I finally finished “The Fool” the other night. I worked late into the wee hours the night before Halloween and got it done just in time for me to enter it into a local art competition with two of my other paintings (at Ultimum Verum Gallery in Portland), all about story and creating a world based on imagination, of which I think this piece qualifies. I’ll know by the end of the week whether I got in or not, and will let you know more when I know more.
I didn’t think finishing this painting was going to take so long, but the complexity demanded more and more attention to detail and working out the exact colors.
The Fool walking towards the hills in the distance for instance was buried by all that green despite having a red shirt initially. First I tried white, which worked but was not vibrant enough for a Fool. Finally at the last minute I chose yellow. You can still see the red poking through, which I ended up liking.
I spent a lot of time just looking.
I also added blue green to the green of the hills, and put in a lot of shadow I hadn’t had at first — including shadow on the fish. I felt the sheer number of fish was just too busy otherwise.
I go between really liking this piece and thinking I should do another one that is a lot more simplified.
Part of it is that I am not used to putting so much into one painting that is as small as it is ( 11 1/2 inches by 17 inches tall) and has narrow borders like this. So it has been a challenge.
I am considering making more of the art for the Tarot cards using pen and ink rather than paint. The only way I can tell if that is best is to try it. However I talked with someone who has a degree in illustration, and he was telling me that there are new papers and ink out there that expand the boundaries of what one can do in that arena. I want to try since I love the direct feel of having a nib rather than a brush in hand.
Not to get me wrong since I love to paint too. Its just a slightly different process. Pen and inks are quicker for me, and perhaps more automatic. So that is something I want to explore a bit more especially with the challenge of doing the art for 72 cards…
Meanwhile I am likely going to do more paintings of some of these too simply because I like to paint. But such future paintings will need to be larger next time… whereas I think this is a good size for the pen and inks.
I made some more progress with the Fool tarot card last night. I put in a lot of the background. I decided at the last minute to put in the red earth to balance the meaning as well as the pix. The idea is several planes of reality mixing with each other.
I worked on my tarot card (“The Fool”) late last night after the debates. Somehow this card seems very appropriate at this time of crazy politics from both sides, IMHO!
I had to enlarge the width of the painting a tiny bit so it will make the right size card when reduced down. Thankfully I could since its on watercolor paper…and I just use blue painters tape to hold the paper down.
I decided to go ahead and use acrylic paint. I have found that acrylic is much more durable than watercolor or gouache. For instance, I have a wonderful painting of the almost mythic Wild Ox that got ruined due to my studio being too damp, and that was in San Jose, CA!! (Yes sometime I need to make another one…).
Plus if I need to go in and change things, with acrylics I can do so without sweating it. I have found the acrylics stay cleaner and are easier to frame too.
So as you can see, last night I decided to work on the faces etc. first. And in a few, I will be working on it again. Maybe work on the Sun and background before the rest.. We will see! I let my subconscious guide me in these matters. Its always fun to see where it takes me!
I finally went and did it and now I think there is no turning back! The other day I decided to go ahead and begin drawing and painting my own tarot deck. Christine Payne Towler suggested it might be a good idea since my work is “so iconic.”
The truth is after feeling a bit daunted by the prospect, by plunging ahead I have just discovered I am loving it. With this project I can combine my love of astrology and tarot with my passion for making visual art.
So tonight I really went at it. I definitely am combining symbols from astrology and the tarot as well as other sources, including symbols I like using in my work. I have decided to throw out objective reality and combine realities to create a feeling of the inner and outer planes of existence–which of course really befits the Fool.
Meanwhile I am looking at Christine’s beautiful and definitive new in depth book on the tarot (TAROT OF THE HOLY LIGHT) as well as her new deck with her husband, Michael Dowers as guides.
I am very inspired! So thank you Christine and Michael, as well as the heavens for helping me take this step!! Since yes making 72 cards is quite a project. But now I see how I can do it, using watercolor paper and pen and ink with a pencil drawing first–and just let my imagination go.
I’ll be adding in color as I go of course. I will likely start with water color… I may end up with gouache or acrylic, but we will see.