February 28, 2012

"Before Plucking" by Vicki Shuck

Oil on Panel
Contact Vicki Shuck for Purchase Information

One of my nieces has generously agreed to be a subject of my paintings for this project.  She grew up on a farm and has loved animals and agriculture all her life. After graduating from college with a degree in Animal Science, she returned to the Klamath Basin and works at the OSU Agriculture Experiment Station.  

She and her husband decided to try raising organic, free-range chickens this past year. They set up a roomy pen on wheels in their pasture that they moved every day, providing their 20-odd chickens with fresh grasses to pick through and poop in, fertilizing it at the same time.  After 8 weeks, the chickens were ready to butcher.  This painting shows one step of that process:  after the chicken was dead, it was dunked in very hot water to make it easier to pluck.  It was a family affair--moms and dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all got to get in on this helping to pluck, singe the pin-feathers, and get them ready for wrapping and freezing.

February 14, 2012

"Near Merrill, Long View" by Janice Druian

This painting by Janice is the setting where much of the horseradish is grown that was trimmed by the people in the previous post, below.  It is near Newell, CA, just over the Oregon border.  The big rock on the left is known to locals as "The Peninsula" as this ground used to be under water.  It was part of the land that was homesteaded after it was reclaimed and has been an incredibly rich place to farm.  FYI, the large rock on the right, along with the peninsula is the site of many ancient petroglyphs.  Another note about the place is that behind the peninsula, there was a Japanese Internment Camp during WWII.  My (Vicki's) dad tells stories of how he and his brother used to play with the children in the camp--he and his brother on one side of the fence, and the Japanese -American children on the other.

February 8, 2012

"Trimming Horseradish" by Vicki Shuck

24"x36", Oil on Canvas
Contact Vicki Shuck for purchase information

The first of the paintings I did for this project is of a group of people trimming horseradish root at a farmer's shed in Tule Lake, CA, which is about 6 miles south of the Oregon border.  Dave and Jacquie Krizo (on the far right in the painting) are the son and daughter of two families who homesteaded in the lower Klamath Basin after WWII.  They have spent their lifetimes working the same land, currently raising horseradish and organic grain.  Since the turn of this new century, the availability of water and who should get it has been a huge and divisive issue in the Klamath Basin.  Jacquie has been particularly active in presenting the side of the people who need it to irrigate crops.  She established a website where you can see "before and after" photos of the land and find out more about it:  www.klamathbasincrisis.org