Sunday, January 22, 2012

They Might Be Dragons

Dragon card from the year 2000 (watercolor and colored pencil)


For a several years I have done a card or print of the Chinese Zodiac animal representing that particular year. It's been 13 years now, with a few gaps. My very first was a year of the rabbit card. That design can still be had, the original cards having undergone surgery to remove their year and get a strong and artistically enhanced backing. The second year was a Dragon year. I never was very happy with the outcome. Dragons are tricky, partly because they're been done and done and done. Which is not to say there are not some very nice dragons to seen and had, but it's hard not to feel inhibited by everyone else's vision of this mythical and magical beast. It should be noted that there are two sorts of dragons, Western or European, and Asian. Western dragons are usually bad tempered hoarders, grumpy because they've ruined the Feng Shui of their caverns with too much treasure, and gotten a quantity of the stuff stuck between their belly scales. Asian dragons, which are the ones I am concerned with, are good and wonderful, if a bit showy and occasionally full of themselves, but then who can blame them; they've got it going on more than any other creature, probably because they are made of bits and bobs of other creatures. Dragons have the body of snake, scales of a carp, head of camel, mane of the lion, horns of a deer, eyes of a demon or rabbit, paws of a tiger, talons of an eagle, whiskers of a catfish, and the ears of a cow. Twelve years ago I tried very hard to be correct as to the ingredients of the dragon, but it felt contrived. This year, feeling blank and already defeated, I went out into nature to look for a dragon or two. Since the element of this year's dragon is water, the sea beckoned. There is a fine seaside walk at Wilder Ranch State Park. Since there is little or no supervision one can get quite close to the edge of the overlooking cliffs. It seems a very long way down to the water, especially, if, like me, you are afraid of heights. It's not a mental thing at all, being a afraid of heights, it's just plain physical. A feeling grabs you in the tailbone and tells you you are about to die. Although I knew I was not close to falling I felt like I was. I wondered if there was not something about the combination of water and height that might induce a person to jump, an irresistible siren call to the sea. Edging as close to the edge as I dared, much closer than I was comfortable with, I peered out and watched, watched the water, swishing, splashing, pulling back, diving under and leaping up again. I took many photos, hoping for any sort of dragonish breakthrough. My fear never receded, but I was at least not seized by the uncontrollable desire to jump to my death.

Pacific Ocean at Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz, CA

I returned home, exhilarated by my outdoor near death experience. Because I had a deadline, I hastily got to work and flung ink at paper resulting in some crazy inky dragons. They had some interesting bits, so in the spirit of dragon construction I took a brush stroke here and blob there, pasted, re-drew, cut and pasted again, until something Dragon happened.


Crazy Inky Dragon

Another Crazy Inky Dragon

Water Dragon is unlike my usual work, if placed in a continuum it would seem out of place. Perhaps future art historians will declare it a forgery, or evidence of mental decline. Since I started printing I've wanted to show more paper, I wanted to get looser and simpler, but somehow I couldn't let go of color, of trying to be complex, until now. It is ironic, and therefore perhaps fitting, that the most complex and changeable of the animals, should turn out to be the simplest.

Water Dragon for 2012

If you go looking for a Water Dragon at my ETSY SHOP remember they are all a little different and there are three kinds of paper, so take your time. If your walls are too crowded to add a full sized dragon (his paper size is 13 x 10 inches in most cases), buy some little dragon postcards and send them out to seek their fortunes. If you want to wear a Water Dragon you can do that too by going HERE. To find out more about what the Dragon year may have in store for you, click HERE.

MAY YOUR YEAR OF THE DRAGON
BE TRULY AUSPICIOUS.



14 comments:

Jade said...

For me, heights are both exhilarating and terrifying, the degree of each depending on how secure I feel. I think what I am afraid of most is that I know I am crazy enough to want to fly, but am I not-crazy enough to try to fly.

Christina said...

Love the Dragon, I dont like heights myself but this view doesnt bother me. A few years ago I had the pleasure to visit Cape Cod, my first time seeing the Atlantic. We walked up a hill past a lighthouse on a stormy Oct day. The ocean was slamming into the cliffs and the spray hitting my face was the most gorgeous experience. I can always recall it when I am feeling down.

I am the Metal Dog.

Cara said...

When I was in college, I used to borrow dogs to walk on the beach in winter at Los Osos. Water has an attraction. Any parent of a toddler who has had to put a lock on the toilet lid will confirm this.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Can't get close to the edge either. Hard to drive over high bridges. Can't drive up the jaw-dropping hairpin road to Mount Baker and sure as heck could not do Hiway 1 up the North Coast.

Got a fine dragon in our house! Featured on our blog too! And no doubt BL has ridden it all over the Facebook circuit - she is so pleased with it.

Lisa said...

I love the 2012 dragon, I also love the inky dragon!!! Can't wait to buy some to wear :)

bunnygirl said...

My dragon card showed up yesterday while I was out of town on business, but what a cool guy to come home to!

Happy Year of the Dragon to All!

Clovie Boy said...

D. Moll your water dragon is wonderful! What a great surprise to find him in my mailbox! Thank you so much, I think I will frame it.

Two Bunny Blog said...

Here be dragon, there be dragon...dragons everywhere! Happy Year of the Dragon!

Annie B said...

I love this dragon. I also love this sentence: "Perhaps future art historians will declare it a forgery, or evidence of mental decline." xo ab

bunnits said...

These are beautiful. My longtime friend is a Year of the Dragon girl. Hmm...

I thought I left a comment previously, but have noticed that some haven't been showing up on other blogs. I see that a few others are having this problem. Technology!!!

M.Kate said...

Hello Diana, I just finished posting my Dragon and thought I'd pop over here first to see what's happening. I love ALL your paintings, you have captured the essence of dragon well. Tks for the nice wishes on FB, other than my blasted knee (had a small surgery last December...illness star was bad to me last year), and after the longest hibernation, now back to work and blog land. My FAV dragon of all the dragons i posted on my blog is the LAST one, I'd let you judge it yourself why. Fear of heights is very common. I have a huge fear of height too. When I walk on tall buildings or crossing bridges, I avoid looking down and I feel the hair stand on my back, so I understand the feeling. My 2nd daughter shares the same issue with me. 2 weeks ago she had to cross the over head bridge to the other side of the road where her dad was waiting. Normally, it never happens but there was a bad jam then. I had to laugh. Her teacher had to coax her, her friends persuaded her, everyone was looking! She finally managed to cross over but with lots of people looking. She didnt walked. She crawled on her knees over the bridge. It was funny sight but I know the fear is real for her. I know its real for me, and you too hehe :0 so, happy Dragon year! and may yours be a great and auspicious one too. Lots of good health and prosperity always. Take care and hey, I sent you a couple of mails last year...guessed, you didnt receive it. Tata..love ya and big hugs to the BUNNIES too :))

Alice said...

"Perhaps future art historians will declare it a forgery, or evidence of mental decline."

my favorite sentence as well!!! the water dragon is spectacular D!! and so are the crazies!!! but now i'm wanting you to figure out how to make a necklace out of that water dragon, one that moves and slithers around on your chest. it would probably need lots and lots of tiny little hinges. it seems so alive already. perfection!

RoadBunner said...

Thank you for our dragon post card! Mario preferred the year of the rabbit, but I told him all good things must come to an end :)

bunnythreads said...

ahh I think the ink dragons are your best!!
I do love your photography of the buns :>) soo cute. Hermes,Harriett,bernadette, Tyler really sweet..I don't think I've really seen any as good as yours. Fabulous Photo taking