Thursday, 9 August 2012

A Tale of Two Goats

It’s been a while since I painted anything but flowers. 

And with the next Chinese Year of the Goat as far off as 2015, you may wonder why I’ve been drawing and painting goats. The reason is that I am getting into practice!

Some months ago, back in the Spring, I was contacted through facebook and invited to contribute an illustration to a book of Welsh Nursery Rhymes to be published next year to raise funds for the St David’s Day festivities in Los Angeles. I didn’t know that there were specifically Welsh Nursery Rhymes and I had no idea that St David’s Day was celebrated in Los Angeles. It seems that the Patron Saint of Wales enjoys far more attention abroad than here at home in Wales!

I’ve never seriously done any illustration work before but it’s something I’m very interested in, so I didn’t hum and hah for long before I agreed to have a go.

But what has this to do with goats?  

I was sent 14 Welsh Nursery Rhymes to choose from and although I’d have happily given any of them my best shot, it had to be the rhyme about four goats. You see, goats and I have history!

Last week I posted a photo of our family home in the ‘70s. It was a large house on a much bigger plot of land than we'd ever had before. We moved into the house in the February and began the inevitable process of putting my stamp on it through alterations and new decorations.

We were so engrossed by the newly emerging inside of the house that it was early summer by the time that we noticed that Nature had been busy on the outside! Suddenly, it seemed, we had bought a field of waist-high grass and cow parsley.

‘Get a goat!’ advised friends and we thought they were joking. But by the end of the summer, as we battled unsuccessfully to tame our wilderness, we decided that maybe it was the best thing to do.

So we found a gentle-looking Toggenburg goat for sale and the owners agreed to keep it for us until we returned from our holiday. Unfortunately, when we arrived back two weeks later, they had sold the goat to someone else and my eight-year-old daughter was devastated!

The only goats advertised in our local paper were two sisters, Tina and Petula. I thought from the start that they looked rather belligerent and their legs looked long, suggesting that they might be fast runners. And these two had horns! But we managed to get them home in the back of our car, with some rather strange looks from passers-by whenever we stopped at traffic lights!

Tina and Petula polished off all the greenery in our garden in a couple of weeks and thereafter we had to buy food for them – not what we had in mind! They practically demolished the elderly shed where they were kept at night and they chewed through their tethering ropes on a daily basis, resulting in phonecalls from our neighbours to tell us that our goats were ‘dancing’ on their well-manicured lawn!

If they didn’t go next door, they led me a dance around our orchard. They would allow me to creep up on them to catch them, staring at me with their creepy, horizontal-slit eyes. Then, just as I was about to reach out for their collar, off they would prance – and I was right, those long legs did take them well out of my reach!

My daughter was far better at handling them than I was but she had to go to school so then it was up to me and it wasn’t what I thought I’d signed up to! But I was the only one who managed to milk them, though my one attempt resulted in about a quarter of a pint of milk and Petula’s foot in the bucket!

 So you see, I feel I ‘know’ goats! And I’ll enjoy working on the goat nursery rhyme. I’ve suddenly realised that the deadline, Dec 1st, isn’t as far off as it was and with my Surface Pattern Design course beginning in less than three weeks’ time, I need to make a start on it! 

The 'Year of the Goat' greeting cards and all these little 'back-of-the envelope' doodles are just a ‘warm-up’! I'll post again as the illustration begins to take shape.

Ironically,  I've discovered that, according to the Chinese Zodiac, I'm a 'goat'!

You can read about the character traits of the 'goat'  HERE  

Any more goats out there?


Country Mouse Studio said...

Thought I'd better stop by and read your article. I'm glad I did it was very entertaining. I love your drawings and can hardly wait to see your illustration. I wanted to read up on the traits of the goat but your link wouldn't work for me.

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Carole - thank you so much for stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed my goats tale :)

I'm sorry about the link - I don't know what happened there but I've updated it and it seems to be working fine now. said...

I love your sketches and I can see you know goats! How wonderful your going to illustrate the rhyme! :-)

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Crystal - glad you like my doodles and, yes, I'm very excited to be doing a little bit of illustration work! And with the Surface Pattern course starting soon, this year will have taken me into two of my favourite areas of Art and Design!

Betsy Grant said...

You always find such interesting info to put on your blog!

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you, Betsy :)