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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Cherry Blossoms Club Me

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?

 

 

Greeks, Illusion, and the 2 of Clubs

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

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.

I Exist, Therefore I Scan Freely Wearing a Bowler Hat

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.

 

 

New Tarot Cupboards

I’m into my tenth day of trying to organize my bedroom. I have one tiny half rack I’m using for clothes in the walk-in closet, and the rest is all craft, art supplies and doll or dollhouse stuff. Yeah, I’ve got MY priorities straight.

These are flat-pack pantries or wardrobes. These are fairly light and hold a lot with the extra wire racks I put on the shelves. I had one extra shelf cut for each cupboard and still they are filled up.

JJ_TarotCupboards

Now I have to organize and put away the mess at the end of my bed. I have ordered a nice wooden blanket box in a “chocolate cherry” stain but that won’t be here for weeks. My quilts are reeking of plastic after being stored for 2 years or so in a Rubbermaid plastic bin. Never again. I’ve washed the ones I can, but the quilt tops can’t be washed so I’ll try to air them out in other ways.

I can actually get to my decks now and I found I had room to display my tarot bags facing toward the front—so pretty. I JUST had room for all the boxes too. While reorganizing the decks, I got rid of two so I’m still under 400 at 399 decks. I couldn’t fit my postcard collection in the cupboards, so they’ve gone into the closet for now. I wondered while looking at some of these decks why I bought them but I think the Internet has a lot to do with fuelling the purchase of stuff.

My next task is to enter my four new decks in my database. I received the 72 Names of God deck by Orna Ben-Shoshan yesterday and I really love it, it has such depth in information and artwork.

Ace of Spades Across Playing Cards

I see so many Bicycle decks with gorgeous illustrations and themes for the Ace of Spades, but my collection is a bit quieter. I used to buy a few playing cards every Christmas when Mr. Somerville was still trading, but he closed his shop five years ago and I only get new playing cards occasionally.

The closest I come to a Bicycle deck is my ultra cheap Jumbo Playing Cards. They aren’t printed very well and the finish isn’t good but I bought them to use for hand drawing titles on from the system used in the Playing Card Oracles deck so I could have an non-illustrated pip deck with those titles. In that system, the Ace of Spades is Terra Incognita.

acespades_jumbo

I bypassed the illustrated decks I own, and most of my historical decks have interesting Ace of Spades cards. Even the quiet ones they’ve managed to make interesting. My quietest one is the Civil War Illuminated deck which has shiny gold foil.

acespades2

acespades3

Lastly, I have three Patience decks or Solitaire decks as we call them in North America.

acespades4

The Tudor Rose deck was published to commemorate the coronation of Elizabeth II and is still in print—lovely cards. I find it so interesting how different artists and designers handle the pips in playing cards. It’s never boring to see that flare of design.