I was feeling a little overwhelmed so stepped away for a few days to take a breath.
I’ve been thinking about the card backs and trying out some different ideas. Over the years I’ve had ideas for the backs and save little notes about it but reading them now nothing seems to fit just right. I sat down in the office again tonight and worked on it then decided to put it down until I got the other cards all sorted out and maybe centered a bit. I still feel very much in the 9 of Swords but I need to be in all of them.
I’ve been having fun, though, looking through all the cards an the paintings. Now that I’m done I don’t feel so murderous toward some of the cards, but still a few 😛
I do have a hit list of sorts.
There is one I wish I could repaint but won’t, The Sun. The yellow in it has shifted to an ugly greenish cast. Strength has problems with the color too but I’ll get back to that. I went over all of the other paintings, something I don’t do very often, and while some have small changes in the color, or a slight darkening they are ok. The Devil’s yellow got a little green too but it actually looks good or at least appropriate. I’m not worried about that one at all. The poor Sun, though. I think for now I will just correct the color in Photoshop and then repaint it in my own time.
There are some I just want to touch up or make minor changes.
The Ace of Cups. I would like to deepen the red of the fabric he/she is wearing. The hair could be better.
The Fool, I might, just might, give him a reversed circumcision, ha. I need to think about what it means and if its worth changing.
The Empress. I would like to change some of the shades of green in the trees behind her.
The Knight of Cups needs some better blue in the top corners and I am going to fix that black blotch behind the lotus. After it was done I thought, yuck that looks like bad chest hair lol. MUST be fixed.
The 7 of Swords I want to repaint the same design. I just think I can do better. I think that was still when I was on my no turp kick, it needs it. It won’t take that long its the design that’s so time consuming.
The 8 of Cups, same thing, I would like to repaint the same design. I’m glad now that I moved on when I did, but it could really be a lot better.
The 10 of Cups has a sword that does not help things out. I am going to paint that out.
There are a few major arcana that are problematic.
The Tower. It reminds me way too much of 9/11. This was done well before that happened. The deal was that I was scared, no terrified of this card and didn’t want to linger on it so painted it in a day. I basically sat down and with no previous sketch, or at least nothing I was going to use, I did a black tower and set it on fire and threw people out of it. I remember at the time I was very fascinated with this idea of 2 towers. I saw 2 towers everywhere and on lots of tower cards and in old art depicting towers. They seemed to come in pairs. This was long before I had the understanding of them I do now. So I put a smaller tower in to the left. And as I worked it looked like the statue of liberty. And now that really bothers me. You’ll have to forgive me, its 9/11 today and I watched coverage of it most of the day and have been thinking about it, its such a deeply wounding thing. Anyway, I might just leave it, perhaps it is natural to be unnerved by that card or made uncomfortable by it and for that reason I should leave it alone. But, I don’t necessarily want a card that is so stuck on one particular event, though,that is the big event of my time.
Justice. Will most likely just repaint it. The original sketch was much nicer and it got a little messed up in translation. I wouldn’t mind redoing the whole thing, really. I don’t think I will though. At the very least I might just do a few touch ups, I don’t like the shape of her face and I want the snake black.
Now I come to my 2 biggest problem cards, Strength and The Lovers. Strength, like I said the colors have shifted. It isn’t really greenish but it has lost all of its reds and golds and its just sort of a flat brown. I wouldn’t display it as it is now. And I don’t like the painting anymore either. There is so much potential for the Strength card, for the idea of Strength! I don’t like the rosary in it. At the time I was really into collecting antique ones and then after 9/11 I could never find old ones again. Of course there is ebay but that was just too vulgar, an embarrassment of riches, it was the hunt that was fun. Anyway, I guess now I don’t see the Strength in…….I guess an outside source, which is something I would consider any large religion. I’m not saying they are bad or one can’t get strength from that kind of belief or community, or be strong and still believe in them, I am just saying that I think the greatest strength comes from within and I would like to paint that.
The Lovers, what to say. well I don’t really want to unleash a litany of insults on it. I don’t like it. It fills the space, sure. Its red. I can say that sometimes my passion to repaint a card cools a little after I do a few sketches, I’ll do that. At the very least it needs some color correcting; there’s some funky yellow markings that I did for some ungodly reason, surely there is a level of hell for doing that kind of thing to art.
That brings me to the last painting, The Magician. Now, I don’t really have any big feelings about it one way or another, but I did a while back, I really got hot to repaint it, I think around the time I did the 5s. Then for some reason I don’t remember now I stopped. I didn’t like the paintings or maybe it was around the time I got sick. I wasn’t even thinking about it when I unearthed one of the renditions yesterday in a box. Hmm, it didn’t look too bad so I went at it with some sandpaper! (Yes that is what you do when you really like something, sand it!). Here it is:
I’ll have to go back and read the posts I did on it, I am sure there are some and a lot of notes. What do you think?
I am struck by how similar it is to the last painting, the 9 of Swords. This is probably when the idea of the towers was just under the surface. I notice there is always a kind of upwelling of water around the dark tower. It makes me think that the dark tower emerges from below the water while the light tower comes down from above.
I have always been fascinated with things coming up out of the water. Do you remember that scene in Excalibur when the Lady of the Lake gave Arthur Excalibur back and it came up through the water? That gave me goosebumps every time. It’s some kind of divine providence, a gift from the gods, yes, that is exactly what this is like. I’m sure it’s related to whatever underlies baptism as well. A symbol of the broken self given to the gods, repaired and then given back. Think of sacrifices. I can’t remember who told me this, or about whom, but that some people will put, say fresh fruit, on an altar and believe that in the blink of an eye their god takes it and gives it back, blessed.
That reminds me, I also found a rejected painted version of the hermit with a note scrawled across it “The mountain arises from the sea”. Isn’t that what the 9 of Swords is? Now, at the end, the mountain now built out of a million things, with the aid of the hermits lamp, rises from the sea. That’s what the Hermit was too, he was a mountain in the sea, an individual with his own divine life force and potential. The beginning and the end, Magician and Hermit.
Ok, let me put them side by side:
Ok, that’s where I’m at. It sounds like more than it is, a lot of it I will probably take care of tomorrow.