Thursday Tarot Inspirations “Hierophant”

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A few days late since my little family and I are sick, but I’m so excited about my creative writing project using The Shadowscapes Tarot as a prompt! I’ve created a page on my site, Tarot Inspirations, where my goal is to post a writing piece alongside the art every Thursday. I’ll post it in my musings as well. I hope you enjoy it!

First Thursday Tarot Inspiration ~ May 3, 2013

The Shadowscapes Tarot “Hierophant” Card

Thursday Tarot Inspirations 1

Tarot Inspirations

Shadowscapes box cover

I feel encouraged to keep working on poetry because of you, wonderful readers and followers! Thank you.

I basically fell into, nearly, writing a poem a day during National Poetry Month. I would like to both keep my momentum going and add a prompt. Enter, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law’s, The Shadowscapes Tarot.

Several years ago I came across this tarot deck while browsing a book store. I instantly fell in love with the art! I don’t use them formally or properly now a days for guidance or inspiration, as I did in my youth, but this deck in particular beckons me to write.

I’ve been granted permission by the artist, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law to share her work alongside my writing. Initially I wanted to draw a card and use it as a prompt to free-write something imaginative. Now, I’m leaning towards refining my haiku techniques and/or just letting them inspire however they might.

I’m not sure what, if any, time frame I want to encroach on this creative endeavor. With that being said however, I’d like to publish one Tarot Inspiration a week.

I’ll create a new page on my site to display these, as well as have them flow within my musings. Each piece of writing will be accompanied with the tarot card image and the website link to Stephanie Pui-Mun Law’s work.  I encourage you to browse her art. I find it evocative, whimsical and beautiful!

I do not plan on including any formal information on the meaning of the tarot card. In fact, I do not remember any of their meanings. These cards will simply be used as a prompt!

I hope you will continue to follow me on this new creative journey!

Thank you,
Elizabeth Lorayne

In honor of NPM

by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

“Reflecting on Home” in Gratitude

"Reflecting on Home in Lavender" 2011. 8"x10" etching with chine-collé
“Reflecting on Home in Lavender” 2011. 8″x10″ etching with chine-collé

“Who could be so lucky? Who comes to a lake for water and sees the reflection of the moon.” Rumi

Feeling grateful this evening and moved by the above quote. What a wonderful way to appreciate the gifts of Nature.

I created the original etching and aquatint, “Home” in my first printmaking course at Parsons School of Design as an undergraduate in 2006. I don’t currently have a photo of that version (but will in the near future). When I enrolled as a not for credit student in 2011, I felt inspired to apply some of my decorative papers through the process of chine-collé. I have two variations: “green” and “lavender.” A part of me feels the “lavender” version is too busy. I like seeing the faint winged creatures in the “green” impression. Do you have a preference?

"Reflecting on Home in Green" 2011. 8"x10" etching and chine-collé
“Reflecting on Home in Green” 2011. 8″x10″ etching and chine-collé

Thank you.

The Birth of “Fox in Flight”

"Fox in Flight Sepia" 2011. 22"x30" collagraph
“Fox in Flight Sepia” 2011. 22″x30″ collagraph

A portion of my mile and half walk to Parsons School of Design (part of my alma mater, The New School in New York City) in Union Square was through Madison Square Park. I loved winding through this park, early Saturday mornings, schlepping my printmaking supplies, while listening to my music. Quite often I would cross paths with a very furry white dog. At first, I didn’t make much of it, as there is a little dog run in this park. But as I kept seeing this white dog and other similar white beasts, I found myself recalling a dream I had as a child:

A white wolf seemingly beckoned to me. It was not in a friendly, warm way. I remember clearly his fangs. Yet, I knew not to be fearful. He paced in front of our white garage, waiting for me to exit our house and follow him. I will never forget the white wolf.

And thus, I became inspired to create a wolf-like collagraph. It would be my second attempt at an organic, uniquely shaped collagraph plate (therefore not just a 9″x12″ rectangle, for instance) The first unusual collagraph plate was my cut out tree (see below. More on that another time!).

    "First Tree" 2011. 22"x30" collagraph
“First Tree” 2011. 22″x30″ collagraph

I felt incredibly excited to work on my idea. One night, shorty after falling asleep, I lightly stirred, partially awaking with the vision of adding a wing to the wolf. I rolled over, embracing the winged wolf and eventually fell back to seep. I set out as soon as I could to begin creating these collagraph plates.

"Fox in Flight" original close up. 2011. 22"x30" collagraph
“Fox in Flight” original close up. 2011. 22″x30″ collagraph

As seen in these two photos, my first impression of “Fox in Flight” went fine enough. He was actually a bit difficult to ink. I used various sized wood blocks, wrapped with masking tape (sticky side up) to help keep him in place as I both inked and wiped him. Unlike inking and wiping a “heavy” zinc or copper plate, my collagraph plates are rather light therefore, without mounting them, I wouldn’t have been able to prepare them for the press. The process itself of inking and wiping the plate always felt invigorating and very personal. I often felt as though I was truly bonding with the plate, learning how much ink to smooth on and which areas would need extra attention while wiping the ink. It was quite meditative and I always appreciated my instructor playing Classical music in the background.

    "Fox in Flight" (Original close up) 2011. 22"x30" collagraph
“Fox in Flight” (Original close up) 2011. 22″x30″ collagraph

I was happy with the initial impression, but felt he needed some reworking. I trekked home with the fresh impression and my plates, to tackle adding more textures to my wolf inspired beast.

I realize this piece was based on my calling from a white wolf, yet I’d named it “Fox in Flight.” Well, he just ended up looking more like a fox. Looking back, maybe it was disrespectful of me, but I now feel it only gives me the opportunity to make more wolf inspired art. Because I do very much still feel a need to do just that.

An Ode to “Winged Leaves”

On a walk with my, then 5 month old daughter, we passed by some native grasses that I particularly love. I find their oatmeal and evergreen coloring beautiful. I enjoy the way they sway and flap, sometimes in unison and sometimes in opposition. I wholeheartedly understand their healthiness in more direct sun than the pitiful section to the left, under the trees – beloved trees.

I just love these grasses and find them elegant and inspiring. This linocut, “Winged Leaves,” is an ode to them! I look forward to their bountiful return.
"Winged Leaves" 2012. 4"x6" linocut
“Winged Leaves” 2012. 4″x6″ linocut

Happy “Love Cat” Day!

This collagraph seemed befitting for Valentine’s Day! It’s based on my beloved Abyssinian cat, Fuzzbie.

    "Love Cat" 2011. 22"x30" collagraph.
“Love Cat” 2011. 22″x30″ collagraph.

I particularly love her profile, which inspired me to create a collagraph. After weeding through the 100 or so photos of her, I finally chose one (see below).

Fuzzbie, my Abyssinian cat
Fuzzbie, my Abyssinian cat

I emailed it to a local Staples Copy & Print Shop to be printed quite large.  I taped tracing paper over it to transfer her image to the black matboard I used as the base for my collagraph plate. I proceeded to very carefully cut the image out using both a box cutter and scissors. Once her profile emerged, I cut out a heart!

From this point forward, I delved into my assortment of textured decorative papers and scraps to strategically and thoughtfully paste them all over Fuzzbie’s cut out image. Once I felt pleased, I moved onto the “tiny” heart.

When they were finished, I painted them with a layer of Gesso to protect the paper and matboard. This was always a trial as I had to lay paper towels all over our tiny kitchen counter (we lived in New York City at that time!). I was also always a bit impatient with this step, mainly because I was excited to print and because it was late at night!

Early the next morning, I’d take the dried plates to the rooftop to spray them with Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating, the last step in protecting them. Leaving them upstairs to dry, gave me the perfect amount of time to have breakfast and prepare for the day. Then, I’d gather the plates and supplies to walk the mile and a half to Parsons School of Design for my studio time.

Initially I arranged the plates to coincide (therefore the heart plate was cut smaller than the opening), but unfortunately I misplaced the heart at the studio… I have only one impression of Fuzzbie with her heart (see below).

"Love Cat with Heart" 2011. 22" x 30" collagraph
“Love Cat with Heart” 2011. 22″ x 30″ collagraph

Both versions, with and without the heart, have qualities I like. I may in fact prefer “her” with the stark negative space in place of her heart. I feel it makes the heart stand out that much more! Which do you prefer?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

A “Door” to Anywhere

This is one of my very first linocuts. I love printing on decorative papers, as seen in this impression. The choice of decorative paper makes such a difference in the emotional tone, doesn’t it? It can also influence how you interpret the piece. Yet, regardless of that possible influence, personally, I always see this as an abstract door. A door that has countless entrances ~ countless adventures ~ countless journeys ~ countless exits. What do you see? How does it make you feel? If a door, then where does it take you?

“Door,” 2002. 3″x5″ linocut
“Door,” 2002. 3″x5″ linocut

A Merging of Two

I’ve just now been inspired.

"Fox in Flight Sepia" 2011. 22"x30" collagraph
“Fox in Flight Sepia” 2011. 22″x30″ collagraph

When I someday have access to a printmaking press, I’d like to print just the body of my fox-wolf-dog collagraph (see above) in white ink on dark paper (I have yet to do that). I’d next print my set of wing collagraphs (as used in my bat-owl-cat collagraph, see below) in a vibrant color on white paper.

    "Owl-Bat," 2011. 22"x30" collagraph
“Owl-Bat,” 2011. 22″x30″ collagraph

I then envision pinning the wings above my fox-wolf-dog in such a way the wings can be physically moved – to truly give this pseudomythical creature flight.

This Will Morph

I am just now deciding to relax about the progress of this project and space ~ this presentation of my art and artistic projects. Nothing need be “written in stone” (and how can it truly be in this digital era?!) This website and blog will undoubtedly morph and transform alongside my art, interests and creative endeavors. As I write, I am just now deciding to applaud that idea and allow it to untangle my perfectionism tendencies. This is in fact quite liberating and beautiful. With these nerves now being soothed, I present “Labyrinth,” a collagraph I created and printed in 2011.

    "Labyrinth," 2011. 15"x15" Collagraph
“Labyrinth,” 2011. 15″x15″ Collagraph