My first experience with Amos wasn't that long ago. March 8th to be exact.
During my first visit to SoulSpace Farm Sanctuary, Tally (pictured below, on the left) took on the role as tour guide, bringing me around to meet the vast array of personalities all living, loving, playing, snoozing, buried under hay, eating hay, creating mischief, etc. It was Amos who I met last and THIS was how Amos chose to introduce himself to me. He slowly walked forward and placed his forehead against mine.
|photo credit: Gina Easley Photography|
So how not to feel attached to such a compassionate being? And, as a painter, how could I not try to bring him to life on a canvas? Well, this started and went uninterrupted on April 5, throughout the night (a process I never experience anymore). It was as if the experience I had with Amos kept building and I just couldn't seem to reign it in. And so it went.
One of the enjoyable challenges for me as a painter is having the honor of attempting to bring a particular being to life. This is where I find so much joy in the process (and frustration too). I work in constant dialogue with the canvas, literally talking out loud to my subject as I paint.
It is pretty common for people to have an experience with an animal they are typically unfamiliar with and exclaim, "They are so much like a dog!". This makes sense to me. These are the best words we can find for our experience. Because of our relationships with dogs as companions and family members, we learn how personable they are, how loyal and dedicated, how in tune they are to the climate that surrounds them. I think people are generally surprised to find out, most animals have these characteristics!
On my second visit to SoulSpace this April, the personalities more comfortable with being in the spotlight (Francis, the peacock, Tally, the goat and London, the pot belly pig) were strutting their stuff. There was even a bit of riff raff competing for attention. I watched Amos. He was close but stood on the sideline, observing as if to make sure all was well but also, not wanting to be in the center of all the drama. Ha! This is SO me! But instead of being able to accept the drama from afar like Amos so easily did, I would have had the impulse to flee. Amos has such a sense of loving acceptance about him. His presence is so calming and reassuring for me.
When my friend, Gina, was giving the necessary attention required to Francis, Tally and London, I was able to spend time with Amos towards the back of the field. It turns out, Amos had a bit to show me, too.
So here is Amos, now, in my studio, and here is the beginning of another Amos.
|48x24 (detail), acrylic on canvas|
|you've got a friend in me, 20x16, acrylic on canvas|
"...in the Native ways of knowing, human people are often referred to as 'the younger brothers of creation'. We say that humans have the least experience with how to live and thus the most to learn - we must look to our teachers among the other species for guidance. Their wisdom is apparent in the way they live. They teach us by example."- an excerpt from the book, Braiding Sweetgrass written by Robin Wall Kimmerer
If you are local, SoulSpace Farm Sanctuary has events for you!
SoulSpace hosts volunteer days and tours start up on Saturday afternoons in May!
Visit their facebook page to keep up to date on up and coming events.
Find a way to foster your own connection.
To view an album of other SoulSpace residents, visit THIS LINK.