Tyldwick - Four of Staves


An artist's palette and a jar holding four brushes and cleaning fluid sit on a table. The background is blank, perhaps what will be painted. The palette is used to mix paints, adjusting the colors until the right shade is reached. This card reminds me of building a house. Though the framework and foundation may have been laid (the blank canvas), there are hundreds of other decisions to be made - choosing what kind of flooring, picking out wallpaper or paint, deciding on faucets and cabinets... The list (mixing colors) seems endless and the number of choices a bit overwhelming. But this card encourages me to celebrate having created a stable base to work from, and by doing so, I can maintain my enthusiasm to get me through the work ahead that will be required.


  • palettes-Vincent-van-Gogh.jpg
    84.2 KB · Views: 339


Thank you!

BodhiSeed thanks for your insight with this wonderful deck. At first i puzzled over this card I saw the blank canvas waiting for me to create my own impression/expression ,but did not read further. Your insight showing the need to use the tools provided to complete and move forward to secure a stable environment from which to work helped me see the cards fuller message. A beautiful deck for personal use,and with all your valuable help one I shall enjoy exploring fully.


Amou, I am so glad this study thread has been of help to you. :) Please feel free to add any insights that you have to any of the Tyldwick cards!

Sulis Manoeuvre

What strikes me here is that the array of artist's tools looks well used already. So it's providing all the materials to produce a new painting – all the primary colours, tools to use them and a palette to blend them, and water/turpentine to thin the colours and clean the tools, and an empty space in which anything can be created. But it's also carrying the memory of a previous painting, and the sense of a job well done.

It's another quite clever take on the usual symbolism of this card, but I assume it's also somewhat tongue-in-cheek as I seem to remember reading on Neil Lovell's website that he created the deck entirely digitally.

swimming in tarot

palette's shape?

I concur with all of the above, but am wondering about the shape of the palette itself. It seems like a big, ragged bite has been taken out of it, from the edge closest to us, toward the center, rather than a smooth cutout edge to rest against the arm. This one is missing about a quarter of its area. Palettes are traditionally have more of a Pac-man silhouette (not that that description would have been meaningful back then!).


Swimming, that is a good question. At first I thought it was a missing piece also; further evidence of these tools being well-used. But, it seems that this is just a different style of palette than the iconic smoothly rounded shape, one I had never seen before! The indentations would be held by the artist's fingers from the bottom, with their thumb through the middle hole.

Even so it does look a bit misshapen... maybe it has been slightly worn down with use after all :)

Also, not to take away from the above readings, but I had an alternate interpretation of the paints/canvas. In line with what Sulis Manoeuvre said, perhaps the artist has just finished work elsewhere and set down her tools to celebrate a job well done. In this context the plainness of the wall makes a different kind of sense... you wouldn't want to accidentally get paint on anything fancy!