September 13, 2017 03:02PM
By Mark Dionne
Adriana Wimler has been known for her artistic talents since she was young and drawing horses with colored pencils. Paintings or drawings by the Coginchaug Regional High School senior have been on display at the Durham Fair for years.
For the 98th Durham Fair, Wimler has a unique creation – a life-sized cow that can be milked. The cow took about 100 hours of the teen’s summer and will be a featured interactive exhibit in the Discovery Center.
“It’s the weirdest project I’ve ever done,” Wimler told the Town Times.
The idea originated with Emily Annino from the Durham Fair Association, who contacted CRHS art teacher Ryan Bothamley. When Wimler heard about the project, she was game. “I thought it was a cool idea. I was excited. It was just so different that I thought I’d go for it.”
Adriana had sculpted small horses before, but never anything so large or with a mechanical function like a working udder. Over a wooden frame cut and built by Wimler and Bothamley, the cow has a layer of styrofoam, a layer of plaster, and finally a layer of paint. It holds about five gallons of water and can be refilled from the top.
The styrofoam, Wimler said, was the worst part. She had never really worked with styrofoam before and had to struggle with the new material and her own perfectionism. Wimler would not be happy with a stick-figure cow. “It’s like all or nothing,” the high school student said.
Oddly enough, the Durham Fair model is not the first life-sized cow Wimler has painted. As a volunteer at Hillside Equestrian Meadows in Wolcott, she has painted life-sized fiberglass cows and sign murals for the horse farm.
She also has some experience with real cows. Her grandmother has cows and, although Wimler has never milked them, she has bottle-fed a calf, an experience that gave her the idea to use feeding bottles for the fake udder.
“I’m happy with how it turned out. Looking back it was a lot of work. I wouldn’t want to do it again. It was a lot more work than I expected.”
Wimler will also be one of the fair’s art instructors, demonstrating the difference between oil, acrylic and watercolor paint for all ages on Saturday, Sept. 23 between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the art department. She’ll use cows as a subject. “Just trying to keep the theme going,” Wimler said.
Cows have not replaced horses as Wimler’s favorite animal or most popular subject of her artwork. “I can’t say that would ever happen.”
Although her artwork has been visible in schools, libraries, and the Durham Fair, Wimler has not painted something large like a mural in town. She was either too young or too busy when asked.
While she will display other artwork at the Durham Fair, she has yet to select the pieces from her last year’s work, an activity that will be a prelude to her senior year goal of developing her portfolio.
Wimler will go to art school but still has to decide where. The Rhode Island School of Design in Providence or Lyme College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme are on her radar.