26 May 2011

Blaine Way


Blaine's happy smile here comes from having to steadily hold onto a piglet while I took pictures...and I'm very glad for it, as it really shows his good-natured character.

We got lucky with some sunshine for a few minutes, but, as you can see from the close-up details below, it's mid-winter and Blaine is out there, tending to the animals (with his son, too). Again, what I initially was worried would become a sameness in my paintings (photographing the farmers in winter) actually underscores the fact that farm work has to be done all year round, regardless of what we would consider uncomfortable working conditions. Winter farming isn't something that comes to mind when we think of pastoral farming scenes, so I'm happy to have depicted this aspect in a number of these portraits.


Blaine has a variety of animals on his farm (cows and calves for beef, horses, wild boars, and muscovy ducks), but I was quite taken with these red-haired cuties, and he was quite happy and proud to pose with this little squirmer).

His secret to raising these adorable (and yummy!) porkers is feeding them barley from local Barley Days Brewery and whey from (also local) Black River Cheese Company (this practice started in 1954 with his grandfather, continued with his father, and now makes Blaine the third generation to do so). The whey is costly to get rid of and not only does recycling it like this make for efficient, cost-effective symbiosis, but, according to Blaine, it makes for sweeter pork. Small Pond Arts will soon become part of this symbiotic chain when Blaine starts harvesting hay from our fields later this summer.

The hands of a farmer.

Abstract close-up detail.

More impressionistic than abstract.

See the full version of this painting HERE.

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