it for a while and came up with some ideas.  I got busy playing around with the ideas we came up with and in the end we were all happy with the design!  It shows their bull in the middle and the words "Florida's Heritage" "Cracker Cattle" above and below him.  The cool part about it is the "I" in Heritage is the handle of a whip that encircles the entire design.  (photo below)  When the hats are finished I will get one for myself and I am excited about that too!

     These are creative people for sure!  That isn't the only thing they have come up with.  Each year at the Cracker Cattle Auction members donate items to be auctioned off to benefit the Association.  They decided to "dip" cattle skulls in paint and make them special art displays.  We worked on the project together as neither they, nor I, had done it before.  Those skulls turned out really nice!  One is hanging in their home and one went to the auction.  It was well received and now hangs in a home somewhere in Florida.  I have photos of them below too!

     So, if you ever see an opportunity to help someone out and advance your art at the same time, be sure to take it!  You never know where it may lead in the future.

     Thanks for looking and see you next week!

 painting of "CRACKER BULL"

LOGO on tan hat

dipped skull

skull on display

They had these hats made in several different styles each different colors, some of which turned out really cool!  One in particular is camouflage with barbed wire stitching!

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