Saturday, December 12, 2009

Richard Pickman on 2010 Tarot Lovers' Calendar.

Four of my cards appear on the 2010 Tarot Lovers' Calendar, the month of November. Thanks to Major Tom and to Aeclectic Tarot!

Click here for calendar

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Painting

The bad news: due to a number of reasons, I have not produced any new tarot card drawings in the last four months.

The good news: I have finally completed a painting I have been slowly working away on over the last year.

(click on the image to enlarge)

Nava Yoni, 18" x 24", acrylic, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Moon XVIII


(Drawn on July 2, 2009)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Hermit IX

(Drawn on June 25, 2009)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Temperence XIV

The figure in this card is often portrayed as an angel. I started drawing some wings, didn't like how they looked (in terms of the over-all design/layout of the card), so away they went. We can still think of her as an angel if we want to, or not.

Typically we will see that the figure is standing with one foot on the ground, and the other in water. Drawing the figures more up close as I have been doing usually means that we don't see the feet. For example, in the Hanged Man, the foot he is hanging from is cropped out of the picture; we can't see what he is hanging from, or is he simply hanging in space? You could say that something is missing, or you could also say that this adds a bit of a twist to the card. In my version of Temperance, the figure initially just ran off the bottom of the page. As I was drawing the water, it occurred to me to draw it so that the figure is actually standing in the water. I would also point out that if you think about it, her feet are standing on the ground underneath the water. In fact, if the bottom is muddy or at all squishy, her feet may actually be sunk right into the earth. Rather than standing on the ground and dipping her toes in the water, she is now even more connected with the water, and, if we can assume that her feet are at least somewhat sunken into the earth, more connected there as well.

As previously mentioned, I have eliminated the wings in this drawing, but have kept the radiant glow around her head. The angel in the RWS card looks downward; here, her head is tilted back, her eyes are closed; her expression is not quite ecstatic, but more what I would refer to as beatific. The cups are almost directly opposite one another. The water is not being poured from one cup to the other; rather, defying gravity, it flows back and forth between the two cups in an arc-like shape (which may also cause some to think of a rainbow).

(Drawn on June 14, 2009)

Seven of Wands

This is pretty much a traditional interpretation of this card, but a bit more active and agressive than what we see in the RWS version, for example.

(Drawn on May 31, 2009)

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Star

Typically The Star typically signifies hope, tranquility, inner peace, etc. However, a while back, while doing a reading using The Pictorial Key Tarot, The Star came up and rather than getting a sense of hope, the card gave me a strong sense of sexuality and eroticism. In both the Tarot de Marseille and the Rider-Waite Tarot, the female figure depicted on this card is shown nude, but not in an erotic manner. The Pictorial Key's depiction of the nude female figure is, admittedly, more graphic, but in the past I have never gotten a sense of eroticism from it, and certainly not from the way she is shown in the other two decks.

The Star from The Pictorial Key Tarot
© Lo Scarabeo

Tarot de Marseille © Camoin and Jodorowsky
Rider Waite Tarot © U. S. Games Systems Inc.

In my admittedly still-developing knowledge of tarot, it is my understanding that although there are, more or less, typical "standard meanings" for the individual cards, in many cases, a given card can take on an additional or altered meaning, depending on the context. The range of interpretation, from what I can tell so far, seems to range from adhering to very specific traditional meanings for each card, to largely or even fully "intuitive" understandings based on a particular instance. At this point, I am falling somewhere in the middle, depending on the situation. How does one know exactly where to land in any given case? Well, I suppose that one could use one's intuition for this! Is this not, ultimately, what the tarot demands of us?

My interpretation of this card is influenced by both the traditional meanings and by the more erotic sense I got from this card as described above. Also, I have drawn the stars with seven points, not the usual eight. This could be interpreted through an alchemical, Druidic, or even Christian lens. Do I have a specific meaning for this? Well, let's just say that it seemed like the thing to do at the time. Basically, that's pretty much how I'm rolling with these drawings for now; anything is ultimately subject to change.

(drawing completed on May 18, 2009)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Lovers • The Devil

I decided to draw these cards together, as they are related both visually and thematically. Also, note that the number of the Devil, 15, reduces to the number of the Lovers, 6.

Again, I am keeping the content of the drawings somewhat similar to those in the RWS deck, with a few modifications. With The Lovers, other than the closer view of the figures (and their embrace), the elements are pretty much the same. The figures in the RWS version of The Devil are chained around their neck, but the chains are loose--the figures could free themselves if they wanted to. In my version, we do not see the chains, but we do see a key around the man's neck. (There is probably one around the woman's neck as well, but we can't see if because of her hair.) Although we do not see the chains, the key implies that they are there; perhaps they are leg irons. The man and woman could free themselves, but they are bound by their own choice.

(drawings completed on April 17, 2009)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The High Priestess

Well, let's see.... I'm not deviating too far on this one; a few changes though. The cross on her chest has been replaced by a medallion with the downward-pointing triangle-- the alchemical sign for water. The veil between the pillars has been removed; we now have a clearer view of the water behind her. There is land in the distance on either side, but the center leads out to the open sea, summoning us to explore the depths of our unconscious mind. Oftentimes, we will see the High Priestess with one of her feet on a crescent moon. Here, the moon resides on her staff.

(drawn on April 11, 2009)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Page of Swords

In the RWS deck, the Page of Swords is stepping to his left, looking back over her right shoulder. Her sword is raised, possibly in preparation for defense, but it looks more to me like a position of caution, hesitation, uncertainty. This is also reflected in her facial expression.

The way I have drawn this card shows the page as more defensive, perhaps even preparing to attack. Her face is more determined... don't mess with me or I'll cut your bloody head off!

Of course, all of the Pages in the RWS deck are male, although some could be considered to be somewhat androgynous. We certainly do not see any obvious female attributes in any of them. In some decks, we see that the Page has been changed to the Princess. I decided to stay more within the RWS tradition by sticking with the Page, but thought that this would be a really good opportunity to show a bad-ass young woman with a sword. What's not to like?

Color-wise, I'm not so sure that I see it with the sunny blue sky as in the RWS; perhaps a bit more ominous. We'll see... color is a long way off. Yes, it's windy-- note the hair and the belt blowing in the wind.

Another note-- something that I like about this card is that for some reason, it kind of reminds me of the art of N. C. Wyeth. I can't quite put my finger on why that is, exactly, but for some reason that 's kind of how it hits me.

(drawn on 4/3/09)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Chariot VII

This card is often presented in a more static, formal manner. This would be that case in both the RWS and TdM decks. In those two decks, one has sphinxes, the other has horses. The Chariot is generally considered to be about victory, willpower, and control. I see this card as having a lot to do with power and strength, and as such have presented it in a more kinetic manner, suggesting not just power, but action as well.

The Charioteer needs no reigns; he is in total control of the horses, maintaining a balance between opposing forces. His right hand holds a wand of power in the physical realm. His left hand points to the heavens, connecting him to the forces of the universe, God, or however you choose to look at that (this is echoed in the winged all-seeing eye on the front of the chariot). The sun is directly above his head; there is triangle on his chest (the alchemical symbol for fire); both of these suggest a strong male energy in this card.

(drawn on 3/28/07)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Two of Cups

Lovers meet in the moonlight.

(drawn on 3/7/09)

Two of Pentacles

Not a lot to say about this one, really. I'm not drawing the cards in any particular order, just doing whatever comes to mind for whatever reason. This card typically has to do with balancing the various forces in one's life-- it is often seen as being a bit more lighthearted, but the way it came out seems to be a bit more serious, suggesting challenge, worry, even trepidation perhaps.

When I'm drawing these cards, I have a basic idea, but to some extent things just unfold on their own-- ideas have been coming mid-stream. For example, note that although the figure is upright, the horizon is tilted. Color-wise, I see this as a sunny day, blue sky, warm clouds. Hmm... that would lighten the mood a bit, wouldn't it. Well, this is all a work in progress; everything is subject to change.

(drawn on 2/19/09)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Hanged Man

This sketch of The Hanged Man is my third tarot card drawing. The image of the hanged man is enigmatic; he is hanging upside down, certainly not a comfortable position, yet he is often shown with a glow around his head (as in the RWS version). Joan Bunning (author of the excellent book Learning the Tarot) give her keywords for this card as Letting Go, Reversal, Suspension, Sacrifice. You might also hear that it is about things like transition, adaptation, and rebirth. In her book Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, Rachel Pollack says that the Hanged Man depicts an inner peace achieved through a willing surrender to the vicissitudes of life.

However, tarot reader and blogger Ginny Hunt says that the original historical meaning of this image is something a bit different, that it actually does have more to do with punishment and shame. I recommend that you read her somewhat different take on this card-- click here to go to her blog, 78 Notes to Self.

My drawing of this image differs in some ways from the RWS image and other RWS "clones". Typically, the figure of the hanged man is shown hanging from a living tree (shaped like the letter "T"), and his arms are crossed (tied?) behind his back. In thinking about drawing this card, I realized that if I wanted to keep the tree, I would not be able to come in much closer than what we typically see on this card. After some thought and experimentation, I decided what the heck-- let's lose the tree. So, what we get is the figure hanging upside-down as usual, but we cannot see what his foot is attached to, what he is hanging from. We just don't know. Or... is he not hanging from anything-- just suspended in the sky? I found this intriguing, so I went with it. The other notable difference is that his hands are now visible. I found myself drawing them with one pointing down to the ground, the other pointing up to the sky, reminiscent of The Magician. It seemed to make sense to me. I do not have a specific meaning for this, but it seems to work with the overall meaning(s) of this card. He is also largely unclothed, making him more vulnerable. This is seen elsewhere (in the DruidCraft tarot for example), but I have not seen the hands in this up/down position anywhere else.

(drawn on April 3, 2009)

7 of Swords

The 7 of Swords is my second drawing. Not to give anyone too much of a clue to my personality or any of my past behavior, but this is a card that I have pulled for myself on, let's just say, more than one occasion. This card does give one pause for thought in terms of one's actions and words. Let's just leave it at that.

As stated in the previous post, the 2 of Swords image just started running through my mind, with the point of view in tight on the figure. After finishing that drawing, I felt motivated to do more. I can't give you a real specific reason why I chose the 7 of Swords; it was just what came to me on its own. On this one, I started with an actual pencil sketch, which was then re-drawn in Photoshop.

I liked the tight point of view on the 2 of swords, so I used it again with this card. I really like the way the Rider-Waite-Smith deck is designed and drawn, but I sometimes feel like I want to know more about who these people on the cards actually are. Zooming in for a closer view gives a better look at the characters' expressions; this may change or modify our perspective in how we look at these cards; then again, perhaps not. I would assume that most people that are at all familiar with tarot would be familiar with the RWS images; I'm not looking to make any major changes (so far, at least), so if some of the items or elements of certain cards are missing due to my closer p.o.v. (point of view) or for some other reason, the viewer can keep those things in mind or not-- your choice. The missing blindfold on the 2 of Swords would be an example. You will see another example with the next card; The Hanged Man.

As with the previous card, the colors will be dark and moody on this one.

(drawn on February 15, 2009)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Two of Swords

This was the first tarot card drawing that I made. It is largely based on the Rider-Waite-Smith version of the Two of Swords, but the view is a lot tighter on the figure. In the RWS version, the woman is wearing a blindfold. When I was working on this drawing, I had planned on including the blindfold, but started with the face uncovered, figuring that I would then add the blindfold. However, as I looked at the face I had just drawn, something about it just seemed right as it was, with no blindfold.

This card will sometimes be described as being about choices, which path to take. It is also described as having to do with being defensive; this is more how I see it. The woman is guarding her heart by crossing her arms over her chest. The swords, along with her expression, say "Stay the hell away from me-- I'm not letting you in."

I can hear the wind blowing, and the sound of the waves rolling in on the beach. This is a grey, cloudy day; in color, the card would have a predominance of cool colors-- mainly in the blue range. Dark, moody, mysterious.

(drawn on February 8, 2009)

A few notes about the drawings

First of all, the cards I have been drawing are not finished art; they are preliminary sketches. The drawings are made on a Macintosh G4 using Adoboe Photoshop and a 9" x 12" Wacom Intuos 2 drawing tablet.

The first drawing I made was the Two of Swords. This image just kept reoccurring in my mind. I had not been thinking of creating a deck, but for some reason I just felt compelled to draw this card. After finishing the sketch, I thought "hey, this is pretty cool-- I think I'll do another one." For no specific reason, I then decided to draw The Hanged Man. Well, after that, I was off and running. Actually, a more accurate way of putting it would be to say that I set out on a leisurely stroll. This is not for lack of interest on my part, but as a high school teacher, I am incredibly busy during the school year. I also have to be careful not to start a drawing on a "school night", as this typically would keep me up past my bedtime. I have a hard enough time getting up at 5:30 a.m. without staying up half the night drawing tarot cards!

So anyway, summer break will be here pretty soon; I'm hoping to really get rolling on this project.