Saturday, March 4, 2017

Painting Process & Tarot, A Creative Journey. Part 2

Hercules and the Virtues (2013) Oil ad metal leaf on panel 36" x 28" by Patrick McGrath Muñiz

We now continue this creative journey using the Tarot in our artistic process, but let's have a quick recap before we take off . Last time we explored The Magician, The High Priestess and The Empress and of course we started off with The Fool (The artist himself). With each one of these archetypes, there was a lesson to be learned and applied in our creative process. Each one of them sees the world from a different perspective enriching the ways in which we think about creativity and Art. The Magician taught us to use our hands and master our craft. The High Priestess showed us  the power of intuition and imagination. The Empress inspired us with beauty and love for what we create. As a painter I shall be referring to things that relate directly to painting but these lessons apply to any other art form as well.  Now let's continue our journey.

El Emperador  (2013) Oil and metal leaf on panel 24" x 47" Private Collection. 

Mcolonial Politician (2011) Oil and metal leaf on panel 11" x 24" by Patrick McGrath Muñiz 

4. The Emperor

As we encounter this powerful father figure archetype, we are reminded of our capacity to be in full control of our work and to think of our studio as our personal kingdom. A painting can be a territory we are about to conquer, build and govern. The Emperor is both pragmatic but ambitious and he teaches us to have a clear purpose and reach our goals with discipline, clarity and determination. In order to succeed we will need a plan, a winning strategy to expand our empire. This is the type of language we might hear from someone like him and there is much to be learned from it as an artist. For example: Our palette can be seen a the camp where we train and prepare our soldiers (paints). Who are we fighting against? Idleness, chaos and fear.  Some of you may now be thinking: "But I love chaos!". We may argue there is a difference between "ordered chaos" and chaos without purpose and meaning. The Emperor does not take part in either one as he is the capital representative of civilization as opposed to the barbaric and undisciplined . Order is the principal command and lesson here.  Once in a while we must clean our Empire (studio & also mind) and have Laws (a set of rules and daily schedule) in order to be an effective ruler/creator. This will bring structure, clarity and guide us further in our creative journey.

 St. Nick before the consumerist festivities (2008) Oil on canvas 11: x 14".
 Private Collection. by Patrick McGrath Muñiz 

Mcolonial Tele-Evangelist (2011) Oil and metal leaf on panel 12" x 24"  by Patrick McGrath Muñiz 
While The Emperor  is the supreme ruler and guiding principle of practical matters in the material world, The Pope (Also known as the Hierophant) is the supreme ruler and guiding principle of the spiritual world. He may be dogmatic and even severe but he teaches us the importance of reverence and ritual when making art. The Pope tells us that we should not obsess over the material aspects of creation. There is much more to it than that. Art is bursting with divine meaning and we should seriously consider the hidden gospel in every work of art.  It really doesn't matter what you believe in or what religion you profess. The important thing to remember here is to be clear about what you believe in, stand by it and express it in art. He encourages us as artists to become missionaries and spread the message with our art. But in order to know what your true message is, we must first prepare our soul and purify our thoughts and actions. Having a moment of prayer, meditation or silence before starting to work is advised. We can adopt a personal ritual and make of our studio a holy space for it is where the "Great Work" will be forged. We are to become a medium or bridge in which this higher truth will be channeled  through in order to create that sacred piece of art. Above all, The Pope wishes us to devote ourselves to our art with principles and faith.

Planet of the Apps (2013) Oil on canvas 36" x 36". Private Collection. by Patrick McGrath Muñiz

Neo-Genesis (2015) Ink on paper 12" x 12" by Patrick McGrath Muñiz

And now we fall endlessly in love with what we do. Along came The Lovers and as we now sneak behind a tree and watch them kiss passionately and become one, we reflect on how arousing and intoxicating Love and Art can be. The sweet scent of Ambrosia and beautiful sound of wind chimes soothes our soul while we feel butterflies in our stomach and our heart is aroused. This is the kind of exciting feeling and addictive sensation The Lovers wish us to have when we make art. When we feel this way about art, everything else disappears and it is just the artist and his work. Artistic creation then becomes a true labor of love. They teach us to paint with pleasure, passion and highly concentrated in becoming one with our art. Pour your whole heart into it without any fears or inhibitions. When we are fully committed to creation totally focused with zero distractions, the muses start whispering in our ears the true meaning of Art. After learning to be in full command of the material aspects of our work with The Emperor and in spiritual bliss and contemplation with The Pope, The Lovers free us from all societal restrictions and allow us to be children once again, playing and discovering the world for the first time. To be in Love is to be connected to the Universe and in harmony with creation. Be free and allow Love to become your creative compass.

Mariamundi (2016) Oil and metal leaf on canvas 50" x 35" 

Stay tuned for the last segment of this three part article: Painting Process and Tarot, A Creative Journey, Part 3, where we will end with The Car, Justice and The Hermit.