The Making of Sweet Helen

Goat kidding season is underway in much of my geographical area in the United States.

In deciding the next group in “The Making Of” series, in which I illustrate my process in creating artwork, from an idea to a painting.  I have made this choice precisely because of the time of year. For eight years I was a part-time goat breeder.  Having the focus of something outside of my high-stress job helped me manage and, in many ways, helped me survive some of the most emotionally trying times in my life.

As I’ve gone this series of blog posts on how some of my paintings came to be I’ve generally chosen pieces at random.  Most of those choices have been based on whether I had photographically ‘documented’ the progress of the paintings.  Many works won’t appear in posts because I didn’t begin being faithful to doing that until late in my life as a visual artist.

This painting is of a doe kid, out of Emerald’s Beatrice, who was one of two half-sister, registered does I purchased in 2006.  I ended up calling her Aunt Bea and named her offspring based on characters from the The Andy Griffith Show that aired throughout the 1960’s.  Helen was one of a pair of twins – her brother being named Andy.

She was a lovely gray-blue color with white markings and soft, waviness to her coat.  Unlike most of the lighter kids I had witnessed birth to in my herd her nose was black instead of pink or brown. Below are the stages of that painting from a rough sketch through the painting process.

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