Saturday, 4 June 2011
Pimp My Rider Part 2
And yet, despite the fact that the deck itself is no great work of art, I learned a lot from doing it. For one thing, it reminded me of some of the reasons Mary K. Greer gives in her seminal "21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card" for drawing your own version of the cards. Focusing on the cards in this practical way, I noticed details and elements I had never seen before! Other details which I know are there, somehow didn't spring out at me, which made me wonder why that should be. So, it was also a great way to review the traditional iconography from a different perspective to when I first learned about the card images.
Another thing I got out of this was a renewed appreciation of my preferred RWS version, and what it is about it that I like. The first RWS deck I chose to learn with was the Radiant Rider Waite. The Universal Waite is actually closer to the Original Rider Waite in terms of colouring, and there are aspects of it that I just don't like. For example, I get that when Pixie created her images, printing was at a very different level than it is today. So, monochrome backgrounds were both the norm and necessary. However, many of her skies are grey! While I kind of understand it for the Three or Eight of Swords, it makes a lot less sense for me in the Seven and Eight of Pentacles, the Hanged Man, and the Hermit.
The Radiant Rider Waite went for bluer skies in most cards, which lends a far more cheerful feel to the deck. I was going to say that it looks more realistic, but given that I, and Pixie, have lived in London I have to confess that sometimes the sky really is very grey, lol. The Radiant Rider Waite feels more whole, the faces are often more distinct, and the colouring makes it more natural, less simply blocked in. This is one of my major objections to Marseille-type decks - the extreme block colours. I understand this used to be necessary, but I just find it really unappealing. Although there are now some more nuanced Marseille decks, I also am not a fan of the haggard-looking queens and the unillustrated pips.
Another "different" colour choice arose with the suit of wands, where I chose to add red sparkle to emphasise their connection (for me) with the element of fire. This was partly because I couldn't find any brown sparkly polish, but also because putting gold on them, my first thought, felt wrong. That would link them too closely with the suits of cups and pentacles, the more "feminine" suits. So, I chose red, colour of fire, also linked to security and direct action.
Finally, the blinging was very meditative. I lost track of time as I focused on the cards, on the colours already there, on trying to colour within the lines, on deciding which colour to put where. I became so focused on the cards that, one night, I stayed up over an hour past my usual bedtime. I also ended up with an awful crick in my neck from bending down close to the cards and trying to very carefully apply the glitter.
Illustrations: The Fool and the Hermit, Universal Waite Tarot, coloured by Mary Hanson-Roberts, inexpertly blinged by me.