I began a year-long project yesterday, when I visited Green Toe Ground, the biodynamic farm of my friends Nicole & Gaelan. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time there, but I got some nice photos Gerda, their cow, and more importantly, learned a little bit from Nicole about biodynamic farming.
I got this wild idea to do a year-long project of paintings exploring biodynamic farming back in September, when I attended the annual farm dinner at Green Toe Ground. Now this farm dinner thing is absolutely magical, and not something I would ever want to miss. First off, Nicole and Gaelan can cook. And all the food is so impeccably fresh–you’re eating right on the farm!–and more than fresh incredibly delicious. Definitely some of the best meals I’ve ever had have been at Green Toe Ground Farm. Plus, the South Toe River winds below you, the tents are set up, and the candles are lit. What better ambiance could you ask for?
But there’s something else about their farm, more subtle, but growing, it seems, year by year. Something perceived in a different way, something I can’t quite put my finger on, something alive and harmonious. This year that something kept pulling at me–I kept turning around in my chair, looking out over their fields, wondering.
I’d already fallen in love with Gerda, their cow, on the walk to the farm dinner. We were passing the barn when my friend Whitney suggested we say hello to Gerda, who had contributed so much to this meal. There she loomed in the dark of the barn, a massive figure, her presence filling the space. I was mesmerized. Standing next to her, I offered her my hand. Her thick, coarse tongue caressed my hand. When we left she bellowed–such a tremendous noise–and that was it. I was in love.
So over dinner I determined I would paint Gerda, and over the next few days my fascination with their farm sprouted into an idea. I could follow the farm for a year–beginning with Samhain, the traditional Celtic New Year–and paint the farm over the cycle of the year. I want to capture that aliveness and harmony that I felt so clearly the night of the farm dinner. I also wanted Nicole to be a part of this project, having read her accounts of farm life over the years, and asked her if she would contribute some of her writings to the project. She agreed. So at the end of the year we’ll put together a small book of my paintings and her words. It’s going to be a magical year.