The Dream Painting

This is the first painting I am creating inspired directly by a dream. A dream directive. And it might be the first piece I have ever started with a sketch in hand.

I have been working on it with glee, in a trance for several hours each week for the past month.

Gessoing it took three days; that is how lushly large this canvas is. And so hushed, it requires me to be quiet in its presence. I have to leave everything I know at the door so I can be with it.

It leans against my garage wall, like an old promise that has yet to bloom (holding its world of white figures in some forest, — is that what I dreamt? I think, not entirely sure now about the figures; I consult my sketch). The painting beckons me close, closer, and soon I’m scared. (In spite of my seemingly fearless life, I scare easy sometimes.)

I thought this painting was about angels and benediction, holy trees. Simple and straightforward goodness.

Now, something is happening in the middle, where I just want to tear away from it, because of the emotional pain, the unknowing.

A question of identity (mine, inevitably) is showing up a lot, a lot.

That figure in the middle, looking dashed, is … me. Not some prophet, but ordinary me.

Argh!! I want to go wild like I do with so many of my other paintings and let loose … but I know I can’t. I have to stay with the power of this painting; what the diffused greens and yellows are telling me. The promise that was somehow made in the dream, before I even sketched the skeletons. This is not necessarily “me” painting this painting, but another hand, another force that wants it a certain way. Contained.

That voluminous figure that appeared last week and then solidified last night is … some sort of holy figure, a guide. Yes, I see now.

I am so moved, I half-gasp as I do when these beings come through, I back away, and stand gazing with my brushes in my hand, my face fixed, knees probably locked. What to do next? Often, it’s just to breathe.

The canvas and the surrounding air tell me what to do; I await the next directive.

Last night, it was to admire it. And to bask in the relationship between that guide and the me-figure. Ah….

Early bed at midnight.

To read about the mysteries and pray on all this.

It is all going to change in a day or two, when I touch it again. I know it. 

(originally posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010)