Year of the Water Tiger: Mount Shasta artist blends Chinese tradition with North State nature
Artist Mei Drucker combines elements of her birth culture with Mount Shasta's as easily as she blends paint on her palette.
Her annual painting to celebrate the Chinese New Year and its associated animal — it's the Year of the Water Tiger — depicts a reclining tiger surrounded by flowers with Mt. Shasta in the background.
She and her husband and business partner Stan Drucker are displaying the painting at the Mei Drucker Art Gallery & Gift Shoppe at 418 N. Mount Shasta Blvd. The couple will also share their Chinese New Year spirit with a gift to those who visit the studio between Tuesday and Feb. 15.
Mei Drucker has been painting since she was 3 years old, she said. Her father was her first art instructor.
Born in Chongqing, China, she earned a bachelors degree in art from Sichuan Fine Art Institute before moving to Mount Shasta in 2010. She opened her studio in downtown Mount Shasta in 2015.
"With each painting my desire is to create a work of art that comes alive — like a dream that I can share with everyone," she said. "Through my art, I want to bring joy, happiness, peace and calmness to everyone."
She enjoys sharing her work almost as much as making it.
"When someone comes into my gallery and gets excited by one of my creations, I feel happy, especially when I see their smile," she said.
Among the studio's best selling prints is an oil painting she made of a lucky cat — a popular image in Chinese culture. The couple's black and white housecat modeled for it. Mt. Shasta features prominently in the background in "Lucky Cat" too. Prints cost between $18 and $119.
Other items for sale include jewelry, wall hangings, photos and greeting cards.
To see more of Drucker's work go to meidruckerart.com or call 530-925-4015 or 530-945-7748.
Why the tiger roars in 2022
Also called the Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year is the traditional start of the lunar new year, the couple said — "a celebration of new beginnings and the welcoming of spring and the planting season." New Year rituals include family gatherings, food and gift exchanges.
There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, and they cycle every 12 years. The last year of the tiger was 2010.
But five elements — wood, fire, earth, metal and water — also repeat. Elements and animals interact, creating a 60-year cycle. The last Year of the Water Tiger was Feb. 5, 1962 to Jan. 24, 1963.
People born in the Year of the Water Tiger are usually smart, social and have a good sense of humor, according to travel website China Highlights. They're able to adapt to new situations.
This year is about risk taking, adventure, enthusiasm, generosity and social progress, Drucker said. "The water element amplifies the vital life force, health, wealth, abundance, prosperity and humanitarianism."
To find out which animal and element represents your Chinese birth year go to the China Travel Guide website at bit.ly/3KFlZIh.
Jessica Skropanic is a features reporter for the Record Searchlight/USA Today Network. She covers science, arts, social issues and entertainment stories. Follow her on Twitter @RS_JSkropanic and on Facebook. Join Jessica in the Get Out! Nor Cal recreation Facebook group. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today. Thank you.