The Fairy Tale Tarot by Lisa Hunt header
by Lisa Hunt

JOURNAL

———————————————————
book

Lisa - July 2008
 
       
 

January 10 , 2009  —  The Journal Has Moved!

I've started a new Wordpress Journal so that readers could comment on my entries. It goes by the title of Dynamic Dreamer ~ Art Weaver. All of the entries I've written up to this point will remain here but I've moved the last three to the new Wordpress format. All future entries will be there. you can find the new journal at:

www.LisaHuntArt.com/blog

Thank you spending a little time in my world. :)

~ Lisa

———————————————————

 

Lisa's New Blog

       
       
       
       
 

November 8 , 2008  —  The Little Match Girl: Can we end childhood poverty?

I've been thinking about the Little Match Girl a lot lately. After reading a thoughtful blog on the subject of poverty at my friend Diane’s Wavelength Tarot site, I felt a compulsion to present this timeless, tragic tale about a little girl who freezes to death while fantasizing about basic comforts such as food, warmth and love. At the risk of sounding overemotional, this story never fails to bring tears to my eyes. When I first read it as a little girl, I felt profound pain and empathy for this neglected little heroine, whose ability to visualize things of beauty in the face of abject poverty and hopelessness somehow served to inspire. And even though the cold grip of death ultimately seized her tired body, her demise is somehow shown as a thing of relief and beauty. I feel it is one of the saddest fairy tales included in my Fairy Tale Tarot and a thought provoking representation for the Three of Swords. It's also a story that I retold with soulful intent—and hopefully my editor will agree.

For me, the real tragedy of the story is apathy. No one seemed to care about the shivering little girl whose spirit slowly dies under the cloak of societal neglect. The indifference of strangers, as they busily and gleefully shop for holiday gifts somehow served to infuriate me. They don't notice the poor little girl desperately trying to avoid certain retribution on the home front if she did not sell her pathetic supply of matchsticks. No one stops to care or help or contribute to her meager living. Instead, she is allowed to languish on the cold streets of anonymity—where the poor are invisible; perhaps even viewed by the self-absorbed as a little less than human. It's not until her dead body is found that a crowd gathers, ostensibly acknowledging the misfortune: “Oh the miserable little thing—left all alone in the cold of the night.”

When I was young, I could not understand why the suffering girl’s voice had fallen on deaf ears. I couldn't comprehend how a little girl, a victim of neglect and abuse, could be so overlooked by the system. Of course, Andersen wrote this story during a time when perhaps impoverished children were seen as annoying strays rather than innocent victims of an unjust world—I don’t know for sure because I want to believe compassion was always in abundance. But I’m afraid that apathy has always reigned supreme, otherwise we would have eradicated poverty a long time ago. The few heroes among us who do try to make a difference don’t land on the prime-time news with their selfless deeds. They’re often fighting against a parsimonious system that can be less than cooperative and rewarding. My in-laws are among those heroes, who volunteer tirelessly at food pantries, went to New Orleans to help out victims of Hurricane Katrina, and engage in clothing drives for various charities. They have spent their entire retirement selflessly pursuing good deeds that do make a difference. They serve as wonderful role models for us as well as those around them. If everyone did what they do, we would be living in a much different world. As we enter the “end of prosperity” and revisit the timeless terrain called poverty, hopelessness and suffering, we need to remember that apathy is the true enemy, not lack of resources. I believe kindness and compassion will help carry us through the treacherous ride ahead. And perhaps “no child left behind” will infer more than just ensuring that schools meet certain educational mandates. Maybe we can expand it to mean; no child will go hungry, no child will lack healthcare and no child will ever have to suffer the way the poor Little Match Girl did. As bleak as the world economy is looking, I hope something good can come out of it, and that everyone will eventually remember what is truly important. I may be an idealist, but I dream that one day global abolishment of childhood poverty will render the story of The Little Match Girl obsolete or at the very least serve to remind us of what not to let happen to one of our most precious commodities in this world.

~ Lisa

———————————————————

 

click for
larger version
 

November 2 , 2008  —  The beauty of sleep: walks through the unconscious mind

For those of you who have been following me on twitter, you know that I have been battling acute bronchitis, thus the paucity of journal entries in recent weeks. I thought I was fit and healthy as I ambitiously tackled my jam-packed daily routines; conveniently ignoring the signs of a brewing illness (I suspect I contracted it during air travel this past September). But one day it hit me as I struggled to breathe during Taekwondo sparring sessions and collapsed at night in an exhausted heap. I’m usually a ball of fire and here I was fighting for air in between unsuppressed coughing fits. Given that I’m currently training for my black belt test in December (and am otherwise in excellent health), I attributed the lethargy and raw lungs to overtraining, deadlines, being an overtaxed WAHM (Work At Home Mom), sleep deprivation and maybe even the limitations of a 41 year old body. However as my condition worsened, I realized that it was not a fly by night visit by Mrs. reality check, but an all out dangerous situation that warranted medical attention. I finally saw a clinician and was prescribed antibiotics and ordered chest x-rays. Thankfully it hadn’t manifested into pneumonia. But this particularly virulent infection had a message attached to it: time to slow down and rest body and mind. Thanks to support of family and friends (including sagacious advice from twitter buddies), I decided to hibernate for a while. I had to keep up with the daily goings on to an extent, but I cut myself some slack and stopped fretting about what needed to get done. I just lay me down to rest. I assumed that my somnolent state would interrupt the intense creativity that had been playing out in my studio before illness got the better of me. But to my surprise, the lull served to clear my mind and nourish the soul, ushering in an unexpected spate of visual inspiration.

The experience reminded me of Sleeping Beauty. In the painting, the room can be seen as the devouring of consciousness. It holds the dreamer captive in a state of inner exploration. She is in stasis while the world around her continues to follow the drumbeat of time. My illness forced me to rest (like Sleeping Beauty’s curse forced her to sleep for one hundred years) and things kept going despite mama being sick. During my respite, dreams helped me to paint my inner canvas: I took part in spectacular interludes with my unconscious mind, providing me with a acute clarity that would most likely have been ignored in the fog that had become my waking life. I believe this visual feast had been locked away in a maelstrom of stress, waiting to flow freely once I let my mind and body slip into comfortable, luxurious slumber. As soon as I began to heal and feel better, I documented some of these visions on paper with a fluidity that made up for any perceived lost time.

Illness is a great teacher—it forces one to remember to take breaks. The nurturing function of sleep feeds the waking state in ways that can be more effective than the forced conscious application of ideas, especially when one is run down. I think dreams help to process the events of our daily lives, access material of the personal and collective unconscious (sometimes with fantastic results) and have therapeutic effects that aid in purifying the soul. They allow us to confront our shadows, components of the psyche that can actually stifle creativity and feed an illness if not properly addressed. My dreams were not without frightening aspects, but they also hit the refresh button. As my lungs slowly heal, I look forward to resuming my life as a working artist/author, mother/wife, martial artist, keeper of the hearth, gardener and all those little tasks that add up to daily monumental feats, often overlooked by unrealistic expectations. Yes, my recuperative state forced me to stop and smell the roses and really experience redolent scents that can enhance a more inspiring, healthy, balanced life. It also provided me with a treasure trove of ideas that I may not have fully realized if I had not acquiesced to the most basic of physical needs, sleep.

Moon Card represented by Sleeping Beauty: It is time to go within and retrieve the wealth of information that is waiting to be explored. By examining our dreams and confronting our nightmares and shadows we will be more equipped to break through the illusions that may have blinded us in our waking states.

~ Lisa

———————————————————

 
sleeping beauty link
click for
larger version
 

October 11, 2008  —  The Tongue-Cut Sparrow

I love fairy-animal stories—not only are they delightfully entertaining but they bring a sense magical mystery to the tale. As much as some human beings (and I’m not one of those) want to convince themselves that they are the masters of their domain, I happen to see the animals as fellow tenants on this precious earth. I don’t just see a bird; I see a creature that can experience the world from many perspectives by the spontaneous flap of the wing—playing the role of wise observer of the world. I especially love how birds line up on high wires and engage in a community chat fest as rush hour zooms by below.  I can imagine them chuckling at our primitive and feeble methods of getting from one place to another.  Where I live, these groups of avian observers are ubiquitous during the five o’clock rush hour. And I’m going to guess this happens all over the world.  It’s uncanny but true! It really makes me wonder….

Truth be told, I think I see a little bit of fae in all living things (connecting back to my previous comments on animism). I don’t know if I’m a little crazy or if I simply perceive the world in unconventional ways.  I’m still trying to figure that out—growing up, kids thought I was crazy but they also thought, “Wow, you’re a really good artist.” So early on, I simply accepted who I was and kept doing the art. Whatever it is, I pour out my reverence for these fae creatures through pencil and paintbrush.  And I truly appreciate them each and every day.

The Tongue-Cut Sparrow is a Japanese fairy tale that was a natural inclusion for this project.  I’ve read several versions including Yei Theodora Ozaki’s wonderful telling published in 1908. The beautiful prose and characters deliver timeless themes like loyalty, rewards for kindness, greed, and redemption and other emotionally compelling ideas that are still evident in today’s volatile world.  In this story, the Tongue-Cut Sparrow is a loyal female friend who remains cool, calm and collected despite the terrible suffering she endures; something we should all try to be as we weather these difficult and uncertain times.  But don’t worry, all ends well in this fairy tale (and hopefully things will work out for us!). Even the mean-tempered human becomes a better, kinder person as a result of the fairy-animal’s lesson.

***
My husband Kort posed as the old man. I took an impromptu shot of him in our kitchen  (with evidence of the disarray occupying that joyous space in our house). Obviously, I had to age him several years in the drawing and misty woods replaced the kitchen. The landscape was inspired by many visits to a local Japanese garden as well as other parks where neat little passageways tend to inspire my creative sensibilities. But the mist and magical ambiance is pure imagination. It is probably one of my favorite pieces. But that is probably because it was one of my favorite stories to study.

~ Lisa

———————————————————

 
Tongue-Cut Sparrow - Queen of Swords
click for
larger version
 

October 4, 2008  —  Pumpkin Time!

Where I live in Florida, planting season begins in the fall. This is a time when Floridians emerge from their artificially cooled summer caves in anticipation of the idyllic temperatures of the fall/winter season ahead. I love to throw those windows open, allowing the crosswinds to carry fresh scents through the house. Where I live, it’s flat and the soft breezes are almost a constant given my proximity to the shoreline (about 8 miles). This offers great consolation for this former mountain-girl who has pined for the hilly regions for many years now. But when the fall/winter breezes arrive, I feel infinitely grateful to be in the flatlands of the palm-infested subtropics!

Gardening has become an autumnal fixture here. I love prepping the soil throughout the summer, salvaging organic scraps for the offering. The other day my next door neighbor saw me carrying leftover coffee, still in the pot, prompting her to ask (with a sheepish grin) “For the garden?”. I guess my neighbors have grown used to me-crazy organic gardening lady of the neighborhood. Yes, I give the blessed soil my favorite imbibes—nothing is wasted in my house. I add, I till, and I wait. And when October arrives, I begin a season of fruitful promise. I have lots of books on gardening and I'm slowly learning how to keep pests away the natural way. Yet, if I do see the occasional caterpillar, I actually let the critter share in the harvest. After all, in my own little way, I'm helping to preserve the dwindling butterfly population—a great example of having your cake and eating it too. I think one can successfully share the bounties harvested from the earth. Gardening is not only a pragmatic solution for supplying oneself with organic victuals; it is a lesson in life. At the expense of sounding cliche, the timeless activity nourishes the soul and fosters balance and equilibrium in the middle of what is often a crazy day. I know it lowers my heart rate and cleans out my brain, not to mention the yoga-like benefits of stretching and reaching. I almost always return to the studio revived, this journal entry being a good example of gardening inspiring the writer!

This year, I've given my four-year-old daughter her own little corner in the vegetable bed. I want her to participate in the joys of gardening, like my mother and grandmother used to do with me. I want her to appreciate and respect Mother Earth and I think a little patch of organic paradise is a great place to start!

This journal will include the “The Fairy Godmother” (traditional: The Empress). In this depiction (once again, Kris Waldherr posed) the Fairy Godmother is the creative nurturer who is able to transform perceived limitations into something magical, much like my small and humble organic garden that generates so much joy. I particularly loved painting the pumpkins because to me, pumpkins seem alive even without the wave of the Fairy Godmother's wand; although truth be told, I have yet to grow pumpkins successfully here in the southern hemisphere with or without a wand! haha. In the watercolor painting, I kept the pumpkins in their organic "natural" state because I thought their mere presence was enough to incite imaginative thought.

I want to thank the insightful Lunaea Weatherstone (www.lunaea.com), twitter buddy, for inspiring part of this journal with her animated observations of pumpkins! Thank you, sister.
And may everyone enjoy pumpkin time!

~ Lisa

———————————————————

 


click for
larger version


Kris posing for the Empress

 

September 22, 2008  —  A lifestyle built on illusion: The Tower Card (Deception)
revealing the naked truth

In my opinion, last week’s events on Wall Street shook the country out of a long lasting stupor fed by years of easy lending and consumer greed; culminating into a rippling current of economic disaster. It seemed a train wreck waiting to happen as overzealous lenders lured homebuyers into situations that were not sustainable for the long term. People bargained their futures as the country stood by in a state of collective denial.

Florida, where I live, has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. The rise and fall of real estate was as frightening to witness as the approach of one of our many debilitating hurricanes; sweeping in more inflationary burdens for all as a result. Greedy developers stripped swaths of natural habitats and plopped down row after row of cookie-cutter ostentation, symbols of power and position rather than furnishing responsible housing for a growing populous. Many folks from surrounding modest neighborhoods watched these palaces tower over palm trees with a dominating presence, leaving us to wonder—who the heck is moving into these gargantuan structures that bear unbelievable price tags? I hardly think a home “starting at $600,000” should be a sought-after bargain. And as the surrounding developments got bigger and pricier, so did everybody’s property values, thus resulting in escalating property taxes, higher insurance rates and a general rise in consumer goods and services (such as preschool tuition—believe it or not tuition is effected by the surrounding community and demand). The need for greed hurt the average Floridian as people were being squeezed out of homes that were once affordable. New families and speculators rushed in and vied for homes, spawning a real estate frenzy of epic proportions. It was a seller’s market and people with seemingly average incomes were paying astronomical prices for homes that were artificially buoyed by demand. I wondered how people were affording these overpriced homes and no one really seemed to know. Well, many couldn’t and slowly a sad veil of reality washed over the fervor and squelched the enthusiasm that built up an economy built on promises of paradise.

I’ve seen it---the houses got bigger, the cars got bigger, the boobs got bigger (I’m not being facetious here, after all, we’re talking about South Florida, Beverly Hills of the East Coast—and plastic surgery seemed to be booming along with the real estate). Yet, all did not seem right. Though I’m sheltered from the immediate grandiosity in my lovely, modest middle class neighborhood-- a few miles east was testament to this lavishness and seeming exaltation of material acquisition. It all seemed so flaccid and fake to me—and iterated in my mind the bigger they come, the harder they fall.  Well, it’s falling and no one is being spared. The pillars of wealth were built on sand, literally. And now having an organic garden in one’s yard (like myself) doesn’t seem like such a silly idea anymore. People are truly scared--scared of loss and having to be thrown into the reality of a country having operated with illusionary force. Yes, in my opinion it was fueled by the deregulation efforts of irresponsible government. But many people bought into it and took advantage of easy credit, spending like there was no tomorrow. I myself never wavered from my poor-artist beginnings and have always tried to live humbly, responsibly and gratefully. But still, no one is immune from the catastrophic failures of a system that ran on avarice. Anyone’s foundation can be eroded by a surge of unexpected disaster, such as sudden job loss or illness. As the debacle continues, we’re all being stripped naked--the illusionary cloak that was “fundamentally strong” is proving not to be. Many of us had seen ominous clouds in the distance, harbingers of a storm to come, but now everyone is feeling the first feeder bands of a hurricane called Excess.

The Tower card, renamed Deception for the Fairy Tale Tarot is represented by The Emperor’s New Clothes. Instead of literally painting a tower, I chose to pursue imagery connoting illusion and deception—and the potential hazards of living a life (and leading a people) with dubious rectitude.

~ Lisa

———————————————————

 
Deception - The Emperor's New Clothes
click for
larger version
 

September 12, 2008  —  Thoughts on a magical visit to New York City

I just returned from visiting my darling soul sister, Kris Waldherr in New York City. She simply spoiled me with her hospitality, impressive tour guiding skills, and uncanny ability to sniff out those low-key dining experiences that served amazing food (and martinis J ). We nurtured those bonds that brought us together via the internet twelve years ago and confabbed through many a topic including art, publishing, books, motherhood, husbands, politics and all manner of endless conversational fare. We always joke about how we could chat the day away without any comprehension of how much time had passed. That, my friend, is true friendship: when the symbiotic wheels of soulful rhetoric blend together in a most invigorating way. It is always our lament that we simply don’t have enough time to talk, despite our endless e-mail exchanges and concerted efforts to see one another. Despite our differences (City Mouse, Country Mouse being the most obvious example), there is a deep understanding that comes from having had similar experiences as artists/authors. She is also a brilliant, brainy blondie who makes insightful observations and fascinating articulations. It’s just fun to hang with her!

While there, I had the unique pleasure of seeing her delightful, feng shui gallery and studio. If you want to know what good ambiance is, it can be found at Art and Words. It is a place that is infused with positive, creative energy. I loved being there and could have spent hours poring over the beautifully executed originals that adorn the walls. Kris made my visit extra special by inviting a few girl pals over for a mini-gallery party complete with champagne and hors d’oeuvres. You can imagine how chatty we all got after a couple of sips of bubbly and several rounds of art/writing-related topics. I met Elizabeth Genco, graphic novelist (Blue) being one of her many talents, and I finally got to know Karen Zuegner a bit (who will be having an exhibit at Kris’ gallery soon), a woman with extraordinary visionary power. Her paintings pack powerful punches and reflect a woman of depth and integrity. I can see why she and Kris are good friends. We ended the evening exchanging publications, hugs and hopes for future reunions. I felt as though these were my faraway Brooklyn sisters, whose warmth and charm and efforts to meet me will always be remembered and appreciated.

I chose to post Three of Cups represented by Little Ida’s Flowers. This is a story where dreams manifest and friendships are born. Little Ida becomes lost in the moment of floral pageantry as she embraces the good feelings that sweep her into the evening’s celebration. This is how I felt as I spent time with Kris and friends. Good feelings overfloweth making for a most magical visit.

~ Lisa

———————————————————

 


click for
trip photos

click for
larger version

 

August 29 , 2008  —  City Mouse, Country Mouse

I am a country girl at heart. I grew up in a bucolic little New England town where trees dominated the landscape. Our road was so quiet that we played on the street; rolling down the hill in our makeshift go-carts or crashing sleds into the embankments at the turn. I was inclined to be a tomboy and proudly wore Band-Aids on all of the bumps and scrapes accumulated from my outdoor activities. I helped my brothers build tree houses and forts, gathered vegetables from my grandmother's garden, loved watching animals and relished picking little wildflowers that persistently poked up through a green lawn. We were an earthy clan—and because of my country upbringing, I've always lived “green” by default. I compost food scraps like my mother and grandmother used to, plan and grow an organic vegetable garden and hang my laundry to dry. And I derive great joy out of these seemingly mundane tasks because they appeal to my earthy tendencies. I don't live in the country anymore. My domicile is nestled in the ‘burbs where conveniences are found at nearly every corner. It is about as country as it is going to get in my town, but it suffices—I have a yard, a garden and a lake view that teems with wildlife.

But truth be told, I do love visiting the big city: its stimulating and invigorating ambiance and the copious cultural offerings simply whet my artsy-fartsy appetite. During my young adulthood as a New Englander, I would frequently take the train to Manhattan. As soon as I trotted off the platform into Grand Central, the pulsations would vibrate through my feet and elevate my heart rate; matching the rhythms of my overwhelming surroundings. In those early days, I ostensibly went to hawk my artistic wares in hopes of landing a coveted contract with a publisher, but it was more than that. It was really a pilgrimage into the big scary world full of humanity-driven energy. Manhattan had the addictive quality of high volume coffee—it engaged all of my senses in a way that nothing else quite has and the buzz had a lingering effect. By day's end, I was exhausted. I would take a train home, with that certain indescribable city-feel still clinging to my skin. The day's impressions would be dancing through my head as I fell into a short nap in my seat. The city was great, but I was always happy to get back home to unwind and recharge my batteries.

Since moving to Florida (many years ago now), I have not returned to New York City. So when my dear friend Kris Waldherr invited me to come up and see her digs in Brooklyn, I couldn’t resist (and besides, she’s been here several times ... it's my turn to do the visiting). From what I hear, Brooklyn is laid back compared to Manhattan, but it is still a big deal for a little ol’ studio hermit like me! And it’s shaking my country mouse complacency into city mouse vivacity. But instead of an ending like the Aesop’s fable, I know I will feel wistful when I return home. Kris, city sister, loves living in Brooklyn and I love living in Florida, but I do think seeing and appreciating each other’s chosen lifestyles serves to remind us how interesting and varied people’s lives can be. She comes down here to relax in the Florida sun and I’m going up there to experience the artistic energy that is indicative of New York City (and to see my pal, of course). I think I can manage to balance my internal city mouse with my external country mouse and feel fortunate that I can experience both.

~ Lisa

———————————————————

 
City Mouse, Country Mouse (Two of Wands) - by Lisa Hunt
click for
larger version
 

August 22 , 2008  —  Yeay!

I just stumbled on a plethora of sketches I did for the Fairy Tale Tarot. I didn't realize that I had filled up a total of four sketchbooks during the course of this project! I am happy to let you know that many of those sketches will wind up here on the gallery page. Lisa in the raw from start to finish: doodles, paintings and everything in between. I'm so excited to be able to share my process with you.

~ Lisa

———————————————————

 
Gallery Link - Lisa Hunt Fairy Tale Tarot
 

August 20 , 2008  —  The Fisherman and his Wife: a case of unmitigated greed

The Fisherman and his Wife story has always made me cringe. I remember reading it as a little girl, all the while mentally imploring the “wife” to quit while she was ahead and enjoy the bountiful gifts that she had already received. But much to my dismay, her insatiable greed drove the enchanted fish to retract all that he had bestowed on the couple—and instead of residing contently in a castle the Fisherman and his wife end up back in a shack. I kept pondering the futility of it all--this constant desire for more and more without truly and deeply appreciating and enjoying what is –a theme that has endured the test of time and continues to plague some discontented souls today. Greed has led to many downfalls and (sadly) most likely always will.

The art for The Fisherman and his Wife as Eight of Cups is an example of an image created from pure imagination without the aid of reference. I drew and painted it from my own mental projections—echoing the sentiments of my soul. I did not need visual stimulus to realize the poignancy of the theme and image. All I had to do was listen to the news or read the paper or reread a number of classics that employ greed as a thematic centerpiece. And let's not forget the fairy tale stories themselves—full of voracity, but usually countered successfully by virtue. This is probably why I've always loved reading fairy tales so much. The stories do not attempt to avoid the ugly—they offer honest portraits of humanity.

~ Lisa

———————————————————

 

The Fisherman and his Wife (Eight of Cups) by Lisa Hunt thumbnail
click for
larger version

 

August 15 , 2008  —  With a Little Help From My Friends

While planning the paintings for Fairy Tale, I let my imagination take the helm using memory and inspiration as the reference of choice. But for a few of the images, I employed the services of willing family and friends to model for certain characters before embarking on the final painting. One of my models was my dear friend (whom I will be visiting next month in New York City), Kris Waldherr. Being an artist herself, she assumed the poses with an affinity for the subject matter that truly showed her to be a natural. And truthfully -- given her beauty, grace and height -- I wonder how the modeling agencies of NYC could have missed such an astonishing goddess (as she walked to her art school with portfolio in hand). Too bad for the modeling world, but lucky for me!

The Goose Girl is one of my favorite stories because, well, ...because of the talking horse of course! Falada serves as the wise observer in the narrative—reminding us of the injustices that have befallen the princess. As she stepped through the town gate, she looked forlornly at the sad horse for counsel. “Oh Falada, what has become of me?” The wise horse replied, “Oh, if your mother knew, her heart would break in two." Symbolically speaking, the horse's head represents the personal unconscious; it serves as the goose girl's repressed feelings as she passes the threshold into wild pastures, literally and figuratively. She is in the stage between childlike innocence and adult emancipation. She must learn how to become autonomous in a world that is sometimes cruel and unjust. I love how the story ends, with the unlikely confessional (the princess telling the stove the truth of her identity) and subsequent comeuppance (the false princess facing grave punishment for her exploits). I probably need not tell you that the story has a happy ending.

Kris was the perfect Goose Girl—not only because she's lovely but because she understood the message and could assume that role with a discernible empathy. Anyone who has ever carried a portfolio through the streets of NYC would understand that.  But even on a grander scale, this idea applies to anyone who has crossed the threshold from the comfort of familiarity to the uncertainty of the unknown.

~ Lisa

———————————————————

 

Goosegirl by Lisa Hunt - link
click for
larger version

 

July 31, 2008  —  Talking About the Trees and the Faces I See

My husband Kort and I just returned from a much needed island getaway. Unlike many of the islands on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Pine Island’s main industry is tree farming -- NOT tourism. There are no sandy beaches, no glitzy nightlife, no tacky tourist strips; and I cannot remember one traffic signal during the approximately ten mile drive to the tip of the island. They just aren’t needed there. But Pine Island does have something that is getting harder and harder to come by: simple quietude. It is a place where the sounds of nature and lapping waves dominate the atmosphere. You could see fish leaping from the bay waters. Spotting a predatory bird was not a serendipitous occasion, but a regular event. It was the perfect vacation spot for someone yearning to get back to nature and be unplugged for a few days. And that is just what we did—no computer, no phone (we brought cells but didn’t use them) and no television. At the waterfront inn (originally built in 1914) we played some mellow J.J. Cale while sipping wine during the evening hours. Without a doubt, these were precious memories being made! The sunsets were the most spectacular I had ever seen—and I’ve seen some incredible sunsets here by the southern shores. There was something particularly vast and endless about the emblazoned skies over the western waters. In those moments, we felt great pause as the world about us was consumed by the crimson sun sinking into its own reflection.

The days at this jewel of an island defied linear time and seemed to extend far past one’s regular diurnal cycle. Three days could have been three weeks for all I knew. During those wonderful hours of being lost in the moment, I often sketched and pondered and sketched some more. I drew what I saw and felt… and what I felt was life—vibrant life in every tree, pebble, leaf, and flower. My favorite subject was the trees. As I sat and sketched (and some were done very quickly), I saw a thousand stories within the animated faces and creatures that were an integral part of the tree. I couldn’t help but greatly respect the fact that they survived in the harsh coastal conditions. Unforgiving wind and water (such as from Hurricane Charlie of 2004) batters the region from time to time. Despite everything, these indomitable specimens (that I now drew with great reverence) had remained standing—the wisdom of their experiences reflected in their thick, conspicuous roots and sinewy, twisted branches that had withstood untold punishment. Animism, or the idea that physical objects or phenomena possess consciousness and soul, is a convincing philosophy on an island where nature dominates the senses.

Fortunately, Pine Island has adopted strict environmental policies with only very limited development being allowed. And where there are a few newer (albeit small) pockets of communities emerging, they cannot exceed three stories nor can they dominate the landscape. Unspoiled nature is the first priority here—and hefty fines will follow the overzealous landscaper if he/she dares to uproot the islands’ precious resources without permission.

Here are a few paintings I created for Fairy Tale Tarot that demonstrate my leanings towards animistic belief—with rocks and trees observing the situations, seemingly contributing to the narration with their telling expressions. For those of you familiar with my work, you will notice these subtle souls emerging from unlikely places in most everything I have ever painted. They’re never preplanned. They emerge from the pencil and paintbrush at will. It’s a spiritual experience for me … as was my stay on Pine Island. Kort and I have already booked a room for next summer and are confident that things won’t change much ‘til then.     For more island photos, click HERE.

~ Lisa

———————————————————

 

Lisa Sketching
Lisa sketching

Lisa's tree sketches
click for
larger version

Animism sketches
click to
see the
image
progression

 

July 22, 2008  —  Snow Queen Relief for Those Dog Days of Summer…

The Snow Queen painting almost didn’t happen. In fact, when I think back on the project with more acuity, The Snow Queen was the last piece I painted for the deck, a sort of swan song for a project I didn’t want to have end. From the very beginning, I so wanted to include The Snow Queen in my fairy tale deck. But given the length and format of the story, I was facing a decision that was based on practicality rather than artistic sensibility. So I shelved the sketch, scratched the story off the list and found possible replacements for Five of Wands. Yet I kept thinking about it--thinking about the moment the Snow Queen ensnares Kay with her hypnotic gaze. Still, I put it away and averted my eyes from the luscious Hans Christian Andersen volumes that all contained this rich story. I tried to convince myself that this story was not meant for the deck. It was just too long and I only had a few pages to work with.

A year later, I found myself nearing the end of the list. Almost all the paintings were completed except for the Five of Wands. It was winter, and though not cold in Florida, news of snowstorms was ubiquitous in the media. I kept thinking about the Snow Queen. Finally, I couldn’t hold back—I hesitantly opened my sketchbook and lost all self-control: I sketched and sketched and sketched—feeling the whirl of her snows between my fingers, feeling her icy stare echoing the stoicism of her countenance. I had to draw her. I had to. When I finished, I walked away (I never try to judge my work right after I complete it). But when I came back—I knew I had done the right thing. I e-mailed my editor Becky and told her that I had to include the Snow Queen. Becky (who pretty much gave me carte blanche through the painting process) nonchalantly replied that I should do what feels right and if I wanted to paint the Snow Queen, well then I should go for it. She was right, and soon afterwards I was painting. The Snow Queen is probably one of the most swiftly painted images I created for this deck (and a perfect choice for the Five of Wands). Not because it was a fairly straightforward portrait, but because all that repressed energy just flowed out in great waves of relief. It felt WONDERFUL! And I was happy with the outcome. In fact, it is one of my favorite pieces from the Fairy Tale Tarot.

Lesson learned--don’t fight Mother Muse. She’ll win in the end, and you’ll be happy she did!

~ Lisa

———————————————————

 
Snow Queen thumb and link
click to
see the
image
progression
 

July 18, 2008

For the next several months, I will be posting sketches and drawings – figments of my passionate brainstorm through a world of make believe. I will open the drawing vaults (so to speak) to retrieve art that literally depicts my journey through these fairy tales. First up, Rapunzel. Rapunzel was one of the sample cards I created before soliciting the deck idea to my publisher. I’ve always been drawn to the story for both the pictorial inspiration evoked through the Grimm Brothers’ narrative and also for the multitudinous symbolism layered throughout the story. It seemed like a natural choice at the time given that I was between projects and in a state of personal and professional transition. It was a piece that initiated the intense spate of creativity that was to follow.

I hope to provide you with a little backdrop behind each image as I post them along the way. There is a creative fervor that goes into every single piece of artwork that I create—it is something ineffable; an energy that is bigger than my conscious being and not within my capacity to articulate through words. The closest thing I can come up with: the art is a product of the soul and mirrors a sacred space within my being that just needs to surface onto the paper. It's raw honesty within the context of a narrative. And it's layered with emotion and symbolism that I hope will serve to inspire others. Hopefully when you look at Rapunzel, you will be able to relate to her dilemma on a certain level and all the fear and uncertainty that lies beyond the structure of familiarity. I think we all feel stuck and/or entrapped sometime and somewhere along the way...

~ Lisa

———————————————————

Rapunzel Sketch
click to
see the
image
progression

       
 

July 5, 2008

Greetings friends!
Welcome to the new web site dedicated to my upcoming 2009 release of The Fairy Tale Tarot (Llewellyn Publications). Here you will find sketches, insights, excerpts and other mental meanderings pertaining to one of my favorite projects I've ever worked on.

...I've been hesitant to launch a blog given my tight schedule and tendency towards privacy, but after much consideration I couldn't think of a better way to relay all the enthusiasm I feel for my latest tarot project. I also realize that connecting with one’s audience can be a rewarding and inspiring experience. I'm looking forward to it!

I do like reading blogs posted by artist/author friends and feel a certain reverence for these brave souls who are so willing to share their experiences with the rest of the world. These blogs are often replete with powerful insights—and tend towards a humanity that makes the artist/author so endearing and likable. And so, I finally decided (with some reservations) that I too am willing to engage in this new frontier of communication and discuss some of my own experiences as the creator of the upcoming the Fairy Tale Tarot.

So here we go…

The Fairy Tale Tarot has been a dream of mine. The more I worked on it, the more I realized how long this project had been incubating in my psyche. As a dedicated student and collector of fairy tales, it seemed inevitable that a project of this magnitude would eventually surface in my sketchbook and onto watercolor paper. I've been reading fairy tales for as long as I can remember, with many of my early drawings reflecting my interest in these fantastic stories. But it wasn't until after the birth of my daughter that I realized how much my passion for fairy tales had always directed my muse—and thus the idea of a fairy tale tarot was born (of course, my hubby helped me to brainstorm, but that is the subject for another blog). What followed was an era of intense research and sketching, and the more I became enraptured by these tales the more vested I became in the project. The ideas for the art flowed quickly onto the blank pages, filling several drawing journals with castles, princesses, ogres, landscapes, tricksters and all manner of fairy tale intrigue.

It was fun. It was exciting and it was an extension of something that had been long dormant! It was like sleeping beauty and the kiss that woke her up  from that  long sleep.

Now that the book and art are done, I am in limbo as I await editorial feedback. I can honestly say that the book feels as though it contains some of my finest writing to date--with every word of every entry feeling like a dance through magical prose. It was a delightful experience, but don't get me wrong—it was intense and exhausting as well. Creating the artwork for the deck was exhilarating. I was almost sorry when I finished the very last painting (I wish I could remember which piece it was!). It wasn't a rush to the finish line, it was a deadline I didn't want to come to pass! That is how much I LOVED working on The Fairy Tale Tarot. And this is the web site where I will start sharing some of the drawings, art, musings, etc., that were all part of that wonderful fairy tale experience.

Thank you everyone for all of your support! I hope you will enjoy viewing the goodies on this web site and I look forward to journaling my thoughts as the release date draws near (and beyond).

~ Lisa

———————————————————

 
Fairy Tale Tarot Key