On the Mountain's Top, A Forest of Green

On the Mountain's Top, A Forest of Green cut paper art by Patrick Gannon

cut paper on board8 x 10 inches

My head is full of memories from my younger years on the farm. Many of these memories revolve around cows. Dignified. Patient. Stable. Persevering. Tolerant. Pragmatic. None of these words have even the slightest thing to do with cows. At least not the cows I've known.

Next year, however, is the Year of the Ox (丑年). It seems a shame to depict a cow honestly - slow, lazy, gassy and mindnumbingly stupid - when we're supposed to be celebrating the critter. So, I cast aside my own personal impressions and anti-bovine prejudices and set out to create an idealized cow. An Ox for the ages. A creature, mythic and proud, that all other cows could endeavor to be.

Apparently, that cow is covered in gold. It also joins a growing collection of animals and creatures in my work that seem to represent some sort of spiritual or mythological significance. Bamboo is a good omen for the New Year, symbolizing unbreaking resilience and speedy growth. It is telling that the bamboo and the ox are one.

On the Mountain's Top, A Forest of Green sketch by Patrick Gannon

Incidentally, the title of this piece came very close to being "Red Bull". I was really tired.