Paintings: Strength

Watercolor on watercolor paper

After being told for years that I should illustrate a Tarot deck, I finally broke down and decided on sacred animal/fantasy nature theme. Also, having been in a rut where my human subjects were concerned, I find myself "freed up" by the change to non-sapiens.

In Tarot tradition, Strength is most often illustrated by a woman taming a lion. I had already used a lion for "The Hierophant" [link] so I wanted to consider other options. Elephants to me are fascinating in that they have the potential for such an awesome amount of power, yet they are generally very easy-going, gentle creatures unless provoked. Their skin is rough, its patterning delicate. The fragile butterfly rests, respectful but not threatened, its own colors strong against the elephant's mottled trunk. Brute force bows to the delicacy of spiritual intuition, always aware of the wild and wistful soul within.

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Artwork and text © Arden Ellen Nixon