Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Gryphon Tarot - The Star (XVII)

Lately I have been doing more work on my Gryphon Tarot, a themed tarot deck with the mythical gryphon as the ongoing theme throughout it.

The latest card to be finished is The Star (XVII). Seen at left is the finished version.

The Star is a card of hopes and aspirations, and is considered the guiding light of the tarot. Often considered the "wish" card, some of the key words associated with The Star are hope, inspiration, generosity and serenity.

On the negative side, The Star is a very inspiring card, but is not a card of practical solutions, reminding us that dreams often fall far short of reality. Real world effort is required to make our hopes become a reality.

Technical information: Watercolors and gouache on board, 7x9". The star shown represents light, and hope. The gryphon is white to go along with the theme of dreams. Two waterfalls are shown to represent the dual nature of being a dreamer, both hope, and rigidity in clinging to dreams even though we know them to be false. Water is associated with emotions in the tarot, the pond here and the lilies symbolizing peace of mind and serenity. When this card appears in a spread it can be a sign that not all is lost. If it appears reversed (upside down), it can be that the querent is placing too much stock in dreams and not enough in reality to get the job done.

The sketch for this was started as part of a batch, along with The Hermit and The Magician.

I started by masking the parts I wanted to remain white before doing a light wash with Ultramarine Blue and Paynes Grey mixed together. I added a slight wash of Raw Umber to the rocks that the gryphon was sitting on, echoing this in the water below to get the reflection. I also blocked in the lighter and darker areas to define where my lighting was going to be in the finished version. Unfortunately with this piece I did a great deal of the intermediate work at my mom's, where I did not have access to scanner. I am still learning watercolors, but this was a good jump for me as I did not have to struggle as much to get the effects that I was looking for. I continued to build the colors and shadows up gradually, using white gouache to get the bright highlights and create the effects on the water.