Category Archives: Art

Introducing the “Moonshadow Lenormand”

I have finally completed my debut Lenormand card deck. And decided to self-publish it through Printer Studio. It was a choice between Printer Studio and Game Crafter, and as I couldn’t get my head around former’s templates but found the latter’s very user friendly, I went with Printer Studio. The company is based in Hong Kong, so I expect turnaround to Australia to be 14-21 days. That’s when I’ll get my hands on the “real” cards, and can assess the card stock and printing quality. I have a couple of decks by other artists, from the same printer, and their cards were nice and smooth and excellent quality.

Here are the links for both Printer Studio and Game Crafter.
Printer Studio
The Game Crafter

So here is a teaser page showing the fronts and backs of some of the cards in my deck.
Moonshadow Lenormand
If you are interested in purchasing this deck, you can find my eBay listing here:

Introducing the brand new Moonshadow Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow. The Lenormand divination system is named after Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand (1772-1843), the great fortuneteller who read for the likes of Napoleon and Josephine. Although Mlle Lenormand never designed or created the system that carries her namesake, the Lenormand divination system is faithful to the imagery of the Sibylla of the Salon, who read in the cosy parlours of the gentry, giving practical advice with regards love, romance, finance and even war. It is a very different system from the Tarot.

This is my very first Lenormand divination card deck, created using only my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone and Apps, and using either my own photographic images and clipart or images from the public domain.

The accompanying images show the front and backs of all the cards in the deck. There are the usual 36 Lenormand cards, plus an extra Man and Woman card for same-sex readings. Included in the deck also are 2 cards showing some card meanings, and also a card of recommended further reading. 42 cards in total. Your order will come directly from the printers, fresh off the press, in a clear acrylic case. Please allow 14-21 days for delivery, as this is beyond my immediate control.

Postage is Free to wherever you are. Please contact me directly if the item is meant to be sent to someone else, so I can change the delivery details. Thanks for looking!

And here is the listing on Etsy:


Some of you may be aware that I’m currently creating a deck of Oracle Cards to be either self-published or submitted to various publishing houses to be licensed. Click here to find out what Oracle cards are, and here to see examples of my ongoing project so far.

What you don’t know is that behind the scenes, I’ve also been researching, learning and practising another cartomancy system known as Lenormand. This is a lesser known system than Tarot or Oracle cards, but equally important, I think.

So, you’re asking what Lenormand cards are all about? As I’m still a student of this fascinating system and still learning the intricacies of its “language”, I’ll let others with far more experience do the explaining:

From Aeclectic Tarot forum:

The Petit Lenormand deck is based on a regular playing card deck that has been reduced from 52 cards to 36 cards by removing the 2, 3, 4 and 5 pip cards in each suit. The cards are illustrated with various symbols and traditionally also include a miniature of the playing card associated with each symbol. Little seems to be known or understood about the significance of the playing cards, other than that the court cards can serve to describe people in a reading. There are also regional and personal variations throughout Europe in the card meanings.

Several decks named after the French cartomancer Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand (1772-1843), including the Petit Lenormand popular today, were published after her death. However, the Petit Lenormand appears to have been modelled on a deck of cards published much earlier as part of a game of chance, called “The Game of Hope”.

A fellow blogger has written a comprehensive description of how Lenormand cartomancy works, with examples of spreads and explanations of the meanings of the cards in readings. Definitely worth a look and bookmarking, if your interest has been piqued:

My first Lenormand deck purchase was Ciro Marchetti’s “Gilded Reverie”, check out his website for more information. Ciro’s site also sells spread cloths, if that tickles your fancy. Also, you can for the princely sum of $1.50 download a PDF full-length 144-page book on how to read the cards. I highly recommend the “Gilded Reverie” (which you can also easily find on Amazon and eBay), the artwork is detailed and sumptuous without detracting from the meaning of the cards.

image(Photo is of Ciro’s spread cloth illustrating the “houses” of the numbered cards. Just to give you an idea of how lovely the artwork is)

Actually, my first Lenormand deck was one by the brilliantly zany Titania Hardie, nearly 15 years ago. I had her “Titania’s Fortune Cards” for a long time, then they got lost in a series of house moves (I’ve moved 7 times since the year 2000, or 22 times in 44 years, go figure!). I recently tracked down and purchased the same deck again on eBay, and got reacquainted with it. The reason I didn’t initially make the connection between Titania’s cards and Lenormand cards was because her cards have no numbers on them or playing card pips. The images however, are the same archetypes as in any Lenormand deck. It was only while I was first learning about the Lenormand cards recently that I realised there was something strangely familiar about the images – Rider, Ship, House, Stork, Dog, Man, Woman, Child etc, and made the connection.

(Photo shows Titania’s “Fortune Cards” in a classic Grand Tableau spread)

Concurrent with my Oracle Cards project, I’ve been busy creating my own deck of Lenormand cards. I figured what better way of learning than by doing? And what better way of doing than by utilising my digital mixed media photography skills on my Samsung Galaxy S4.

The Oracle Cards project is taking longer, as I intend to do a 52-card deck, with explanations. For the Lenormand, though, there are only 36 cards, so…I’m happy to be able to say that I’ve recently completed my own very first deck of Lenormand Cards, yay!

Watch out for further posts in the coming days, as I will be posting about my Lenormand cards, as well as updates on how the next phase is coming along – where I get my cards printed.

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My Favourite Things Part II : Ceramic Spoons

Yesterday I shared with you some of my favourite Ceramics & Pottery from my Pinterest board of the same name.

Today I’d like to share with you some of my favourite Ceramic Spoons. Yes, don’t ask me why, but I seem to have a passion for decorated ceramic spoons. I don’t have any in real life, but I do on my Pinterest board of the same name.

If you require further information on any of the following images, simply go to my Pinterest board . When you click on any of the images there, you will be transported to its corresponding website.











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All Done With Mirrors

I’m in the midst of not one but two concurrent projects creating Oracle cards and Lenormand cards. For my Oracle card shenanigans, read here. I haven’t blogged about Lenormand cards yet, or indeed about my Lenormand cards project, as I’m still learning about that divination system myself. Rest assured all will be revealed in due course.

So, my idea is to create a deck of Oracle cards, which I will then either 1) approach a publisher to license or 2) self-publish through a Print-on-Demand site. Still having a think about how to get a package together consisting of the deck of cards, a box and what those in the trade call the LWB or the “little white book”.

My Oracle Cards project has passed the 40th mark, out of a potential 52 cards, so it is well on the way.

As for my Lenormand Cards project, I’ve done 12 out of the 36 cards that make up a Lenormand deck. I’m taking my time with this project, as I’m learning about the symbols and meanings as I go along. Fascinating subject, which I will blog about soon enough.

All playing cards have a front and back, right? My digital mixed media photography art will go on the front of the cards, and now I need to create some designs for the back too. Here are some potential card back designs that I created using the App PicsArt, mainly playing with its “Distort” filter which offers image mirroring on X and Y axes, easily creating symmetrical designs.

PicsArt for Android

PicsArt for iOS

Enjoy! (All images copyright AlyZen Moonshadow)








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Aboriginal Black & White Paintings

I am a lover of all things colourful, however some of my favourite Australian Aboriginal paintings are black and white. There’s something almost spiritual about black and white art, almost as if the restrictions imposed by the limitations of colour have brought about another kind of depth or way of seeing.  Australian Aboriginal Art Dot paintings (both the colourful ones and the black and white ones) are steeped in tradition and carry historical meanings and even contain encrypted secrets, however they are also very abstract and modern in their own right.  For me, the beauty of these paintings lies in their ability to straddle the Past, Present and Future.

(The following is quoted from Source:

Dot paintings today are recognised globally as unique and integral to Australian Aboriginal art. On the surface the dot is simply a style of Aboriginal painting, like the use of cross-hatching or stencil art. Exploring deeper into the history of the Aboriginal dot painting a world of camouflage, secrecy and ritual is discovered.

The term ‘dot painting’ stems from what the Western eye sees when faced with contemporary Aboriginal acrylic paintings. This painting style arose from the Papunya art movement in the 1970s. Papunya Tula artists used a process which originally mirrored traditional spiritual ceremonies. In such rituals the soil would be cleared and smoothed over as a canvas (much like the dark, earthy boards used by the Papunya Tula) for the inscription of sacred designs, replicating movements of ancestral beings upon earth. These Dreaming designs were outlined with dancing circles and often surrounded with a mass of dots. Afterward the imprinted earth would be smoothed over, painted bodies rubbed away, masking the sacred-secrets which had taken place.

This ritual was shifted from ground to canvas by the Papunya Tula who eventually added an array of naturally produced colours to the restricted palette of red, yellow, black and white produced from ochre, charcoal and pipe clay.Such pieces reveal a map of circles, spirals, lines, dashes and dots, the traditional visual language of the Western Desert Aboriginal People. However these marks were permanent and due to arising interest made public, creating internal political uproar. Consequently representations of sacred objects were forbidden or concealed through the dotting technique.

Whether a concealer of deeper, spiritual meaning or simply symbols of fruits, rain or feathers the acrylic dot paintings of the Aboriginal People become increasingly complex and innovative artistically. The paintings of Johnny Warrangula Tjupurrula implement techniques of overlaying dots and superimposing patterns causing objects and shapes to merge in and out of one another. Acrylic Aboriginal paintings are highly emotive incorporating an innovative balance of traditional and modern. The dot technique, whether as a concealer or a signifier offers a sense of movement and rhythm causing the flat canvas to sing, jump and dance with energy and life, much like the rituals which inspired them.

Bear in mind that although they may be collectively called Dot Paintings, it’s not just dots that make up the fabric of this painting style. Some artists merge their dots into lines, or paint lines and add dots to either side of them afterwards. Others go to the other extreme and use dots only to emphasise or accentuate circles or shapes. Each Aboriginal Artist has his or her own innate style, no two are alike, and each has his or her own palette of colour and set of symbols that makes his or her trademark. For example, one artist may be known for his Bush Medicine leaves, another for her Witchetty Grubs, and another for her Snakes, another for his Lines.

Here are just some black and white Aboriginal paintings that I have curated from Google Images. Just to show you how diverse they can be.










Emu Feathers close up

I know the question on your mind now is: are these painted using white paint on a black background? Or using black paint on a white background? It’s kind of like how you’d ask “Is a Zebra black with white stripes, or white with black stripes?” :-)

Watch these YouTube videos and find out for yourself!

(Source: Desert Arts Centre)

Australian Aboriginal Art Symbols – A Primer

I am fascinated by Australian Aboriginal Art. And I confess that until recently I had no idea what the various symbols meant; to me, they were simply beautiful swirls, circles, squiggly worm shapes and dots. However, after visiting my 11-year-old son’s school on an Open Day recently and looking at his Aboriginal Art assignment and seeing charts showing the meanings of various symbols, I’m happy to report that I now know a little bit more about Aboriginal symbols. So, the next time I see a piece of Aboriginal art, it won’t be just beautiful swirls, circles, squiggly worm shapes and dots, it would mean a group of men and women gathered around a fire in a campsite, tracks to waterholes, digging sticks, even mountains, the Sun, Moon and Stars. Here are some examples of Aboriginal symbols I found on Google Images. Because these were drawn by different people, some of them students, there is a fair amount of overlap in the symbols. But it gives you a good idea of what to look out for the next time you see a piece of Aboriginal Art. symbols symbols_page33 7fcc7f8e803473c0c07698064dad3f3b aboriginal text Ab-symbol-31 Ab-symbol-21 And here is my son’s very own attempt at creating Aboriginal Art:


And from the school’s Art noticeboard:




Will you be my No.222?

Congratulations to the very next person to Follow my humble blog. You will be my 222nd follower, and as already promised here, this is what you will receive as a Thank You (see below).

This is the freebie. It’s A4 size, full resolution.


All you need to do is drop me a line on with your contact details and postal address, and I’ll be sure to post your freebie out to you. :)

Oh, and since some of you who already follow me have asked, ditto if You email me your details and I will send You a freebie too. Limited to 5 (as I’m not quite rolling in money hehe). Offer good on emails received by 20th October.

Namasté! 🙇

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Australian Aboriginal Artist : Janet Golder Kngwarreye

Contemporary Australian Aboriginal artist Janet Golder Kngwarreye (born 15 November 1973) is from Boundary Bore in the Utopia region in the Central Australia, approximately 270kms north west of Alice Springs. Utopia is renowned for its development and nurturing of extremely talented contemporary Aboriginal artists.

Janet is married to Ronnie Bird Jungala, son of famous Utopia artist Lindsay Bird Mpetyane. They have 4 children. Janet’s mother Margaret Golder and father Sammy Petyarre are also established artists. Emily Kame Kngwarreye, a famous artist, was Janet’s grandmother. Janet would have been taught to paint by her family and has been active since 1997. Her painting style is even, fine dot work, creating linear patterns and the major subject she paints is “Awelye” or ceremonial body paint using fine dot work and linear patterns. She is well known for her depictions of Bush Medicine, where she depicts the leaves of particular plants found in Central Australia which contain medicinal properties. Traditionally women would gather the leaves, boil them and add a resin and use this paste to treat a variety of ailments. Both men and women have important roles to play within the Aboriginal community as healers. Janet also has the appropriate cultural knowledge and permission from the Aboriginal Elders to depict the Dreamtime stories of the Mountain Devil Lizard and Emu.











Watch Janet at work here on YouTube:


Artist Inspiration : Rogan Brown

I admit that when I first cast eyes on Rogan Brown’s intricate paper sculptures, I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking at. Here were strange objects with filaments, strange orifices and tendrils that crawled across and out of the page, minuscule hydra-like creatures or maybe not-creatures. Some of them looked almost familiar, and then I realised that yes, I HAD seen them before – they were reminiscent of the Darwinian drawings of natural forms by  Ernst Haeckel that I’d purchased from DoverPictura.

And then I came across Rogan’s own website, and the excerpt below is taken directly from it:

My work is an exploration and re-presentation of natural organic forms both mineral and vegetal. I look for patterns and repeated motifs that run through natural phenomena at different scales, from the microscopic to the macroscopic, from individual cells to large scale geological formations.
I am inspired in part by the tradition of scientific drawing and model making, and particularly the work of artist-scientists such as Ernst Haeckel. But although my approach involves careful observation and detailed “scientific” preparatory drawings these are always superseded by the work of the imagination; everything has to be refracted through the prism of the imagination, estranged and in some way transformed.
I want to communicate my fascination with the immense complexity and intricacy of natural forms and this is why the process behind my work is so important. Each sculpture is hugely time consuming and labour-intensive and this work is an essential element not only in the construction but also in the meaning of each piece. The finished artefact is really only the ghostly fossilized vestige of this slow, long process of realisation. I have chosen paper as a medium because it captures perfectly that mixture of delicacy and durability that for me characterizes the natural world.
“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity…and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of a man of Imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.” William Blake

Yay, turns out my hunch about Haeckel had been correct. Feast your eyes on some of Rogan Brown’s mesmerising, meticulously cut-out and extremely detailed paper sculptures here (you can see more on his website):











Wow, right?!


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Let’s go LEGO!

Here’s a name that needs no introduction. You’ve played with it, your children will play with it, and all being well, your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will play with it too.

LEGO. (Yes, I know it should have the copyright symbol after every iteration of it). Yes, we all have fond memories of playing with these little coloured bricks. And one Maths teacher from Cleveland, Ohio, has taken LEGO to dizzying heights by using his mathematical prowess to design programmes that enable him to create domes and spheres etc.

Here are the facts, in a nutshell:

Arthur Gugick, 54, from Cleveland, has built hundreds of scale miniatures using just the colored bricks

Each model contains 5,000 to 20,000 pieces and Mr Gugick owns more than one million overall

The father-of-two has never used glue to hold pieces together and avoids using shop-bought models

He balances the hobby with his day job as a maths teacher at Beachwood High School in Cleveland, Ohio


I’ve pulled together some of Arthur Gugick‘s creations from Google Images, so we can all goggle at them together.


















My soon-to-be 12-year-old son is a LEGO addict. You can never have enough LEGO bricks, it seems. No matter how many bucketloads you buy of the stuff, it’s always just a drop in the ocean.

If you’re at all interested in LEGO, there have been several books published about it recently, some of them showcasing Arthur Gugick’s creations. Mind you, there are dozens of books on LEGO aimed at a younger audience; the ones mentioned here are intended for a more serious and mature practitioner:

Beautiful LEGO

Brick City: LEGO® for Grown Ups

Brick Wonders: Ancient, natural & modern marvels in LEGO®

The Art of LEGO Design: Creative Ways to Build Amazing Models

The LEGO Neighborhood Book: Build a LEGO Town!

Build Your Own City: The Big Unofficial Lego Builders Book

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