Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A nice job

The McMinnville paper the News Register did an article on me, art and the farm it was written by Molly Walker and Chrissy Ragulsky took some really beautiful photographs! Thank you both for a very nice job! I've gotten lots of response from folks with barns which is great!

here's he article - Edward's photo also got repeated on the front page!! I love it my lama's now famous : ) ok maybe not 'famouse' but published -

Published: January 8, 2009

Napa transplants fall in love with Gaston homestead

Gaston artist Clare Carver is looking for a few good barns. Old barns. Barns that would have a story to tell, if only walls could talk.

And she feels a sense of urgency.

"If you have an old barn that has a great story - contact me," Carver urges. "It's really sad that old barns are going to be lost."

While she realizes the march of time means many will be replaced with metal structures, she dearly wants to capture the stories of Yamhill County's aging wooden barns before it's too late.

Carver, who focuses her artistic talent on oil painting, plans to create a local barn series to sell. And she plans to use the proceeds on construction of her own barn.

She had success with a similar project - a tractor series. Proceeds went toward a tractor for a Gaston farm that she and her husband, Brian Marcy, purchased two years ago.


Painting comes naturally for Carver.

"My dad is an artist," she said. "He gave me art lessons."

While she took an early interest in oils, she also spent considerable time with acrylics, which are less costly.

Carver, who has eight siblings, already had 10 years of art studies under her belt when she entered college. Ann Balbirnie was one of her early mentors.

She attended the Tyler School of Art and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, both in Philadelphia. After graduation, she took a job as art director for an advertising agency, also in Philadelphia.

She recalled, "My dad said, 'Stay there long enough to learn what you need to learn, but not long enough for them to steal your soul.'"

In 1996, Carver bought a one-way plane ticket to San Francisco. She had $250, a bicycle, a backpack and a trunk to her name.

She stayed with the brother of a friend initially, but quickly landed a job and found an apartment to rent.

"I was lucky," Carver said. "Graphic design in 1996 was pretty good."

The dot-com boom was in full swing. That enabled her to find work that was both fun and financially rewarding.

The pay offered her a chance to travel. A shelf full of sketch books depict scenes from Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya, Peru and Paraguay.

In 1999, she met Marcy through a mutual friend. A winemaker, he lived in Napa.

Like Carver, he was an avid cyclist. Their first date was a cycle ride.


In 2000, Marcy got a chance to work a grape harvest in Australia. He asked Carver to join him.

She knew she wouldn't be able to pursue graphic design in the land down under. But she agreed to go if Marcy would cover her room and board.

For four months, Carver focused on her painting.

"It was a really important time in our relationship and my art," she said. "We really fell in love."

Using oils, Carver took her art to a new level. She had shows in Adelaide, and her work caught the eye of collectors.

She returned home with more than 45 paintings.

The pair purchased a home together in Napa in 2002, a fixer-upper. After spending four years renovating it, and getting married along the way, they sold it at the top of the market in 2006.

"Brian had said he wanted to move," Carver said. "I asked 'why?' We had our friends, I had a gallery, my art business was going well. But he was right."

They had visited friends in Yamhill County. They were impressed by the open, friendly environment.

Carver had grown up on a farm in upstate New York and Marcy had spent time on his uncle's farm. They contemplated picking up some acreage of their own.

The couple located a 70-acre farm in a rural area near Gaston. Part of the Williams family's original homestead, it featured a farmhouse built by Joseph Williams in 1890.

The day they visited the property, Carver turned to the real estate agent and asked, "Where do we sign?"

She said, "It was my dream. Land, an old house. I felt like the property had been waiting for us."

They named their place Big Table Farm. The idea, Carver said, was to "create a welcoming table for ourselves and friends, with a cornucopia of hand-crafted food and wine."

In addition to their dog, Clementine, and Andy, a cat who adopted them, the property is home to chickens, goats, Irish Dexter cows, two small draft horses and Edward, a rescued llama.

With the help of Duane Van Dyke of Yamhill, Carver is learning how to plow with the horses. She sees them helping her create future gardens.

Carver has some interesting apparatus to help rotate the livestock around the property, as she works toward creation of a fully sustainable system.

When she feels it's time for the chickens to make a move, the fowl are loaded into the "chicken bus" for the trek to a new location. And when the pigs arrive to fill the pig pen, they will get a chance to make their rotations in the "Pigabego."

The couple are creating their fences out of moveable "hot tape," which relies on solar power.

Within the next two years, they plan to plant a vineyard. In the meantime, she is enjoying life in the country and the opportunity to invest in her artistry.

"I paint what I'm around, Carver said. "I love landscapes and plein air," she said.

From an artistic perspective, the location is perfect.

"It's aesthetically awesome," she said. "It's peaceful. It's a great environment for working."


bb said...

Hey...VERY nice article. It all sounds so meant to be, but we all know things don't happen like that, do they? Oh, wait, you mean they can?? Hm, once again my cynical nature takes a hit!

Clare Carver said...

Hey Bruce - thanks for the blog visit : ) I just noticed you gave us a link on the Evoe post - thanks! Peter and Kevin bought that entire pig from me head to tail 'maia' I kept the other one : ) Peter's been a great supporter - I didn't realize you where a cynic : ) did you see your link in the previous post! : ) thanks for carrying out vino! cheers! Clare

Oma3 said...

What a great article, Clare. I hope you find many barns to paint, you do such a wonderful job with them... I love your barns.

mandy Jones said...

Hey Clare, Great Blogg, Nice reading here in the hot Barossa sun....Cheers
Mandy Jones

Clare Carver said...

wow thanks for the visit mandy - much love to you and trevor!!

bb said...

I did see that link love....thanks so much!!
Okay, maybe I'm not that cynical......

Michael said...

You guys are such a solid team. Sometimes I don't know where you find all the hours in the day. Congratulations on getting recognized. So when are you going to write a book about all this and illustrate it with all the beautiful photos and paintings?


Joseph said...

ORALE! WOW Hello from Mexico City and Congrats on the article! I remain inspired by both of you. Michael said it best - What a team. I will be home soon and cant wait to see / read what else has happened.

love Joseph

Joseph said...

ORALE! WOW Hello from Mexico City and Congrats on the article! I remain inspired by both of you. Michael said it best - What a team. I will be home soon and cant wait to see / read what else has happened.

love Joseph