No Lions or Tigers. Just Bears – oh my! The Nine of Cups Tarot Card Art
I’ve painted 7 tarot cards so far… out of 79 tarot cards (well, 78 for the standard deck, but I did include the Happy Squirrel card in there as a bonus!) I am far from an expert with tarot cards though. I started developing an interest in them a little more than a year ago, and I admit that I’m still a novice when it comes to their mystery. Creating my own cards has been the best way for me to try to learn more about them, and I’ve really enjoyed this journey so far.
So this is my 8th tarot card! The Nine of Cups took quite a bit of work on and off.. I chose an Asiatic Black Bear as the animal for this card. I had decided on a big burly bear to, for one, get away from small animals that I painted recently; I’d like to have a variety of animals in all shapes and sizes in this deck. But also I was thinking of an animal that would easily be linked to hibernation. Some of my original sketches had a single bear in its den, surrounded by a collection of tasty food in preparation for the winter. I thought of creating a painting that was more about pleasure, and pictured this bear all proud and ready to basically be lazy in hibernation. But in the end, that wasn’t quite the image I wanted for this card. I didn’t really want this card to be about preparing for the road ahead, or to have this card be linked to slothfulness. I wanted to show the pleasure that can be achieved right now. So I painted this card that I felt would be more easily read.. a bear that has caught a fish and has found success in all her hard work. A little baby bear cub is there as a little reminder to share your success with others, but to also stay grounded, for success is fleeting. That fish may last one day but there will be more days ahead.
Incorporating the actual symbols has also been a challenge when it came to creating these cards. With this deck, I wanted more of a symbolic representation of the cups/wands/swords/pentacles in the images, and in this case, I decided a fun way of representing the literal Nine of Cups would be to incorporate cup-shaped flowers. I decided to use wine cup flowers which seemed quite fitting.
Some work in progress shots:
I have my next card on the ol’ to-do list.. I have no idea what direction to take that in yet but I’ll get to working on it soon (: