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  • Writer's pictureLinda Donlin

Farmer Dad inspires art

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

I grew up in central North Dakota on a large grain and cattle operation. My dad and uncle were partners in the farm, which also employed several others.  I was the eldest of seven children, and there were lots of kids in the other four homes on the farm as well. At one point, 25 children got on the school bus when it stopped at our place! 

My dad loved farming. Nothing made him happier than a good rain in the summer or driving around to "check the crops." Farmers must have eternal optimism and/or an unwavering faith, because it's not an easy life to choose. My dad had both. He shrugged off hail, drought, rising costs, soaring interest rates and low prices, always looking forward to the next year and doing it all over again.

Being the first kid on the farm, many of my early memories are of riding in trucks, tractors and combines. As the operation grew, I helped with the bookkeeping. It was fun working in the office with Dad in the elevator.that was eventually built on the place. I enjoyed that much more than helping Mom with the housework that went along with cooking for seven kids as well as hired hands! Dad was a pioneer in many ways, never afraid to try something new, such as growing sunflowers in an area that was traditionally seen as a grain belt. My painting "Here Comes the Sun" was inspired by my dad and how I remember his excitement about this new crop. A new day was dawning for farming in our region.

Like Dad, I love to try new things. This painting "Dakota Gold" also pays homage to my dad and his outlook on life. I painted it using a new technique in multiple layers, experimenting with texture while giving it a metallic effect. With the golden heads of wheat standing out in the foreground, you almost feel like you're in the cab of the combine ready to start it up for harvest.

Happy Father's Day in Heaven, Dad! Your spirit lives on. 

Several newspapers ran this story as a Father's Day feature. I am grateful for their coverage.

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