A good portion of the Year of the Dog has already passed, but lest you think I forgot (a reasonable assumption) I want to share a story with you. Last December, while traveling in India, I visited the Arunachala Animal Sanctuary in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, which works primarily with dogs, or the furry ones, as they call them. It is a place of amazing love, where the animals not only receive excellent veterinary care, but also extraordinary caring, presence, and love. My heart just opened to this love when I walked through the door. Being blown open by the unconditional love, I made a donation to their work when I returned home to the US. That started a wonderful love affair with dogs for this year.
The director asked me for some prints for the walls of their newly expanding space. I set to work and created 8 dog paintings of different breeds, primarily copied from books and the internet. The finished paintings were photographed, the files sent to India, enlarged and printed there and then laminated so they would withstand the Indian climate. Now, as you can see, they hang on the wall in the shelter!
January 28, 2017, began the Year of the Rooster! If you search the internet you can find many examples of Chinese roosters but here is a little fellow that I painted a few years ago. He’s affectionately named Spunky Nugget! He seems to personify the characteristics of people who were born in the Year of the Rooster – honest, bright, ambitious, capable and independent. It turns out that the Chinese character for ‘rooster’ can also mean chicken or bird in general and in fact in both Tibet and Nepal this year is called the Year of the Bird. It’s the only year in the Chinese zodiac to have a bird as its animal.
In the last year I’ve been expanding both my painting and teaching. In the teaching domain I’ve been exploring how to teach children to paint some of the local animals where they live, e.g. foxes, raccoons, owls, porcupines, etc., in the Midwest and orca whales, salmon, herons, etc., in the Pacific Northwest. Here are some examples of student (fourth grade) efforts of woodland animals done in 2017.