Jackass in the Box


Jackass in the box,
Turn the key and up he pops;
On Midsummer’s Eve Take your dreams to bed,
Lest you wake a fool
With a donkey’s head.


There he is popping up and down trying to find a solution in his new image editing program, only to find after wasting all day on the computer, that the program doesn’t do the simple task he used to do in the other image editing program. It’s enough to make your head spin, or at least your Elizabethan collar. Hey, Donk got his old Photoshop brushes back though.

Mr. Shakey notwithstanding, there are all kinds of ways to feel like an ass.

Today I vow to paint drop caps with gouache and get off the bloody computer. Resist the urge to connect the external hard drive Donk!






The Curious Tri, Tri Again

My poor cat Stitch has another health problem. He scratched and scratched and opened two wounds on his neck and head. We tried ointment alone but he kept opening them up and they got really bad so we had to go and get what our veterinarian calls “The Cone of Shame and Embarrassment” three days ago, and he is now on the mend but quite upset about having this thing on his head.

He has one eye, inflammatory bowel disease, oozing sores, and the cone of shame, but on he goes, seeking love and cuddles and giving back love and comfort to others no matter how he feels.


We have the three-day Victoria Day weekend here in Canada and it looks like the rain is going to stop although our temperatures are cool. The daffodils are up and I wrote a friend about this. Every year for about four years I tell her I’m going to draw or paint the daffs in the garden and I never do.

So today I thought I’d do a Tri-Sacred draw about this to see what was going on, and I pulled the Knight of Wands in various guises.

JACK OF CLUBS (Knight of Wands)


In the first card from the Diary of a Broken Soul Tarot, Samiri becomes hideous as the fire eats him inside out. His skin looks like it is turning into salamander skin. Oh what damage the fire does if you don’t let it out.

The Knight of Sticks is my favourite card from the Tarot of the Absurd. The Knight and his horse look so gracefully coordinated, working in tandem with balletic movements. He takes aim and fires, purposeful and determined, his brush loaded with lemon yellow.

This Gatekeeper from the Ironwing Tarot represents independent study and self-direction. Her energy is channelled in a useful way, being both student and teacher. I like that her crown is made of sewing needles, which reminds me that I was once a beginner at sewing too but through practice can now just sit down and do it. I could wield a brush or pencil the same way with some self-directed knowledge and study.

The other thing is the spiders. They are black widow spiders but she has made them into helping spirits which turned them white as if all the venom had left them. They now help, rather than harm, so I could think of this as a way forward to eliminate fear and the worry lurking within.

I’ve got a lot of empty pages in my sketchbook and my daffodil studies might not be perfect but wouldn’t it be neat to do several studies in different media, and meander around the garden, out in the Spring air, doing a little independent study, like a spider spinning a web?

There is my answer. Forget about not doing them for four years and do them now as an intellectual exercise Just To See what happens finally.



Nelson Hides His Hand, What Hand?

I am having a doozy of a chronic pain flare-up. I feel like I’m 90 years old.

This is from the Tudor Rose Patience Pack. Originally a 2-deck set, I just bought one deck. This was published in 1952 to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and is still in print. The numbered cards are pips but the court cards have some great characters from British history on them.



Horatio Nelson lost his right arm in the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1797, when the Royal Navy attacked the Spanish in the Canary Islands, which is why later paintings of him, upon which this card was modelled, show his right sleeve tacked up. After the hellish battle, where the British casualties were more than eight times the Spanish ones, the trip home was hellish too and more British men and ships were lost. He considered the amputation an embarrassing symbol of defeat, a constant reminder of failure and this awful battle.

I suppose you get the card you need regardless of using postcards or playing cards or tarot. My right arm is the one with the chronic pain, but I still have my hand. It is a mark of defeat, and holds my ambivalent feelings about computers and repetitive strain injury and the Tenerife I went through at work.

Still, Nelson rose above his injuries and emotional pain and went on to defeat Napoleon’s forces at Trafalgar, although he didn’t survive that battle, and the Napoleonic Wars continued for ten more long years.

My friend Steve and I are often kibitzing about, speaking of chipping away at things, chip, chip, chip. That’s what people do. You camouflage your lost arm and get on with it.

Jacks are always jaunty chaps. Nelson taught himself to use his left hand to do redwork embroidery for dolly quilts. It’s a fact!! He wants a bit of lace trim for dolly, but we’re at war with France, where am I going to get lace trim? He says tenaciousness is an admiral quality. Such a punster.

The Framing of Ashes

After mentioning that I’d like to get this piece of art framed, we got some holiday money that we can use for that, so I’m going to get it done and not have to wait for Christmas!

I need to fix some of the contrast on this and generally tweak it before I get it framed but I am quite excited to have the opportunity to have it finished and hanging, like real art, not just an exercise, a daub, a half-finished idea.

I picked three random cards to go with this:


Jack of Clubs (Knight of Wands)
Three of Diamonds (3 of Pentacles)
5 of Clubs (5 of Wands)

Well, the Three is about reward for work, and in this case, the edges of the coins remind me of frames. The flowers echo the flowers in my picture, the bare feet are daring to touch the truth, daring to feel in order to create something good, treading the path, going somewhere. Some things have to be earned.

The Jack of Clubs has a skin much like the gecko skin, and he is all fire and action, snarling if you don’t arise and do things. Snarling because you won’t take a chance, impatient with your lack of movement.

The 5 carries a sadness, the loss of connection, the inability to raise someone from the dead. Here lies Ash, but she inspires me still. Because I did this picture and I’m getting it framed, it will sit on my wall and remind me that Art is a choice and takes time and loss, but the fire leads to solidity and holding the dream, coins engraved with the natural world, your nature, finally visible.



Crow Sweeps Ashes, Hand Over Heart

Daily Draw August 12th, 2010

I often think of the reflective, and darker, qualities of the Diary of a Broken Soul Tarot when I’m in a bit of a bad pain period, so today I am using two cards from that.

Upon using this deck again, I get the urge to cut and paste the write-ups for each card that Ash’s friend Davina wrote. I think I’ll pull them all into a Word or PDF file and thus have them handy to read on my hard drive.


In classic tarot reading, court cards or Major cards in abundance seem to carry more weight. It’s like you pay attention more with their authority. Since I like Minor cards and rarely do full readings, this often doesn’t catch my interest, but today I have two court cards together.

The Jack is more commonly know as the Knight of Wands, and is a fiery chap. Here he has wings and scales, and the smoke seems not to bother him. He has a real in-your-face attitude. Ash has depicted him as a crusader out for revenge, a revenge that eats him up like fire, a sign of weakness among the fiery energy and purpose of this card.

The page is the Page of Pentacles normally, hence the coin-like structure behind her. Behind her is also a crow, almost as if the bird was barring her from the coin. Perhaps she has turned from worldly pursuit to her inner psyche and dreams? Or she simply might be gathering resources, holding her hand over her heart for protection, ready to change. The crow is protecting her from what is behind her, the material world and the past.

I like Davina’s notion that the crow and human look like they are morphing into each other. So, if the person is becoming a crow, she will be able to fly and soar higher than ever possible before, and if the crow is becoming human, it will be grounded and have other things available to it which would have been impossible to experience as a crow.

The page seems to be withdrawing into an inner world, while the jack is leaping out and confronting the world. Earth will smother fire if you aren’t careful. In a way, they are both travellers, and this seems to be about balance to me. Study and learn, but don’t get too fearful and uptight, try and balance that with some trips outside and get on with it.

Yes, this is a perennial problem with me, I do like to withdraw. It’s almost as if the cards are saying that opportunity and experience exist in many forms, the important thing is to step out with positive fire and purpose rather than negative..