I love animals and their relationship to us and to each other. The images I paint and sculpt come from experiences I’ve had right here in our backyard and in East Blue Hill.
I am surrounded by woods and live beside an old granite quarry. A sheltered cove and the head of Blue Hill Bay is at our doorstep. I am visited regularly by deer, fox, crows, raccoons, and occasionally a bobcat, bear, hawk and owls. All manner of creatures come to see what our chickens and geese have left from their supper.
I remember my two rabbits, one who lived in my studio, had a passion for my art supplies and woodwork, when I moved her outside with an elderly male rabbit, he became rejuvenated by her presence. Six white, blue-eyed Embden geese are my guardians of the yard. The gander, Goosey, guards his mate as well as the property. Our few chickens are all egg-laying hens and a confident and fearless rooster keeps watch over them. Our orange marmalade tabby cat, is a great comfort and warm companion. “B.B.” my parakeet is a constant reminder of childhood days spent with my Southern Grandmother in Tennessee.
I don’t have to look far to see the relationships that develop between these creatures. The crows fly just above the fox, following him through the neighborhood as he makes his rounds to see what is new in the chicken yard, and to poke at the compost bin. The crows, I believe, will partake in any leftovers the fox leaves behind.
Some of the animals have also been wonderful models for my workshops with children and adults. They seem to be the best motivators for teaching techniques in drawing and painting. A Rhode Island Red rooster, named “Roo Roo”, was the best of all. Having started a modeling career as a young chick, he didn’t mind being placed on a stool for an hour and a half. As he relaxed he would begin to crow and preen himself not caring about the activity in the room. My favorite moment was seeing the rabbit “Gesso” and “Roo Roo” together in the studio with 7 children drawing beautiful interpretations of the combo. The classes I teach to children are inspiring to me as the children try things I would never think of. Their creative, curious, and expressive approach helps me stay open to new ways of working.
It doesn’t seem to matter where I am, the sight of an animal, near or far calls my attention. They are consistently in my dreams and daily thoughts. It is a celebration of their lives with us that I wish to share. I am compelled to paint them, sculpt them and love them.