Hello Everyone, welcome to the start of another week. I'm snuggled up with my favorite blanket and the television on in the background. It's been a busy weekend for me and I'm taking some time to reflect. I did a lot more readings that I have yet this weekend. I love it! So fascinating to learn about other people but it really takes it out of me. Anyone else get emotionally and physically exhausted after reading for others? It's a lot of talking! So it's time to be silent for a little.
I figured this week's card was long overdue. One of my first 5 pieces I created in this multi media style and one of the first I decided ought to be a tarot card well after it was made and still, one of my personal favorites.
Stage 1 of this piece.
When I'm asked about the process of my work and what materials it entails I often use this one as an example since it's easy to distinguish the drawing portion from the photographed portion.
I really enjoyed creating this piece because it was so spur of the moment and encouraged by the company, inspiration and help of my friend, Kim. It seemed to just come together on it's own and combining my 2 passions into one art form that allowed me to really express the style and idea, photography and drawing, was all brand new and fresh to me.
my often model, muse, ginny pig and very dear friend, Kim
Another enjoyable phase of this piece to me was doing makeup! I had, very briefly and after only a few low budget movies, wanted to work in FX makeup. I had a friend that taught me a few tricks and now I just look forward to inflicting fake wounds on myself at Halloween :) Here I had decided to make her lips black to match the drawing completely and I created a pair of snake fang marks on her cheek to sample as well as some latex 3rd degree burns to layer in for additional texture.
During the turn of the century up to the Great Depression in the 1930's, Barnum Circus continually wowed audiences with daring new performances and displays in their New York City museum. One of these acts was the snake charmer, an erotic dance with a snake usually performed by a woman. The woman braves a dangerous serpent and takes the beast through a gentle and sensual dance. Control and discipline is emphasized. Neither the snake nor the woman use brute force to achieve the spectacle. Being strong and being pushy are completely different things.
As I mentioned before, I created the piece almost 4 years ago before I started even thinking about the tarot deck but I thought it was interesting how similar it resembled the Strength card with the, taming the beast, aspect and it's Americana importance. This piece and card really set the tone for the rest of the deck to come after.
This card is all about the strength of our primal instincts being harnessed with patience and self control. The Beast within and higher self are working together to maintain inner strength. If this card is upright, you may feel more solid and disciplined than usual at the moment. This would be a good time to take care of some long neglected tasks, or go up against something that you have found too challenging in the past. If it is reversed, you might have some trouble exercising impulse control. Watch yourself with the drinking, smoking or whatever your particular weakness may be, because you might just go overboard! Don't force things to go your way. Balance your inner courage with wit, control and logical thinking.
I'm not entirely sure if the Gibson Girl was supposed to be the type of New York girl that spent her summers in Newport, R.I. but it certainly looks like she was. While I was there just a couple of weeks ago staring at where the Newport Boardwalk used to be, I could definitely picture her sunning what little skin she was showing and bits of sand blowing into her knarled hair.
I found Newport even more facinating than I thought I would. It was like a walk through history, but a long one! a 3 day vacation in the past, which if anyone knows anything about me, well you will know that is a slice of heaven for me :) Our hotel sat across from the cliffside mansions and where the boardwalk USED to be, that is before it washed away in a hurricane. I really wish it was still there though, I love old fashioned American boardwalks, the pictures that were up in the hallways though helped to picture it a little.
Now for the mansions. Yes I absolutely loved them, obviously, but found a few things about them particularly interesting. When I was a teenager a friend's family took me to Paris and Versailles, so honestly I feel like I've seen this royal french palace look before, but not this way exactly. First of all it was sea side homes, so there were a lot of sea lore related pieces and colors, like cream, mint and navy blue. Second these houses were built more than a century after Marie Antoinette's head was chopped off, by railroad tycoons and the rest of the united states most overly lavish, under taxed 1%. ;) (yes, look at the date on this blog, we're in the middle of occupy wall street) In a land where industry and democracy made all this possible for these families, not royal blood, it's kind of ironic that they seemed so taken with the reign of Louis XVI , even going as far as to put potraits of him up in their house. I think sarcasm and irony were just not something that these people understood. Apparently Mark Twain (who lived in a much more modest home, trust me I've been there) called this era the "gilded age" and meant it as an insult. Instead of being taken for what it meant the rich adopted it and refferred to themself as such from then on. So like I said, maybe they just didn't examine the irony much.
"To gild refined gold, to paint the lily... is wasteful and ridiculous excess."
I think the thing I found more beautiful than the mansions themselves was the decline of the homes. Again if you know me, you'll know that I find neglect and decay facinating. After WWII people most especially thought of these houses as "white elephants" which I can see why they were reffered to as such with all the far more important things going on in the world at the time. So they sat, empty and aging. That I would have liked to see :) apparently a pipe burst in a mansion called the "marble house" and froze large sheets of ice one winter across the all marble staircase. That really paints a picture in my mind. It's just the kind of Americana story that inspires my artwork, the ghosts of extravagant lifestyles haunting an abandoned property. :) It was a really fun adventure and I'm grateful that I got to go. I don't know how I got so lucky but it's pretty likely I'll be spending the later part of November fullfilling a long time dream...floating around a swamp in Louisiana.
A quick note on the tarot deck to finish this blog. :) I will be opening it up for pre sale on etsy November 1st. If you want to order ahead of time you'll give me an idea of how many I'm going to need before the Holidays hit hard :) and it makes sure you have one early December. You can either pick it up or
Hope everyone has a kick ass Halloween :)
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