First, the oil painting, then the story behind it… make sure you don’t miss the most joyful 2 minutes of your day, a video of us playing a game with our real life lambs!
Watch me paint “Spring Lambs” in under a minute (time lapse)
“I mentioned earlier that we used to own a hobby farm [in rural Minnesota]. We had two little Babydoll Southdown lambs named George and Harry, after the Bailey brothers from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. They were sweet and lively. They loved playing hide and seek and chasing after pumpkins- that they’d then eat. We spoiled them with treats and they’d bleat for us to give them food or spend time with them.
One day, when my youngest was about seven years old, George- now a fully grown and heavy sheep- blocked the gate so that my daughter couldn’t leave the pasture. He hated when she was done playing and didn’t want her to go. He was stubborn and even treats weren’t enough to persuade him to move. I had to push and prod him from outside of the fence. Finally he resigned himself to her leaving and took the treats I offered.
When we moved down South, I didn’t expect to see this specific breed of sheep again, or any sheep really, but there are nearby family farms that raise Babydoll Southdown sheep and other breeds. Rural areas are less than an hour’s drive from the heart of Savannah metro.”
– from the book “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Savannah, Georgia” by artist Natalie Buske Thomas
Update to the above story…
Selling our hobby farm was one of the saddest days of my life. Government policies led to entire companies moving out of the country, which ghosted little towns like the one we lived near. My husband lost his job, and our dream farm that we’d worked many years to build by cleaning up old homes and working very hard to sell them, by scrimping and doing without things we wanted and needed… all to have to give it up and give away our precious animals… and move to a city, to rent a small house, no pets allowed, and only a patio plot to be outside… where the sounds are no longer the winds across the prairie grasses, the coo of pheasants or the bleat of lambs… but the roar from the nearby airport and freeway, booming car stereos, and the endless delivery and service trucks slamming doors and revving engines.
At that time, my mom had also just passed away, and my role as her caregiver was over. I’d also lost my job as a the teacher and director of a small private arts school, as my studio was in the house we were selling. In addition, my firstborn was leaving home for college.
All of these changes and losses were piling up, but right around the corner a new journey was in the making. I hadn’t looked at my happy videos of our hobby farm and our beloved lambs in years, as I didn’t have the heart. But today I dug through them to find this little gem to share with you (the short video below), and I am relieved by how I could enjoy the memories without feeling the loss. Those were good days, yet many good things in life are fleeting. The temporary nature of things that we may pine to be “forever” should never destroy the joy we experienced, and will always have; should we choose to focus on the enduring legacy. Every loss carries with it the gains from each chapter in our lives, and those are ours forever.
Watch me and my daughter play a game of tag with these adorable lambs!
I hope you’re enjoying my blog series, “Stories that Inspire my Art”. There are many, many more stories to tell! I’ll post these daily, but if you prefer not to check back to see if there’s something new, please subscribe to my blog to be notified when there’s a new blog post ready.
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