This is my last swords tarot of my deck and I am totally struggling with it. Maybe it’s because it’s the Ten of Swords and it’s not exactly a fun, positive card to work on. It could also be the ten blades I need to paint, or my love/hate relationship with painting feathers. But I definitely need a push today. Swords have always been harder to paint, and I just have to remind myself that now I’m so close to being done with them. Whew.
As of now, I have three tarot cards left to paint after this. I can almost taste that finish line.
I don’t dream much. Well, I guess that’s probably not true; I’m sure I’m probably dreaming all the time. But I usually wake up not remembering if I dreamed at all. So when I actually remembered a dream recently, I was excited to try a tarot reading to help give me a little insight about it. The first card I happened to draw in this reading was the Queen of Cups. She feels like a very fitting tarot to draw when it comes to dreams, and it was good timing because the Queen of Cups was the next tarot that I wanted to write about.
There’s something rather majestic about this tarot and I wanted the grandest of all the turtles to represent this queen: the leatherback sea turtle. She’s the largest turtle in the world, yet I can still sense her exuding this gentle grace. I think this is one very intuitive queen. She glows with this quiet strength, and she’s very wise but she’s not one to brag. Cups are quite the emotional cards and I love how fluid she seems to be. She’s not rigid and can go with the flow. This is definitely a queen I can feel a connection with.
Painting all of her little details wasn’t easy, but maybe all of her little bumps and scales represent all of the stories she has to tell. I’d love to hear them all! The jellyfish also became my symbolic cup. Perhaps it’s a little warning that though this queen may seem gentle, she can also have quite the temper. I wouldn’t want to get on her bad side.
And as for my reading? Though I was not alone in my dream, I got the sense that it was more about me than anyone else. It’s still a bit of a mystery for me though. I hope to look back on my notes and see things a little more clearly as I continue to learn more about tarot myself.
When I first became interested in tarot, I struggled a lot with how to get started. Trying to learn about 78 different cards with endless meanings was rough, and knowing that there were infinite ways of interpreting the images, well it seemed like that would be something I may never understand.
I remember one of my high school science classes. My teacher made it clear that he would not be handing out printed notes for us. Instead he would write everything out on the blackboard, and we’d have to write everything down on paper. Books and handouts can easily be ignored, but by hand writing notes, that information gets processed a little more as it moves from your eyes, into your brain, and down into your hands as you write it down.
I get reminded of that time because that’s how this tarot deck came to be. Because I struggled with learning tarot, I realized that it would be easier for me to find a connection with the images if I made them myself. And now? At this point in time, I only have 5 tarot cards left to create. I’ve been definitely feeling it; I know that the finish line is close. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot with this deck now. But looking back to the very beginning, I realized something else – I really am still very much a novice when it comes to tarot.
I am inching closer and closer to making this tarot deck a reality, and I’ve been spending the last 2 years on the creation of this deck, trying to learn the different meanings and planning out how to design these images. But my desire to really read tarot, that was set aside while I toiled away on painting and writing.
So more recently, I started to try my hand at learning to read again. I’m at least more comfortable with the idea of tarot reading, though I still have so much more to learn. My journey to learn how to read will really develop more once I have my physical deck in my hands; I’ll be much more comfortable with my very own deck. But it doesn’t mean I can’t at least work with what I have, write notes and see what happens until then.
Fibromyalgia and anxiety are not fun. I go through these phases where I want to create as much art as I can and I feel like I’m just super productive, but then I have these bouts when I struggle with where to go next and what to focus on and artwork just doesn’t want to come together. It’s definitely been one of those rough patches lately.
I feel like I’m close to accomplishing more. I can almost taste that finished tarot deck. But I think I was focusing on it too much. I was living and breathing this deck. I went through that high of getting a lot done. But what goes up, comes right back down, and now I’m down into that low where I suddenly feel like that finish line is so far away and I might never get there.
So maybe it’s appropriate that I have the Seven of Pentacles to write about now. I still struggle with writing and it definitely requires a good push at times to have thoughts and writing come together for me. I see the peacock as a symbol of all the successes achieved. It’s such a beautiful bird with a reason to be proud.
And I can kind of relate to the Seven of Pentacles because I feel like I’ve done a lot, but I’m also looking backwards and forwards with some uncertainty. I’ve worked hard enough to make it this far. But am I doing enough? Am I on the right track? How should I tackle the road ahead? I feel like this card brings up more questions than answers. I hope that that’s what’s needed right now.
I also want to be 100% happy with how this tarot deck turns out. I started playing around a bit more with different layout ideas for this deck, and wanted to see what I could come up with when it came to a borderless tarot deck. I didn’t want to completely lose the work I put into creating the painted borders and text though; I thought that it added to the charm of the artwork. So this is what I came up with, with a little bit of editing. This is a rough draft for sure, and while a little bit of the painting ultimately gets cropped, this might be a good option to have the artwork take up as much space as possible, while keeping the traditional tarot size. What do you think? Borderless or with borders?
Whew, I’ve had to take a step back over the last little bit, especially after trying to work on a the write-up for the deck. That can be some very tiring stuff! But I have made some progress. I got to tell you though; it’s not a full companion book with thorough descriptions of the imagery and symbolism. I think if I were to do that, it would take me another year or two to just get that done. Right now it’s about 12 pages of small paragraphs, a couple sentences each.. almost like a very short story for each tarot. I have my fingers crossed that this write-up works out because this has been a huge challenge for me.
One decision that still needs to be made is how big the tarot deck will actually be. So I thought I should put together a quick comparison of different sizes with the Ace of Cups as my guinea pig. It’s a nice way to see how the image will look on the card, and how the different sizes can be compared. I realize the framing is not ideal on the normal tarot card, but hope that can be overlooked if it ends up being the final size. It’s all been one big learning experience.
You can also click on the image above for the full size. The image is sized for my monitor so the inches may not match other screens, but it’s still a great way to compare sizes. What deck size would you prefer?
This might not be a card I would want to draw! At first glance, the Eight of Swords seems like a sad tarot. Our prisoner is alone and trapped, held down by forces that it can’t seem to control. This tarot was a little challenge to paint, but I think every arm and every tentacle was worth it. (Phew!) I like the strong reds because your eyes get drawn to it and it comes off as a warning at the same time. Watch yourself; you’re in dangerous waters and you might not be able to escape.
Thankfully this tarot is not as negative as it may seem. I chose the octopus for this tarot, and a resourceful, incredibly intelligent creature like this can definitely find a way to escape. There is a way out; you just need to find that exit.
The Page of Wands is quite dear to me because it was inspired by my crazy little chinchilla that I had when I was younger. That fluffy thing was full of spunk and energy.. so much so that he constantly rattled at his cage to get attention, chewed up some of our walls (the damage is still there today. I guess he didn’t want us to forget him!) and got a hold of my childhood stuffed animal at one point and chewed that up too. I was not pleased and he was so lucky he was super cute.
So I knew I’d have to include a chinchilla in this tarot, and I think he fit well with the Page of Wands: young and energetic, a liiittle crazy, always on the go and always trying to get a hold of everything. This match was meant to be!
I definitely won’t forget that fluffy guy. Here’s to you, you nutter.
March has been so incredibly productive for me and this tarot deck. I can happily and ecstatically say that the artwork for this deck is about 90% complete now. Thanks to a whole lot of planning, I was able to crank out new cards pretty quickly and I am in love with all the new pieces that I will be writing about here shortly.
However, now it’s time to slow down a little. Tarot decks are not created on artwork alone, and there is still lots of other things to plan before that finish line can be anywhere in view.
The Four of Swords is a good reminder to take pause, recoup, and look at the bigger picture. Things need to be planned further before I can move forward. I am still working on exactly how this tarot deck will be made available, and I think I have figured out the means to do so. But there is still a lot to do! I would like to include a write-up of some kind with this deck, and I have been attempting to create it over the last little while. This has definitely been challenging, because I am not a writer, and even with a few sentences each, that’s still 79 tarots to write about! But I want to put something together that will hopefully be an interesting, unique read. We’ll see how this all goes.
While contemplating further with the Four of Swords, I need to write about another component that I need to make this deck a reality: a name! This tarot has been unnamed since its very beginnings, and I am in need of a unique, fitting name for this project. I am open to any ideas, because getting a proper name is one step closer to making this deck a reality.
We will get there!
It’s been a while since I worked on the Five of Wands. I remember it was one of the few that I worked on back in November when I was away to see my boyfriend. I had actually sketched out this tarot even way before that, but it ended up sitting around, waiting to be painted for the longest time. I don’t really remember why I didn’t work on it right away; maybe at the time I had doubts that I could make it awesome. Ironic, perhaps, since this tarot contains a lot of conflict in itself. But! I knew I had to face this challenge and this was the end result.
Sometimes so much is happening in a tarot image and I like paring it down a bit to fit with the feel that I wanted for this deck. And I do hope that all of the thought and planning that actually goes into these images shines through in the end. The Five of Wands is an example of one of these images. I ended up putting my outside forces actually outside of the image. They’re all closing in on my animal, which became the fiery wild boar. I chose the boar because I felt that this tarot needed an animal with that fight in it, ready to take charge with no hesitation. This is a tarot that I could definitely learn a thing or two from.