Saturday, January 2, 2010

Joy in the Farmyard

Joy the baby donkey was a week old yesterday, so we stopped by Southlands Farm to see how she was doing.

Lenny let Peanut and Joy out of their stall. The baby has long legs and tiny hooves. She has discovered what fun it is to buck and prance.

I held her while Lenny gave her some eye medicine. For those of you who are knitters, Jeanette designed and knitted the Icelandic sweater out of Lopi yarn. She made the hat in a modular design in cashmere, silk, and merino wool.

Lenny opened the gate so Joy could meet the goats and sheep for the first time. I sat on a bucket next to the feed trough and sketched her.

Billy the goat came up to nibble on my sketchbook and shoelaces. You may recall that Billy was the model for our creature design class last summer. Now he has a thick coat of fur, and he likes it when I scratch him on the back of his neck.


Here are a few video clips to show you how well Joy has mastered her legs.
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If you would like to donate something to help support the Gentle Giants 4H Club of the Southlands Foundation, which Joy is a part of, please use the Paypal button at left, and I’ll pass on the funds to Lenny. He’s got a lot of mouths to feed.

By the way, Dan Gurney (musician on the soundtrack) will be performing with all-Ireland champion Dylan Foley at Club Passim in Boston, MA on Sunday, January 3rd at 4:30. He wrote the piece "Buster Takes a Walk" after a dog, but it goes with a donkey, too. More about the gig at Boston.com.
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Previously: Christmas Surprise, Goat Day at Woodstock School of Art.

20 comments:

Mary Bullock said...

What a cutie! (the baby donkey, I mean). And I love the music by your son.

Steve said...

So much life in Joy's legs.

The name Hay Brigade is apropos the images. Great music!

Fantastic knitting, Jeanette!

And, as always, masterful sketches.

A.R.Williams said...

She's such an animated little creature. I have a new appreciation for donkeys.

hinchu said...

I had a quick question. What's your approach to drawing animals from life? Do you watch for an animal standing still and try to draw that pose, or do you observe the proportions and details and then construct a pose from your imagination (or one that you notice that exemplifies what the animal is doing)?

Dan Gurney said...

Sooo Cute! The sketch, the music, and the video clip gave the Gurneys in Sebastopol a rush of pleasure and broad smiles.

Thanks, all. And, Jeanette, great knitting. The sweater and hat look WARM.

Tyler J said...

Amazing how she has gone from wobbly and standing still to prancing with agility.

Good question Hinchu.

James Gurney said...

Hinchu, I didn't show you about four pages of complete DUD sketches. I'm trying to figure out her proportions still. Her head is so huge!

She was moving around me just as much as in the video, so I tried to lock the bucking pose in my short term memory, and then observe her in her other poses to try to get the construction.

Strangely, though, as challenging as this is, and as often as I'm dissatisfied with my efforts, my favorite kind of sketching is trying to tackle moving subjects, I think because I internalize the form more.

Shannon.Doran. said...

aww she is adorable! and I'm surprised she didn't fall on those tiny legs and feet, haha. It takes a lot of patience to draw moving subjects, but at least she's great entertainment to watch!

Deborah Secor said...

Thanks, I guess I needed a dose of Joy and didn't even know it.

Stari said...

Joy's soo cute!! love the music, it fits her perfectly ^-^

innisart said...

Your son is amazing (and you're not too shabby yourself!).

Happy New Year!

hinchu said...

Well that's good to know. I went to the zoo the other day and worked on some sketches and I was pretty bummed by the results. I think it was just an off day, but I think I'll keep at it. It's hard not to just become complacent by drawing from photographs in the comfort of a room.

I've done a lot of drawings of sharks and I've been lucky enough to be able to get up and go observe them swimming around in a tank from life quite regularly and it has been amazing in being able to internalize their structure aside from just seeing a photo of them.

Thank you! ;)

MaureenHume said...

'Joy to the world, let heaven and nature sing...'
One of my life's wishes is to one day own a donkey. Such wonderfully joyous (pun unintended) and loyal animals just make me smile.
maureen. www.thepizzagang.com

PK Studios said...

If I dare show this to my 4 year old he will cry for a little donkey! So fun. Thanks for sharing

The fearless threader said...

She is adorable and such a huge head! Love your sketches, I must do more myself.

Loni Edwards said...

Joy is a beauty! I just love your sketches, and the pictures that go with them. Your talent is so inspirational to me. Thank you for sharing! Love the sweater and vid too! :)

Markus Bühler said...

When I look at this video and the photos you made of the newborn donkey I had to think how dinosaur hatchlings behaved. Many birds, especially galliformes, are very fast in being able to walk, and it is very probable that this is a very primitive trait from a time without much parental care. Modern malleefowl show this to an extreme with no parental care at all (actually even crocodiles and alligators care more about their hatchlings...), with hatchlings which are completely idependet from the very beginning, and it was probably not unsimilar in theropods, even if there are indications for some familiar behavior in some species. But I asked me how this was at herbivores. Of course there were surely also many species which were precocial, but I can also imagine that especially quadrupede dinosaurs like small sauropods probably looked very clumsy when they tried to make their first walk. I suppose this is a little bit different in modern reptiles, as they don´t have vertical limbs, but even some modern reptiles like sea turtle hatchlings look very clumsy at the beginning. Furthermore the walk on vertical limbs probably only worked with a moderate body temperature. In species like Maiasaurus which had really parental care, it possibly required even a bit more time untill the hatchlings were good in walking. The imaginations of a baby dinosaur trying to stand on its legs for the very first time is just really cute.

RocknOats said...

I've always been a fan of your work James, but now I'm a fan of your wife's knitting as well! That sweater is AWESOME!

Jessica Kelly Willett said...

Obviously you have a quite a following on your own blog, but you could definitely submit this to cuteoverload.com and get on the site. And it might bring in more funds to Gentle Giants!

Crystie Deuter said...

The baby donkey is so cute! I wonder what she thinks all day.