Cryptic Cards by Immy Smith

When I received this deck and book the artist included an extra image and some business cards with cards from the deck on the reverse, so I immediately wanted to get them framed. The lighter mat on top is a bit lighter than in the picture, but you get the idea. This is going on the wall near the wardrobes I keep all my cards in, so I can be surrounded by delightful things.

CrypticCards_ImmySmith

The deck and book are wonderful, I am so glad that after having this on and off my wish list, I bought it.

The Queen of Hearts blurb from the book:

“Queen of Hearts – Sciartist’s bat moth & small insomniac moth
(Ascalapha scientartifex & Utetheisa insomnia)

These species illustrate the diversity of form found in the Erebidae family, which tiger moths are now part of. They represent me; a little itinerant insomniac, and sciart polymath. I’m really very proud of these cards.”

As you can see, Immy has a sense of humour. Although the moths are real ones, she has taken liberties in the nomenclature and the descriptions. This is the reason I bought the book, so that I could read all these stories and get the Latin genus and see the plays on words. The genus is true, the rest isn’t, but you can still explore the various moths and see her gorgeous artwork.

Up creative insomniacs!!

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Art, Art, and Books About Art, and Art Things

I have been away in my mind sewing and dreaming about fabric and patterns for nightwear. I’ve also been waiting for mail from the UK that seemed to have gone, vanished into the ether of Canada Customs or Canada Post.

Today, my Art Oracles deck finally arrived from Book Depository, and in perfect condition considering it has been travelling since August 31st.

ArtOracles_sm

I was expecting a cheap tuck box but it came in a heavy case with a beautiful textured cover. The cards are wonderfully large and the little booklet lists each of the fifty artist in chronological order rather than alphabetical, which is different. There are snippets of quotes on each card and then a write-up with other information on the artist in the booklet.

Very well done!

ArtOracles_Close

A new card deck is a cheery thing. Coincidentally, I just borrowed a comprehensive biography of Willem de Kooning from the library. This should tie in nicely with this new deck and the many modern artists it features.

As well, I’ve bought some new sketchbooks with toned paper and hope to do some work with 100 new sketch prompts on my Manner and Material blog.

deKooningBio

You’ve got to have plans, miles and miles and miles of plans for creativity.

 

 

 

It’s Art, It’s Cards, It’s Creativity, It’s Fabulous

Not that I was browsing or anything, but I like to keep my eye on new playing card decks or similar quirky card decks. Many of these are only available from Kickstarter or private sites that I don’t like to buy from. These caught my eye because the cards feature three of my favourite things, illustrations/caricatures of real people, art history, and quotes. It is available at Book Depository and Amazon in the States as well as the publisher’s site, Laurence King Publishing. Well done Mr. King for instigating a wonderful project and making it available to us. I ordered it immediately.

Art Oracles: Creative & Life Inspiration from Great Artists is written by Katya Tylevich and illustrated by Mikkel Sommer and the 50-card deck was just published in August 2017. This is supposed to be a tarot-inspired game, and I’m not sure how that works but even single cards can be inspiring. Here is an example of a card featuring Piet Mondrian with a few choice words.

ArtOraclesSample

I spot Jean-Michel Basquiat on the cover, I’ll have to haul out my copy of Gray’s Anatomy and show him I bought his favourite book. Then I can show him that patella and poem inspired by a tiny illustration in the book. Inspiration lies everywhere!

What I also liked is that the author chose people who were unique artists and did work that was fresh and different. That’s a good quality for igniting and firing up the creativity of others. I often speak of creativity here and on my other blogs because it lives in my mind constantly, and I like a good card deck that fuels creativity and causes me to learn and look things up.

Thank you Katya and Mikkel for stimulating us all with your work; I look forward to exploring your deck. This is an understatement given my joy in discovering this deck.

Oh, they’ve got Charles and Ray Eames too and William Blake naked in his garden…! You guys!!!!

 

 

Sort of an Ace in the Hole

This is An Ace in the Pack playing cards by Lesley Barnes, an illustrator from Glasgow, Scotland. She has a wonderful animation on her web site. She illustrates books and cards and all kinds of things.

AceinthePackJig

I don’t think she has finished these playing cards but here is some information on it. Since she sells through Etsy, I might have a hope of procuring one when she releases it. Although, in looking at her blog on the cards, she doesn’t seem to have updated it since 2011, so perhaps she’s lost the impetus to complete the project.

These illustrations remind me so much of a book called Russian Folk Tales that I’ve owned since I was a teenager. The illustrations were by Alexander Lindberg and Lesley’s art slightly reminds me of his, done back in 1967.

These charming, detailed illustrations made a good jigsaw. There you go Lesley, an interesting legacy: a digital jigsaw of your excellent work. Should you decide to complete it, let me know so I can purchase the deck for my collection.

I don’t know, is that not an incredible incentive?

Database in the Wilds of Woldman

I have two card decks by artist Susan Woldman, the Contemplation Cards and the Relationship Cards. She also created two other decks, the Yoga Path Cards, and the Ask Me! Cards, which are done in the same style; all of them are out-of-print. She also co-wrote and illustrated a book: The Promise Effect: How to Create a Life That Wasn’t Going to Happen Anyway that is still in-print.

“Susan Woldman is a multi media artist from New York city, finding expression through illustration, writing, painting, sculpting, woodworking and ceramics. After exhibiting her art widely, Susan discovered her passion for combining visual images with the written word. Her card decks are a product of this discovery.”

Upon looking her up online, I see she has changed her focus from exuberantly coloured art and card decks to subdued abstracts in acrylic that are just fascinating. Here are some recent works from her website:
http://www.susanwoldman.com/susan-woldman-artist/

I see her mention that she also makes jewellery. I tend to like artists who work across various disciplines because I do too. There is always something new to learn and try when you’re creative. It’s quite striking how different her art of today is from when she made the four decks. Can you see going from all those bright colours to the quietude of depth in almost monotonal abstracts in a large 48-inch square size? How interesting to discover variations in tone and texture after working in wild colour. Man, I find artists interesting.

Here are the deck boxes together.

relationship-contemplation

CONTEMPLATION CARDS

contemplationback

A sample of four cards I like from the deck. This is not my favourite deck for some reason. I find it a bit same-y with the bras/tops of the women all having clouds and sky on them. It also has a focus on women in the artwork, I prefer more balanced images between genders. I didn’t find the words inspiring, but it’s a colourful deck for a card-a-day contemplation.

contemplationcardssample

RELATIONSHIP CARDS

relationshipback

I liked these much better although details and decorative accents are much the same as in the other deck. The gender balance is here thank goodness. Yes Goddess worshippers, there ARE men in the world. I found the details in this deck more appealing, a little more specific and thus relatable to real life.

relationshipcardssample

I find in decks where there are portraits that I don’t get as much out of them as when cards have details and objects in them. If you see a face and maybe some clothing, there it is, whereas with some scenery or objects, with more defined settings, I can pull more meaning to a card from my mind, meander around creating a story, or simply just enjoy the scene better.

I rarely use these cards but the idea of working with them as the impetus for artwork is appealing, perhaps with colour as a theme or checkerboard patterns or faces. I often want to do that with decks like this but my arm hurts lately so I’m finding it hard to draw when in pain.

I like Susan’s quirky portraiture, but I find these cards a bit simplistic, not much to grow the mind on, but their exuberance is charming and she spent some time creating them which is appealing. She is obviously an artist who gets things completed and has many ideas and just might have interesting things to say in the book she co-wrote.

The Sensation of Life on Earth

Yesterday we spent all day leaving the house, taking the dogs next door and chatting with our neighbours, waiting and waiting for someone to show up for a viewing of the house who never appeared. Today we decided after making the beds and other house-tidying measures, that we needed some balance and needed to get back to our lives rather than hovering around worrying about the house.

So we took our morning tea out on the driveway in the shade so I could comb all the hair blowing out of our chocolate Lab’s coat. We really haven’t spent any happy time with the pets for weeks. Then we had oat bran for breakfast and moved to the shade on the grass, and had two more cups of tea.

Enjoying this strange sensation of being out of the house and hearing birds and the breeze in the trees, we decided to eat lunch out there on the card table, and then after lunch the spouse mowed some of the lawn and used the weed-whacker, while I washed the dishes and then came out to draw a long-overdue weekly sketch on the table, that we had moved to the shade under the big maple and oak.

It was like getting out of prison. The wrens have had their babies and were darting about trying to feed them. The dogs lay on the grass and breathed the air, enjoying our company and the great outdoors. We both felt better, it was a much different and refreshing focus.

561. A new Pitcher Plant from the limestone mountains of Sarawak, Borneo
Marianne North, 1830-1890
Oil on paper
Marianne North Gallery, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

MarianneNorth_Kew

Isn’t that a beauty?

Inside the plant, things tend to disappear into a mottled jumble of colour, but outside the vines twist and reach, the veins of the leaves pulse with colour and energy from the sun, and the mountains envelop all growing things. Reminding me after today to spend more time out in nature, seeing the colours and breathing the air, focusing my eyes on the minutiae of life close-up, my feet magnetized by the Earth.

 

 

 

Turner Plays with Stars and Fluorescent Light Fixtures

Another postcard, recently from across the pond, which I finally found shoved in my nightie drawer with all the correspondence I have to catch up on. In a hurly-burly rush I put these postcards somewhere “safe” and then couldn’t find them.

THE EVENING STAR, ABOUT 1830
Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775-1851
Oil on Canvas, 91.1 x 122.6 cm
The National Gallery

TheEveningStar_Turner

I’m never sure with Turner if I’m looking at exactly what he painted. He was known for trying out new paints and formulas, some of which were fugitive, so what we see today is not always what he painted colour-wise. This is a bit murky but it’s supposed to be evening as the sun sets, so I guess this is what he wanted. OR it might be a study for a fuller painting.

I’ve had an epiphany from Mr. Turner: sometimes what you think you want is not what you want.

The spouse and I had a bit of a blowout yesterday due to too much stress and fretting. So today we worked on cleaning the top of the kitchen cupboards and putting new wax paper lining down, cleaning the kitchen light fixtures, cleaning the spice cupboard and the tea cupboard, cleaning the fridge, cleaning acrylic panels for fluorescent lights in the basement, and edging and sweeping the front walk and painting the stoop, all the small things that needed doing. We also cleaned the front door and the screen door windows there and touched up the window paint.

As a reward, I got my inexpensive Chinese Jinhao x750 fountain pen in the mail. I just have to clean it thoroughly to get any machine oil out and then rinse it and give it a spin with Diamine Meadow ink. A nice reward for a day’s work on fiddly stuff.

I shall be able to enjoy the evening star tonight, I can just see it reflected on the sea.