Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Goat Had Her Portrait Painted!

Painter Miranda Gray came out to my little farm earlier this summer and took some photos for her lovely Farm Project--and made a gorgeous portrait of my goat Sula! Here is an excerpt of a recent article about this project, from Edible Santa Fe:

"One of the tenants of permaculture is that everything is connected. Six years ago, Miranda Gray moved with her husband into a small adobe house in the middle of an aging orchard in the Pojoaque Valley. She knew nothing of permaculture, or fruit trees, and only had an inkling of an idea about what her art making was going to be like in her new home. This chapter in her life started with the need to find a painting medium that was free of toxic fumes and plastics, safe to use in her small living room/studio. She also needed some way to figure out what to do with all those trees. Through the trees she found local teachers and community. Through her painting constraints, she discovered the relatively obscure technique of egg tempera, which is one of the oldest painting mediums there is. It uses ground, powdered pigments mixed with water and the yolk of chicken eggs.

"But egg tempera is somewhat persnickety. Commercial eggs fall apart when one tries to separate out the yolk from the egg. This led Miranda to the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market where the eggs she found made her very happy. The yolks were bright in color and stood up to being handled. For a while, as she learned her new craft, she painted portraits of things and people she loved. She painted her dogs, her childhood toys, and her friends. But she was running out of toys to paint. And who would want to buy portraits of dogs they didn’t know? She’d painted a couple of paintings about the bee crisis, but she didn’t feel that she could sustain the idea to a third painting. One evening last Autumn, while she was reading through the Fall issue of this magazine, she came across a beautiful photograph of two young farmers, brothers Kosma and Teague, with their hands dirtied holding huge arm loads of just picked carrots. She said, 'I had an epiphany looking at that picture. I could see a series of paintings that could go on and on for years. I had to paint the farmers! I found something that I loved, that I could paint about. And I found a topic that I believe in, local farming and sustainability. I found a way to blend my art and my politics. I was so excited that I could hardly sleep that night, thinking about all the possibilities, all the connections.'

"The first painting Miranda did was of another neighbor of hers, Natasya Gundersen of Mr.G’s Organic Farm. She road her bicycle down the road and found Gary and Natasya in their field picking white turnips for the market the next day. The morning light was exquisite, and Natasya’s hands were beautiful, with the requisite dirt that Miranda was looking for. From there Miranda went on to photograph Stanley Crawford on his garlic farm in Dixon, on the morning of his first garlic harvest. She helped bring in the harvest, which thrilled her to no end. She visited Daven Lee and her "girls,” goats who supply her with the milk she makes her soap from. She spent one morning tromping around Pollo Real with Tom Delehanty, while he showed her his operation, and talked with her of sustainability. He pointed out plants in his field that in her yard, had seemed like weeds, but now she knew to be nitrogen fixers and chicken food. Not only was she finding subject matter for her work, but also she was seeing first hand where her food was coming from. She was learning from the farmers, hearing their stories, and loving even more her own work.

"Miranda says that she still feels the voyeur. She is not the farmer, like Phil, who stood on his portal this spring and watched while a ten-minute hailstorm ruined his lettuce crop. She doesn’t have to get up before dawn, and put the sleepy kids in the car to drive two hours to market like Tom and Tracy do each week. She is hoping that her paintings will work as prayers for these farmers; that through the hours she sits painting, thinking of them and the good they bring, that somehow she can work a bit of magic into this amazing life, as these farmers do.

Miranda Gray’s paintings may be viewed at Selby Fleetwood Gallery, 600 Canyon Road, Santa Fe. 505-992-8877. Her show opens on Friday October 3rd from 5:00 to 7:30,and Saturday October 4th from 1:00 to 5:00. This time on Saturday was chosen so that the farmers may attend the opening after their Saturday market.

Monday, September 8, 2008

We're in our new home!

Here we are inside our gorgeous new, spacious, light, clean, and LEED Certified Farmers Market Pavillion! I can't tell you how palpable the excitement was as we opened the market in our new location this week. Now, I am inside (and happy to be there), but there is a full and bustling market outside as well--so festive. There was a sense of deep ownership, both from the venders and farmers, as well as from our local, regular customers: This is OUR Farmers Market. The grand opening events for the entire Railyard will be this coming weekend, 9-5 both Saturday and Sunday. I will be away, sadly, at an ice skating competition in Colorado, but Jackie and Maya will be running my booth. And by the way, my booth will be getting more and more spruced up, now that I have a permanent spot, and am indoors, not having to brave the elements. Look for festive lights, beautiful cabinets for storage, new pictures and signage. . . Yipee!!