Yesterday's hours in the studio took me through a state of scratchy, unwelcome irascibility towards calm. I'm working on a series of composite paintings whose title for now, is Waters I have known. Each piece contains eleven images that I hope will allow you/me access to countless related landscapes, research layers, imaginative worlds... (I realized the other day - and this came as a complete surprise - that these paintings' compositions bear strong resemblance to the newly formatted Image pages on Google. It's odd how associations like these find their way into our work, regardless of whether we're conscious of it at the time, or not? I hope they - the paintings - will extend a similar invitation to enter, ponder, explore...)
This pic shows a detail from my 'document' on ice...
Despite the calm I found in the painting, I went to bed feeling wound up and woke this morning with my heart pounding and my fists clenched; puzzling encounters with sharp-toed dragons and foul-breathed monsters were features of last night's dreamscape. The dragons reminded me of the chameleons I befriended and tended as a child in South Africa, but the ones in my dream had metallic hides, reflective titanium plates unresponsive to either my pummeling or my tender touch.
Their monster companions were shaggy, their mussed-up pelts like fuschia bark that sloughed off them as they walked. They sauntered casually in the face of my indignation and - at one time - frank distress, browsing nonchalantly on frangipanis and pohutakawa leaves and leaving behind them steaming dung heaps as high as mountains. . . These were sweet-smelling intricately-engineered pats, apparently innocuous (apart from the volume!) and looking every bit like fertile garden compost artfully arranged by an architect. I could neither see around them nor climb up and over them (too slippery - no way to safely prop a ladder or get a sensible foothold)... and the muck was quivering, alive. It morphed into buildings, bridges, mountain ranges as I watched. It was teasing me, I think. Muck posing a challenge. A question. How do you reckon you're going to find your way over, under, around and through this little lot, eh?
Heaven alone knows.
Dreams seem to be a particularly vivid experience for many of us these days... we seem to need to recall them, want to write about them, to lay their content out as evidence, a map, a series of questions. Do we have our own, uniquely personal dream language, our individual lexicon of symbols, or we do dream common dreams, our nets dipping into the same wellspring? Both? And so much more besides... ?
My dream radar's been oddly quiet these past few weeks. I was telling Penelope and Pam just yesterday that I've not remembered many dreams lately, although I wake often with achey shins, an indicator to me that I've walked miles of some description in my sleep.
Was it Salvador Dali who said 'When we are asleep in this world, we are awake in another?' Is it just our bodies that sleep - or that assume the pose of sleep? It seems to me that on some level or other we are always wide awake?
Ink & pencil on paper - sketch - CB
Where did your dreams take you last night?