Saturday, October 25, 2008

Shearing Day

Yesterday Scott Balfe (left) joined me for a day of painting at the Dancing Lamb Farm . It was shearing day for over 100 of the Icelandic sheep.

I set up near the barn to paint the sheep waiting their turn. What attracted me was the contre jour lighting, the mistiness of the atmosphere, the frost on the ground and the turn in the road in the distance.

The sheep didn't really pose; I had to construct composite poses based on a variety of individuals milling around.

Jeanette helped out with skirting (top), the step where the fleece is laid out on a mesh table and impurities are picked out. It was windy and cold in the barn, so we were grateful for the warm meal of farm-raised chicken soup and homemade cheese.

6 comments:

Dan Gurney, Mr. Kindergarten said...

Just curious: Why shear a sheep just as winter sets in? Don't they need their sweaters?

James Gurney said...

I asked the shearer the same question. The sheep get two shearings per year, spring and fall. The fall fleece is the highest quality. The fleece grows back enough before the extreme cold of winter to protect the sheep, and the Icelandic sheep are very hardy anyway.

But this year shearing day was delayed several times by rain delays (The fleeces must be absolutely dry.) So this fall shearing was a bit late, and the shearer decided to leave the belly wool on to protect them from the cold.

Nathan Fowkes said...

Quite the grand day out!

Erik Bongers said...

That really is a great painting.

There's also something very european about that dining...can't quite put my finger on it...
Maybe...the hats and, oh yes, especially...that table cloth !!!

Jen Z said...

Hehe, that was also my question, why the sheep don't get to keep their 'sweaters' for winter, but I see the farmer was nice about it. I love the way I can always squint at your paintings and have the feeling that I'm there, or looking at what you were looking at. Or even at another world, as we've come to know, you tend to embellish your scenery. :) I guess that's just the storyteller at work. Thanks for sharing.

Natasha Laity Snyder said...

Love this painting! I have Icelandic sheep as well, and they are very regal with all of their colors and their attitude. Is it for sale?