anonyrrie: Illustration Friday - Strength

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Illustration Friday - Strength


In the tarot deck, the eighth card is Strength, or La Force, and is typically illustrated with a gentle woman who dominates the fierce lion. When dealt in an upright position, this card signifies the virtue of fortitude and the power of love – along with determination, generosity, energy, optimism, resolve, and reconciliation.

Although some claim that Tarot originated in ancient Egypt or with the Hebrew mystic tradition of the Kabbalah, the oldest surviving Tarot cards were made for members of the Visconti family, rulers of Milan in the mid-15th century. The typical tarot deck consists of 78 cards divided into the Major Arcana (Latin for key) and the Minor Arcana. Similar to playing cards, the Minor Arcana is divided into four suits: Swords, Batons, Coins and Cups.

Since the Medieval times, tarot cards have been used both for games and as a means for divination. Later, the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875 - 1961) found a certain significance in the imagery depicted in the Tarot whereby the various cards might represent the fundamental human and situational archetypes embedded in the collective subconscious. Thus, in more recent times, the Tarot has also been employed as a psychological tool.

You can read more about the Tarot at Wikipedia. This version of Strength was done with micron pen, markers, watercolor pencils, and a bit of photoshop. The sun is "on loan" from the Speechless illustration.

72 Comments:

Blogger Megan said...

Yay, I get to leave the first comment! Great illustration as usual. I always enjoy reading your posts, because they are so informative. I don't know anything about Tarot, but now I'm curious.

8:20 PM  
Blogger ValGalArt said...

carla, just wonderful and i love speechless too! I love the way you write and what you have to say.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Mustashrik said...

hey carla,

nice work here again, i love the way your art references materials, and how your own style is developing!

;)

8:28 PM  
Blogger Catnapping said...

indeed she must be strong to control a cat!

;)

again, you've made something very beautiful. your penwork always amazes me. the detail blows me away. i love her hair and the mane of her lion friend. wow.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

Wonderful illustration Carla. A pleasure as always to read. Thank you for your very uplifting words. Cheers!

9:21 PM  
Blogger Urban Convert said...

Great choice. I thought someone would probably do this but I'm glad it's you. Great illustration!

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

Love your interpretation of the theme. Your drawings are quite beautiful.
Marie

9:52 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Wonderful lion! I like the arm resting tenderly across his brow. Think you should keep going and do the whole deck! Your work stylistically suits the Tarot :)

10:26 PM  
Blogger Tony Sarrecchia said...

Beautiful, as always. I am fowarding your link on to my daughter who is in her Tarot phase right now.

11:16 PM  
Blogger noctrnl said...

Great value variation in the sky. I get the impression there are repeating themes in the mane and the woman's hair.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Tony LaRocca said...

I always liked the Firesign Theatre sketch with the soldier named "Major Arcana."
I'm drawing my own Tarrot deck. Or at least I plan to, when I finish the 3 gazzillion other projects I have on the boiler right now...

11:57 PM  
Blogger Knitting Painter Woman said...

What a succinct lesson on Tarot... and a lovely rendition of Strength. (So FAST, too.) I hope you are feeling better. We have benefit of your lovely "voice" even if you are still silent.

2:10 AM  
Blogger Alina Chau said...

Lovely illo!! Great style as always!

3:05 AM  
Blogger Liselotte said...

This is very beautiful - I love it! I love the Lion - and the colors are great :-)

4:42 AM  
Blogger Joy Eliz said...

I really love this one. I have a special affection for Tarot. And I like that you always include a blurb of knowledge with each posting.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Great choice of subject and beautifully done. I especially like the exression on the face of the sun... with its lion's mane of rays!

9:08 AM  
Blogger GoldenOwl said...

Nothing seems as gentle to me as great strength. I mean truly great strength, like God holding us in the palm of his hand... or even a man w/ a baby, etc... The lion would have to be gentle if he were to play w/ the woman, because his strength alone could do her in, even if that was not his intent.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Beutiful illo of woman and lion. Also, has a feminist strength about it on several levels.

I like reading what people have to say about their pieces but another part of me likes to "just see" the piece and interpret it from that vantage. Your piece conveys strength very well.

9:40 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

And a strong image. I love the way you've done the lion's face. We used to "do tarot" when I was a teenager like others payed with Ouija boads.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Marina Vazzana said...

Awesome details...it has so much to draw you in.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Alison Ashwell said...

Great idea to do the tarot card

10:32 AM  
Blogger Wilnara said...

Carla,
You have a wonderful way of capturing the theme is such a delicate and yet powerful manner. The details of the images is beautiful especially in the lion. Your description - again - eloquent. Really Nice work!!!!

11:25 AM  
Blogger F L E E said...

wow!
This is cool!

12:07 PM  
Blogger isay said...

i love this a lot! i like what you have shared with us this week and most especially the illustration that goes with it. i like the reflection of the pink dress in her face and arms which could symbolizes her love and generosity. her energy and optimism is display in her long curly hair and her determination is very much visible in the way she strokes the fiercing lion's face. i like the detail in the lion's body, too.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

I love the lion Carla...I've only had my cards read once (not much of a believer, in well...much ;)) but I've always been fascinated by the different decks and artists interpretations...are you doing a set or was this a one time shot?...no doubt, you'd come up with great one :)

7:40 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

Love the Lion Carla. And everything else also.
the grass texture is awesome.
I still can't believe you haven't read Harry Potter after reading this post. Divination is throughout the book.
Hope you are feeling better and resting.
Peace.

10:31 PM  
Blogger AG said...

nice textures on the lion's body

11:00 PM  
Blogger merlinprincesse said...

Before I read the text, I was certain it was like a Tarot Card. Love it.

11:55 PM  
Blogger JacqueLynn said...

tarto cards are fun!! The face of your lion is so compelling, not typical, but draws you in. Great idea for the theme.

9:43 AM  
Blogger R.Soler said...

Hi Carla!
The texture of the lion is so beautifull!!
Thank you for your visit!

9:48 AM  
Blogger creative kismet said...

I am so so impressed with your art as well as your words. It is truly very beautiful with so much strength in color and line!

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Karden said...

always find mysterious feeling in yr illo, i like the classical and elegant details in yr work!!!
i think literature can help u alot on drawing :)
i love yr "night" and "speechless" illo too!!!

1:01 PM  
Blogger Teri C said...

Always love your interpretation of IL.

Re-the note you left me, please email me your address and I will send the photo you requested.

Teri

1:14 PM  
Blogger LDahl said...

The lion almost looks as if it was carved from wood, like one of those great old German lions. I don't know much about tarot cards, but I recognized this was one on first sight. Love the info with it, what does it mean if it is upside down?
You have captured the medieval look and feeling so very well.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Valaine said...

I'm lovin' your line work! You are amazing me every time!

2:40 PM  
Blogger Tiffy said...

good idea, nice drawing. By the way thanks for your comment!

4:18 PM  
Blogger Leezy said...

The strength card is such a grounding force behind the self, and nature. As if no matter what happens around you that is full of disruption, it is the tamed lion (control of our own inner stregth and intuition) that stays stable and solid throughout.

Carla, I love this. It rings so true in all aspects of our lives and when I think of the stress and chaos I am surrounded by on a daily basis, I look inward the majority of times to help me stay balanced and focussed.

A superb and wonderful entry for this week. Thank you for sharing your talents with us - I look forward to seeing the rest of the Major Arcana from you!

5:43 PM  
Blogger kinky konijn said...

Karma to burn...
makes me think of Carnivale
nice detail as always...

6:55 PM  
Blogger Courtney said...

love the mystical dragon face on the lion and his patterned skin. i always look forward to your stories.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Sally said...

I'm a big fan of celestial images - suns and moons. Cool!

7:58 PM  
Blogger cream said...

Beautiful picture! May "La Force" be with you, Carla!

10:10 AM  
Blogger ratlion said...

Hey there,
Thanks for the feedback :) My great uncle's into tarot cards and they always bring back memories of happy afternoons spent shuffling the pack to peek into past/present/future! Nice illo :)

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

There is some great detail in the lion's mane and the woman's hair - I really like the way you've done that. I also really like the concept - tarot is a secret interest for me. I've tried to illustrate some of the cards, but it's difficult. You've done a very nice job here.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

I love it! and I love the history too. I always learn something :)
Your detail is wonderful.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

As always just marvalous! Have a good week!

4:16 PM  
Blogger constanthing said...

Hey Carla, beautiful illo of 'strength' ... I like how you always use different strokes to enhance different parts of your painting, makes for such an interesting composition.

8:47 PM  
Blogger Maria Antunes said...

Lovely. Very strong illo. Great work! :-)

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Paula said...

I know the tarot and find your illustration is really well done and perfectly in theme.

9:01 AM  
Blogger minijubilee said...

such a powerful illustration! the unconventional color scheme looks so good, and the symbolism is fascinating!

10:03 AM  
Blogger FromThaBrook said...

you are amazing...thanks for the bullwinkle comment haha. i love your work-- you put a lot of effort towards illustration friday.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Aravis said...

I love your interpretation of the tarot card. I especially like the lion. It's something about the face. :0)

11:31 AM  
Blogger Isa said...

great detail! I love the tarot deck too ;)

12:36 PM  
Blogger Isa said...

Guau! es tan bonito, tan dulce, tan tan inspirador! Me encanta tu estilo.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous rose said...

Very nice tarot illustration. I like your technique.hsopf

3:08 PM  
Blogger Foxxor said...

I love the Lion!
Maybe I should look into Tarot more. :>
Nice details as always!

8:30 PM  
Blogger christina said...

OOH this is so beautifu--she is so powerful and strong, yet gentle--and the lion has been tamed. But what I really love is the design quality of the background. The patterns and the flowers and the mountains--just wonderful.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Ian T. said...

This is awesome! I don't have all your artwork lined up, but I think it's one of your very best!

The composition is strong to begin with, but it's so much more than that - the attitudes and expressions of all three characters (particularly the contented lion), the positions of the colours, the low horizon, the textures, the busy old unruly Sun.

The lion looks like he just stepped of an heraldic coat of arms and overall, there's a lovely Medieval feel to the positioning of the figures and nature of the background.

If this is a sample, you should draw the whole deck!

No IF from me this week.

2:34 AM  
Blogger Akshata said...

superb blog.nice work. thank u 4 ....such an informative blog!

12:52 PM  
Blogger David said...

Very nice work, I like the lion in particular. :)

3:06 PM  
Blogger Pusha V said...

Real nice works
I also like the detail you added to the hair on your speechless artwork. :)

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Dennis West said...

I have to say, I love how much information you put up with your entries. I can tell that you are a teacher. Your students must love you!

Just thought I'd let you know that I put up my Challenge for this week. I also added a feature to my site where visitors can subscribe to my blog entries and receive them in their email, so if you wanted to do that, you'd always know when I put up another challenge -- or anything else.

Have a great day!

5:45 PM  
Blogger kikazinha said...

Wow! This is a busy busy blog :-).

You know, in fact all your art always reminded me of something, and it is true, you would do a beautiful deck of Tarot, it would be perfect!
I like what you wrote about it and I'll check the Wikipedia because it is something I like.
Sorry for not visiting you more often but I do so many things that sometimes I have to juggle and choose some or others.
But thanks for visiting me all the time.:)

6:08 PM  
Blogger coffee81 said...

I like your idea and concept. Antique yet priceless!

8:38 PM  
Blogger Sybille said...

Beautiful and a great idea. I didn't think of the tarot, but it's an obvious choice now I've seen you do it. LOL Love your technique, it's very expressive.

1:59 AM  
Blogger chan wah said...

Fantastic illustration with such great details and colors. Thank for the info about Tarot.

5:20 AM  
Blogger PaulSketch said...

wow so many comments! I''m sure everyone has already said everything but it looks like an illo from a professional fable or fairy tale. its awesome!

1:14 PM  
Blogger 998fort said...

so lovely

11:46 PM  
Blogger Virginia Valle said...

Carla how long did you take for finish one illo??? lately I see a lot of details on it, I not sure if did you create every details, but they are very beautiful and a lot of work :).....

10:15 AM  
Blogger Virginia Valle said...

sorry for my late comments, but recently Iam pretty busy :)...

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Carla. Brendan from the Gallery on the Green here. I love this piece and others like it on your blog. They have Tarot-like quality to them. Have you ever thought about creating a tarot deck?

Brendan

10:14 AM  
Blogger diosaperdida said...

Wonderful Carla! I wish I could give the lovely comments you do, you deserve them...but I am always a bit tongue tied when it comes to commenting.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Chuang Shyue Chou said...

Are you planning to do the entire tarot set eventually? I would love to see you do it in your very individual and unique style.

10:03 PM  

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