Artistic Process and the Making of the Chariot Tarot Card

The Project

I am honored to be a part of the 78 Tarot’s Animal deck. 78 Tarot is a global art collaboration that creates a new deck every year. Each deck has a different theme but is still strongly connected to the RWS system, which I love. This will be my 3rd year being a part of this project. Two tears ago, I created “The High Priestess” and last year I created “The Moon”. This year I have been honored to create “The Chariot”. Scroll down to learn about my process as well as my inspiration.

My Relationship with Tarot

I love the tarot. I have been a reader and designer of tarot cards for the last 16 years. I am inspired by the RWS symbolism and I try to keep to that in my card and deck creations. Tarot has started to pop up in the mainstream and has become embraced by pop culture as it did back in the 60’s. Everything ebbs and wanes with the times and it is so much fun to see tarot so loved and embraced again. Watch this video to learn more about my relationship to tarot.

Exploring A New Style

The creation of The Chariot card was approached in a very new way. As a person who has only been able to touch real paint and art supplies in the last year, I wanted to move away from digital and jump into a more traditional approach.

Most of the work I have been creating while I practice is portraits for the portrait project and little birds, which by the way, animals are new to me. Overall, I have not created anything majorly compositional like my other work which you saw above with The Moon and The High Priestess cards in a traditional medium.

I was excited to take a risk and see where I could go with not only creating in traditional mediums but also having to create the subject in the form of a bird since it is an animal deck.

The hardest part was believing in myself since it was so new to me. I created some videos/blogs during that time to not only help me but to help others. One was “Being Hard On Yourself As An Artist” and the other was “Support for Artists During a Pandemic”. I hope they can be valuable resources for you. I was able to move through the fear and embrace the risk of trying something new.

Symbolism & Inspiration

To the right can see a version of the traditional RWS Chariot card. The meaning of this card is about action, moving forward, moving on, goals, ambition, etc. This year it feels fitting for me since after almost 2 decades, I have been able to move forward in numerous parts of my life in healing with my illness and art. It has been an exciting ride and seems like this card really embodies those energies for me.

Inspiration / Mood

Below are 3 images that I used for inspiration. First, (left to right) is a building landscape that I created 5 years ago in which I pushed my limits and tried to paint. It did not end well due to a severe allergic reaction.

I had to walk away from them, and to be honest I was heartbroken because I loved the process so much. However, 5 years later I am able to touch paint without severe life-threatening reactions and felt this was the first element that needed to be included.

As you can see in the traditional image, there are buildings in the back, so these are the buildings I wanted to recreate.

The second is a stock image I found online and just loved the color scheme of the bird so I mocked mine off of that scheme.

The third image is an owl that was an explorative piece that I did for fun with a handful of colors and mediums and felt this embodied the overall color theme I wanted to work into the card. A kind of rainbow, mystical, magical feel that had life and an illustrative feel.

Sketch & Line Art

Below you can see the rudimentary sketch of my idea for the Chariot card. In this deck we do not put any titles on our cards, but I wanted to get a feel by using the text with the sketch to see how it felt. I feel words are important in all parts of life. Then you can see the line art that I created from that sketch.

Final Artwork

I found it hard to finalize the work. I wanted to overwork the piece as I do with a lot of things I create. It is hard to know when exactly to stop because most artists can always see ways to keep improving on what they are working on. It is a craft to know when to stop

In the final work, you can see I added a few more elements to the final artwork water between the Chariot and city, wheels, etc. This artwork was created with Graphite, Winsor and Newton Watercolors, Caran d’Ache, and Prismacolor Colored Pencils, 18 Kt. Gold Ink.

The Card Meaning

The Chariot card is filled with symbolism of bravery, action, goals, mastery, ambition, passion, movement, and choices.

This card is often encouraging the viewer to take action but also takes into consideration that there are various paths and ways to pursue what you wish to achieve. In this card, the hummingbird is a confident, dedicated but cautious driver with a wand full of magical potential that guides the Chariot with no reigns, only pure willpower.

The smaller hummingbirds help guide the direction of the driver’s energy in the best possible direction with both smaller birds pulling in such a guided direction.

This helps us look at the duality of opposing forces, the positive and negative, the light and the dark, and the challenges of choice that we all face when moving forward in life.

This scenario helps us realize that there are many little things in life that impact which direction we choose to go, as well as it showcases the idea that smaller beings can be just as powerful as bigger ones. Energy is a power resource and size does not always dictate how one can access that resource.

 Behind the chariot flows a river that encourages us to flow with the changes as well as showing we have crossed waters that are challenging and we are ready to move ahead.

In tarot, the number 7 represents victories through willpower and self-mastery as well as a divine connection to spirit and intellect. The two crescent moons create a sense of connection to the divine and knowing your connection to spirit is at your shoulders and walking with you.

The position also gives the ability for the divine to whisper into your ears the messages from the soul. On the driving hummingbird’s chest is a square, denoting the element of earth, grounding all actions. The card’s astrological association is Cancer, the element is water and the planet is the moon.

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