Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Costa Rica Sketchbook

Oh man, I never update this thing, like ever. Whelp here are some select sketches from my Costa Rica sketchbook. 
























Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A chicken with no feet and some goat heads


Been stretching my sketching muscles again. I like goats. I like chickens too. All of these I sketched using photo reference I took. Pardon the poor quality of the scans. The scanner at work and I don't always see eye to eye.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Quick sketches for today




Quick sketch based off the famous Bettie Page beach photo. I was watching TV the other night and didn't fast forward through the commercials like I usually do. I realized that pretty much every single one was trying to sell some chemically laced product that nobody really needed. Kind of freaked me out. Anyhoo it's inspired me to get on the gas mask art bandwagon.


And here's one based off Eugen Sandow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jollity Farm

I don't even know where to start with Jollity. I was busy there. Even though it was the slow season I still managed to keep myself pretty occupied and didn't really have any time to draw or reflect like at Rocking 7. I learned a TON there and hope to be back for a longer stay during the summer. Even for all the busy days, aching feet, and occasional drama I was happy there. I loved being outside and doing the manual labor around the farm. It was nice learning how to use both a chainsaw and a tractor. I can't wait to learn more and find out if I'm really cut out for the whole affair. Right now I know being a goat farmer still has the appeal of novelty to it, so I'm not ready to quit my day job just yet. In the meantime, Marigold the nubian would like to remind you:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sketches from Rocking 7 Ranch

Staying at Rocking 7 Ranch was my first residential experience. On the whole it was a great time. The solitude did me a lot of good, but I would've loved to have a more "serious" farm to go to. Pretty much everything on the farm was a pet with the exception of the meat chickens. More than anything else it was a nice vacation where I learned to fall in love with California all over again. Here are some of the sketches I did:
This was a pretty typical day for my pockets at the farm.

 Noe made a good observation about goats and their perception of reality.

 The doe really liked chewing on the billy's ears much to his annoyance.

 As seen at the King City Safeway.

 Adele kept saying her arms were tired, so Noe told her she had to do 10 pushups every day until she got strong.

Until the burros realized I was good for a snack or two, they would always watch me warily. Like one of those paintings where the eyes follow you around the room.

The alpacas (like every other animal on the farm) showed little interest in us unless we had food.

Guinea hens look like they shouldn't exist. When they run I imagine that's what dodo birds looked like. And they make an awful loud racket.

Nightly viewings of the baby goats were probably the best things about the farm.

There was a taxidermied owl in the living room.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Long overdue post about my first day WWOOFing

It's amazing how quickly the time flies!  Here it is nearly Christmas and I still haven't gotten photos up from my very first day out as a WWOOFer right before Thanksgiving.


It was just a half day of work at Classic Organic Farm in Gaviota, CA which is just north of Santa Barbara on Hwy 101. I was still pretty nervous heading out since I didn't know what to expect.  Would I be up to the job?  What would the people be like?  I quickly found out I needn't have worried in the slightest.  Helmut who owns and operates the farm, was one of the nicest, mellowest gentleman I've ever met.  Just truly a wonderful person to get to spend some time with.  Since a pretty significant rainstorm had rolled through the day before the fields were too muddy to do much work in them but I helped out a bit straightening up the sale area of the barn before going off to help out Helmut's wife in weeding the chicken yard.

I am absolutely mortified that Helmut's wife's name has slipped my mind since I spent hours chit chatting with her while we cleaned up the yard.  I don't think I've ever had a nicer time ass up in the sun pulling weeds.  It was absolutely wonderful hearing how the farm came to be as well as learning a little bit about chickens (summed up they're dumb and destructive, but at least they come home every night!).  Although they had met on a commune, she is a practicing lawyer, and he got a degree in accounting before quickly realizing that the office life wasn't for him.  It was refreshing to hear that maybe my dreams of having my own farm aren't so crazy after all.  Both were very honest about the ups and downs of the lifestyle they chose, and how even though it was tough, they never have regretted it.  I only hope to be in the position some day to pay forward the wisdom and kindness they showed to me on my first day out on the farm to some new WWOOFer testing out their farm legs.  All in all I couldn't have asked for a lovelier day out in the mud.

 Here's a photo of the peace barn that is a serve yourself produce stand.  Helmut says that he's never had an issue with people being dishonest and not paying.  Makes me feel good to know that there is still that kind of trust and respect in the world.


Looking back down the road towards some of the fields.  There was fog burning off in the valley when I got there.  It was so beautiful.  Originally all the land in the valley (some 3,000 I believe) was owned by one family, but over the years has been parceled off.  Helmut and his wife have a lease on the farm rather than owning the land.

After I finished at the farm for the day I decided to drive a couple miles down the road to Nojoqui Falls Park for a quick hike up to the waterfall there.  It really wasn't more than a 15 minute walk or so back to the falls.  Although there wasn't a lot of water, it was still pretty and very relaxing to hang out for while.

 Because the water that flows down the falls is rich in calcium and magnesium carbonate the falls are actually growing the rock out rather than wearing it down.

Yup, I was actually there! Unflattering t shirt and all.

 Since it was such a nice day I decided to take the back roads to Santa Barbara, and then PCH all the way back to Los Angeles.  Really I don't think I could've had a better time.  

All of this definitely has me excited for my first residency coming up at the beginning of January.  Although I still am nervous about some things (I am a Filiatrault after all, and let's be honest if we're not fretting about something we're probably not breathing), I am feeling a bit more confident in my ability to handle the work required of me.  I will be spending the first couple of weeks on a hobby farm/ranch in Priest Valley helping out with just general stuff like gardening, taking care of chickens, fixings fences.  For the last part of January and into February I will be finally getting some hands on time on a dairy goat farm!  It will be kidding season, so here's to hoping that the little bit of experience I have with puppies and kittens being born will serve me well.  

Wish me luck!

-Nicole


EDIT:  Stopped by Classic Organic on my way home from the Bay Area yesterday to say hi and pick up some onions.  Finally found out that the farmer's wife's name is Kathryn.  It was good to see her again even if it meant braving a bit of a crazy hippy rant from a young woman there.  So full of idealism, and lacking in real world experience.  :P

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Went for a hike yesterday for the first time in a very long time.

So this is not an art post, and honestly I'll probably be having fewer and fewer art related posts as I'm moving away from art as my main focus in life.  It just seemed silly to start a new blog.  I'm in the process of trying to segue into a new career potentially in agriculture, so I though I might record some of my experiences in doing so.
 
I almost went to the gym yesterday instead of going to the park, but I took a look at the weather and it just seemed silly to waste a good afternoon indoors.  So instead of spending half an hour on the elliptical I decided to go for a couple hour walk around Kenneth Hahn Park instead.  It was a short one of just 3 or so miles hiking around the hills, but hey at least it was a start.  It's easy to forget how much sitting in a desk 14 hours a day for months on end wrecks your muscles, so I figured best to play it safe and not push it to hard on my first day out exercising.  After not having worn any sort of hiking boots in at least 11 years it was nice breaking in a new pair.  I spent so much of my time as a teenager hiking and then put it away when I went to college that it was comforting having them on again.  Even though some chronic health issues mean that I probably won't ever be able to backpack the way I used to, it was nice remembering what I loved so much about the outdoors, even it if was smack in the middle of LA.  And on a side note I found a potential hiking buddy who lives near me!  I was talking to the girl who works at the pet store where I get my cat's food from and she invited me to go on hikes with her and her boyfriend. 



All in all it was a lovely day.  The weather was perfect with big fluffy clouds.  I saw a family celebrating the 90th birthday of their patriarch.  There were couples playing in the grass.  Near the top of the hill I was admiring the view and a gentleman who was six weeks into recovery from having open heart surgery stopped to ask how steep the rest of the climb was.  He was excited, although tired, and exclaimed, "At least we're doing it!" and kept walking with his son up to the overlook.  There were all kinds of families out playing and walking around with their dogs.  Somewhere the message to unplug is getting through.

The best part of the day though was coming across a giant field with oak trees tucked away at the top of the trail.  It was so lovely I couldn't help but stopping and lying down in the grass for a while.  There are definitely much worse ways to pass the time. 


I find every time I end up going through a major shakeup in my life I either end up taking up new hobbies or re-discovering stuff about myself.  After the rough breakup I went through a few years back I took up cooking ended up becoming a pretty damn good cook.  As hard as it is with Josh being in Baltimore now, ultimately it was the push I needed to start making some major changes in my life.  I signed up to volunteer on farms through WWOOF and will be doing my first assignment tomorrow.  Sure it's only a one day gig helping out and a farmer's market, but I'm excited.  It's a baby step in the right direction of me trying to get my goat farm.  I have more stuff in the works for later this winter, and although I am frankly terrified about how will it all work out, it's terrifying in a wonderful way.  Like standing at the top of a cliff waiting to dive into the water. 

Anyhoo... gotta run.  It's a couple hundred mile drive out to where I staying tonight and I really out to be out the door before it gets dark what with the gnarly weather and all.

Cheerio!