Monday, June 11, 2007

Map to the Stinging Lizards

"Map to the Stinging Lizards", Sumi & Acrylic Inks & Acrylic Paint on Canvas, 14"x26"

Southwest Missouri is home to the Ozark Mountains and a culture that is more closely aligned to Appalachian than traditional Southern or Midwest society. In addition to the already strange mixture of wildlife that inhabits the mountains: black bears, cougars, crawfish and armadillos; the region is also rampant with scorpions. I first learned this many years ago, while preparing to fill a dry Jacuzzi at a B&B cottage overlooking Table Rock Lake. At the time, my wife was pregnant with our first child and nearly stepped on a cluster of the smallish arachnids in a moment she will never let me forget. She made a beeline to complain to the B&B host only to be rebuffed by the statement “their only stinging lizards, Hon”.

Our recent return excursions to the Ozarks have served as a reminder of the local dialectical eccentricities of all communities. The term “stinging lizard” in southwest Missouri applies to any creature that crawls and stings/bites; just as every flying insect in the southeast section of Missouri is classified as a “tree bug” (particularly if they end-up in your house, due to an open window or door).

Click the above image to see a more detailed view of the painting and its multiple layers. – DN

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