The Simplicity of the Path, The Fortitude to Keep to It (丑年)
2009 will be the 丑年 (ushidoshi), the Year of the Ox. Or Cow, if you prefer. Prosperity through strength, fortitude, and a level-head. Being a reformed farmboy, I haven't been impressed with either the intelligence or leadership of the domestic cow. I'm willing to give the much more commanding ox the benefit of the doubt, though.
You might notice a bit of a similarity to another piece of art I pasted together not-so-long-ago. As is often the case when I work, I end up with unused pieces. In this case, the bright red of the cow was left over from that project. Although I loved the color, it didn't work as well as the red and gold paper. That leftover piece gave birth to this idea; a more minimalist Ox for a clean, fresh New Year.
Truthfully, I'm a little torn about one thing. The best piece of advice I ever got for my art was to let the paper be paper. So many people beginning to work in cut paper make the same mistake I did; trying to force the paper to be/look like a different medium. When I finally allowed the paper to be true to it's own self, my work took a running leap forward. With that in mind, I'm a bit conflicted over the faux-sumi-e (墨絵) splash. It was so central to the concept that replacing it was unthinkable...but it broke one of the few rules I set for myself. Even though it looks hella-cool.
Here's the other Cow/Ox piece, On the Mountain’s Top, A Forest of Green. Let me know which one you like better!