One of the most difficult things artists do is to represent conflicting aspects of life simultaneously.
The Dream: I am at Hunky's house, but it doesn't look like her waking life house. It's one story with lots of off-shoots. Art is everywhere. Looking through the window I can see an outside wall, at an angle to the room I'm in, hung with primitive masks of heads painted in earth colors.
There is a very large studio in the back where Hunky is working. I comment on how much I like the way the art is displayed along the outside wall, and she tells me that her son has made the masks. They are hung as if no thought were given to their arrangement or spacing and yet . . . there has been. It's very sophisticated. Hunky says this is where her son hangs his work to dry as he churns it out; it's not a planned arrangement of paintings as in a gallery.
Hunky talks about her process: she puts down shapes and color and then responds to them. She works abstractly; her art is unplanned. She loses herself in the process. I think this must be enjoyable and that I'll have to try it, but then remind myself of the pig's breakfast I get whenever I attempt to work this way.
As Hunky talks about her work she shows me a piece she is starting. It has a large tear-drop shape in red lined with blue on the left side of the paper. Hunky will start with this and then move on. As she talks about her work she begins to look like an obsessed artist: her hair becomes messy, her clothes paint-stained. Clearly the only thing that exists for her is the moment of creation. I contrast this with my meticulous rendering in egg tempera, concluding I must be a lesser artist. Hunky talks about her two lives, or roles: one as a suburban matron responsible for creating a certain sort of living space for the family, and the other as a committed artist. As she talks I see Hunky split into two people, although I realize this isn't possible. Both are working at their very different jobs. One is tidy and organized and on top of the housewife job; the other is messy and focused completely on the art she's creating.
As I awakened I was dreaming about putting a wax finish on Pomona. The top of the painting had a pattern of water, and as I waxed it part of this pattern began to dissolve. I liked the softer effect but I didn't want it to dissolve to the point that it no longer existed.
Interpretation: Hunky's house (my house, where I live) is one story with lots of off-shoots. In other words, my life has a consistent theme that has been expressed in many different ways. Art is everywhere; that tells me it is the ground that nurtures the off-shoots. The primitive masks in earth colors reinforce the idea of art as something primal for me.
While Hunky's (my) studio is very large (the work takes up a lot of my psychic space), it has been relegated to the back of the building. Its location hints that, while the activity may be primal, its status is not. Although I like the work, not only has it been hung outside, with no thought given to its display, but another stand-in artist has appeared: Hunky's son. My inner artist is twice removed.
After showing me how I denigrate what I do, the dream goes on to show me what this inner artist (if not the waking life one) is capable of. First of all, the son artist churns out the work. Apparently he's so creative he doesn't have to give it a thought. Then he hangs it up any old way, and it looks marvelous. His mother tells me about how she works with total absorption.
As Hunky demonstrates her artistic fervor, a basic dilemma emerges, presaged by the teardrop in her painting. The problem? One most women face: how to balance life and work. The conflict is so strong that she (I) splits into two separate people. And then it becomes apparent that the dream has been talking about polarities from the start. Inside, outside; planning, spontaneity; thought, passion; tidy, messy. How do I reconcile these opposites?
The dream tells me to live with them. The pattern might begin to dissolve, and it will look better for it. But the structure will still be visible, only softened (more integrated).