Yes, yes, I can’t deny it. I’ve missed you, little blog. We’ll be separated for a while but we always seem to meet again.
This summer has been kind to me. I more recently was able to add The Animism Tarot to my Etsy shop and have since received some really uplifting feedback. It’s been just over a year now since this deck was born, and I swear it still boggles my mind that I actually managed to finish it. I’ve spent the year getting to know it more (yes, even though I made it, I still feel like I’m learning about it) and I’ve spent time pondering what I wanted to work on next. I’ve had a possible new tarot deck brewing in my mind for the longest time, but it’s taking a great amount of time and effort (and some frustration) trying to refine the ideas more and I’ve been struggling with its execution and style. And here I thought my first tarot deck was challenging.. but this.. this new deck is a whole new challenge! I really hope I’ll be able to get through these obstacles and hammer out some more concrete details because my fingers are just itching to start painting.
I’ve also been in a bit of a creative rut lately; so I feel like this blockage has been affecting my ability to tackle this new tarot challenge as well as creating something new for my little Etsy shop. Where do I go from here? What should I create next? Should I take a break instead? Maybe step away until inspiration hits?
But no, I just can’t do that. I have a single piece of paper with some text on it that sits above my desk so I’ll see it often, and lately I find that I’m reading it more than ever because I need a good reminder. These are the words:
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.” – Chuck Close
So I need to keep creating, even if there are invisible monsters trying to stop me from making something awesome like a brand new tarot deck or some awesome new art. Today I created a simple little angel to boost my creating spirits.. and when I was done, I noticed she brought a little smile to my face. Now I may have to make more of them.. maybe they’ll help fight the invisible monsters so I can start creating some awesome things again.
My little painted rabbit was one of the first stone pendants I made.
It was small and simple, and actually, I still keep it with me, in memory of my little rabbit Lucy.
I started to paint little cats and little dogs, and they soon took over the skies as little angels.
Now I’m offering custom painted pet pendants.
I can’t wait to create more!
Even the grumpy ones.
The pieces are complete! Well, painted and sealed and looking nice and shiny. I hope to get these almost-pendants ready to go and listed soon. A few of these guys were more challenging than others (yeah, I’m talking to you, Gemini!) but then I remind myself that I managed to finish an entire 79 tarot card deck. And in comparison, most things seem much easier now!
I really am enjoying painting on stones. I love that each piece is different: they have their own unique shape, feel, weight, and colours. Some have small dimples and others are much more roughly textured. I have many more stones and ideas just waiting to be put on them.
I also recently took the plunge and joined Instagram. I’m hoping to take and share more photos as I go along. If you’re on Instagram, feel free to share your page; I’d love to follow you!
If I had to choose which Animism Tarot card was the most challenging to create, I would not hesitate to pick Justice.
The concept of this deck was to take animal and tarot qualities and combine them together to create something very special. Some tarot cards were certainly much easier to create than others because certain cards had immediate connections with certain animals. For example, The Hanged Man and the possum were practically meant to be.
But Justice? Justice was, by far the hardest card to plan.
How do you paint something as challenging as Justice? I found it really hard to put it into the right image for this deck. It’s not really something that’s associated with the animal world and animal symbolism. I mean.. what did Justice really mean to me? The first things that come to mind were court systems, the scale, the blindfolded Themis, and certain Justice tarot cards bring about images of authority and righteousness. One animal that was often associated with things like justice was the eagle. Oh, well, there’s America and the eagle! Easy choice! But my eagle was front and center as the Ace of Swords, and to me, that’s where it belonged. No, my Justice would be different.
I was stuck with Justice with a very long time. It often got pushed to the side a little bit, and a little bit more as I worked on other tarot cards instead. I really had to think about Justice, and what it really meant to me. Looking at other concepts and ideas did little to actually help me.
Thankfully, when you stop focusing on other influences, you can finally find the right focus.
What helped me wasn’t looking at what images were associated with Justice, but rather what the tarot card meant, not only to other tarot readers or tarot guides, but what I felt like the card really meant for me. To me, the Justice tarot isn’t about law or punishment. Justice, to me, is about balance.
It’s about being aware of what’s around you, being aware of the outcomes that may arise and the effects that may come from the decisions that you make. With such human qualities that the Justice tarot brought about, it finally made sense to place the chimpanzee as my animal for Justice. Just look into their eyes and try to deny that we are not somehow connected, that they would not be aware of being aware. Two chimpanzees became my Justice, creating that sense of balance, but to also share that shared moment in time. They shared a moment of understanding, even without one spoken word. My Justice was finally complete.
When you get a new tarot deck and you shuffle those cards for the first time, do you ever remember the first card that you draw from that brand new deck? When the very first proof of The Animism Tarot arrived at my door, and I shuffled those cards, I dealt my very first tarot card from the deck and thought about the type of journey the deck and I would share,
Well, I drew Justice.
I thought that was fitting.
What a weekend! With an amazing day trip out of the city with friends and then attending a hilarious bridal shower with relatives. (My mom made for a fantastic toilet paper bride, I have to say!) But now I really need to do whatever I can to stay focused on the road ahead, and thankfully there’s the Knight of Pentacles to help me. This knight is my rock. He is steady and able, taking his time when necessary. Sure, watch him move when provoked, but this is not one of those times. He’s solid in build and in character. This is definitely no pushover. Definitely more experienced than the Page of Pentacles, I wanted my knight to be a little older, like he’s been around the block a little more. The powerful rhino was very fitting: his strong presence, the rough exterior, the little wrinkles. Enduring yet quite temperamental. He’s a reminder to keep going and to keep pushing.
The King of Cups is my gentle giant. The court cards were actually really interesting to work on because I felt like the right animals had to really own their role, and here they needed to have their own unique presence in the cups’ waters. This king was definitely no exception! To me, he had to be grand and fantastical. So why not strive for the king that easily rules the waters and paint the largest mammal in the world: the blue whale.
It’s hard to capture the grandness of the blue whale. If I had my way, I would probably have three tarot cards side by side to paint the king so I could really capture the size of him! But it’s okay; I think a single card suits him quite well. This is one stable king, able to take control of the flowing waters that surround him. He takes everything in stride, knows how to get the right words across, and knows how to keep peace over his world.
I’ve been working on nonstop file editing over the last long while. Editing and re-editing (and re-re-editing) an entire tarot card deck was definitely no picnic. But I can safely say that all of the painting for this deck is done, and for now I can enjoy the fact that in terms of this deck, all I can really do is sit back and wait, maybe even relax and daydream about having it in my hands – which, fingers crossed, should be happening very very soon!
Which brings me to the King of Pentacles. Perhaps it’s good timing to write about him after finally being able to say that the artwork for my deck is complete. The silverback gorilla was a pretty easy choice; I wanted my king to be solid and strong: a very grounded looking, caring creature. For me, this is a king of many successes, and I wanted that to show in an image that was as uncluttered as possible. He’s simply a very proud, happy and successful king, able to take time now to enjoy life, sit on his throne, breathe in that sweet air, and watch over his kingdom.
May is already coming to a close and I can’t believe it. I’m still accidentally writing “2012” and now I just spent my weekend on the beach, watching fireworks going off on Victoria Day. (Sup Canadians.) How did that happen so quickly?
I have so many cards to write about and share, and as of today I am working on my second last tarot already. I still remember that very first day I painted my very first card (The Hanged Man); I looked at it feeling so accomplished.. and then silently wept because I still had 78 more to paint. Sigh. But now? Now that finish line is just around the corner! And though there are still some other things to work on, I really hope to get a physical deck in my hands soon.
I have a huge soft spot for small animals and I knew there’d be an abundance of these little guys in this tarot. Choosing an animal for The Hierophant wasn’t particularly easy. This tarot’s imagery is traditionally more on the religious side and I didn’t want that slant in my version. I decided on the white stoat for The Hierophant because it often represented purity. Not tainted by negative influences, my Hierophant is a teacher, helping to connect others with the knowledge necessary to guide them on their journey. I’d like to think that he’s a bit humble and calm and helps keep a little peace and order within his society.
When I had tried formatting these images to create a borderless deck, this was the card that essentially went, “NOPE, not happening!” Too much of this painting was lost in the process and I couldn’t have that happen. I think the card loses a lot of its meaning when you cut off the two critters below, or the trees on the either side. So the idea of borderless was crossed off, and I hope that the final design of the cards will be okay in the end. I am digging the design plan so far, but I’ll share more of that later!