New Challenge - Dreamscapes

As a new member of the Madison Watercolor Society, I am thrilled to be included in the ability to possibly have a piece displayed as part of a larger gallery showing.  Following are the specifics:

Dreams can be fascinating, exciting, terrifying, or just plain weird.  What do dreams reveal?  It is said that dreams are the portal to our subconscious and may reveal our inner desires or wishes. Dreams may be the way we process the events of the day and come up with solutions. But freed from the constraints of the physical, everything is possible.

This collection of paintings, entitled “Dreamscapes” explores the different reality of the world of dreams through the vehicle of surrealism. (The surrealists tried to free themselves from the blocks of the rational mind to access a greater creativity. )  The Madison Watercolor Society goes on an inner journey and pulls back the curtains to unmask the workings of the minds of artists. We share and show imagery and personal symbols derived from our own dreams.  Watercolor has an illusory and transparent nature which accentuates the fanciful quality of these visions.

Welcome to the intersection of mind, mystery and meaning.


I’ve only transferred the outline of the picture to the watercolor paper because when you apply masking liquid, it frequently pulls up  the pencil lines when you remove it.  I finally figured out that I shouldn’t add the “inside” lines until the background has been done.  Duh.

The masking is liquid rubber that repels any paint that covers it.  It’s a great way to add a background color by flooding the entire paper, which makes for a much smoother color, as opposed to trying to go around the picture manually with the background paint.

After much thought, I think I’ll go with a green background, mixing my own color with blue and yellow.  When the paint is mixed, it tends to have more values and subtle changes.  I’m not using Arches paper, which has me a little concerned (didn’t realize I had used what I had already).  But I am using a 140 lb paper by Canson.  I should know fairly soon if I’ll like it, and if I don’t, I’ll start over with Arches.

Sketching it out

This was hard!!  I looked at a lot of surreal paintings to get an idea of what they looked like and what they represented.  My dreams are like movies, with nothing like a surreal image being included.

As I looked through the paintings, I realized that a majority of them were composites that married together items that were either directly related or entirely unrelated, to make a statement. They are fasinating to look at!  Some are extremely bizarre while others are gracefully artistic. 

Since my tagline is “Finding the Fun”, and my paintings a reflection of the things in which I find fun, I wanted my surreal painting to relay that message.  I may be way off the mark on this, and it may end up a mess, but here is what I’ve come up with:

A cocktail with someone floating on an inflatable chicken, that someone having an egghead.  I thought the chicken feet extending from the drink would add to the whimsy of the painting.  As for a background, I’d like to include fried egg clouds somehow.

This is the sketch I have so far.  Since surreal paintings are intended to look ‘real’, I’m going to use a ruler for all the straight lines (something I don’t usually do).

Here’s to a fun painting!! 


Well, the color didn’t come out exactly green, but I think it looks like egg yolk, which may actually be OK.  I covered the bottom with some cheesecloth, to give it a basket effect. This painting is really an experiment, and I’m not going to be shy about trying new things. I keep looking at this wondering if I like it, but I think I need to start on the painting itself before I know if the background is right.

Select to enlarge