I set out to create a piece with some of my favourite things to draw- beautiful maidens, cats, birds and florals. It was to be a simple thing really, something decorative and pretty.
Whilst drawing this piece a little chain reaction happened and it became something more. I had always wanted to create a Tarot Deck and after a false start about 5 years ago I felt I had developed the style now to embark on this project (a huge undertaking but with no timescale set, just purely for my own enjoyment and to explore my fascination with it's symbolism further).
Whilst drawing "Protector of the Wild" it suddenly occurred to me that it was my "Strength" card, so I started the project by accident rather than design. Similarly this piece revealed itself to be my "Empress" half way through drawing her. I had to ponder on that possibility for a while but the more I looked the more I was sure. Just after she was completed I was invited to join an international collaborative effort on a Tarot project called 78Tarot (you can find us on Face Book). The card I will be drawing for that is the 4 of Cups and this seemed like a wonderful coincidence and opportunity for me to start thinking about the minor suits.
The other really strange bit of "sync" was the drawing of the Bullfinches- for me they were a sign of strength and beauty with their vibrant colours and sturdy little attitudes. I'm not sure why I chose them for this piece but just after I dropped it off at the Gallery a pair of Bullfinches visited my garden. I have never seen them before here or in person anywhere for that matter, so it was a magical moment for me. They have returned every day since and I'm taking that a sign that I'm on the right track with the Tarot Deck (or maybe they just like Phil's new bird cake recipe- who knows.......but I'm being a little artsy and romantic about it for now).
So a little about her alternative guise of "The Empress"-
She is often depicted as a beautiful woman in a rich and fertile environment. She can be associated with Motherhood or pregnancy or just the need to nurture. She signifies deep contentment in her spiritual and physical self and in her relationships so enjoys bestowing acts of generosity and kindness on others. It is enough for her to surround herself with nature and beautiful things and to enjoy the company of others. She represents a peaceful & benign femininity.
I hope I represented her surroundings well and to her liking. If I were the Empress I would most surely own a cat and enjoy watching the birds in my garden. I gave the cat a little toy of course to distract it from the birdies, which I'm sure are far to clever to be caught. Sometimes I include something personal in the piece and her winged bracelet is something I received from a generous & kind friend.
"Floras Garden" Ink on Illustration Board (Framed)
Available at Gallery Q until the 15th March