Yesterday, I received a call to let me know that an art course I’d signed up for was no longer being held due to lack of interest. As it turned out, I was the only one to sign up for it. Initially, I was so disappointed. This was going to be my chance to prove myself as a visual artist, after all! Not to mention, I spent a small fortune on art supplies, running the gamut from watercolours to acrylics to oil pastels. I figured that, with proper tutelage, I would learn beautiful brush strokes and a new way of seeing the world. Also, I would be able to feel superior to random people at parties by introducing myself as an artist, and it wouldn’t matter if no work sold in my lifetime, because everyone knows that all the good ones became famous posthumously.
So, times of disappointment often call for a re-evaluation. There are a few things that I want to do with my time, and perhaps I’ll be able to learn more and focus better in what will be my own private semester. First of all, there are some things that I would like to sew. A French jacket awaits in fabric form, as do skirts in Hamilton tartan and an ivory silk evening gown; meanwhile, a half-finished leather jacket from a sample sale demands a lining. So I know that there are some sartorial goals here.
In the absence of art school, maybe I can make an effort to draw or paint every day. This concentrated effort will be in the hopes of one day creating my own tarot deck.
Lastly, I would like to become physically stronger, and better able to dance on the X-Pole. It makes me sigh when I think of how strong I once was when I was dedicating my time to pole dancing and aerial hoop. I’m now a scrawny version of myself compared to the girl who could pike into a high hoop with little thought, or act as the figurehead on a pole. My own laziness is all I have to blame, so it’s time to get motivated in this respect as well.
I do sometimes miss being in school, where steady progress was almost assured because a routine would never break. All focus was regimented, and goals were clear-cut. Feedback was constant, and not just if one did something wrong. Unfortunately, not much of the information learned during that time translated into necessary skills today, but I think it’s time to appropriate the discipline of dedicating daily time to different subjects. With this new change in perspective regarding my class cancellation, I turn to the tarot.
Because today’s reading was more for my personal growth and a request for advice, I chose Art of Life: Tarot Deck by Charlene LivingstoneThe Art of Life tarot deck, which has beautiful paintings and lovely quotes on each card. The first card I drew was the Two of Pentacles. Usually depicted as a man juggling two coins, this one instead has four Degas dancers and a quote from Franklin Delano Roosevelt regarding the delights of the creative pursuit. The painting has reminded me of something a dance instructor once said to me: ‘The more graceful a dancer is, the harder she is working.’ It has made the takeaway message of this card thus: It is when we work the hardest that we appear the most graceful. This state puts us in a flow of creativity that must be tended daily for it to continue. In doing so, the greatest creative satisfaction is found.
The second card is The Sun, in which the sun itself is not explicitly depicted; however, its light is still seen, filtering through trees and illuminating all it touches. At the bottom of the card is a quote from Nietzsche regarding the serendipitous nature of happiness, quietly appearing in unexpected moments. Like the sun, you do not need to be confronted with happiness head-on to benefit from its warmth and feel its glow. The Sun is a wholly positive card, often depicting the in-the-moment joy of a child. Thus far, both cards remind me that the joy of making art or sticking to creative projects is as much about the time put into the endeavours as it is about the end result.
The third card is, once more, The Hierophant. The quote also comes to us from Mr Roosevelt and portrays a very thoughtful Pope Leo X. This card links back to my Orthodox roots, reminding me that, while I will be traversing unchartered territory within my own life, I am not going to change where I came from or the foundations of my life. For some reason, a Blackadder quote has come to mind: ‘No point – the Black Bank’s got branches everywhere.’ This is reassuring to me, as it’s a subtle reminder that the old ways are always at my core, no matter how I change my outer self.
Lastly, The Chariot was not part of the reading, but I felt its quote was pertinent – and there it was, looking up at me when I settled the deck down. ‘Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
To conclude my reading today, I must keep in mind that the joy of making art is in the creative process itself rather than having made art.