Sue Westin



16" x 12"



2023 Hiram Blauvelt Art Purchase Award

I was first inspired to paint this rescued donkey for the tufts on its ears and its incredibly shaggy, soulful appearance. My first youthful donkey acquaintance was Pinocchio, a companion for a rarely ridden horse on my grandfather’s farm.

Since the donkey’s domestication 6000 years ago, their uses have been versatile. They have been family pets, therapy animals, and entertainment at fairgrounds. They have carried coal miners, hauled market carts, pulled lawnmowers, been used as pack animals on expeditions, and, in some places, used for milk.

Despite all that, they are often neglected and unrecognized as sentient beings. In this painting of a rescued donkey, I gave him a new halter, the symbol of a new life. Donkeys have a sensitive spirit open to love as much as we find in dogs. Of late, I have learned much more about donkeys and regret that I had not known Pinocchio better.