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Happy Chinese New Year to each of you. 2012 is a Year of the Dragon — a most auspicious year indeed!

I was born in the Year of the Dragon, several dragons ago, and I think that was the genesis of my life-long fascination with mythical beasts and magical stories.

In celebration, I’m working on a new painting of a red dragon. I began the painting yesterday with washes of colored inks and metallic watercolors. Then, I added a few drizzles of India ink and brilliant green. Next, I used acrylics to paint my slender, long-necked dragon clinging to some vines in the foreground.

Today, I’ve been adding more layers of acrylics on the dragon. I’ve also added a small barn and house with an “English countryside look” to them to the background. And I’ve painted a red dragon’s egg hidden in a leafy spot on the vines. The dragon’s face still needs more detail, and a few of the vines need to be “freshened up” because the newer layers of paint have muted their vibrant green. Still, I think I’m satisfied with my first dragon painting of 2012.

 The painting you see in this post is an older one — but I still like Strawberry Dragon because of his whimsical vibe. However, liking my older artwork is not a “given.” Luckily, I’ve grown as an artist, so much of my older work seems out of step with my new art. But I’ve decide that is something not to cringe at — but to celebrate.

As each of us grows a year older, we hopefully learn new things and improve upon our work — whether writing, painting, teaching, repairing engines, or whatever it is we do.

So chase away the bad luck by banging some pots together, set aside your broom so as not to sweep out the good luck, and remember to honor your ancestors and the local dragon.

As for me — I think I’ll sketch a unicorn!

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