Easy, Tiger

Time of the Tiger by Julie Paschkis, gouache and ink on paper

February 1st is the start of the lunar new year – The Year of the Tiger.

Every year the artist Dorit Ely creates a collage card showing the spirit of that year’s animal.

Year of the Tiger by Dorit Ely

In the year 1789 William Blake published The Songs of Innocence. His tyger still burns bright.

The Tyger written and illustrated by William Blake

Joohee Yoon relights the burning tiger in her book Beastly Verse from Enchanted Lion. Yoon’s tiger pulses with energy. She uses a limited palette – the colors vibrate. The shadows of the forest become the stripes of the tiger. The page folds out. First you see mostly the forest, then open the gatefold to reveal the rest of the tiger with fearful asymmetry.

Tiger by Joohee Yoon (closed spread, open spread, detail)

Morris Hirshfield’s tiger radiates energy through the curving stripes of the beast, framed by the curving lines of the sky. This tiger is bigger than any mere tree, bigger than the hills.

Tiger by Morris Hirshfield 1940, at MOMA

Straight lines can be energetic too. Tiger leaps with big paws onto this soft rug, this new year.

Tiger Rug courtesy of Honeychurch Antiques.

This quizzical feline might not be a tiger. He wonders.

Kotofei Ivanovich by Tatiana Mavrina

He is painted by Tatiana Mavrina. Her joyful style always reminds me to be free when painting.

Today’s tiger journey ends with another visit to William Blake.

The poet Nancy Willard was inspired by Blake’s Songs of Innocence, and created an imaginary inn belonging to him. She wrote A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers. The book is subtly, delicately, delightfully illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen. Their tiger will lead us into 2022 and the rest of our lives.

Art by Alice and Martin Provensen, from A Visit to Willliam Blake’s Inn by Nancy Willard

Blake Leads A Walk on the Milky Way by Nancy Willard

He gave silver shoes to the rabbit

and golden gloves to the cat

and emerald boots to the tiger and me

and boots of iron to the rat.

He inquired, “Is everyone ready?

The night is uncommonly cold.

We’ll start on our journey as children,

but I fear we shall finish it old.”

12 responses to “Easy, Tiger

  1. Suzanne Burnell

    Wonderful! Thank you Julie, this brightened my day. And I love your tiger painting!

  2. What a beautiful tiger! Your drawing feels very auspicious! Thank you Julie.

  3. Christina Albetta

    So delightful Julie!

  4. Wonderful images, Julie. Thanks1

  5. Why a wonderful fantasy respite. Enjoyed the entire page. And, I too, love your tiger, Julie!

  6. Lovely, Julie. I saw a real tiger in the wild in India. They really are majestic.

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