Eyes trained on a goal, the soft-stepped, striped neighbor.

The neighbourhood cat, Zurich, 2021
After Maruyama Okyo, ink on paper, 2022

Happy new year, friends and ink lovers! Looking up to those 2022 goals yet?

It is a quiet start to the year here – enjoying tea, art books and refining goals. What about you, are you a goal-setter, or a “let’s grab opportunity as it arises” personality? If you know me, you know on which side of the fence I stand, though I do like to keep “wiggle” room for opportunity.

In case my sketchbook page didn’t give it away yet, 2022 will be the year of the tiger. Amid the goal setting I was pondering what tiger to paint on my New Year’s cards. I am a little late with those this year, I confess.

Though we have more accurate versions of the striped predator these days, I can never get enough of the giant, soft fur cat look of Maruyama Ōkyo’s tigers. They’re the sort of tigers you want to get closer to, more a giant version of the neighbourhood cat (swipe). Even if getting close to a tiger doesn’t really sound like the smartest idea in the real world. And our neighbourhood cat isn’t quite innocent either – there were sparrows in that ivy-covered bush.

I closed my last sketchbook of 2021 with a free-hand brush pen version of one of Ōkyo’s tiger scrolls this weekend. It feels like the fitting end for a new beginning, and maybe the start of a great card. A quiet moment, looking up and ahead to whatever the new year might bring.

I hope you’re quietly looking up and ahead too, and that the new year might bring you closer to both opportunities and lofty goals. Have a great start to the year!