Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Donkey ears, and the boys are ready

I went out the studio door this morning to a beautiful fall day - crisp, sun, fall color, air, no human noise makers, just the distant
rumbling of Joe Pye Weed letting me know it was time for some breakfast. The donkeys were laying down, facing each other soaking up the sun. If you have never seen a mini donkey laying down, legs all curled in, eyes half shut, well, you must put it on your ' list of things to see in my lifetime'. The sun on their bodies must have been too hard to give up, as they usually greet me at the fence line, but today, the sun beat out my affections.

Yesterday was about 70 degrees, but windy. It reminded me of when I was little, and I loved to go into the many sumac groves we had on our property in Minnesota. I was protected from the wind, but could hear it. The barn is like that. I had my new canvas on the wall ready to start it, and did prep it, but the weather was too perfect. I took a sketch book and a chair and went out and sat with the donkeys. I have a long list of animals to paint, and it takes time to soak in the characteristics of a being, for me anyway, before I can paint them. There are always certain attributes to an animal that catch my eye and heart - and I want to capture them in spirit. I don't consider myself a good draftsperson, but I do feel when I am ready, and have filled up my well properly, I can capture something's essence, even if crudely drawn. I am not a 'take the sketch book out and sketch something' person. I guess it works for me to just be with something over time, and eventually I can capture it - in my style anyway. I'm not quite there with the donkeys. But it was enjoyable to sit with them, and soak up the weather as much as possible before the winter rain comes. I've been running 100 miles a minute, we both have, and taking time to sit and sketch, and just watch them in a sitting position was a luxury. The ears on these beings are so special, and their eyes have a very unique glance, like a being that has had many travels, many lives, and knows what came before them.

Most of the flock is wormed now, and this weekend we will rearrange ewes to be with either Joe Pye or Mr. T [who buy the way is "Turtleweed' because he chortles and that reminds me of a turtle for some reason]. The boys are READY for some female companionship. You shepherds know what I mean. And the ewes have been restless at times as well.

I'm looking forward in a way to the gentle winter rains. I paint much more proactively in winter through May. I have many feelings to get out. But I am not worried about timing. My well only has so much energy in it, and I think I've earned the right to slow down a bit. Is 100 paintings or more a year too little or too many? Many experts out there no doubt have answers. But I am merging into myself, in my own time, and the things that occupy on the farm may take time and energy, but they also fed me and keep my days full of wonderful activities and encounters. Life is juicy.