Wishing you all a very happy new year!
2014 is the Year of the Horse, according to the Chinese zodiac, and I took that as my theme as I painted New Year’s cards (年賀状、nengajou), a tradition I took with me from Japan.
The top card features a quotation for Jane Smiley: “But what truly horsey girls discover in the end is that boyfriends, husbands, children, and careers are the substitute-for horses” (A Year at the Races: Reflections on Horses, Humans, Love, Money, and Luck).
The second has the words, “Now that’s a horse of a different color,” from the Wizard of Oz (and, probably from lots of other places too!).
One thing I found, as I started painting was that drawing a large number of horse cards was quite taxing on my time and abilities. I like to send as many original etegami as possible, especially at the new year.
So… I started drawing sea horses instead and was able to turn out a great deal more cards. Below are some of my favorites, of the sea horse variety. It wasn’t until I was done that I learned that the sea horse is often used an an alternative animal to draw during the Year of the Dragon, as sea horses are thought to resemble dragons and are often called “tatsu no otoshigo (the dragon’s lost child).”
The above card features a line from a children’s book, In the Sea, by David Elliot: “Where else would the sea horse be? / For though it’s dainty as a wish, / the sea horse is, you see, a fish.”The card above has words from a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, from 1850: “Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true.”