Progress: XIV Temperance

First: apologies for the extended absence. My wife and I transferred apartments two weeks ago and have just now begun to settle back into something resembling order and routine, which has made writing (and many other things) much more difficult.

Second: I’m going to try something new with this post. I’ll be tracking the progress of this current painting from start to finish, which means lots of documentary photos and eye candy. Hopefully it’ll be fun. So. Here goes nothing.

The card I’ve chosen this time is XIV Temperance. I’ve pulled this card as my Card of the Day three times since I began reading a month ago—including two days in a row a couple weeks ago. The third time I pulled it I decided that I probably ought to select that one as my next subject. I’m hoping that spending some time painting and meditating on the symbolism present in modern variations on the card will lead me to not only a deeper understanding of the card as it pertains to me and in readings, but also might help me center and focus on the message my cards are obviously trying to send me.

Temperance sketch

Preliminary sketch for XIV Temperance (and also I had no idea how gross and smudgy the camera on my phone was).

I’m trying to incorporate all the major symbols present in the Rider-Waite version of the card, like the right foot in water and left foot on the ground, as well as the red wings and white robe, and the irises. I’m also including the rainbow in the sky (another symbol equivalent to the irises) present in some other contemporary adaptations. I haven’t decided whether or how to include the triangle on the angel’s breast or the sun disc on the headband as in the RWS variation, and I’m omitting the Tetragrammaton from the RWS entirely.

The deck I own, Liz Dean and Melissa Launay’s The Golden Tarot (not to be confused with Kat Black’s deck of the same name), depicts a brilliant, ornate shining sun behind the head of the angel, almost like a halo. RWS, Morgan Greer, and many other decks show the sun setting behind the hills in the distance. The Tarot de Marseilles, naturally, is nearly devoid of extraneous symbolism, focusing solely on the figure of the angel pouring water from pitcher to pitcher.

For a color scheme I’m going to try to go simple, like I did with XII The Hanged Man. I’m really pleased with how that one turned out, even though entire card was rendered in muted blue-greens except for the man and his halo. I’m not quite sure how to go about that here, though. I’m probably going to stick mostly to blues (for the water and sky, with some bluish tint to the robe) and use pops of vibrant red and violet for the wings and irises. In that case, the rainbow in the sky will likely be very washy and muted so as to not detract from the central figure.

I’m looking forward to working on this one, even though getting started has been much more difficult than it was for the other cards. More progress updates and photos will be coming soon!

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One thought on “Progress: XIV Temperance

  1. Pingback: What’s In the Box? | Cups and Coins

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