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The Shadowscapes Tarot!

Yes, I am going to have these actually published as a deck.  I keep getting asked that, so I'll get it stated here right at the top.   Read on below to the August 26th 2008 entry for details.

The Official Shadowscapes Tarot Website with detail closeups of many of the cards, information on publication updates, and prints of each image, can be found here: www.shadowscapes.com/Tarot

0 - The Fool: www.deviantart.com/view/811166…
1 - The Magician: www.deviantart.com/view/845079…
2 - The High Priestess: www.deviantart.com/view/852723…
3 - The Empress: www.deviantart.com/view/903258…
4 - The Emperor: www.deviantart.com/view/907439…
5 - The Hierophant: www.deviantart.com/view/108059…
6 - The Lovers: www.deviantart.com/view/109982…
7 - The Chariot: www.deviantart.com/view/119941…
8 - Strength: www.deviantart.com/view/122179…
9 - The Hermit: www.deviantart.com/view/124153…
10 - Wheel of Fortune: www.deviantart.com/view/128042…
11 - Justice: www.deviantart.com/view/130646…
12 - Hanged Man: www.deviantart.com/view/138009…
13 - Death: www.deviantart.com/view/145369…
14 - Temperance: www.deviantart.com/view/154416…
15 - The Devil: www.deviantart.com/view/162108…
16 - The Tower: www.deviantart.com/view/174637…
17 - The Star: www.deviantart.com/view/177464…
18 - The Moon: www.deviantart.com/view/184995…
19 - The Sun: www.deviantart.com/view/195623…
20 - Judgement: www.deviantart.com/view/197977…
21 - The World: www.deviantart.com/view/232132…


Ace www.deviantart.com/view/207573… | 2 www.deviantart.com/view/245180… | 3 www.deviantart.com/view/304184… | 4 www.deviantart.com/view/324691… | 5 www.deviantart.com/deviation/4… | 6 www.shadowscapes.com/Tarot/car… | 7 www.deviantart.com/deviation/6… | 8 puimun.deviantart.com/art/Eigh…| 9 puimun.deviantart.com/art/Nine… | 10 puimun.deviantart.com/art/Taro…
Page www.deviantart.com/deviation/4… | Knight puimun.deviantart.com/art/Knig… | Queen puimun.deviantart.com/art/Quee… | King puimun.deviantart.com/art/King…

Ace www.deviantart.com/view/212910… | 2 www.deviantart.com/view/246663… | 3 www.deviantart.com/view/291841… | 4 www.deviantart.com/view/308677… | 5 www.deviantart.com/deviation/4… | 6 www.deviantart.com/deviation/4… | 7 www.deviantart.com/deviation/5… | 8 puimun.deviantart.com/art/Eigh… | 9 puimun.deviantart.com/art/Nine… | 10 puimun.deviantart.com/art/Ten-…
Page www.deviantart.com/deviation/3… | Knight puimun.deviantart.com/art/Knig… | Queen puimun.deviantart.com/art/Quee… | King puimun.deviantart.com/art/King…

Ace www.deviantart.com/view/227416… | 2 www.deviantart.com/view/287285… | 3 www.deviantart.com/deviation/2… | 4 www.deviantart.com/view/331371… | 5 www.deviantart.com/view/365623… | 6 www.deviantart.com/deviation/4… | 7 www.deviantart.com/deviation/5… | 8 puimun.deviantart.com/art/Eigh… | 9 puimun.deviantart.com/art/Nine… | 10 puimun.deviantart.com/art/Ten-…
Page www.deviantart.com/deviation/4… | Knight puimun.deviantart.com/art/Knig… | Queen puimun.deviantart.com/art/Quee… | King puimun.deviantart.com/art/King…

Ace www.deviantart.com/view/239049… | 2 www.deviantart.com/view/249483… | 3 www.deviantart.com/view/304686… | 4 www.deviantart.com/view/321709… | 5 www.deviantart.com/view/346678… | 6 www.deviantart.com/deviation/5… | 7 www.deviantart.com/deviation/6… | 8 puimun.deviantart.com/art/Eigh… | 9 puimun.deviantart.com/art/Nine… | 10 puimun.deviantart.com/art/Ten-…
Page www.deviantart.com/deviation/4… | Knight puimun.deviantart.com/art/Knig… | Queen puimun.deviantart.com/art/Quee… | King puimun.deviantart.com/art/King…

January 15, 2009



August 26, 2008

Signed with Llewellyn to publish the deck!

The tentative release date right now is Spring 2010.

Rest of the art (the Kings) should be complete in the next couple months after I finish conventions (i.e. Dragoncon).  Too busy packing and unpacking and packing for various cons, and matting prints, and dealing  with inventory to paint much this past month!

Also, nifty figurines of some of the tarot pieces: www.shadowscapes.com/listing_p…


June 2, 2008

A couple of people have noticed the familiarity of my recent Queen of Swords, so for giggles, here's the old original painting I had of the concept:

Then: www.shadowscapes.com/Downloads…
and Now: www.shadowscapes.com/Tarot/car…

I like to think there has been improvements in the intervening 7 years, and a whole lot of watercolor experience that I didn't have when I did that digital painting back then!


May 20, 2008

I've often read other tarot artists comment that as they work their way through this project their life starts to mirror each card that is currently at the drawing table.  

Some have mentioned to me recently it seems I've been going faster lately, and it does feel that way -- I came to the Queen of Cups and knew instantly what I wanted for her.  It was a scribbled sketch I had made years ago of a woman dancing across the wave tops on the backs of sea turtles.  "Where the Sea Meets the Sky" I had scribbled in the margin.  I always meant to paint her, but she was just waiting for the right moment to make her appearance.  And then as I flipped through my old sketchbooks looking for ideas a few weeks ago I saw her and knew that was my Queen of creativity and imagination.

It's been as if her spirit has suffused me and pushed me through for these next few cards; even finally telling me how to approach the Ten of Swords which I had been wrangling with for months now.  

I've been coming down to the last few cards and I really just didn't want to leave the Ten of Swords to be the final piece in this four year long journey that started with the plunge of the Fool from her perch into the unknown.   Just doesn't seem like it would be a good omen for the final note.  It has been a very difficult card for me to approach because I am in general very positive, and find myself very fortunate; and this reflects in my art.  Darker imagery is very hard for me to create (The Tower, Three of Swords, Eight of Swords have all been difficult) -- but I do not want this deck to be all light and fluff.  So I try very hard.  The Rider-Waite image for the ten of swords is a man lying face down with ten swords stabbing through his back.  How do I claim that image as my own and give it my own brand of symbolism?  My Queen Muse finally whispered to me how, and so I set to work three days ago.

And since then it seems as if a slew of minor, exceedingly time-consuming, grey-hair-turning problems have tumbled into my lap!  "Finish this card fast!" I told myself today as yet another issue cropped up.  It was with great relief that I signed the finished image and scanned it, and with great eagerness I am looking forward to starting the rest of the Queens.  Now that the troublesome Ten of Swords is out of the way, it's smooth sailing!


January 29, 2008

The infinite glory of the ocean on the mind.  I've been watching the BBC's Blue Planet series that my scuba-dive-fanatic father got for Christmas, and just been fascinated by the beauty and alien diversity of the seas.  I did sketch the 9 of cups before I laid eyes on those, but they definitely provided ample inspiration when it came time to paint and give life to the piece.  Swirling masses of fish in the open blue.  To the Chinese, fish are symbols of health, fortune, and long life.  Vast schools I thought would be apt for the 9 and 10.

And so, the cups are now done too.  Moving on to wands.  I know, 10 of swords still incomplete, but that one has me stumped.  I wonder if by avoiding it I grant the image that much more expectation and power, but I just cannot think of a way to approach that one yet.


December 17, 2007

Over half a year since I last wrote something here!  In most of the cards since my last journal entry I've kinda put my rambling thoughts into the descriptions instead though, so I've felt less of a need to expound more on them here.  

At any rate... 19 more to go now.  As I get closer and closer to completion, I have this mixture of both excitement and dread at that prospect.  For one, I have to pull my head out of the clouds of artistic ignorant bliss and start to ponder the logistics and various considerations of publishing.  I am still caught in whether or not to self publish, or to go with a larger publisher like Llewellyn, or even something in between.  I've spoken to many publishers already but still have not settled on anything.  If anyone out there has actual experience working with Llewellyn and wants to share with me how that worked out, I would greatly appreciate it -- drop me a private note or email!  I feel a bit like the Seven of Cups www.shadowscapes.com/Tarot/car… at this juncture.

I've started jumping around from card to card and not sticking to a regimental order now that I'm down to the 8, 9, 10 for each suit.  I'm also making a very conscious effort to push myself artistically a bit with these, and not stick to my formulae.  Like the overhead view of the fox and badger facing off in the Seven of Wands www.shadowscapes.com/Tarot/car… .  Also, trying for closer up views www.shadowscapes.com/Tarot/car… , so that everything is not so distant, and large sweeping negative spaces in the background www.shadowscapes.com/Tarot/car… .  This whole project has always foremost been a personal challenge for myself, artistically; to push and try to make each card as I go a new best, while exploring the imagery of archetypes.

Just a few other random trivia notes about recent pieces.

I was stuck for weeks on what to do for the Eight of Pentacles www.shadowscapes.com/Tarot/car… .
Ironically, my backyard was being inundated by the large spiders weaving elaborately large webs that would sparkle beautifully each morning.  One of them even wove her net across my front porch.  My husband jokingly called it our real life Halloween decoration.  He suggested I paint those spiders one day as we were walking, and then it hit me that yes they were perfect for the Eight of Pentacles, and the answer to my block!  About a week later, all the spiders vanished; as if they had come to tell me this and then were done.

Nine of Pentacles www.shadowscapes.com/Tarot/car…
I've wanted to paint a piano for a while -- was just waiting for the right opportunity for it.  I've played the piano myself since I was 5 years old. A version of this sketch this actually started out as an initial proposal for a Cicada magazine cover illustration, but they discarded it.  Said all the animals that I had lounging on the piano in the initial proposal made it look like Disney.


April 30, 2007

After a couple of months I've finally had the chance to work on a new card.  I know it's been a while, and I've been getting messages from people asking if I was still working on it.  Trust me, after getting this far, I have no intentions of stopping.  It's just that the details of life have been getting in the way.  Wedding preparations, and a move to a new house have kept me busy, and with not enough time to paint as much as I would like!

The six of pentacles is the latest one I have just finished.  The card of the giving and receiving, cycles of dependencies between those that have and those that have not.  The sapling pushes through from the mud and muck and desolation under the shower of life and wealth from above, and at the same time the plants and branches buttress up the towering wall that the piper perches from.  

I see these cycles around me as I come to points in my life now where others were years ago; and they gift what once was laid in blessing on their own heads onward so that it may perpetuate.


April 2, 2007

My apologies for the apparent hiatus in progress that appears to have stricken the tarot project! It has been a rather hectic time for me with lots of changes in my personal life, getting married and moving new house in two weeks. But don't lose hope about the
tarot! Though it may take a little longer, there is never any doubt that it will eventually be completed.


August 14, 2006

Okay I'm being bad and straying from The Plan!

Knowing my own tendencies, and having never actually taken on a project of such proportions as the Tarot, I originally planned to do everything in order.  Majors from the Fool -> World (done!) and then working my way up through the minors in order as well. Because I -really- want to work on the face cards but I just KNOW that after I finish that "fun" part the rest of the minors will seem quite a drag. So leaving those for the end is kind of a reward for getting that far. :)

Lately, some of you have noticed, I've been kinda sparse with art updates in general and the Tarot has been grinding to a slow halt. Fear not, the spring of inspiration has not dried up! It is because of a How-To book I've been contracted to write (which by the way is half done! 144 pages, to be published sometime next year, no other info at this time). The deadlines for that mixed in with convention season has kept me pretty much fully occupied.

"Two birds with one stone" -- for the mermaid section of the aforementioned book I decided to combine one of the step-by-step tutorials with a mermaid painting for the Cups suit. 5-10 though has...well...too many cups and not enough mermaid though! So I had to skip ahead to the Page of Cups for that.

But now that I've gotten started on the Pages, I've got all these IDEAS for the rest of them and the Queens and the Knights and the Kings.  Gah!  Must go back and finish the fives!  (After the Page of Wands, I just HAD to do her after I got an idea.)

Speaking of the Page of Cups though, here's an -old- version of that card that I did back in ~1999 for some Than and Now comparisons. www.shadowscapes.com/image/pag… I like to think I've improved quite a bit in the intervening 7 years.

There's some similarities, and quite a few differences. That old Page is by the way the first painting I did with fish swimming through the air above the water, and that little bit of imagery has been a theme to many later works. It's some personal symbolism for the irrational, emotional, the imagination, the surreal.

June 12, 2006

Five of Pentacles added.

Thought it might be of interest to show an old version of the Five of Pentacles I did about seven years ago: www.shadowscapes.com/image/fiv…


April 27, 2006

Four of Wands - Joy and jubulation.  The final composition that I settled on for this piece also reminds me of a cheerful merry-go-round, with fantastic creatures dancing round and round.  I kind of had in mind this piece as a wedding present for a good friend of mine as well, as she had asked me for "fairies and unicorns."  I had the notion that the theme of the Four of Wands would be a particularly fitting gift to bestow upon someone's future marital state of being.

April 21, 2006

Four of Pentacles is yet another image that just came to me.  I started out with the more traditional image of the miserly fellow but it just wasn't working or calling to me.  And while I stared at my sketch I suddenly realized that a dragon hording its treasure would be the perfect depiction, along with fitting into the lizardly theme that has threaded through this suit.

March 25, 2006

The project has kinda grown beyond scattered images in galleries, so I've finally gotten around to putting together a home for the deck.  You can find the Shadowscapes Tarot webpage here:

It's funny how some of the cards, the right imagery for it will just leap out at me and it just makes sense with barely any thought, while others will sit in the back of my mind for weeks on and struggling to show their colors to me.  The Death card hit me that way, and now the Four of Cups has been an eager one too.  With the watery theme I had already embarked on, and the mermaids who had danced into the Three, it seemed natural to have a self-absorbed maiden dreamily gazing at her own reflection and lost in her own thoughts.

I'd like to give a special thanks to Barry Toffoli  www.pajamadancing.com/ here as well.  I met this generous fellow at Wondercon last month and he has donated to me a huge box of winsor & newton watercolor tubes (and I really mean HUGE).  They have been put to good use in the lovely blues of this most recent painting.  Bluesbluesblues such a beautiful color! :)

September 22, 2005

It's been a long road since June of last year, but I can finally say that I have completed the Major Arcana!  The World was giving me a bit of trouble for a few months which was why she was put off until recently.  The muse just was not calling to me on it.

Now the even longer road of the Minor Arcana begins, but it's nice to be able to put one phase of the project down.  

July 19, 2005

Yes, I know I haven't done the World yet, but the ideas for the aces came popping into my head a couple weeks ago and I could not resist their siren call.  They wanted to be drawn -now-, and so I present to you the first of the aces.  More coming in the next couple of weeks, each with its own animal avatar.  I will get back to the World right after if only so I can finally say I have completed the majors!  It feels like such an achievement to have gotten this far, and yet there's so much more to do with all the minors still!

May 19, 2005

The Moon - for a card about illusions and confusion, I decided on a moonlit faery ring.  If nothing else, the fey are masterful at the arts of illusion, and the dangers of stepping into a mushroom faery ring are well known.

“You demi-puppets that By moonshine do the green sour ringlets make, Whereof ewe not bites; and you, whose pastime Is to make midnight mushrooms…”
-- Shakespeare - The Tempest (Act V, scene i)

April 28, 2005

Forgot to add this yesterday.  I did do another Star card many years ago for a deck that never happened.  I reused some of the ideas from that one on the more recent reincarnation.  So for those of you that are curious and have not seen it before, here was the old Star card: www.shadowscapes.com/image/dud…

April 27, 2005
Things have been a little hectic the past few months.  Lots of travelling, and my brother getting married (with two banquets, one in CA, and one in NY). So I've fallen a little behind schedule.  But I think seeing the end of the tunnel for the Major Arcana has gotten me motivated.  

Some notes about the latest few pieces --

The Tower:
I got lots of people asking me this over and over, and I forgot to put it in the description, but "how did you paint the lightning?"
I painted the purples/blues/pinks first and left a "glow" around where I wanted the bolts to be, and then afterwards, I went back with a white gel pen and drew it in, so that I could get that really -bright- white.

The Star:
This month seems to be one of flying fish for me....
Anyway, if you're wondering why the image looks familiar, it's because I decided to base this off a pencil drawing I did about a year ago as an illustration for Cicada magazine of Tinuviel (of Tolkien).  If you've not seen that image before, here she is: www.shadowscapes.com/bwart/bwi…
The carp is a resilient fish that symbolizes strength, perseverance, courage and determination of spirit.
The chrysanthemums, commonly symbols of longevity, are also symbols of hope.  A neat little story I found regarding the origins of chrysanthemums at this page:…

And finally, to any cross-stitchers out there, I signed on with Heaven and Earth Designs recently, and they put together a nice special package for the tarot series here: www.heavenandearthdesigns.com/…

February 1, 2005
Totally random idea occurring to me as I rode the subway today.  Feedback welcomed on whether you think this is a stupid idea that would flop, or if it might work pretty well.

So, as you may have noticed, all these tarot images are painted at a much larger size than the final cards will be published (someday), or for that matter than the size you see in my uploaded .jpgs.  The originals are 8.5x14 inches.  Quite a bit of detail will probably be shrunk down to pinprick size on an actual card.  The other thing is that I have had many people comment that they had absolutely no interest in tarot cards prior to seeing these images, and would have to buy a deck just for the art itself!  Personally, my own interest in this project lies mostly in the depiction of archetypes.  

The final thing is that...well, 2008 is a long ways off!

So, the proposal is that I find a small publisher who might want to take this project on, and come out with an art book of just the 22 Major Arcana when I finish them up sometime this year.  Not quite full size, but at least 8.5x11 inches.   I could include sketches and some writing about each piece as well.

The point of this being that the imagery could be appreciated at full size, and also that it would appeal to those people not interested in tarot so much as just the art.  On the other hand, to that future tarot deck publisher, I would tihnk that this wouldn't impact sales
of the deck because it would only be the major arcana, and a book isn't exactly something that could be used for tarot readings.  In fact, it might be a kind of whetting of the appetite or even a supplement for people to go for the actual deck as well.

All this is really just speculation for now.  I don't know if I could actually get a publisher interested in it, though I do have a couple in mind to approach maybe.

January 26, 2005
3 more added to the list -- Justice, Hanged Man, and Death.
Some notes regarding Death that I just posted today --
As I mention in the image description, I chose to depict the Phoenix for Death, because the card is about the cyclical nature of Death, how it is but a neccessary transition before a new path can be opened up.  You can see the next phoenix in its glowing sphere/egg in the lower right waiting to be born as the current one dies in its flaming glory.

Some of the plants in the image:
Iris (lower left): Associated with death as Iris was a Greek goddess of the rainbow, which she used to travel down to earth with messages from the gods and to transport women's souls to the underworld.

Deadly nightshade (green leaves and berres at the edges of the branch): A highly poisonous plant (Atropa belladonna) with purple bell flowers and small berries. A symbol of deception, danger, and death.

Sumac (tall red berry/flowers to the right of the phoenix and the yellow/orange colored leaves): In the victorian language of flowers, "I shall survive the change."

December 8, 2004
Wheel of Fortune up last week, and now I'm working on Justice.  Which brings me to a question.  If you've got some time, take a look at the two sketches I have here and let me know what you think: www.deviantart.com/view/130067…

The goal is to get this next card done sometime in December, and that will bring me to a total of 12 cards since starting in June.  A little less than 2 a month, so approximately on schedule. :D

[edit a little while later] Okay, thanks for all the feedback about the Justice sketches!  It was very helpful, and I've made a choice already.

November 17, 2004
The first ten cards done!  Almost halfway through the major arcana.  

A bit about the loons at the bottom of the hermit piece I just posted -
When I was up on Manitoulin Island www.shadowscapes.com/Sketchboo… in Canada this year, occasionally at dawn and dusk, I would see the silent and elusive shadows of loons winging out low across the lake's surface.  Their cry is a very eerie and haunting note that speaks of solitude.  Loons are also respected for their knowledge of the sky, sea and forest worlds, and were often seen in the headdresses of Indian Chiefs.

November 11, 2004

Three more cards in the intervening time.  So, by my calculations, at this rate I should be done with the deck sometime in late 2007.  It seems like such a distant date....

And here, just for the hell of it, the old version of "Strength" that I did for another tarot project about 3 years ago.  www.shadowscapes.com/image/str…
It was a multi-artist endeavor, and though we actually made a complete deck, were never able to find a publisher willing to take it on.  They all thought it was too ecclectic a collection to be useable.  I thought about just taking this old image to use for my new deck now but changed my mind because I figure I can do a lot better than something 3 years old.

Regarding publication of the completed deck -- YES, I do intend to produce an actual deck when all the images are done.  Right now I'm not actively persuing a publisher yet, though I have had at least 5 interested parties inquiring about that.  I'd like to get at least halfway through the deck, or even complete it before taking it to publishers because I want to have full artistic control over the imagery for the time being.  

So to those of you asking, "How can I buy the deck?" Well, there's nothing to buy yet and won't be until at the very least 2008, so you'll have to be patient.  By the same token, I have no clue how much it will cost when I do have something to offer because there's nothing to base any cost estimate on now, sorry.  Keep checking back here and at shadowscapes.com and I'll eventually have something to offer you for your diligence.  

September 21, 2004

The Hierophant!
After a two month break, finally had a chance to work on a new card!  At this rate, might be more like 3 or 4 years, but I think it's just the summer season with all the conventions.  Now that things have settled down, I should have some more spare time to work on this again.

July 20, 2004

I plan on updating this journal page every once in a while with the links to all the completed images.  So for those of you coming to this in the middle, you can find the list of them easily.

At this point, 5 down, 73 to go!

*pant.pant*  I feel like I'm running a marathon....

Oh yeah, and if you want prints of any of the images, they are available here: www.shadowscapes.com/gal_TAROT…

June 25, 2004

As some of you may have notice, I've started on a tarot quest with some of my recent pictures.  I've gotten a lot of questions about them, so let me field those right now.  

No, this project has nothing to do with any of the other tarot deck beginnings you might have seen mentioned on my Shadowscapes site.  Those were a product of group efforts.  One of them was with a group of Elfwood artists about 8 years ago, and the other was a similar attempt by Epilogue artists more recently. The Epilogue deck was actually completed (with each artist doing anywhere from one to six cards), but when we tried taking that to publishers, we were told they didn't want our mish-mash deck, but something done by one artist only.  Hmph!!!

Well, since I've probably been thinking about doing this for nearly a decade, I decided it's about time to get my butt moving and DO it.  My problem in the past is that I felt like I was still developing a style and skill and that by the time I got midway through 78 images I would want to toss the first half because I no longer liked them!  I think that I've gotten my skills to a point now that hopefully that won't be a problem.  And I'll be taking it slowly, one card at a time, in order.  No skipping around to ones I really like.  This way I can find something in each one to like, and think of it as an individual project rather than a very daunting huge deck.

Probably won't be ready for about two or three years.  So it'll be a long wait, but hang around and I'll have something eventually!!!

Oh yeah, and I've been asked what it will be called.  No clue.  I'm open to suggestions. :)
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it's Beautiful. I don't know how to learn cards, but i'm fascinated with your art!! Congrats!!! <3