Peacocks in Magnolia Tree

Peacocks in Magnolia Tree
24" X 60" Alkyd and Gold Leaf on Board

Monday, February 22, 2010

Two Handsome Roosters and Spring Flowers

Two handsome Roosters Strutting their stuff, and both are Handsome Fellas.  Roosters in a spring garden are so pretty, and to me are walking works of art.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mack Hill Farms

This farm has been inspiring my paintings of Icelandic Chickens, and Icelandic Sheep.  I guess I just like painting and drawing farm critters and I wanted you to see some of the photos that Lisa Richards takes.  I love all the geese, ducks, chickens, and sheep that follow her around, and I love the beauty of her rural farm.  Enjoy her photos, and life on a farm.  Through her site I have also found another farm in Virginia, and hope to draw some of their farm critters in the future.  Go to  or  to 
Ingleside Farms

Both farms have Etsy pages, and lovely products to buy.  Or just enjoy these farms, photos, and their blogs.  Write if we get work, and everyone hug their loved ones, and have a good day!

Icelandic Sheep inspired by the Sheep at Mack Hill Farms.  They just make me smile.

Sheep Goats Chickens and Art

I am still painting the beauty of chickens, but I am also enjoying the beauty of heritage goats, sheep, pigs, and cows.  It's amazing how many different and wonderful animals have contributed to the lives and the tables of mankind.  I have come to appreciate the beauty of icelandic sheep, and as a woman who loves to crochet (my husband calls me blanket woman) I know I would appreciate their wool. 
I drew up some line art of sheep, and goats.  The first is inspired by the Icelandic Sheep at Mack Hill Farm, and the goats came from my desire to illustrate The 3 Billy Goats Gruff.  I love books, and all childrens books and illustrations, old and new.  I want to be a childrens book illustrator when I grew up, and now I'm old, never grew up, and just painting and drawing what ever I want because I still can. 

Losing Our Shirts, Keeping The Farm: A Sheep in the Kitchen

Losing Our Shirts, Keeping The Farm: A Sheep in the Kitchen

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Goats and 3 Billy Goats Gruff a Modern Tale

3 Billy Goats Gruff- A Cautionary Tale

Written by Anne E. Shoemaker-Magdaleno House of Chabrier 2010

The old shepherd had died, and that’s what started the problem. His children had no desire to be shepherds, and were to busy playing video games and watching MTV to become farmers, shepherds, or any other such old fashioned nonsense. The goats had always led the sheep and the shepherd up to the pastures in the mountains every spring after lambing. There in the high meadows and the fresh air the kids had grown and thrived, and everyone grew fat and happy making hay while the sun shined. Every winter or late fall to be exact the whole flock descended into the valley, and lived on the farm during the cold winter months. Everyone benefited from this pattern. The farmer had meat for his table, and extra to sell. The farmer’s wife had wool to card, spin, and weave. The extra she could sell to the city folks who loved to knit and crochet with the lovely home spun yarn.

Then the Shepherd died, and life changed. The Three Billy Goats Gruff mourned the loss of the Shepherd, and together with the Great White Pyrenees decided they could lead the sheep up to the mountains. Gathering the flock with the goats in the lead and the dogs on the sides and to the rear they lit out in the early morn. They passed through the new urban sprawl, fancy houses that had sprung up here and there. As they passed home owners got on their cell phones and called their home owners associations to complain of the noise and stink. They objected to the smell of the farm animals, the noise pollution of the baaing and bleating, and the droppings that were fertilizing their well groomed lawns. Little did it matter that the sheep and goats and the farm itself had been there for generations, and they had moved to the great outdoors to get away from the vagaries of city life. Lawyers were called, and the eggs were never gathered because the farmer’s wife had to answer the phone all day and deal with all the complaints.

Now there was a deep ravine separating the lowlands from the mountain pastures, and the shepherd had always lead his flock across the sturdy bridge his grandfather’s father and the farmer’s Great, great grandfather had built and that is how they got to the lush pastures above the farm. This year as the Billy Goats started to trot, trot, trot across the bridge who should block their way, but a large, evil troll. Now this was the Farmer’s bridge, built many generations ago, but it now was on disputed land objected to by the homeowners association, an easement on Government land, or a part of the National Forest. The bridge was roped off, and a stern faced government official, and a smiling, smooth talking lobbyist halted the animals from reaching the greener pastures just beyond the old bridge. The Evil Troll threatened to tear the flock limb from limb, and eat them alive. The three Billy Goats Gruff were highly offended by the evil troll, and told him to please refrain from his bellowing because he was scaring the lambs and the kids. The Ewes were crying and bleating because all they wanted was to get to the pasture for the fresh green grass so they would have enough milk for their babies.

The Homeowners association joined the impromptu town meeting at the bridge with their lawyers, the Ogre, the Government Officials, the Lobbyists, the Special Interest Groups, The Environmentalists, and a Pork Barrel Group wanting to build a new fancy Stainless Steel Bridge over the Ravine. An Amherst Pheasant (an introduced species) entreated everyone to borrow money from China at high interest rates to pay for the new bridge, road crews, surveyors and special interest groups started mapping the new route the sheep and goats now must take. The Debt would be paid for by the Farmer’s children’s children, the Goat kid’s kids, and the poor innocent lambs. Banks got involved lending money at exorbitant rates to the county so they could pay for the environmental impact studies, and the bonuses and retirement packages approved by the district supervisors. The dogs kept their family of hungry, tired, and overtaxed sheep together, and protected the flock from those who prey upon the innocent and the weaker members of any herd. The wild life in the area made themselves scarce as the ARA told it’s members to support the new bridge and get behind the government spending because they would then have access to hunting the local Big Horn Sheep, Elk, Deer, and other wildlife living happily on the mountain above the farm after paying every increasing hunting and licensing fees. The Farmer’s wife berated her husband for not getting her enough help around the farm and a new shepherd, and the Farmer complained about the Government giving visas to Arab Terrorist and everyone else under the sun, but making it impossible for our neighbors south of the border to come and work on the farms, planting, tending the animals, and harvesting the crops. The sun set that day on a world in a very provoked state.

The next morning after having eaten just about all of the grass by the bridge, the sheep started grazing on manicured lawns and petunia beds planted around the new palatial estates on what used to be grazing land. The homeowners went hungry because there were no farm fresh eggs for breakfast, and the Ogre was still occupying the Bridge.

New plans had been drawn up for the Stainless steel Bridge, and another bridge was proposed made out of Fiberglass. A suspension bridge was an alternative put forth by the bridge builders association, and another bridge was proposed made from completely recycled materials. Lego land got involved and offered to build a Lego Bridge for free as long as they could have 500 Acres of the National Forest Land to build a Lego Land for future generations of culturally deprived children in the area. Disney World then made a counter proposal for less land, but a multi use Amusement Park for the diversion of the families in the area and around the world. Plus they would put Twinkly lights on their bridge, and they would hire some of the sheep, chickens, and goats to live as shining examples of rural farm life.

Every one kept debating the pros and cons of all the plans, the government officials kept demanding more money in taxes from the farmer, the homeowners, and threatened loss of basic services due to high demand, lower revenues and rising costs.

The sheep and goats, were hungry, there was no more grass on their side of the mountain. The Ogre had picked off a couple of lambs in the middle of the night, and the Shepherd was sorely missed. The ewes were bleating, the lambs were crying because their mothers had less milk because of all the stress. The dogs were being fed by the humane society, but didn’t like all this strange foot traffic near their flock.

The 3 Billy Goats Gruff decided to take matters in their own horns, and together with other Rams, Elk, wolves, a Puma, and a Bull Moose kicked, butted, pummeled, bit, and clawed, and pushed the Lawyers, Homeowners Association, Lobbyists, Special Interest Groups, Mass Transit Association, Army Corp of Engineers, and Government Officials into the Ravine. The Farmers wife brought in a new shepherd from South of the border who was documented, had a green card, a resident alien card, a work visa, loved farm animals, enjoyed planting crops, and whose wife would help gather eggs, card wool, and pick and can crops. He spoke Spanish and a little bit of English, had 3 children born in the USA, paid his taxes and he and his wife were working hard to put them all through college.

Speaking softly to the dogs and calling to the sheep he and the Billy Goats Gruff led the flock trot, trot, trot over the old wooden bridge to the lush green pastures in the mountains above the peaceful farm below. Life went back to making love in the spring, eating plentiful, nourishing grass in the summer, and trot, trot, trotting back over the bridge in the late fall so that in the winter months everyone could be warm and cozy on the farm. Life was good!

Copyright: Anne E. Shoemaker-Magdaleno House of Chabrier 2010 All Rights Reserved

A cautionary tale for those wise sages who tend to believe they know more, much more than the common man.  Neither a borrower or a lender be.  Write when we get work!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Domestic Icelandic Sheep and Goats

Yesterday I drew this Icelandic Ram, and after researching and drawing Sheep I have come to realize each animal can become extinct from benign neglect.  These animals are what is called heritage breeds, and there are not very many of them left.  Small farms now breed and raise them for their wool, tender meat, and the natural color diversity of their coats.  There is so much hard work done every single day by farmers to not only provide the rest of the world with food, but to contribute wool for carding, spinning, weaving and dyeing.  The help and cooperation I see in farm communities, and the joyful comraderie I read on their blogs is not only interesting and informative, but spiritually uplifting.  Thank you God for all the farms big and small, and for all the animals they feed, cultivate, care for and protect.  Praises to these hard working people and the beautiful animals they preserve.  Write if any of us get work, and let my know how your economy is doing.  This Ram was drawn with prismacolor pencils on Strathmore Black Artagain paper.  Have a good day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Glorious George the  Herd Sire at Mack Hill Farms where you can buy beautiful wool in natural colors, to spin, and turn into beautiful blankets or socks you knit or crochet or just buy the socks from Lisa Richards at her Etsy account.  I love having access to beautiful subjects and the different worlds of farmers, zoo employees, and just wonderful people who share their images and lives with me.  Thank you Lisa for allowing me to draw from your photos at Flicker.  This drawing was done in Prismacolor on Black Art Again Paper made by Strathmore.  Try your prismacolor pencils on black or toned paper and observe the rich results.  Have a good day, tell your family you love them, and be sure to write if you or I get work. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stand by Your Man

Some women prefer to flit about, party, and change partners, but some women prefer to stand by their man.  It's wonderful when you are a team, know your jobs, and treat each other with loving respect.  This rooster is Egil again from Mack Hill Farms  and his favorite hen who rarely leaves his side except to tend to woman's work.  I am amazed at how many normal, hardworking couples there are in this world who tend to the business of living and caring for their portion of the world.  I look at all the snow that falls on the farms back east and north of us.  I think of all the animals that need to be tended and fed in fair weather or foul.  This work is constant and has its own rythym during the year, but it takes a husband and wife team, a family, and mutual respect to do all the work that has to be done.  Life is so much better when everyone does their part, works for the benifit of the whole, but the individual loves and needs of each individual are respected.  I am still painting more chickens, and have about 3 paintings in the works.  I worked until midnight last night so I will probably also take a nap today.  There is also laundry to be folded and hung, and more to be washed.  However, I appreciate my own quiet rythym of life and hope it lasts a long time.  Write if I get more work, and I will continue to do the work of painting the animals, plants, and people in this world for you to enjoy.  May you all have a quiet, blessed, calm, and very productive day!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Rooster and Daffodils

Rooster are such a colorful addition to the garden, but a noisy addition to a household.  If you have chickens you also attract predators like Coyotes which sets off our German Shepherd highly territorial dogs.  Chickens also enjoy vegetable leavings and left over rice the dogs usually eat.  There are never any leftovers wasted when you have chickens, dogs, and cats.  It's a little noisy sometimes, but even with no farm animals you would still here the breeding red tailed Hawks calling every morning, the Coyotes howling every night, and all the other sounds of life in the country.  Such is life, and I guess I wouldn't have it any other way.  Write if I get work, and everyone in fair weather or fowl have a good day.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Roosters and Peacocks

The very Handsome Egil roams Mack Hill Farms with his harem, but his number 1 hen is always by his side.  The peacock is one owned by the San Diego Zoo, and photographed by me.  I then did this drawing in Prismacolor Pencils on Strathmore Black Paper.  It has a smooth finish, and helps make the colors of the peacock vibrate with contrast and pencil texture.  The portrait of Egil and his favorite hen is done in transparent watercolor on Strathmore Coldpress Watercolor paper.  I use very inexpensive brushes called Simply Simmons that are really wonderful, hold their shape, and actually with simple care last quite a long time.  Each brush no matter what the size costs $2.99 and sometimes are even less.  You get an excellant brush for the price.  The Prismacolor Pencils are just fun, diverse in their colors, and contain rich color and pigments.  I will now go back to finishing the other Peacock drawing I started last night.  I draw daily, paint, and complete each day everyday.  I've never had the luxary of so much time on my hands for my private art work, so I am enjoying this time of my life.  I may not be as strong as I was when younger, but I sure acquired some fun skills over my lifetime of art work.  Thank you God for all the past work, all the paying jobs, and now thank you God for this time to draw and paint the creatures I love.  Everyone have a good day, enjoy it to the fullest, and write if I get work! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Icelandic Chickens Sheep and Goats

I have taken a fancy to Icelandic Chickens.  This is Egil the Rooster in charge at Mack Hill Farms in NH, and always ready to tell everyone when to wake up, when to get to work, and when it's time to quit for the day.  You can see some wonderful videos of Egil Crowing, and having a good time on the farm.  Some new puppies were born at Mack Hill Farms and it's no surprise they also raise Icelandic Sheepdogs, and Icelandic Sheep.  The farming spirit is alive and well in America, and there are wonderful small farms raising heritage chickens and heritage sheep, and growing heritage vegetables.  Visit Lisa
at out her store, and all the beautiful yarns she sells.  Watch her parade of Geese, ducks, dogs, pigs, chickens, and enjoy the fun of watching her videos on the farm.  The new puppies are darling, and I really appreciate Lisa letting me paint from her beautiful photos.  Support your local farms, buy from the farm fresh produce stands, and try to be kind and generous each and every day.  Life is too short, and it's sure easier to be kind than mean spirited.  I've already started another picture of the Noble Egil and his favorite hen, and I've drawn up some more paintings to be of Keikur.  The world of chickens and people is a world of diversity, and I do enjoy painting all the colors of the rainbow.  Every one take care of your loved ones, and treasure the moments we share.  Thank you and Good night!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Annie's Current Paintings: Keikor the Magnificent from Mack Hill Farms

Annie's Current Paintings: Keikor the Magnificent from Mack Hill Farms

Keikor the Magnificent from Mack Hill Farms

Keikor the Magnificent is a very handsome rooster and second in command at Mack Hill Farms.  The head honcho and ruler of all he surveys is Egil who greets the dawn every day with a cock a doodle doo, which is then followed by Keikor who has grown into his voice and competes with Egil for the many lovely ladies on the farm.  It's a case of dueling Roosters, but Keikor knows his place and always gives way to Egil.  Mack Hill Farms is extensively photographed by Lisa Richards, and her wonderful photos can be seen on Flicker.  She raises and sells the wool of her Icelandic Sheep, and just reading the chronicle of daily life on Mack Hill Farms is facinating.  She has given me permission to paint her Kritters so expect to see more paintings of Icelandic Sheep, above is a drawing of an Icelandic Goat, and a Big horned sheep.  You can draw your own comparrisons about the different qualities of these noble creatures.  Many of our farm animals are also on the endangered species list, because these heritage farm animals are only being bred and raised by a few farmers interested in their conservation and preservation.  If you enjoy knitting or crocheting, spinning or weaving contact Lisa and purchase some of her beautiful wool.  Next I will have to draw up Egil so their is equal time given to the head rooster.  Write if I get work, and enjoy the beauty and joy of the world around you.  Paint and draw to your hearts content, and do everything well and to your complete satisfaction.  Congratulations to Lisa and her dog on the birth of her puppies.  May the runt live long and prosper!