Entries Tagged as: dreams

Symbols and Synchronicity

July 29th, 2008, Comments (22)

I really love the way this piece came together. I worked on it a long time, letting it linger, changing and re-changing, layering and building, letting it grow and hide and reappear as I worked. I had the hubster come in and give me some constructive criticism at one point. He was cautious, not wanting to hurt my feelings. Sometimes, I can be very sensitive. But for whatever reason, I felt really open and non-defensive with it and I really wanted to hear what he had to say. I feel like I've come to a stopping point with it and since it is such a gorgeous day today, I was able to snap some pictures with natural light. It's 20"x20" with acrylic on canvas.


Sometimes things appear in paintings that you don't intend. I'm used to this with collage as I try to create collaged images intuitively, being open to happy accidents and such. But it only recently started happening in paint. While I was working, I noticed a large number 3 had appeared. I flushed out the bottom a tiny bit, but mostly it was already there. Three is a number that pops up a lot for me (as do 7 and 17), so I left it in there, even though I'm not sure exactly what it means.

I dreamed this image before I painted it. In the dream, Ophelia was walking into the water and she had a tattoo on her back that represented rebirth and renewal. I knew that she was entering into the water as a ritual (not as suicide) and that part of the tattoo was a large circle. I tried to recall more about the tattoo, but couldn't see it, so I drew sketch after sketch after sketch of it. At some point, I had to stop sketching and just begin and I'm glad I did because some of it worked itself out right on the canvas. The bees are a symbol that has been popping up lately first in my own artwork, in fun bee-spotting exchanges with Karen, and then in things I've been reading. I'd completely forgotten until it came up in a book I was reading about dreams, that my middle name, Melissa, means honey bee. I looked up the origins of the word and found that in ancient Greece, bee goddesses or priestesses were called Melissas and had the gift of prophecy. Homer wrote of the bee goddesses which I thought was fascinating considering my recent painting of Penelope. Bees and honey were symbols of the cycle of life as well as rebirth, so I decided to include them in the tattoo.

The flame that is also a tree, developed in sketches and on the canvas itself. I like how the roots mirror the bare branches of the trees in the background. Trees have been a common symbol in my artwork since I was a teenager, believe it or not. I saw them in a spiritual sense, as symbols of rebirth and the cycle of life. In the water, I also painted a scarab beetle, although it is mostly covered in layers of paint. I felt that I had to include it after the weirdest synchronicity occurred a couple weeks ago. You may remember the ridiculous (and funny) story about the large beetle in my bathroom. If not, go read it for a laugh. Anyways, the weird part was , I had just picked up a book, in the bathroom (yes, I read in the bathroom) called "Synchronicity" by Carl Jung, right before I saw the giant beetle and ran out to get the hubster, sans pants. I left the book open to the page, but didn't get back to it til the next day. Well, the next day, I open it up to read the story about when one of Jung's patients dreamt about a scarab beetle and just then they heard a tapping noise at the window. Jung opened it and in flew a large beetle (the equivalent of a scarab beetle in that area.) I literally laughed out loud when I read it thinking of my own personal scarab visitation. Turns out, scarab beetles were also a symbol of rebirth in the ancient cultures of Egypt and Greece. They're also considered a symbol of positive change, self-generation, and creativity. Very cool.

Phew, that was a mouth-full! I hope that was somewhat interesting to read about. It's a bit hard to explain the thrill of the journey and the little synchronicities that lead up to the finished piece, but I figured I'd give it a try anyways.

The yoga class this morning went well. The teacher was very sweet and gentle. Hoping to attend another class tomorrow! The hubster and I are going to a Red Sox game tonight. I hope the weather stays as lovely as it's been all day!

Dream, Dream, Dream

July 6th, 2008, Comments (9)

Through a bit of synchronicity and the recommendation of Kelly, I've been entranced by a book all weekend. Kelly had a dream about a lynx which led her to my blog because of a recent post about my own dream lynx. She recommended the book, Conscious Dreaming by Robert Moss, which I found a copy of in my local library. When first hearing the title of the book, I wasn't super interested. I've held a certain dislike for books about dreams because most of what I've encountered has been like a cheap horoscope, poorly written and not helpful. Most of the reading on the subject in the past had been of your basic dream interpretation variety. And the definitions of symbols in those books never rang true for me, so I dismissed them.

I never dismissed my dreams however. I've always had vivid dreams and occasionally I have dreams that come true or clue me in on things that are going on. My specialty seems to be knowing the sex of a baby before it's born, though I've only experienced this with close friends and the children my mom had after me. I don't think I'm psychic, perhaps intuitive, but not reliably so. The best part of dreaming for me is the inspiration it provides for my art. Many of my paintings are developed from ideas I get in dreams, particularly in that hypnogogic state between sleeping and wakefulness. One of my recent ideas, of Ophelia walking into the water with a tattoo on her back that represents renewal and rebirth, came to me in a dream. It hasn't made it into a painting yet, but it will. I've been sketching it out, trying to remember the look of the tattoo that was on her back. All the pics in this post are sketches where I've been playing with the idea.

I believe what opened me up to picking up and diving into Conscious Dreaming was the fact that I recently read and enjoyed Martha Beck's Steering by Starlight which has a section devoted to interpreting your dreams. I listened to this book first in audio form (which is fabulous by the way) and when it came to the part about dreams, I think I literally groaned. I was not interested in hearing about it, but since it was playing through my headset while I did other things like take a walk or doing dishes, I just let it go. If I'd been reading instead of listening, I might have skimmed over this part. Well, wouldn't you know it, I really liked her way of looking at dreams. She looks at the objects, places, and people in your dreams as sort of message-bearers. And if you dialogue with them (out loud or in a journal), ask what they're trying to help you with, and then write the answer in their voice, as if they were speaking, you can often get to the heart of the matter. I tried this on some of my recurring dreams and it was helpful. It was helpful to see the people in my dreams as possibly being parts of myself relaying a message that has been buried in my subconscious. So having read Beck's book first, I think I was more open to reading Moss's book and I'm so glad! It was so wildly full of synchronicities for me that I kept laughing and ear-marking pages all over the place.

Some of the book felt a bit far-fetched for me. But it was still fascinating and I enjoyed reading about the dreams of others and what they meant to them. And I appreciated that Moss insists that we are the only authority on our own dreams. I was also tickled by the references to Alice in Wonderland, Women Who Run with the Wolves, and especially The Odyssey, which came up in my most recent painting of Penelope's Web. There were also many references to symbols that are important in my dreams and artwork such as birds and trees, which was very cool to read about. Do you find that dreams bring you inspiration for your creative activities? Do you follow the inspiration to fruition?

Well, I've got some prints to get ready for mailing and some painting that I've been itching to start, so I'll stop here. Hope you've had a wonderfully creative weekend!

Juggling Acts

July 1st, 2008, Comments (10)

I had a lovely weekend in NYC (mainly in Queens) with the hubster's family and friends. Back at home, my introverted self is quite tuckered out and I've been whacked around by a nasty migraine. But I had a great day before the migraine attack. I went into Boston to drop off some more prints along with a bunch of originals at Oak. I shopped around in the store a bit and picked out a couple cute barrettes. Then since I had some extra time on the meter, I walked around for a bit and checked out the new Apple store. It's very pretty. I'm glad I don't have to drive down there everyday, but it wasn't too bad today. I found a kick-ass parking spot on my first try and didn't hit any traffic. Hooray for summer! Ack, it's July! I can hardly believe it! I've got a birthday coming up this month and a wedding to travel to and I'm hoping it will be a creative and fun-filled summer.

Before leaving for New York, I put some paint into a moleskine and smushed the pages together to make some inkblot art. I've done this before and enjoyed the results, but this particular journal is part of a sketchbook exchange that Jim put together. I've never done one of these before, but I think it will be very cool to see what everyone does. My first inkblot (really a paintblot, the paint is the orange and purple) suggested the form of swirly ponytails, which led to this image of a circus act, which I made into a poster of sorts. My sketchbooks tend to be kind of random, so who knows what will be next.

In my regular sketchbook, I'm filling page after page with images. I've got a painting idea (that I dreamed about) that involves a tattoo and I'm trying to figure out tattoo design. I know it's circular, but the rest is a mystery. I've got a commission that needs working on, some business to take care of, some art that wants to be created, and loads of cleaning that needs to get done. Such is the juggling act of life! It's a good juggling act though.

I know there were other things that I wanted to mention, but that's all I've got at the moment!

Lynx Dreams

May 23rd, 2008, Comments (15)

Since reading Steering by Starlight, I've been paying a little bit more attention to my dreams. Martha Beck describes an interesting way of interpreting dreams in the book that changed the way I looked at the things that show up in my dreams. Beck suggests looking at every symbol, place, and person in your dream, ask them what they're there to do, what they represent, and then answer as that person, symbol, etc...So, for example, if you dreamt about an alligator, then you'd ask the alligator what it was there for and what it's there to teach you. And then  you might answer something like, "I'm an alligator, I live in the swamps. I'm here to help you come out of hiding, to be in the sun." Or something like that. I don't think I'm all that good at determining what symbols mean, what they represent in my life, but seeing each symbol as something that is trying to help or guide me in some way, has shifted the way I look at all those crazy night visions that I have every night.


So anyways, last night, I dreamt about a lynx. It was a very vivid dream. I didn't write it down in the morning like Beck recommends, but I kept thinking about it during the day. I remembered that in the dream the hubster and I had bought a baby lynx, but it was growing big fast and had huge claws and one big sharp tooth. It looked a bit like my orange cat, Tabbers, but much bigger. I was worried that the lynx was going to hurt us or our cats and felt that we had to bring him back to the shelter. I felt so guilty and sad about wanting to return him, but I also felt it was necessary. During the day today, I remembered that I'd called the big cat something that started with an "L". In the evening, I remembered that I called it a lynx, but I wasn't 100% sure that was an actual animal name, never mind whether or not it was a big cat.


So, after watching a disappointing Celtics game, I googled "lynx" and saw the cat from my dreams. Very weird. But the thing that totally blew my mind was reading that the goddess Freya (who I've painted and experienced much synchronicity around) was said to have ridden on a lynx. Now, I'd read that Freya was sometimes depicted with cats, but I'd never read about the cat being a lynx. Goose bumps!

Further reading showed that the lynx is supposed to help with psychic abilities and divination and are believed to be the keeper and knower of secrets. The lynx is associated with inspiration, revelation, and mysticism.  Actually, the more I read, the stranger it got. Actually, this was kind of cool, there was a group created in the early 17th century called the l'Accademia dei Lincei (Academy of Lynxes) that was dedicated to scientific investigation and the search for truth through observation. They chose the Lynx as part of their Academy's name because the lynx was known to have penetrating vision. The 6th member of this group was none other than Galileo. I found this particularly interesting considering my post this week about how I consider myself a scientific and spiritual person, which is somewhat similar to the associations the lynx has with skeptical, scientific viewpoint and also mysticism.

So, what does my dream mean? Not sure. After answering the questions as the lynx, I believe the dream has something to do with taking risks. But I may do some more writing and see what else comes up.

(Images from National Geographic and answers.com)

p.s. Like the new look? I may tweak it a little bit, but for now, I'm liking it. I'd like to change up the banner a little more frequently. I used to change my blog banner with each season change, so perhaps I'll go back to that.

The Time is Now

December 27th, 2007, Comments (22)

I hope everyone had a wonderful week however you may have spent it! We bounced from one part of my family to the other which was a bit crazy-making, but fun nonetheless. Even though I was home for Christmas this year, we had the addition of the hubster and my brother's wife celebrating with us which made for a different dynamic. I loved having the hubster with me, but I felt myself grow very quiet. The hubster pointed it out last night and we talked about it. I'd been feeling a bit self-conscious and was assuming (never a good idea) certain judgments. I came to the conclusion that I need to let go of these assumptions and be proud of where I'm at. I also need to do a major overhaul on my goals this year.

I started working on one of my goals for the year last month. I'm writing a book on creativity. The hubster suggested I say it out loud as it helps to make it more real and helps to hold me accountable. I've been a bit quiet about this as I've always said that I'm not a writer. But clearly I write a lot as can be seen in the six years of blogging I've done. I encourage people all the time to say they're an artist when they create, so I'm writing and I suppose that makes me a writer which makes me all sorts of jittery to type. It's not my goal to be strictly a writer, but for a long time I have wanted to put together a book of creativity tips that I would write and illustrate. As anyone with big dreams may know, it's easy to put these things off for some better time, but as Patti writes about on 37 Days, we never know how much time we will be given. So, if we have dreams, it's best to begin. In response to Patti's post, I commented: 

I love the idea that living as if you only had a short time left doesn't necessarily mean tackling those big things like traveling to such and such place, but it more likely means to live each day full out, slowing down, enjoying it all and expressing what needs to be expressed. I think we all have so much inside us that wants to be expressed and we hold it back thinking it not worthy or thinking that we have plenty of time to get to that later, but how rich would our lives be if we spent at least a part of every day sharing what we have within us. And who knows what places it would lead us to if we did?

My intentions for the coming year include stepping out of that space of thinking "there's plenty of time to get to that later" and into the space of "the time is now."

I'm liking that for my theme for this year, "2008: The Time is Now." So, I've been working on my book. I started with a brainstorming session, then an outline and then I started to write in a very free flowing manner, not looking back to edit at this point, just getting words on the screen. And of course, the beautiful thing about working towards your dreams is that taking action and moving forward feels so good!

Last night, I started working on this painting and stopped when the hubster asked for some snuggle time. I finished it up tonight and I'm just loving it. The rabbit feels like something out of a dream. I'm calling it "One Rabbit Night", it's about 10"x15" and was made with acrylic paint on watercolor paper.

I believe I've added everyone that has asked to be added to the "Creative Every Day 2008" participants list, so if you don't see your blog up there and you'd like it to be, let me know! I'm just returning to regular life after a busy time with family, so if I owe you an email, I hope to get to that very soon. Toodaloo for now!

Ding Dong Bell, Fell Down the Well

May 23rd, 2007, Comments (8)

I was inspired by one of the Inspire me Thursday exercises from last Thursday to play in my art journal with the idea of dreams. I took a nightmare I had last night and pieced parts of it together here across two pages of the journal. Dreams are sometimes hard to remember in terms of sequence, partly because they're rarely logical and can freely skip around in the plot without worry about some film critic tearing it to shreds. So, here's the basics of the dream, which was very vivid: It took place in my childhood home (which we no longer own), but in present time. My sister was missing. She'd gone to get some water (I think the power was out because of a storm) and didn't come back. My mother and step-father went to look for her in a helicopter, so they could look into the forests around our home. I was on the street, running and yelling her name. I ran into the forest down a winding path and went to the water plant, (an imagined place) where I told the men there about my missing sister. And in one of the filter systems we found her baseball cap. I started crying, just bawling my eyes out. Flashes of calling my father, a funeral, feeling very angry and upset. But wait! She had rung the bell. Hadn't these men heard it? Perhaps she was still there! In the basement of our neighbor's home, the well had a bell attached to let people know if they fell down it. And she was barely holding on to the rope, helping to keep her above water, but alive. And I was so relieved. In the moments when I thought she was gone, I felt like I hadn't been as loving to her as I could have been and felt terribly. The dream ended happily anyways. My dreams are pretty wacky. I think that's why I'm tired a lot. I'm dreaming instead of really resting. I can't really shut it off though and sometimes my dreams have messages in them, sometimes bits of intuitive information, and sometimes inspiration for art. The fun thing about creating in an art journal, is the freedom to totally play without worry about needing it to serve some purpose. It's just for me. Play is so important. Go now, go play! Or keep reading a bit and then go play. Hehe.

Pink lotuses continue to show up everywhere, even in an ad for a fuel company. Ha! Perhaps they should appear in some art soon? I sketched last night for fun, all sorts of silly kitties. I've got a real silly kitty in my lap at the moment. Last night, I noticed that my kitty Emma has one claw that has curled and stuck into her paw. Poor baby! I couldn't get it out. Fortunately, it doesn't seem to be hurting her, but I was hoping to take her in to the vet today and noone is picking up the phone there. Garr. Not looking forward to that visit. She already hates the vet with a burning passion. He's such a nice vet too. He only sees cats and really cares about them, but my sweet, quiet, gentle Emma, who never made a fuss at any other vet, turns into a menace at this vet's office with howls and growls. Oy. This probably won't help things.

In other news here at the zoo, our anemone has reproduced by splitting itself in two! The fiansor was all freaked out about it at first, thinking something was wrong, but I had read about it before and explained that this is a natural process. So, now we have one anemone for each clown! Our little Nemo somehow made it into the filter again this morning (oy!), but I'm getting more skilled at retreiving him and it only took a couple minutes. I guess my temporary barrier has failed. Hopefully, in time he'll get too big for these escape acts.

Ok, you can go play now. Shoo! ;-)