Last Sunday I awakened from a very brief dream. I rarely dream and almost never in color. The scene I witnessed was so beautiful and surreal that I felt at peace and as though I’d been given a gift. I saw two pure white sailboats traveling left to right on blue-violet waters with waves splashing against their sides but not slowing their steady progress. Behind them was a bright orange and yellow sky with the sun setting behind the trailers of clouds slowly moving into the distance. My immediate thought was that I needed to paint the scene. Never, ever have I painted strictly from my head. I used to draw and paint pictures, as a child, that way. I was amazed to find that I was able to duplicate the colors and the shapes I had witnessed. This has made this simple painting experience very special for me. Because I am a curious person I have a dream book and looked up the items of my dream. The best I can decipher is that the sailboats represent smooth sailing and because they are white, they also represent purity. The blue violet water represents truth and wisdom. The yellow -orange represent self control, thoughtfulness and consideration. The sunsetting through clouds represent peace after an emotional storm. Simply my dream message may have been that emotional upheaval may be averted if I use self control and am considerate and thoughtful of others. These simple truths will provide me with wisdom and smooth sailing. The fact that there were two sailboats means these things doubled.
I used frisket paper to mask off the sails and applied the large washes of sky and water. While the sky was still wet I dribbled alcohol through it to make the two strips for the trailing clouds. While that was still wet I fed light washes into it of violet and antwerp blue and the clouds appeared where the alcohol was drying. The bits of texture for waves were created by printing a darker mixture of the blue and purple with paper doily cuttings. I painted the white of the boats with white acrylic gesso and used light washes of winsor orange and blue-violet to tint the sails. While the sail washes were wet I floated washes of permanent white gouache into them to brighten the white. I used a rigger and white gouache to draw the lines from jibs to masts.
This is a time when the experience of painting was more enjoyable than the satisfaction of the finished work.
Almost forgot the dream book I have (it’s very simple really) is The Mystical Magical Marvelous World of Dreams by Wilda B. Tanner.