Saturday, August 31, 2013

134 The Dream

Last night I had an unusual dream. In recent years I haven't been dreaming as much as in past eras which I attribute to not being able to sleep as profoundly. My graphic novel Cypher written in the 90s is composed almost entirely of dialog and images from dreams.

Recurring dreams are not uncommon. One of my recurring dreams is where I find myself on a tropical island. It can be evening or day, occasionally there is a thunderstorm brewing. As I walk along the beach there is a steep cliff on the right hand side. I come to an opening like the entrance to a cathedral without doors. I enter this natural fissure into a chamber hewn from rock. It reminds me what I imagine the interior rooms at Petra might look like. The ceiling is high and obscured in shadow. Descending lights illuminate the walls. On all four walls hang paintings. In previous dreams I can never quite see the content of the images, only the frames and a rough notion of color, as if I suffer from a variation of face blindness that affects perception of paintings. Although I can't identify the blurry images I recognize the paintings as mine. There is an open door at the end of the hall with a staircase leading upward and to the left. But I never climb the stairs.

Over dozens of nights the dream is always the same with only slight variations. Until last night. Last night I walked along the beach as usual, entered the gallery, and walked through the exhibit viewing the paintings. But this time every painting was in sharp focus. They were larger than my normal paintings (30" x 40" or so). They tended toward a cool palette (like the recent river painting I'm working on) and had a wide range of paint strokes and marks. There were extremely thin passages with thickly textured highlights. There were passages of paint applied with the palette knife and other passages where the paint was precisely blended. They were landscapes but with a more contemporary compositional sensibility. Many were unconventional, intimate views of small slices of the landscape. Rocks were prevalent as was water, moss, and lichens. One was reminiscent of Maxfield Parrish's' Moonlight but with thick masses of textured paint in the highlights. These highlights were stained, glazed, and scumbled giving a rich patina to the surface.

Only two of the painting were not landscapes. One was a large mass of sunflowers in a brightly hued vase. The other showed two figures, one a male figure with a mask like the kind worn by doctors treating the plague in the middle ages. A female figure, several paces back, was dressed in medieval garb. The painting had a brooding, old-world quality like a surreal Rembrandt.

Overall, it made for a strange but illuminating night. In his book The Act of Creation Arthur Koestler explores and celebrates the intelligence of the subconscious mind. He makes a strong case for taking such experiences seriously. The annals of science and art are replete with dramatic cases of discovery and innovation via such unexpected conduits.

Brad Teare August 2013


  1. Very interesting, Brad!

    I enjoyed reading this very much. Perhaps these dreams will find their way into works of art in the real world instead of the ephemeral space of your dreams.

    Thanks for sharing this. I really found it transcendental in many ways. Some things to think about...

    1. Thanks Bob. I'm glad you enjoyed it especially since I wasn't exactly sure if it would be of interest to others. I've been reading The Act of Creation and it seemed harmonize well with what's been on my mind. I have also been wondering if I should consciously try to replicate the paintings I saw in the dream.

  2. So, you are going to paint them, right? This could be the them of a one man show.

    1. As soon as I find this island I will definitely do a one man show.


Thanks for your comments!


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