Writings by Tim Girvin
The Wanderer

I have been curious about the notion of divination. What does astrology mean, the Tarot, the Runes; what is the nature of this type of forecasting? Is this merely the satisfaction of the archetypal changes we all experience? Or is it something more?

Recently, while on a break to a weeklong retreat at a Spa/spiritual environment in Mexico, I thought about the notion of exploring how this could be further expressed in my own reflections on life and its passage. What events could be considered? What is their symbolism? How could this be expressed?

I brought along some mobile sets of watercolors, some brushes and a grouping of handmade papers from India. While painting outside one morning, I stumbled upon an early drawing expression, a color wash of a figure, carrying a hiking shaft, with a broad hat. I just drew it, without pondering its meaning; it was a warmup exercise, to get the brush and pigments flowing. This figure I first drew probably about 25 years ago, when I developed the technique of washing in color on a watery field for gradations and color mixtures. Later, this same technique found itself expressed in hundreds of illustrations and calligraphies as a kind of colored "rainbow" of a "Girvin" style. I created renderings for clients all over the world using this technique, which suggests a translucency of pigment and watercolor wash that clients found unique and interesting to their needs.

I thought about the idea that this figure could be a symbol for my life, its meanderings and a basis for this exploratory.

Life is a path laden with folds and weavings, a fabric of stories and discoveries. Like the labyrinth, it draws you in, closer and closer to the center; that centerpoint which is yours to uncover. But this passage of "a-maze-ment" is a way of wandering (and wondering), and it is guided by another unseen, attractive star. While we might feel that the path is resolute,there are hidden turnings, setbacks, shortcuts and crossing steps to continue toward the center, a resting place and point of resolution. Another cartographer perhaps has set our path. We might find light there, at the center, a shining through. Or darkness.

Our journey is an allegorical wandering. Our "figure" travels through darkness and light, cold and warmth, absence and presence, solitude and connectedness, the clear pathway and the obstructed passage. There is a sense of direction, or a mystery of the "mirage", of thirst and its replenishment.

During my break, I considered how this might be played out as a series of cards. These cards explore wandering; and the states of beginning and ending, warmth and cold, the four directions are colored as a basis of the divinatory "call". The figure travels to experiences of the mountain: with cards like the pinnacle, the exposed cliff, the clear path...Other groupings of the grouped four card series explore the mythic dimensions of the cave, the forest, the desert, the air and the Sea, each with their own peregrinations.

For those interested in examining the Wanderer, a shuffling deck of 28 illustrations, you can explore this allegory in my area at the light table. When the deck is completed, each of the cards will have the description for the state of experience and its interpretations.

For those of you outside the office, if you have an interest, let me know and I will send you a copy of the paintings for your review and reflection.

This has been, and no doubt shall continue to be, an interesting investigation into the idea of defining, in the context of the myth, the story and its telling and the personal journey, and in this wander, the possible answers and ways to interpret their meanings.

I wish all of you the potential of pondering the Wander, and what cards you might consider making...

Thanks for your attention and considerations.

Tim Girvin

(Originally sent: Monday, September 11, 2000 7:06:53 AM)

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