“Come not between the dragon, and his wrath.” ~ William Shakespeare, King Lear

The first time I became interested in dragons was when I saw one.  It was in the wee hours of the night on a summer evening in San Diego, during a road trip to Comic Con with one of my old friends.

Under the influence, we stopped and walked along the docks.  I remember as the water slapped back and forth upon the docks glowing fish would jump up out of the water and with a plop, fall back in.  It was novel, but that wasn’t what I remember most about that night.

We went to a nearby beach to listen to the ocean.  We had no place to go and the beach seemed like a great place to waste away the hours.  While sitting in the sand, I looked out into the ocean and  the waves were glowing.  Suddenly, I saw this giant serpent-like creature glowing bright white riding the crests of the waves.  I turned to my friend and she turned back to me and I said, “Did you see that? It’s a dragon!”  Smiling she nodded her head.

The luminescent dragon reminded me of one of those Chinese dragons.   I wasn’t scared, just in wonder of what we believed we were witnessing.   It was a night I will never forget.

Sometime later, I was reminiscing about that night when I saw a Chinese illustration of a dragon and a tiger.

If you have read any of my posts or have known me over the years, you might know I have an affinity towards the simian and it occurred to me to draw an interaction between a dragon and a gorilla.

I thought of the dragon as a god-like creature and a force of nature.  I wanted him to be serpent that flew through the sketch with no end to its body and single gorilla creature reaching out to it in wonderment.

I worked on the sketch for hours.  Unfortunately, I ruined it, but years later I began to recreate the scene in an oil painting.  Every time I look at this painting, it brings me back to that night.