Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Drawings for my next piece: "Kitchen Tarot Café: 4 of Wooden Spoons in the Kitchen Tarot."

I started sketching for this next Minor Cards piece, the 4 of Wooden Spoons (Wands, in  normal tarot parlance), for my Kitchen Tarot deck, right after GEM went with us to the Wayne County Fair on Sept 11th. This 4 of Spoons will be my 7th minor card quilt, out of 56.  Cookin' right along, huh?!!

So here are all the drawings I've done to help me figure out what to put into the piece. So walk with me down my garden path, where I choose which way to go next, based on what I've just drawn each time. Most of these are in my sketchbook, which has 9 x 12" pages, so the double wides are 18 x 12". The colored drawing at the end is much larger, 20 x 26."

I made most of these drawings with black Rub-a-Dub markers and blue Bic pens.

In this first drawing, made three days after we went to the Wayne County Fair with GEM (Gretchen, Eva, and Mike) and my niece Aimee and her daughter Calise, I focused on the girls on the Merry-Go-Round, but merged that idea with them both riding the real, live ponies, which they also did.

In the 4 of Wands card in most tarot decks, the idea is of a very good place to be, being protected, happy, and satisfied.  Very good news, getting this card, even when it's upside down. It's also considered to be the Venus in Aries energy, so loving, good things going on, in an assertive way. Some decks show a structure (the 4s are all about structure, stability) that's being built with the poles/wands.

So in this sketch, I was going with the idea of the girls at the Fair, and the four big wooden spoons are holding up the tent or Merry-go-Round, so they're creating structure.  But it was just too cute for me. It's really hard to make little kids be your main characters in artworks, without having the whole thing turn too sweet.  And you know I'll be writing about all kinds of stuff here, so I don't want that sweetness to be the main event.  Sorry, girls. You have to remain in a drawing, not a quilt.

Next I got to thinking about how Denny Fairchild, my co-author for the Kitchen Tarot, made a Facebook page called the Kitchen Tarot Café, and started to think muse over how it'd be to have this card, the 4 of Wooden Spoons, be about the cafe, with us as the cook and waiter.

Here you can see the drawing above better.  After making the rest of the drawings, I can tell you that I still like this table and fringed lamp really well, and may end up using them in my big painting. So hold that thought! Now the four spoons are on the set table.

In these sketches, I jumped outside, exploring how it'd be to show the outside of our conceptual café, instead of it's imagined interior. The spoons are here and there ...

Still outside, but I'm exploring giving Denny big pockets in big pants. I was looking at using the pockets to show how he's got gobs of stored up knowledge of the Tarot and Astrology, since he studied them from about age 7, when he went to live with his professional astrology grandmother, who taught him very well.

I also brought in Jimmy and some cats of ours and Denny's one cat Kami. (No dogs in the drawings yet, but you'll see one later, as I have Dog Fever bad now!)  I put the café as a tiny building on the serving tray.  Hmmmm. Gave Denny a big old bottle of Merlot to serve. The four spoons are looking almost like measuring spoons here.  I like that, as I've done measuring spoons in a lot of my kitchen artworks!

I started drawing our feet as really tiny here.  I like that.

Then we went back inside of the café, giving me a tray of tArts and Denny a violin, so he can be a musical waiter! The spoons are floating around in the drawing on the left, then I put them into a big bucket, which is how I saw them in a pub in England in August.

At the Little Owl Pub, they have painted wooden spoons, with numbers written on them, in a big bucket at the bar, where you order. They give you a spoon to carry back to your table, so they know where to bring the order of that number.  I loved that pub!

I guess I gave up on this very small drawing before I even got around to drawing in the spoons.  I like how Denny's body is wiggling around in tune with his fiddle playing. May hold onto that posture for the painting.

OK, so then I tried putting the spoons up on a serving tray, but they look like goblets. So that was a flop. I stuck four more on the table, to make up for the flop!

Back to the spiraling table setting with the spoons, not as good as in the second drawing though. Put fancy feet on the table and added a rug. Moon in the window. Like that, and the portrait on the wall of St Quilta the Comforter, who probably owns the café.

Now: this is my great big drawing on 20 x 26" paper, that I colored in with markers and crayons. I like it, but want to probably do another drawing that's this size. I don't like the palm trees, that look more like weird little third arms sticking out of our shoulders. ick. I like the spoons on the table in the Little Owl Pub bucket and I like the tray with the four suits of the Kitchen Tarot on it. I like Denny writing on the table and me being ready to paint. I like the dog on the floor, since I'm in the grips of dog fever (dog-buying fever, that is.)  And I like making St Q be a full blown buddha girl, sitting on the floor, instead of just being a portrait on the wall. I like the tablecloth and the café curtain at the drawing's top, and the windows with curtains, etc. But I don't like Denny's hair (looks like a helmet!) and those palm trees, etc.

I started personalizing the symbolic images in this drawing more, partly because the drawing page is so much bigger.

I also added some of my Peace Roses in this drawing.  I love to twine them around in my work, to show how Peace needs to grow in our lives, all through our day's activities, big and small.  See that doggie?  As I write, I've discovered a wonderful breeder of Labradoodles and Golden Doodles, Yesteryear Acres, just south of Newark, Ohio, less than 2 hours from our place.  OH MAN! Labby personality with very little shedding!!!! Could be our dream come true, now that we've got dog fever for the first time since Hattie died, three years ago.

Above is Belle and one of her puppies in a litter they have now at Yesteryear Acres. 7 boys and 7 girls!!!!  :) Her pups are F1b, which means they're one fourth golden retriever and three fourths poodle. VERY little shedding. They'll grow to about 50 pounds, which is smaller than our black lab girlies were.  More middle sized.   I am so smitten!

But I digress! Today I'll make one more big drawing, then sew together a big piece of white cloth, so I can start airbrushing maybe tomorrow on "Kitchen Tarot Café: 4 of Wooden Spoons."

If you're thinking about taking a class from me, check out my  Valley Ridge Art Studio drawing class near Muscoda, Wisconsin. October 26 - 28, 2010. This is a 3-day class in life drawing, drawing realistically from things you're looking at, mainly people (in their clothes). Taught more formally than my usual classes, but not AS formally as a lot of drawing classes. If you make art, you really should know how to draw, and it IS learnable! Valley Ridge is out in a beautiful and scenic rural part of the southwest tip of Wisconsin. It's an amazingly cozy but elegant place to work at!

And my 4-day class at Art Quilt Tahoe: Zephyr Point, Lake Tahoe, NE will be Nov 7 - 13, 2010. I love AQT, and this time we'll be right on the lake itself! My class will be my usual thing, teaching you to open up and make unguarded art, using markers, brush and fabric paint, optional airpen, and machine quilting.

Back to the drawing caper for the 4 of Spoons!

See ya, Lucky


  1. Hi Susan,
    Wow, you have been really busy like always. :) Love the Tarot of the 4 spoons! Can't wait to see the color version of the drawings. :)

  2. Hi Susan,
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YA'. I'm loving all the wonderful quilts and painting. Always anticipating what is next, but I'm never surprised.
    Love, Carol