Reminded at Depth that Tarot is No Thing with Which to Fuck Around

About a year ago towards the end of June 2013, I finally started to paint my Tarot deck. I knew at the time that I was undertaking the largest and most challenging body of work of my entire career, but I had no idea that by the time a year had passed I would find myself so psychically and emotionally drained.

I think of my Tarot as one work of art made up of 22 paintings, each of which is 5 feet high and 3 ½ feet wide. Aside from the basic fact that undertaking one work that is in total 73.33 feet long and 5 feet tall is a hell of a lot of hard work. In retrospect, this series was incredibly demanding in terms of finances, material, and labor. This does not include the cost of a full time studio assistant and a DUMBO studio. That’s the easy part.

When I first started the series, the card imagery veritably poured out of me in spite of working with a totally repaired rotator cuff on my left arm which I had dislocated from the shoulder. I would work on three or four at a time, take a brief break from the Cards to paint a landscape or two – memories from the south of France – and then dive back in. I hardly needed to look at the paintings; they were just right.

It is a year later. Yesterday I completed Judgment. Both The Lovers and The Wheel of Fortune are nearly complete and The World is well underway and I just started my last card, Strength.

Until recently, the paintings were still flowing; I did not need to think about them nor was I exhausted at the end of the day. These last five paintings are more demanding than the first 17. However, as with anything else I do, once I have committed I will see a project through. I will finish the entire series of 22 Major Arcana, and I have every intention of doing so by the end of the month.

This level of exhaustion reminds me of the result of having harkened to my mentor, Jan Cox, at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Jan said “You cannot think of yourself as a printmaker unless you print an entire edition in one day.” I hand-printed an entire edition of 40 stone lithographs by myself in one day. I went upstairs to the Museum School Gallery, laid my head on the soft stone floor and passed out for four hours.


For an in-depth statement about the genesis and development of the series, please see the project specific statement.

Three Promised Detail Shots from last night’s Camargue Memory

oil paint is glorious, and only takes about 40 years to learn proficiency

Jonathan Herbert landscape oil painting of the Camargue

The Paint on Camargue Memory (detail 1)

Jonathan Herbert landscape oil painting

Camargue Memory (detail 2)

Jonathan Herbert landscape oil painting

Camargue Memory (detail 3)

More artwork by Jonathan Herbert at http://jonathanherbert.com

Eine Kleine Tag Musik

a little canon g15 preview before the big shoot in two weeks

close-ups of the brushwork soon

Jonathan Herbert oil painting landscape France Provence Memoir

Camargue Memories
14 x 18 inches Oil on linen

The trip of a lifetime.

More art by Jonathan Herbert at http://jonathanherbert.com

THE INDOLENT AND IMAGINARY LIFE OF THE ARTIST

Theft is Applause, I have decreed.

Theft is Applause, I have decreed..

The Painter’s Secret Geometry: The Tower

The Tower 3o18. 60 x 40 inches. Oil on Linen.

The Tower. 60 x 40 inches. Oil on Linen.

I believe my mentor, Jan Cox, turned me on to THE PAINTER’S SECRET GEOMETRY by Charles Bouleau in the 1970s when I showed him underlying geometries that I had found and drawn into my own work or if It is something I found after reading about the Golden Ratio. I don’t think it matters; what matters is what we can see under the surface.

While at the SMFA I did use underlying geometry as the entry into an artwork. What I have found is that working in that direction is not necessary and the analyses post facto show the same hidden beauties. I no longer start with such artifice. I pick up a piece of large will charcoal, make a rough sketch, and start painting.

2013o_0018_geometry1

The Tower ANGLES

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The Tower ARCS

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The Tower AGGREGATE GEOMETRY

2013o_018_geometry.jpg The Tower with Geometric Substrate

The Tower FULL OVERLAY

Look for the Secret Geometry Posts again.

THE FULL JONATHAN HERBERT WEBSITE

New Oil Painting: THE TOWER. 60 by 40 inches. oil on linen

Make changes or they will be made for you.

http://www.jonathanherbert.com

The Tower 3o18. 60 x 40 inches. Oil on Linen.

The Tower. 60 x 40 inches. Oil on Linen.

This card is not what it seems on the surface. It is a card of opportunity: a wakeup call and a reminder to make changes that may be difficult, rather than having them made for you.