I also struggled with the theme for this card. I decided to go with a seed theme--the idea that the seed is buried and remains dormant until the right conditions arrive--sunlight and rain from the heavens.
The last few cards of the major arcana were a struggle for me. I knew I wanted to portray a dead tree, or a fallen tree, in some way for this card. Death is about permanent change--and what is more permanent for a tree than being cut? But the wood will live on--in paper, furniture, the flame, or even as food for other plants.
At this point, all of the cards that I have spent the last four months painting are complete. I have three more cards to do from the major arcana - the Star, Judgment, and Death. These cards are conceptualized and sketched and will be painted over the holidays.
After that, I will begin on the suit of wands. More updates to come soon!
This was actually the first card in the series that I painted. I love this card, despite its negative meanings. Perhaps that is because I have experienced many "tower" moments - and while these certainly were difficult to live through, in the end I came out of them a better person. The tree grows on the remnants of the tower, its dark and twisting branches reaching toward the sky.
This card took me quite a while to conceptualize. I decided that a tree with its roots sticking out of the ground and its leaves underneath was the best representation of the meaning of the hanged man card. This tree, certainly, is getting a different perspective! :)
The Hermit seeks out knowledge and solitude. In the dusty landscape, where nobody else feels the desire to abide, the hermit makes his residence. The knowledge he has gained shows from his thick trunk and wisened branches. His lamp lights the way.
Strength is going where none other dares to walk. Strength is holding on against all odds. For a tree, strength is growing in places that overcome all barriers--such as the side of a sheer cliff face. The strong tree not only grows, but thrives here in hostile conditions, its strong roots digging deep into the mountain.
The chariot was a difficult card to conceptulize as a tree. I decided to go with a fall and movement-themed approach. The chariot winds blow into every nook and cranny of the tree--the winds will seek their goal. The tree grows to fit their constant movement and pull.
The Hierophant is also an oak, this one overlooking a druid grove. When I think of the hierophant, I don't think of a pope or pastor, but rather of a druid. An ancient one of wisdom, law, and divine knowledge. His gnarled and wisened trunk has seen many seasons. And like a wise religious leader, this oak is comfortable growing in a forest not just of oaks, but of other types of trees.
The FOOL - Tree Tarot. The seedling tree, with vibrantly colored leaves, looks out upon the world. His journey is just beginning. Where will the path lead? Will the sun continue to shine or will the clouds roll in?