• Cindy Zampa


Acrylic painting of Jax, a beautiful black labrador retriever dog.

PORTAL 52 - Week 7:


Today is the first day of the year, according to the Chinese lunar calendar, so Happy Chinese New Year!

I was inspired to paint this picture of my grand-dog, Jax, as soon as I learned that 2018 is theYear of the Dog. Jax, baby, this is your year to shine!

I always do some background research on whatever subject I paint, and thought I'd share some of the interesting things I came across while painting Jax to commemorate the Year of the Dog.

According to the Chinese zodiac, which is divided into 12 periods of time represented by a certain animal, if you are born during a Year of the Dog, you are destined to develop into a person with traits that are similar to dogs. To get even further detailed, the year of the dog cycles through different types of dogs - wood, fire, earth, metal and water. 2018 is the year of Earth dogs. The general traits associated with dogs are: fiercely loyal; brave; friendly; honest; have a strong sense of right and wrong. Earth dogs, interestingly enough, are distinctive in that they have an artistic spirit.

According to this website,

"Earth dogs have the artistic spirit, so it's not suitable for them to work in industry and commerce circles with fierce competition and internal strife. It doesn't mean that their physical strength or fighting spirit is inferior to others, but their practice and personality cannot cater to others in this complicated society."

Even though I wasn't born in a 'Year of the Dog' I can confidently assert that Earth dogs are my kindred spirits in this respect!

Jax definitely fits all of the descriptors above, but, as most dog owners would tell you, their dogs are uniquely so much more than just those generic descriptors. Jax is no exception. At just over 2 years of age, Jax is a big, goof-ball, baby, who is all about loving the good life, playtime, belly rubs and food...not necessarily in that order. Below, is a picture of Jax in all his glory, chilling out with my son on the couch, watching TV. I have decided to name this picture 'Chill-Jaxin'.

You might be asking yourself, "How is the 'Year of the Dog', or Jax, related to the theme of portals?" Besides the obvious temporal portal, as we shift into the Chinese New Year:

- 2018 being the 'Year of the Dog', particularly the Earth dog, makes this year a special portal for me in that I intend to devote considerably more time to creative and artistic pursuits.

- In general dogs are portals in that they model a way of 'being', or traits, that this world could use more of, such as unconditional love, faithfulness, friendliness, honesty, bravery....

- Jax, in particular, is the best dog representative of a portal (yes, I may be biased because he is my grand-dog, but it's true) in that he is so full of unconditional love, energy, joy, playfulness and, well... he just has such a genuine appreciation for being in the presence of his people, that he is a portal to my heart!

I wish you all many 'Chill-Jaxin' moments throughout this upcoming year!

#JaxBlackLabChineseNewYear #ChineseNewYear #BlackLabradorRetriever

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