The other night I had a really vivid, artistic dream. This is a rare occurrence for me, so I took note of it. In my dream, I was looking down over a lush, beautiful valley across a surreal, medieval dreamscape skyline. The buildings were all shaped a bit like warped, intricately carved grandfather clocks in red and gold and in the centre of them was a chessboard courtyard with a fountain in the middle and red and white chess pieces milling about. When I woke up in the morning, I thought to myself what a great painting that would make.

When I got home from another dreary day at work, all I wanted to do was paint. So I sat down and decided to try my hand at this painting. I tried sketching it first. It came out looking like something a 3 year old might produce. Not good. Then I started a painting and for some reason the colors just wouldn’t cooperate, everything went muddy, no matter what I tried. I was frustrated because here I had this amazing image in my head, plenty of zeal (for once in my life), and the ability was lacking. I started feeling sorry for myself and almost threw in the towel. But I’d already put out my paints and I didn’t want to waste any of my wet paint, so I decided I’d try to finish off a couple of almost done paintings that I’ve had lying around for ages. I finally finished a painting that I suspect is the very first one I did after moving to Scotland. It has sat almost done for about 6 years now. Pathetic. All it needed was some definition to the snake heads. So, I managed to get a painting done and dusted.

Then I fiddled some more with another painting, which didn’t go so well. Looking through my inspiration folder for a reference photo for the snakes, I came across some other photos I’d stuck in there for inspiration, and decided to try one of them, just on a little canvas. I ended up with this:

The Violinist

The Violinist

It’s taken from a photograph by Peter Adams of the lead fiddle player for the (excellent) band, Shooglenifty. It didn’t really quite end up looking like him, I don’t think. But it looks like a human being, so that’s an accomplishment, I think! I enjoyed doing a face again – I used to paint quite a few portraits actually, but I haven’t for quite some time, not sure why. It’s also a style with mostly blue, red and yellow that I used to use a lot years and years ago, but also stopped doing for some unknown reason. So all in all, I’m glad that I kept going tonight, even after my disastrous attempt to capture my dream on canvas.

Here’s the painting from 6 years ago that I finally think I can call done now – it’s in a more surreal style than I’ve done lately:

Paradise (done)

Paradise (done)

And it is now past midnight and I need to sleep, perchance to dream of more lovely things I can’t manage to transfer to canvas…. 😉

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