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Posts Tagged ‘tarot’

this is about the phantomwise tarot

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

 

As some of you may know, during 2006-2009 I painted a 78-card tarot deck in black and white and shades of grey. I spent the same approximate time writing and re-writing The Night Circus. I lived in monochrome for a good long while there, and there are references to the circus in some of the cards.

All of the paintings can be viewed on phantomwise.com. (Click on the aptly-named gallery.)

There was a stunning 100-copy limited edition deck of the 22 Major Arcana cards, which was available over here but is currently sold out. Sometimes they will show up on tarot trading sites and such.

I get asked this a lot lately, so to publicly clarify: I do not have a publisher for the complete deck yet.

It is on my ever-growing to-do list and I promise I do intend to get the deck published because I want it to be available for the tarot-loving masses, but I also wrote a book and it sort of ate my life. (If you happen to be a tarot publisher and are interested in publishing the deck, please feel free to contact me.)

The tarot aficionados will likely appreciate this aspect of my current life balance issues: in the summer of 2009, just before I started querying literary agents, I had a wonderful professional tarot reading and the only negative element was in art/writing balance, where The Tower showed up to remind me that I cannot give all of my energy to different things without falling down. Something had to take priority, and the universe clearly and loudly decided it would be writing.

My apologies for the continued wait, but I want to give the deck the time and energy it deserves, including possibly touching up some of the paintings, so it’s going to take a while. Thank you for your patience.

 

endings that aren’t really endings

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

I finished the kings for the tarot deck this afternoon. That means that beyond a bit of re-detailing and a Happy Squirrel and a book to go with it, it’s done. Which doesn’t really sound all that done typed out like that, but it is complete in some sense. The core of it is finished and the rest is extra and details.

I started it in October of 2006. I think I’d intended for it to take 2 years and it ended up being just over 3. The kings took the longest, probably because they were last and I wanted to make sure I got them right. I think I did.

The whole deck is now up in the galleries on phantomwise.com. It looks like a journey, which is probably exactly what it should look like.

Other than tarot finishing everything around here is holiday preparation and revision notes and hungry kittens. I have Beautiful Creatures waiting to be read and I should probably bake cookies at some point. The end of 2009 is shaping up to be quiet and dark and cold, in a cozy sort of way.

miscellany & tessa in a bag

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

So far this week is all storybirds and sketching the tarot kings. I think I have strong sketches for all four kings now. I ended up starting them over and making them all a bit more modern and sort of formal yet casual and I think it works. I’m going to let them sit overnight and if I still like them in the morning I will start painting them tomorrow.

And then this long crazy tarot journey will be a happy squirrel and some detailing away from complete. Which is kind of baffling.

I am mentally dipping my toes back into revisionland again, though the holidays and the snow and something vaguely resembling a head cold are making it a bit difficult. I have Ideas. I am attempting to string them together into something cohesive. I feel like I’m deconstructing the old draft the way they deconstruct food on Top Chef and I’m worried that it won’t taste good but I can’t taste it properly until all the ingredients are on the plate. Someday I will be able to explain my writing process without metaphors but today is not that day.

Also, I got tickets to see Sleep No More a third and final time after the holidays. Sleep No More & revisionland are currently tied up in my head in this moody masquerade of darkness and tuxedos that smells like evergreen. There’s something in it that is precisely what the novel needs. If I can find a way to translate wordless immersive theatre into text.

But I’m trying not to worry about that too much yet. Here, have a photo of Tessa in a bag.

tessa in a bag

Kittens love the holidays. ‘Tis the season of bags and cardboard boxes.

knights & orchids

Monday, July 20th, 2009

On Saturday we went to see Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince, which was enjoyable for about an hour and a half and then boring and badly paced for the last hour. And when the credits started I immediately turned to the boy and said “Today we have learned that a good director can elevate a mediocre screenplay to something decent but cannot salvage a final scene as horrible as that one.” Really. Love the direction, love the look of everything, love Luna, love Alan Rickman, Daniel Radcliffe has some brilliant comic timing, but that screenplay was awful.

On Sunday we found out someone has been using my debit card to go on a spending spree in the UK. Bright side: some card monitoring place called to alert me, plus froze the card for me. According to the bank I need to go fill out fraud paperwork. There’s some confusion at this point as to what charges went through and what didn’t, but it’s several hundred dollars, at least. Joy.

In better news, I finished the Phantomwise Tarot Knights today. They’re up in the gallery on phantomwise.com. They were rather difficult, but I’m pleased with how they came out. Only 8 cards left, which is just crazy. Since I started in October of 2006 I’m thinking they’re going to end up finished almost exactly at the 3 year mark.

In other news I’m toying with multiple writing projects in hopes of finishing a draft of something by the end of the year, I just got these bracelets from Bullfinch & Barbury on Etsy and I’m in love with them, Tessa is in love with the huge cardboard box, and I’m going to go make dinner now.

In closing, here is a photo of the gorgeous orchid the boy got from his office, apparently they raffle off the old flowers when they replace them and he got this one. We’re trying not to kill it.

randomness for the 29th day of june

Monday, June 29th, 2009

I finished the pages for the tarot deck today. They’re over here on LJ and in the tarot minors gallery on phantomwise.com. I have the sketches for the knights finished but I likely won’t start painting them until next week.

I am working on the aforementioned unexpected YA novel idea and it’s going pretty well. I think I want to do a relatively fast first draft over the next couple of months and see where it wants to go.

Query-wise I am playing the waiting game, and I seem to be getting better at it. Or better at distracting myself by baking cookies and drinking lots of wine.

I can’t believe it’s almost July.

That’s about it. Apropos of nothing, here is a photo I took on Saturday as we were driving off into the sunset.

tarot reading

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

I had my first professional tarot reading in I can’t even tell you how long this morning.

I’ve been playing e-mail tag with Anya Weber about the progress of the Phantomwise Tarot for awhile now, and I mentioned that I’d love to get a reading from her at some point. She was in Salem today so she came by to read for me and get stared at by kittens.

I read for myself fairly frequently but I’m not often read for by others so it was kind of new and exciting and familiar all at the same time. We spent awhile discussing different decks before we started the actual reading, she’d brought three with her and we ended up using the World Spirit Tarot. It’s a really lovely, vibrant deck which I’d heard of but not seen in person before. Totally added it to my wishlist.

Anya has a wonderful system where she creates a custom spread tailored to the querent. Mine was perfect, I’d wanted some clarification on this whole publishing thing and how things sort of tied together and she came up with a very clear, concise spread that still left a lot up for interpretation. And she wrote it out all color-coded for me to keep and take notes on! I’m a sucker for diagrams and I tend to be a visual thinker, so I thought that was brilliant.

This was my spread, slightly adjusted to add a clarifying card. I took a picture for posterity:

I won’t bore you with details of each card position and meaning, but I will mention that the Tower showed up in a position where it wasn’t really that bad, more confirming suspicions I’ve had for awhile. Really, that’s one of the things that was wonderful about this reading: it crystallized a lot of things that had been floating around in my head already and they feel more solid now.

Anya has a great quote on her flyer that says:

Instead of “telling the future,” I use tarot to clarify the present. Tarot cards are fantastic sources of insight into just about any life question. They illuminate what’s going on right now, and also shed light on where you’re heading, so that you can change course as needed.

Which is precisely what this reading did for me. Though happily it seems my course doesn’t need much changing.

And Anya herself is lovely and personable and explains things in a wonderfully straightforward way. Her reading style is creative and intuitive, and she even gave me new ideas about reading reversals, which I usually tend to avoid. It was a very comfortable, enjoyable experience and I look forward to having her read for me again. If you’re in the Boston area and looking for clarity and insight I highly recommend her.

Check out her blog for more information: http://tarotsolutions.blogspot.com/

finished bunnies & suggestions welcome

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

The Phantomwise Tarot 10s are done, remarkably ahead of schedule. You can see the set in the tarot minors gallery on phantomwise.com or over here on my art-based LiveJournal. Someday I might combine that blog with this one. Today is not that day.

Here are the finished bunnies, in bookish tea party glory:

I kind of can’t believe the numbered minors are complete. I’m really pleased with how they’ve all turned out, so often the minors are dull in comparison to the majors, and I’d like to think these hold their own. Now it’s just a matter of getting the courts completed, and then the deck is done. I doubt I’ll know what to do with myself then, I might need another epic art project of some sort.

In other news, I am going to endeavor to blog here more frequently. I was going to set a lofty goal of once a day but that seems too lofty at the moment. So I’ll start with several times a week and maybe attempt that every day thing in April.

I’ll need topics, though. Suggestions are welcome, just comment. Otherwise you’re just going to get more writing, art, kittens, and possibly a lengthy essay on why I love LOST in general and Michael Emerson in particular.

And you get a Watchmen review on Friday, of course.

technical difficulties & a bunny

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

My Macbook is unhappy. Googling indicates that it’s suffering from a kernel panic, a malady that makes me want popcorn. I’ve tried all the helpful hints for creative restarting but it persists in panicing, so it will get a trip to the Apple Store in the nearish future. In the snow.

I am sick of snow. I am bored with hibernating. It’s pretty, but I’m cold and I would like some greenery. Flowers and butterflies and a world outside my window not covered in ice, please thank you.

I am working on the 10s for the Phantomwise Tarot. They are all sketched and some of the paintings are started. I should be able to finish them by the end of the week.

The ten of cups got overrun with bunnies. Here’s a teensy peek:

I decided I only had a few cards left to be silly in, to make the deck more me than Rider Waite, and bunnies, books & tea seemed a good way to do it. The pents are rather non-traditional, too, and I managed to sneak each totem animal in their respective suits for good measure.

So, painting and editing in a winter wonderland, waiting for Spring and trying not to get impatient about it.

on perspective and cute batties

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

I am completely smitten with the Tarot of the Magical Forest.

I don’t often go looking for new tarot decks. I have about, um, twenty or so. I think. I haven’t counted them in awhile. Most of them are in a hatbox but there are others tucked on bookshelves here and there.

I am extremely picky about my tarot decks. I gravitate toward interesting yet consistent art and I like decks that have their own personality but still have recognizable traditional imagery.

And I’m a sucker for something whimsical.

So I don’t know how the Tarot of the Magical Forest stayed under my radar for so long, because I instantly adored it. The Hanged Man batty is particularly fabulous, mostly because it’s so appropriate.

The Hanged Man is one of my favorite cards in any deck, it’s odd and perplexing and so much of it is about perspective. It always reminds me of Odin on Yggdrasil. Sacrifice for insight.

(It also reminds me of the desk-standing from Dead Poets Society, because my tarot-reading influences are many and varied.)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about perspectives and changing as I’m doing massive amounts of editing and rewriting. I am being extremely productive but also extremely thoughtful and reflective about everything as I go over it.

It’s really all about perspective: each character sees the same things colored by experience and role and knowledge. And I get to choose which perspectives are shown when, and in which combinations and how to have them all unfold to tell the story.

It’s rather daunting, really. But I’m finding in editing I can turn things every which way to approach it from any angle. I already have the bulk of the work there, now it’s about filling holes and expanding sections and making it into a cohesive whole. I can work from one character’s angle and then another’s, and I find unexpected things along the way. And when I get stuck I can turn it another way, work on it from another viewpoint.

Maybe that’s the benefit of working non-linearly. Though I suppose it might work with anything.

I sound particularly optimistic today. I blame the adorable batty, though I hope it continues.

(And I’m going to buy the nice deck, of course. As soon as I have enough spare cash.)

this entry has no kittens

Friday, August 1st, 2008

I was going to post pictures of kittens but they are being uncooperative. Likely because it is absurdly humid and they are absurdly fluffy and like to flop in difficult to photograph places.

I have been on internet hiatus this week, which usually involves me avoiding the internet save for important things like e-mail and whatnot. It is remarkably beneficial to my productivity level. During this particular hiatus I finished the sixes for the Phantomwise Tarot and drank a lot of wine and thought about the novel a lot. I have something of a timeline for getting things done and I’m going to make charts and maps and helpful tools that will be, well, helpful. I hope.

Tonight the Phantomwise Tarot Shinies go on sale at Wyrding Studios. I have spent a fair amount of the day promoting them in various places and playing e-mail tag with Kythryne. I’m excited about it, I haven’t even seen the finished product in person but I’m sure they’re even lovelier than the photos, since Kyth’s stuff usually is.

I am very much ready for it to cool down and be nicely autumnal already. I always feel out of my element in the summer, despite being a July baby. I want sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes and crispy air and kittens that are more easily photographable.