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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Refuge, and more boys

Yesterday, I couldn't paint. It was 65 degrees, I had worked on the weekend, and Daisy went into initial labor by 10 am. I knew the routine with her. While I got her in her lambing den and let her be most of the day, I spent a lot of time checking on her, and massaging her upper shoulders which she always likes. She took a long time to really go into high labor, more than her normal anyway. By dinnertime, she was close. An hour later, we checked on her and she was feeding two beautiful, strong lambs one totally black with a sprinkle of white hair on his cap, one totally deep red also with a white cap.

And yes, they are boys. More boys. The black one is already special, strong, and full of personality at age 12 hours. The usual torment will now ensue - which stay, which go. I won't think about it today. There's no point. We will see how they develop. Martyn joked that we run a 'farm for wanted rams'...

Last night we went out after dinner to check on mother and sons, and it was already dark. The stars were summer like, we saw our first bat, and with flashlight in hand, would get glimpses of tiny eyes shooting about in the dark - cats. But then out of the darkness came two long ears, and then two more. As I shined the light I could see Pino about to open his mouth to bray...'Pino, no, don't bray, hush now"...It fell on deaf ears. Out came his bray, and then a cacophony of chicken sounds, and ram bleets. This led to complete misunderstanding of the animals in the other barn. After all, when the donkey brays, it means I am up and about to feed them, and when the rooster crows, it is definitely morning...We checked in on the ewe barn and all was well. Strong, standing ram lambs. This morning, I checked on Daisy a couple times. I had a moment of being concerned their might be one more lamb in her. I have heard of this happening, but never having been through it I don't know how long a third lamb could stay in the ewe. She just seemed to be stretching in ways that seemed like labor, but she lost after birth last night, so I assume it is all over. But maybe it is an unborn lamb in there. She still looked so much bigger than last year. This is why I don't allow the animals to read my blog - it would unsettle them if they new how little I know.

I named the upcoming show at Mary Lou's "Innate Refuge", for that is what my farm is for me. It is where I like being more than any place - which is good, as I rarely venture far. Some would find this stifling, not being able to jump in the car and go away for the weekend. I mean, even with kids you can load them up and take them somewhere - traveling with a couple donkeys, hens, Joe Pye Weed and a blind pug would prove harder. But I think I am better here. I think I am better with animals.

It seems that people feel more comfortable when they can easily 'define' you as a person or artist. Someone told me I do too many things, and it confuses art buyers.
Hmmmmmmm. Is it so confusing when an artist likes to do abstracts one week and chickens and donkeys the next? Neil Young once lashed back at his record company by making a hokey country twang album, because he had presented them an album and they told him it wasn't "Neil Young enough"...hmmmm. Makes one want to go lie under the walnut tree with a donkey. There are many days when I just want to hold my donkey.


Pam Aries said...

OH! So cool to see the sweet lambs! I love your paintings and WHO cares what people say! Do what you love and love what ya do!

Victoria said...

Well, the combination of art and animals and farm stories I'm finding here is certainly working for me!

coloredsock said...

you know what Rumi says..."Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel
and kiss the ground." i think what is more important about painting is that it all comes from the same heart, that same place inside. taking refuge in a land where there is a donkey waiting to be held, i imagine, is the kind of space that inspires paintings depicting both stories of these relationships AND pure, quiet responses (of your days) like an abstract view "as if you were a bird looking down." you already know how to trust yourself in your art. don't let any 'buyer' do you otherwise.

besides, when you start doing only what the 'art buyer' expects, you'll get bored. xojenny

coloredsock said...

ug. i just left a long comment and it went byebye. i'll try again. you know that Rumi and how he says it so beautifully, "Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground." i think it's more important that paintings flow from that place inside that is your Truth. i imagine a place of refuge where there is a donkey waiting to be held is the sort of place that inspires both paintings depicting both stories of your relationships to that donkey AND pure silent response to your life in the form of abstract color landscapes as if you were a bird looking down. the day you start painting what 'the buyer' expects is the day you'll feel like you lost something. you can hear your voice already so just keep listening to it, whatever it says. xojenny

laura said...

all this spring lamb goodness is giving me warm fuzzies.

and this painting is phenomenal. love your palette and subjects and your whimsical, thoughtful expressionist way of painting. all these emotions just pour forth and i just plain like all you do.

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~