The turkeys on the Art Farm are Narragansetts – a heritage breed built for strolling around a farmyard, a little sleeker and more old-fashioned than the broad-breasted birds produced by the industrial facilities for our supermarkets.

They’re pretty.

The legit turkeys

The legit turkeys

Right now we’ve got Tompkins, Cameo, and Honey. (And two of the three American Buff geese – looks like Murphy and O’Hara.)

Resplendent Tompkins

Resplendent Tompkins

Tommy will be a year old in June. But he’s already quite certain that he’s a very big deal. Before I had turkeys, I thought that people always took photos of the toms displaying because it was a picturesque opportunity. Actually he spends most of the day strutting.

Not to diminish the ladies - they tend to be a little more clever and agile.

They’ve all been enjoying the newly-bare earth cleared of snow. Throughout the entire winter, they didn’t get to enjoy a dust bath. Now they’re mad for it. So it was no surprise to see the girls rolling and fluffing in the dirt. But oddly, one looked a funny color through the kitchen window. Wait – there’s an extra hen.

Hey, what?

Hey, what?

A wild visitor had dropped in. She hung out all day.

ridiculous

…and appeared again, the next day.

Made friends with the goats. And Kateri duck, of course.

Made friends with the goats. And Kateri duck, of course.

That evening, there was a loud commotion. A lot more gobbling than usual. That’s saying something. A leaf falls, Tommy gobbles. I tune it out. But this was ongoing. Only the males gobble. The hens talk, but the gobble is a boy thing. And I was hearing quite a bit of it.

Wouldn’t you know it? Her ex came looking for her.

I think he was drunk

I think he was drunk

A wild tom! A mature guy – see the hairy ponytail sticking out of his chest? His beard. It’s a trophy thing that turkey hunters keep. Like an antler growing out of his chest. Very masculine. It’s Steven Seagal’s ponytail. made of chest hair, growing out of the chest of a creature that isn’t even a mammal.

Nevertheless… Miss Wild Thing wanted to hang with her domesticated buddies. She was roosting in a nearby tree overnight, and hanging out all day.

Turkeybro didn’t like it.

RAWR

RAWR

He and Tommy have been kicking it up. Yesterday both wild turks were inside the fence, and the boys took it up again in the afternoon. I didn’t see it, but there were a lot of bronze feathers on the ground. Turkey guy ran from me, but couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t walk through the fence. Turkeys don’t get fences. They can fly to roost on stuff, but the complexity of flying over a 48″ fence for the purpose of getting to the other side is apparently beyond their capacity.

The wild tom paced the fence on the far side of the pond, but the hen was living it up hanging out with her girlfriends.

pastoral

It’s odd to me that she’s been so persistent in hanging around. She’s not getting fed. The birds have to squeeze through a (goat and horse-excluding) gate to enter their overnight pen, and that’s the only place where they have access to feed. I’m quite certain she’s not going into the pen, it’s very enclosed and very near to the house.

It’s not legal to raise wild turkeys in captivity, in MA. They’re as common as whitetail deer, and seem to acclimate to human proximity quite readily. I imagine she’ll move on when she feels like nesting, or when a new band of wild birds comes through.

diggin 1

But in the meantime… they’re playing. Digging holes.

diggin2

Really fascinating, if you’re a turkey, apparently!

turkosaurus

If we didn’t enjoy the neighbors, we’d have picked somewhere else to live.

Can you pinpoint a moment when something crossed your path that would leave a lasting influence on your creative expression for the rest of your life?

For me, that moment happened in a discount bookstore (Northtown Plaza, Buffalo peeps!) sometime around 1986, when I encountered Leonard Lubin’s whimsically illustrated costume history book, The Elegant Beast.

Leonard Lubin - The Elegant Beast - 1981

Leonard Lubin – The Elegant Beast – 1981

Who could resist the cover?

Leonard Lubin - The Elegant Beast 1981 - title page

Leonard Lubin – The Elegant Beast – 1981 – title page

 Not 12 year old me, that’s for sure. The title page nailed it.

lubin-illo1

Leonard Lubin – The Elegant Beast -1981 – Afghan Hound Cavalier!

 The text is extensively detailed, but the lush watercolor and pencil illustrations on each facing page are where the real magic is to be found.

lubin-illo4

Leonard Lubin – The Elegant Beast – 1981 – Directoire period

 Les Incroyables et Merveilleuses – so glam! so fabulous! My love of zebras and dandies traces its genesis to this exact source.

lubin-illo5

Leonard Lubin – The Elegant Beast – 1981
Romantic Era – 1830-1840
Hares

I still think of this gentleman when I draw a jacket with that slope-shouldered silhouette. The hare head is the natural accessory, certainly.

I’ll always be grateful for how Lubin’s work used naturalism, caricature and expression to illustrate an accurately detailed reference work. I had never encountered something that was both scholarly and comical. Reference material was educational, not frivolous. Learning could be playful? More shockingly, teaching could be playful? This changes everything. It changed me for good, and for the better.

lubin-illo2

Leonard Lubin – The Elegant Beast – 1981
Baroque – Louis XIV – 1680-1700

What charmed me in particular was what I might today fondly call naturalist geekery: Lubin went the extra mile. The models for the late Baroque entry aren’t just birds – they’re specifically a Eurasian black vulture and a lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo.

I’m sure he just wanted to draw fun stuff in the form of an accurate costume history overview. I wonder if he expected to engage a kid’s imagination and teach her that smart and accurate could play just fine with fun, weird, and unconventional. It was a life-long lesson for which I’m forever grateful.

The book is readily available for purchase online. If you like my work, you ought to get a copy to enjoy. I’m afraid I don’t lend mine out!

The Beauty of Old Dogs  - available as a print on etsy - https://www.etsy.com/listing/175147281/the-beauty-of-old-dogs-signed-print

The Beauty of Old Dogs – available as a print on etsy – https://www.etsy.com/listing/175147281/the-beauty-of-old-dogs-signed-print

christmas 2013

The Houndton Tabby series gets covered in the Daily Mail! With quotes from me, even!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2521859/Downton-Abbey-characters-painted-pets.html

And I’ve finished a new portrait:

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson as blue or lilac point Siamese and orange tabby, respectively.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson as blue or lilac point Siamese and orange tabby, respectively.

print on etsy!

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/gallery/2013/dec/03/pets-as-downton-abbey-characters-gallery

And Laughing Squid - http://laughingsquid.com/houndton-tabby-portraits-of-downton-abbey-characters-as-cats-and-dogs/

And Refinery29 - http://www.refinery29.com/2013/12/58368/downton-abbey-cats-and-dogs

Been busy with commissions and autumn art shows! But I snuck in some silly fun..

A Hound Insane – Kim Parkhurst

https://www.etsy.com/listing/164189574/a-hound-insane-bowie-greyhound-portrait

Some sculpture pieces -

Christmas sculptures

Christmas sculptures

Foxy - sold

Foxy – sold

 

We’ve got two shows left this season – if you’re in New England, consider coming out and saying hi!

The second annual Living Local Art Fair is in Peterborough, NH at the UU on Nov 30.

The Winter Craft Fair Benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County is at the Northampton, MA high school on Dec. 7 & 8.

 

acrylic 16x20

acrylic 16×20

 

Come see us at the Deerfield Christmas Sampler in West Springfield, MA on Nov. 15, 16, & 17th!

*broke affordable arts fair is on Nov. 23 in Peterborough, NH – everything at this show is priced at $50 or less.

The second annual Living Local Art Fair is in Peterborough, NH at the UU on Nov 30.

The Winter Craft Fair Benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County is at the Northampton, MA high school on Dec. 7 & 8.

Kitty Prints Weekend!

Kitty Prints Weekend!

 

Starting at Midnight Eastern time Friday night and running until Midnight Sunday night, 50% proceeds from sales of cat prints in the Toadbriar Etsy shop will be donated to It’s All About The Animals, Inc. in Rochester, MA. Please spread the word and shop!

I was happy to get a chance to redraw something I painted ten years ago, but hadn’t scanned. Here’s Mother Goose on her gander.

Mother Goose by Kim Parkhurst 2013

Mother Goose by Kim Parkhurst 2013

Print is available in 8×10 or 11×14″

I also completed three new pieces, headed to the Best In Show exhibition at Practice in Philadelphia.

'Pug Vobiscum' by Kim Parkhurst 2013. Mixed media

‘Pug Vobiscum’ – Kim Parkhurst 2013. Mixed media

Natural Talent - Kim Parkhurst 2013 acrylic over collage

‘Natural Talent’ – Kim Parkhurst 2013 acrylic over collage

Black Magic - Kim Parkhurst 2013. Acrylic on canvas

‘Black Magic’ – Kim Parkhurst 2013. Acrylic on canvas

 

 

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