Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Hermit

I have to confess that I'm kind of pleased with myself about this one. How do you illustrate isolation in a Circus milieu? The minute I saw the image of the stilt-walker I knew: my Hermit is definitely "above it all!" A few judicious changes needed to made, but once I knew what I wanted and needed to do, all of the elements came nicely and quickly into place. I even like my choice of nomenclature as a more grandiloquent (and therefore circusy) way of saying the same thing. With some processing, I found just the right bleak corner of a folk art painting for the background. The original Hermit card by Pamela Coleman Smith is one of the simplest and starkest of her designs. Although "stark" is not exactly the word that I'd use to describe this deck I'm working on, I do think I managed to capture the flavour.

NEXT UP: At long last, THE EMPRESS.

-- Freder

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Lovers

"The Lovers" was one of those cards that I really didn't know what I was going to do with. I did uncover several images of circus couples, but none of them particularly moved me -- until I saw this one. The aerialist and the clown seem an unlikely pair, but as I looked at them it seemed to me that the image, with the lady lovingly applying the clown's make-up while he holds the tin for her, and the clown at a lower level, looking up to her, felt wonderfully intimate in all the right ways. The Lovers card is about choice, and this couple seem to have made a happy choice indeed. Hand-coloring the image and turning it into art was a bit of a fussy process, as it always is. and the background gave me a hard time, but once I had decided on the central image the only real trouble came in working in as many of the standard symbols from PCS as I could: the mountain of hope and aspiration,  the two trees representing nature and design respectively, and the Archangel Raphael ("the subconscious mind in harmony with the Divine," according to Farrar and Bone)-- which is straight off of the fountain in New York's Central Park.

That piece of statuary is by far my favorite angel, factoring as it does into a key scene from one of my all-time favorite films, the movie version of the stage musical GODSPELL. 

Once again, the circus background is actually a TOY circus mftd. by Marx. I disliked blurring it, but against it in its focussed state the couple were indistinct. Blurring it at least had the benefit of adding depth and allowing the couple to stand out. 

I've been able to push quite a few designs through fairly rapidly, but all that is about to change as I take on a freelance job that is about to suck away at least a month of my life. I have two other cards mostly complete and will be staggering their release here to give myself the illusion of progress during that time. 

By my reckoning, I have just seven cards remaining in the Major Arcana! A release of the Majors-only version of the deck is almost assured by the time Fall settles in hard, hand in hand with the release of the novel SEE THEM DANCE, which the deck compliments.  That's soon! Time does fly by after all -- as The Lovers imply, you make your choice and then hang on for dear life.


-- Freder