|Cover image by Robert Karr|
Oes gafr eto? Oes heb ei godro
Ar y creigiau geirwon
Mae’r hen afr yn crwydro,
Gafr wen, wen, wen,
Ie finwen, finwen, finwen,
Foel gynffonwen, foel gynffonwen,
Ystlys wen a chynffon wen, wen, wen . . .
I've lived in Wales for just over ten years but I didn’t know that there were specifically Welsh Nursery Rhymes. Nor did I know that St David’s Day was celebrated in Los Angeles, although my overseas sales of St David’s Day greeting cards has suggested that March 1st is an important date in Welsh communities worldwide.
I chose a rhyme about goats, partly because of my brief but unforgettable experience of keeping goats when my children were young and partly because I had already been sketching goats for my ‘Chinese Year of the Goat’ greeting cards. But I think what actually decided me was that when I read the English translation, I knew instantly how I would approach the illustration.
“Is there another goat? Yes, not yet milked
On the rough rocks
The old goat is wandering
Bald white tail, bald white tale,
White side and tail, white, white white.
And the second, third and fourth verses just substitute ‘red’, ‘black’ and ‘blue’ for ‘white’.
I challenged myself to make the coloured goats look reasonably natural by making the most of the lighting in the background landscape – eg one goat looks black because it’s silhouetted against the bright sunlight and another looks blue-ish in the shade of the tree.
A soft pastel painting I had made previously of the Sugarloaf mountain, provided all that I needed by way of backdrop for my goats.
So I was left with the decorative border to provide colour and what better than the bright red berries of the Rowan Tree or Mountain Ash, which grows plentifully in Wales! (Its Celtic name, ‘fid na ndruad’, means Wizard’s Tree.)
I had the drawing finished during the summer but, with the Surface Pattern course beginning at the end of August, it was a rush at the end to get my illustration painted in time for the December 1st deadline!
The launch will take place on Sunday, March 3rd
DRAGONS & DAFFODILS,
St David's Day Greeting Cards & Gifts