pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A deerlike being standing in a dark foresty place, with head lowered over a shallow bowl of water. He is staring directly into the viewer's eyes and his long tongue is lapping the water. His ears are cocked as if listening and there are dark circles of fur around his eyes. On his head, instead of horns, is a crown of living tentacles that coil and spiral like a halo around his head.

Photoshop and MotionComputing tablet

Concept was inspired from a sketch by the Spacerobots


There is a lot that could be said about the Nethik King, but very little that he will let me say tonight. Maybe the image can speak for itself.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
I've been working on this one for a while, but that's mainly because I started it before our move. Today I finally had the chance to put some finishing touches on it.

They are Auben and Amber, two of the people in the Water Song.

A young, well-built black man clasping in his arms a shorter blond woman with long braids pulled into a hairnet at the nape of her neck. She's wearing a simple vest over a light blouse and skirt billowing in the wind, and he's wearing a fine woven tunic with geometric tribal patterns and loose pants. Falling from her hand is a broken branch with an apple. Behind him is a desert with a dead tree and a small white-robed figure standing nearby. Behind her are lush tropical plants.

Photoshop and MotionComputing tablet

The Lovers is a card about pairs and duality. It's the sixth card of the Major Arcana. There's a sense of ambivalence about it - sometimes it features a man caught between two women instead of a man and a woman joined. The idea is that something else has to be given up, some sacrifice has to be made, in order to pursue the love that has come into the querent's life. Auben and Amber both turned away from major influences in their lives as they turned to each other. The card can mean falling in love with a person, but it can also mean coming to something which feels as if it completes you. It's a bond which is felt at a deeper level than the conscious mind.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A young man in a vest and red pants, with three gold discs around his waist, is perched on a platform that hangs by a rope. On the jungle floor below is another man belaying the other end of the rope, and a woman sitting on a mat and sorting fruit. On the hanging platform is a big basket of fruit, and the young man is reaching for a bunch of triangle-shaped fruits above him.

Photoshop and MotionComputing tablet

Thanks to Photography On The Run for the reference material.

Collecting sarfruit )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A smiling woman standing on a sunny plain with her two young children clinging to her skirt. She is carrying a baby in a sling of fine striped cloth and cradling his head as she nurses him. In the clear sky above are flying two birdlike creatures. A tree in the background has monkeylike creatures hanging from the branches, and a large lizard and a herd are also in the background.

This was a hard one.

I had to bring it together so it somehow represented both the essence of the Karnese Mother goddess, and the more ordinary scene of a nethik mother, whose people are the most pastoral of the four recognized shapes.

That's why you can see each of the four shapes in the background, even if there isn't space for much detail. The Mother protects and nurtures all shapes, and though the Grehti priests in their cosmology divide them into a hierarchy of greater and lesser shapes, those which take human form and those which don't, all of them live together in the Mother's cradle. She is the land and the magic and life force it contains.

Nethik secrets )

Anyway, some of the nethik are nomadic and others are farmers, and they've developed the most advanced farming techniques known on Karn. (Advanced being a relative term since the culture itself is neolithic.) They have a lot of skill with herbs both for medicine and for cloth dyes.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A smiling man by a campfire animatedly tells a story to a small group of people around him. The young boy listens entranced, the teenage girl looks at him coyly and the old woman has a melancholy smile. Campfire smoke curls up through the storyteller's hands and into the evening sky. Rocks shelter the camping space and the view behind the man is out over a dry valley with scrub plants.

Photoshop and MotionComputing Tablet

The Shashigai are the storytellers of Karn )

When storytelling goes wrong )

The storyteller has the power to touch people's hearts, to capture them and hold them. The real test of his character comes with what he does with them afterwards.

Who do you allow to tell your story?
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
Two young kids are playing in a plumeria tree, surrounded by leaves and blossoms. The boy is swinging upside down from a branch and the androgynous-looking girl is perched in a split in the trunk. The sky is warm burnished yellow and the shape of the sun is outlined in red ochre. In the distance, through the haze, is a forest or jungle on the side of a volcano.

Photoshop and MotionComputing Tablet

The Sun card is like the Garden of Eden in reverse: the innocence that lies at the end of the adventure. In the story of the Major Arcana, the Fool has come through his troubles and confusion and found his way into a flowering garden where he's invited by a little boy to come play. When he takes the boy's hand, he realizes that the boy is a part of his own nature, the part which isn't held back by adult burdens. It's about rebirth and freedom, joy and creativity, and it implies connectedness to the environment and all the things that are waiting there to be discovered.

The person who draws the Sun card might be ready to look at things in a new light. Carrying the wisdom of their latest journey, they can bring a fresh perspective to whatever they set out to do.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A dark-haired young woman in a green tunic and furs is on hands and knees in the dirt, surrounded by seven low wooden bowls filled with water. Moving clockwise from the one behind her, the bowls contain a bow and arrow, a rock, a red and yellow snake, a thorny rose, chunks of meat, a knife, and a speckled egg.

Photoshop and MotionComputing Tablet

I had to cheat a little bit on this one, because those are Earth symbols, not Karnese ones. I didn't want there to be too much of a cultural barrier to identifying with the imagery.

About the nethik )

The Seven of Cups is about what dreams may come.

The traditional Seven of Cups )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A large gryphon-like creature with heavy folded wings perches on a rocky outcropping with its back turned. Its head is turned sideways and one baleful yellow eye is fixed on the viewer. Three swords are leaning against the rock nearby and a fourth lies on a fallen fur cloak on the ground. The dawn sun is rising over the mountains in the background.

Photoshop and MotionComputing Tablet

The Griff Place )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
Two snarling young men in furs and leathers, both gripping the blade of the same sword in their right hands. Each one holds another sword by the hilt in his left hand. Below the sword they're fighting over is a smashed melon. Stormclouds are crowding overhead in an ominous grey sky.
Photoshop and MotionComputing tablet

This is the card for broken hearts.

Simple as that. All the rest of it is pop psychology.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
Pele's little sister was a badass healer. Her name was Hi'iaka. I'm reading a Hawai'ian myths and legends book we brought back from our trip. I just had to say that, because it's awesome.

Meanwhile, here is the latest tarot picture, and a story.

Two figures have just jumped off a cliff in the indigo light of evening. One is a dark-haired woman with her shoulders marked with red clay or blood and her arms stretched wide, bearing up the wings of the other figure, who is half raven and half wolf. The wolf head is twisted around and biting the leg of the woman. The raven head is cutting in its beak the thread that holds the sun in the sky. It has swallowed a little piece of the sun, which is glowing in it and the wolf's stomach.
Photoshop and MotionComputing tablet


Circa 2006... )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
Full image - possibly disturbing? )

Preview image of ghostly hand reaching for crystal
This one is hard to write about because I think the meaning is so unique to each person, even more so than most of the cards. (Aeclectic.net's long writeup on their interpretation.)

For me it's about obsession. I see obsession as a need which can't be filled - and by need I mean something critical enough to a person's well-being that it festers instead of fading. There's a lot of personal history here, from when I was a teenager and I had my own obsession. It's tangled up with autistic sensory integration problems, the sudden increase in social expecations, and the usual teenage struggle with awakening sexuality and isolation.

It's personified in the crystal in the picture, which on Karn is a physical manifestation of that compressed and explosive energy. I've heard it called a knot in the fabric of reality, or a black hole. It's both alluring and destructive, and the restless ghosts that are drawn to it find themselves caught in an addictive cycle. They crave the energy they sense in it, and they seize any trickle of it that they can reach, but it leaves them empty. So they come back for more and more, forgetting anything else they might have cared about, that might have anchored them to reality. It's sexual in intensity, like a drug, giving a burst of power and then abandoning you to fall and crash.

And it's different for everyone, what siren song calls you, and how its false promise manifests in your life. It might be the promise of happiness if you buy enough things, the promise of love if your body looks the right way, the promise of safety if you do and say the right things. There are as many variations as there are people.
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
A bare-breasted older woman sitting in the crook of a tree, looking out with a broad mischievous smile. She has a cloth sarong wrapped around her waist and a neck ornament made out of a chain of coins. Another web of coins hangs down from her waist. She has long, prehensile toes, red-orange hair in dreds, and she's holding an ornamental staff.
Photoshop, Wacom and MotionComputing tablet

T'noui is an elder of the Tirothi, a shapeshifting people from Karn. Their other form looks something like a triple-jointed lemur with fangs. They live on woven platforms high up in trees in the jungle. They're known for their gemwork and craftsmanship of all kinds, their love of sweet fruit, and their constant chatter.


This has been brought from the [personal profile] shashigai, the storytellers of Karn.

T’noui told us this story )

Aeclectic.com on the Queen of Pentacles (Coins).
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
Young black woman pours water and fire between two jugs, with a butterfly nearby

Image description )

Temperance is Qi's card. Qi of The Water Song, that is. This one has only the most tenuous link to Karn, but it's still a part of the story. The card is about the reconciliation of impossible opposites. A paradox at first glance, but with enough complexity of understanding it's possible to tease out the subtle distinctions and nuances that allow it to exist. It's about working with the forces that hold polar opposites apart, about balancing them and through that balance, like positive and negative numbers that can keep increasing as long as they are equal, tapping into quantities that would otherwise be too great to manage.

Aeclectic Tarot on the Temperance card
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
LJ is being inconsiderate again. I don't think it's going to stop because they don't have enough of a customer base outside of Russia anymore, and they don't grok Western young people's complaints.

Meanwhile I've been working on tarot art. I started this one a long time ago but only just decided to finish it.

This one is for the Death card.

pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
Two of Swords tarot card

[This painting started off as the two of swords, but it got really personal, really fast. I didn't think it was going to work for a deck, because I don't think the symbols would mean anything to anyone but me, but according to Wolf, that is what the nature of a hand-painted deck should be. -Pk]


Young Lin - she was called Mai Lin back then - is on the run across the Karnese mountainside. )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
I'm back to working on the Karnese Tarot project. I'm not sure why this is calling me so much more strongly than the 3d character modeling project did. Maybe it's just easier on the brain - painting is much more focused than 3d work, where you keep needing to jump between aggressive experimentation (to learn the software), visual eye (to make it look good), technical fiddling (to figure out which tools to use for what), and the big picture (because otherwise it's very easy to waste time on detail that's never actually seen). Maybe it's because it's all soft skills. Maybe because the pressure's off.

I'm still going to keep working towards 3d, but meanwhile here is another tarot painting.



The meaning of the card (coins and pentacles are equivalent)

He is tiroth, who are jungle folk and crafters. Also very easily distracted by pretty shiny colourful things. :)

I noticed while I was working on this, how similar the composition was to a pen-and-ink I did six years ago. Read more... )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
And she turns to me with her hand extended, her palm is split with a flower, with a flame...
(Suzanne Vega)

She is a rsakk high Grehti and therefore a master of both the delicate and that which consumes.



The strands of shells are a superstition older than most people can remember; it's believed that sleeping under them will protect a priest from evil spirits.

It is actually true. A toren could not shift back out of their insubstantial form within striking range without ending up with strings and shells embedded in their body.

Link to a traditional interpretation of the high priestess card.

The video that inspired it )
pyraxis: j-t as Sen from Spirited Away (j-t)
I've been researching tarot symbology and art recently. I'm thinking about a Karnese interpretation, how it would work to use the tarot system as a vehicle for representing Karnese culture.

I did this sketch tonight as an experiment for the eight of swords, which would be a griff card. A story about a griff that may not fly. It's not finished, but I'm curious what people think.



Edit: slight update to the pic.
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