Ask KnightHawk — Frustrated Artist
I am a portrait painter who recently graduated with a degree in Fine Art, and I have reached an artist’s block in which I find my paintings dull and uninspiring. I used to obsess over my painting, but now I am obsessing over the idea of painting and find my artwork lacking in concept. This is due to art school, which opened my eyes about contemporary art and how painting has changed, but I am not a big fan of abstract or modern art.
My passion has died down to the point that I don’t feel the joy of painting that I had for such a long time. My question is how can I regain my passion for painting with a concept that will keep me going full throttle?
Dear Frustrated Artist,
Thank you for requesting a reading on this interesting topic. (As you may gather from my choice of style in my Tarot of the Masters deck, I’m not a big fan of abstract or modern art either.) Here are the cards I dealt for you to find out how you can regain your passion for painting:
Card 1 (Major Arcana Card for Spiritual advice) – The Moon
Card 2 (Court Card for traits to develop or emphasize) – Queen of Wands
Card 3 (PIP card for suggested action) – Three of Wands
A general, overview message here is that you have entered a state of confusion (The Moon) because you have been relying on the inspiration and support of “experts” (Queen of Wands) instead of finding your own creative vision (Three of Wands) of what you want your art to be.
Individually, here is what the cards are saying:
As a symbol of the night, the moon is associated with our dreams — the fantastic and magical worlds of imagination and of the divine. And so the Moon card says, “Follow your dreams, and listen to them for inspiration.” As a warning, though, be aware that when you rummage around in your mind’s dark and dusty attic in search of lost treasures, monsters (the fears we suppress) lurk there too. But our spiritual path takes us into the darkness in order that we may face our fears (and this may be where your soul is taking you now), but with courage, we can overcome them. So take some time to examine your fears, because that’s where your blockage really comes from. One way to do this is to pay attention to your dreams. Do you keep a dream journal? If not, at least keep a pen and paper by your bed to write what you can remember of your dreams when you wake up in the morning.
On a practical level, in terms of finding a concept for your portraiture, consider this quote from Mark Twain: “Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” So, consider if there may be a way to use your paintings to reveal a glimpse of that hidden side of people.
Queen of Wands:
The advice of the Tarot’s queens comes from the heart more than from the head. It sounds like you have been thinking more than feeling about your art, so one piece of advice from this card is to get out of your head and into your heart instead. This card also urges you to find confidence in yourself and your vision for you art — to start relying on your vision, not that of your teachers. Doing this will support your passion and enthusiasm.
As advice specific to your question as it relates to portraiture, this card urges you to cultivate a deep appreciation for the people whose portraits you paint. You aren’t just painting their faces, you know. You’re painting their hearts and souls too, and you need to be able to understand them, appreciate them, and empathize with them in order to do that.
Three of Wands:
The advice of this card is to combine foresight and patience in order to find success. And so, as noted previously, it is important for you to discover your own vision of what you want your art to be, and in fact, this may be the key to this reading. Perhaps consider the practical advice noted in the prior two cards and use that to synthesize a vision of what you want to do with your art.
Note also that the contra-positive card for the Three of Wands is the Eight of Cups. Thus, an implicit warning here is that finding and acting upon your vision for your art may require you to leave behind old ways of doing things — ways that you have an emotional attachment to. Also, moving in this direction may seem like you are on a lonely road, but it can lead you to an artistic expression that is more fulfilling than the old ways you’ve been taught and practiced.
To help you in this situation, I would like to leave you with the following affirmations, which are adapted from my book, Tarot Affirmations. (You can read more about using affirmations with Tarot cards in a recent blog post.) Feel free, of course, to pick and choose among them and to adjust them to suit yourself.
The first affirmation is based on the Moon card:
I examine my dreams fearlessly, and I discover what they reveal about my heart and soul.
Next are a couple based on the Queen of Wands:
I always use a positive approach to solve my problems.
I recognize and support the creative spark in my life.
Finally, here are two affirmations that work well with the Three of Wands:
I have a clear vision of what I want to achieve.
I have all the patience, confidence, and determination that I need to accomplish my goals.
“Ask KnightHawk” Readings: If you would like to get an “Ask KnightHawk” reading from me, click on the Ask KnightHawk tab at the top of the page for more information. And if you would like to read a collection of KnightHawk readings for mythical, fictional, and historical figures, you will love my books Tarot Reading Explained and Tarot: Get the Whole Story.
Tarot Deck: The deck used for this reading was my own Tarot of the Masters which you can only purchase from me.
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Disclaimer: A Tarot reading is not a substitute for medical, psychological, financial, or legal counseling. For such advice, please consult a qualified professional. The information provided in a Tarot reading is not legally binding and the Tarot reader assumes no legal liability for any damages, losses, or other consequences of any client decisions or actions, subsequent to, or based on, this service.