Archive for the ‘Playing Cards’ category

Cherry Blossoms Club Me

August 31, 2017

5 OF CLUBS – WASHINGTON, D.C.
Capital of the United States
In spring, thousands of cherry trees bloom in the nation’s capital.

5Clubs_WashingtonDC

Well isn’t that pretty? This is a lovely illustration and she’s done a true transformation with the suit symbols in their conventional places.

I thought we had a cherry tree out in the front yard, but it turned out to be a full apple tree. We have three apples on it this year.

Maybe this card is about seeing things that may not be there, or missing things that are? How many people bustle about and forget to notice the cherry trees in bloom?

 

 

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Greeks, Illusion, and the 2 of Clubs

August 29, 2017

Today I am using a playing card deck published by Y & B Associates in New York in 1997. This one is Illusions in Art: Deck 1 – Classics. I went to a lot of trouble to obtain various illusions decks from this publisher back in the day when Internet ordering was not as easy, and I always pick up some new idea or tidbit of knowledge from them.

2 OF CLUBS – GREEK PARTHENON, ATHENS, ca 1438 B.C.

2Clubs_Parthenon

The columns on the Parthenon look nice and straight and evenly spaced, except they are not. Because of the way the human eye sees things and the attendant optical distortions, the columns are slightly thicker in the middle, and the middle columns are spaced wider apart so that when viewed from a distance, it all looks symmetrical and correct.

Vitruvius, who was a Roman architect and civil engineer from the first century A.D., came up with the theory that the Greeks, knowing of these optical illusions, factored in these slightly altered dimensions when building the Parthenon. The elements on the facade tilt outward a bit and the columns tilt inward by about 2 inches, which again supposedly relates to in-built counter-perspective. I’m not sure about that one, maybe the building is just old and has moved? But it is certain the columns were built with bulges and odd spacing and the Greeks had been doing such things for a hundred years or more before the Parthenon was built, and they skewed dimensions inside the building as well for the same reason.

And I learned this from a playing card, having missed the special about the Parthenon on the PBS NOVA series which explained some of this. Vitruvius I know from Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man which was based on notes on human dimensions by Vitruvius.

So, that came together into a good little study.

 

 

Cards with Palette Joy

August 25, 2017

Today’s stimulating projects were to get the plumbing fixed, which went extremely well, and to buy a couple of tubes of acrylic paint, which also went extremely well.

Riding on that wave of extreme satisfaction, I decided to take the plunge and officially buy Pixelmator from the App Store, and while there I bought two  useful programs: Color Palette Converter, and Color Palette from Image. Both programs work great and take the frustration out of getting nice colours into the Apple colour picker. Total cost of the two small programs was about $4, I was so pleased.

Here is a little screen shot of a card deck cover and the colour palette I generated from it, now available in the Apple colour picker for any program that uses it.

ColourPalette_Saints

The Colour Palette from Image program allows up to 20 colours, certainly adequate for most purposes. You can change the gamma on it to subdue the shades or select more or less colours.

So there you go, yet another neat thing you can do with your cards. Create stationery with the colours of your favourite card, create a web site, sew some clothes in those colours, or simply look at the colours in a preview window and sigh dreamily, thinking of sewing handbags with hand painted swooshes in that blue colour on the bottom right.

Yikes, way too stimulating for one day.

Shall We Sing…???

August 23, 2017

“All my trials Lord, soon be over.”

I wish, now we’ve got a plumbing problem and the plumber is coming tomorrow.

QUEEN OF SPADES
“Once you label me, you negate me.” [Kierkegard]

QSpades_Exist

Maybe we should sing “I love my cheery chaps, my existentialist saps” Lalalalala.

I take it Mr. Kierkegard doesn’t want me to label a plumbing problem as bad. Wouldn’t want to negate the plumbing, right? Okay, let’s think about concrete reality rather than thinking in abstracts.

Søren wanted some birds. “Give me birds, they know how to stay grounded” he said forthrightly.

And darn it Søren, if you press down and hold the “o” key on the Mac keyboard, you get a pop-up box for making the strange “ø” character. We can call you by your first name now!

 

 

 

 

Spines

August 16, 2017

I just got somewhere between 10 and 11 hours of sleep which is a small miracle given my insomnia. I think I was worn out by pain.

We took the dogs to the vet and my Newf has developed some problems walking in addition to her arthritis. It looks like some spinal cord damage affecting her right hind leg. Sometimes she stumbles or falls, because the nerve signals cut out on that leg. She is almost 14 so there is nothing to be done. The vet said at some point if she can’t walk it will be the end.

Knowing this already, as both my dogs are old and in final decline, it still left me with a lingering weepiness and sadness. Tears keep coming to my eyes periodically.

KING OF SPADES
Nietzsche – “God is dead.”

KingSpades_Exist

I’m getting somewhere, I can spell “Nietzsche” off the top of my head. Of such marketable skills are life made.

Back in the 60s man, Nietzsche was revered and this one phrase of his reverberated in universities throughout the world. Weren’t we clever? Is God dead? I think our human notion and bastardization and mistranslation of God is the problem.

Beyond that, I think there are people who shine with something providential; they access the divine.

For today, awash in tears for old dogs and inevitable death, I prefer to imagine something concrete, but rarely accessed by 6 billion humans.

 

 

 

I Exist, Therefore I Scan Freely Wearing a Bowler Hat

August 14, 2017

I’ve been playing around today examining my new Existentialist Playing Cards or Exist Playing Cards as is printed on the title card. The bowler hat is a reference to Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot which I studied in high school but missed the reference here until I looked it up, thinking instead that it might refer to a René Magritte painting which depicts a man with a bowler hat. Beckett features in the Clubs suit in caricature and in several quotes on the Clubs pips.

ExistPlayingCardssm

I scanned several more cards for my database but here is a sample of a few cards and the back with numerous bowler hats.

ExistPlayingCards2

The colours are wonderful in this, I can see where you could pick a card or two and use them as impetus for artwork. Yes, Camus would like you to use a bunch of gold green shades and paint a reptile. Of course he does. I think Rita put a lot of thought into the organization of this and the stream of colour families in each suit.

The Court Cards have caricatures of the three philosophers quoted in the pip cards with a name tag on each that says “Hello my name is ______”, and each has an additional famous quote in a speech ballon.

The pip cards have quotations on them from Ace to Ten:

SPADES: Friedrich Nietzsche, Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Jaspers.
HEARTS: Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Simone de Beauvoir, Gabriel Marcel.
CLUBS: Albert Camus, Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka.
DIAMONDS: Jean-Paul Sartre, Paul Tillich, Martin Heidegger.

Existentialists brought in emotion and the whole human experience rather than just reason and rationality to philosophy. They felt conventional philosophy was too distanced and abstract from human experience. They were very, very big on being free and authentic.

And wearing bowler hats.

 

 

Exotic Birdbrains and Drop Caps

July 31, 2017

Not much doing today, I finished this jigsaw puzzle of the Exotic Birds Playing Cards which are from the Heritage Playing Card Company. Image courtesy of the Somerville site.

ExoticBirds_sm

I also painted three biggish drop caps for a calligraphy project. A pen pal of mine is sending me a pen in the mail which should be a suitable size for the calligraphy. The pen I have has a nib that’s a bit too wide for the scale. I used my new softcover Zeta sketchbook for the drop caps and that went well using pen and ink, gouache and watercolour pencils.

My Existential Playing Cards have shipped. Yay!