dreaming, i see visions

This last Wednesday was my final Intuitive Painting class at Lill Street Studio. I have mentioned this class before, but to reiterate- I took this class to explore my inner symbols and to get back into painting. It’s interesting because before this class, I already felt like I had my inner symbols, and I paint all the time, obviously. But I have been wanting to take my work in a different direction and I really feel like this class pushed me along.

I do mixed media art. I love mixed media art. I love using my photos and creating transfers and incorporating that with paint and words and scraps of this and that. But. I’ve been feeling this need to go back to just paint.

Here are the paintings that I created in this class. September – November 2008

crow’s eye, mixed media, 12×16 inches

The above drawing came from a collaborative exercise done in class. From this piece I felt a shift inside- tapping into even more symbols to represent issues in my life right now. I think this was created on a piece of scrap board. Melanie had us work on different surfaces- things she pulled out of the corners of the room to help us loosen up. Sometimes people freeze with a pristine white blank canvas. When you do exercises on found wood or scraps of cardboad, etc. it kind of makes what you’re doing less precious. If that makes sense. Easier to play around.

house on stilts acrylics, 14×11 inches

I wrote about how this painting came about here. I have been having lots of dreams about houses on stilts. Weird.

sea lion dreams, mixed media, 12×16 inches

One of the things Melanie asked us to do was to pay attention to our dreams. I have always made note of odd dreams I’ve had, but I never thought to paint them! Above is a painting of different elements that consistently turn up in my dreams- water, sea lions, boats.

dreaming, i see visions, acrylic, 24×18 inches

This was the final painting I created in class and I brought together different elements that surfaced in this 2 month period.

This class was a lot of fun, but it was also difficult too. I have to confess that I had an existential crisis, or something like that at one point! I started to doubt myself and what I do. In one of the later classes I turned to my teacher and said, “you know, I just am not an intuitive painter. In fact, I am not a painter at all!” Obviously I got over that panic. But I think it’s important to struggle and question and doubt. It is through this struggle and self-questioning that we grow and our art grows.

Today I was painting and finishing up this last painting and I just felt so grateful to have that creative urge and the courage to pick up the paintbrush and put it to canvas. When I paint, I feel a stillness and no matter what is going on in my external life, I hear a voice whispering to me “all is right in your world”. I don’t know what I would do without it.

I am really excited about this new direction in my work. I am still going to do what I normally do- my mixed media pieces utlizing my photography…but now I have something new that I want to explore. It is kind of scary to present work that is different from what I normally do. I wonder, what will people think? Will they think that I should stick to what I normally do? What if this is not as successful?
But I tell myself, that I paint from my heart and I need to listen to that. And if I don’t listen to that, then it will fail.

It is still me, just different manifestations.

So does anyone know what dreaming about houses on stilts, of water, and of sea lions and boats mean?? And no, I am not a water sign. I am a Capricorn. hmmmmm.


  1. Bridgette:
    I’d venture a guess that the elevation of houses on stilts has to do with the sacred nature of loving connection — the concept of spirit houses comes to mind. And as for sea lions, find a copy of Women Who Run with the Wolves and read “Sealskin, Soulskin.” It might resonate with you.

    Boats are often a reference to issues involving continuous excitement and emotional momentum, including projects & inspirational ideas. They can also symbolize feeling carried along without a great deal of control (think “up a creek without a paddle”) so I guess I’d examine what the feeling of the dream was to figure out what the symbolic import might have been. Does any of that resonate?

  2. Google dreammoods. There are universal themes to dreams, but personal resonance always trumps that!
    Water is emotions and spiritual journey. House is almost always a metaphor (sp!)For you. What is the condition? On stilts above water? are you trying to hold yourself above feelings? Denying them? Thinking you ‘should’ be feeling/doing one thing when that little voice insides wants to do differently?
    Sea lions? Protection during change, creativity , movement through emotions.
    Thanks, that was fun, I love analyzing dreams!
    I think you are so on the right path!

  3. well, i’m no good at analyzing the dreams of others, but i do want to say i love the paintings–the colors are just fabulous. stick with it and see where it takes you!

  4. Hi Bridgette
    Your intuitive paintings are rich in content, color and symbolism. It’s very brave of you to put them out here for us to enjoy when you are still getting to know them.
    you are clearly a painter in addition to all the other aspects of yourself. Sensitivity abounds.
    And I agree with the suggestion to read Clarrisa Pinkola Estes rendition of Sealskin Soulskin…so fab.
    Oh guess what…you are listed on my favorite blogs… 🙂 success.

  5. Always listen to your heart. It has led you to where you are now and it will not fail you. Your work – your encaustic and photographic work – is intuitive, too, Bridgette. You have just become accustomed to that particular form. Your new pieces are wonderful and rich in meaning. Stay with it.

  6. it’s all about the journey – these new works are very strong – there is nothing tentative about them – people will think what they want to think no matter what – you have a fabulous journey ahead of you – some will come and some won’t- success is listening to your heart –

  7. Thank you for sharing such an exciting and sometimes scary part of your artistic path. Like you say, that’s all a part of growth. I love the boldness in your new work.

  8. I’ve always believed water was about emotions. I dream of flooded houses, water rising, houses crumbling and being washed out by the tide. These I think are about being overwhelmed with change. I also have disaster dreams but that’s another story. xo

  9. Wow! These paintings are so beautiful, and so different from what I’ve seen of yours. You’re becoming much bolder in your colors, and your subject matter. Good for you for being brave enough to embrace it. Can’t wait to watch it all develop.

    My work is in a bit of a transition at the moment too, and it’s totally throwing me into a tizzy. But no real choice but to keep at it and see what happens.

    That class sounds so cool. I wish I could find one like that around here.

  10. As far as the dream analysis, I don’t think I can offer anymore than what was already offered here! Except that perhaps the sea lion is a gaurdian spirit. Look at the nature and personality of sea lions. How they seem to have such freedom and their sense of play.
    These new images are very exciting to see. And, as always, I feel priviledged that you are generous enough to share your process with us.

  11. I am so excited for you Bridgette! — these paintings have such an energy about them. I am intrigued by your house on stilts — the colors are stunning!

    I think we all feel those doubts that you speak of — I know I do from time to time. It is comforting to know that you do too.

    I love the mantra that comes into your head — “all is right in your world.” — I have had similar experiences — just precious!


  12. These new paintings are very powerful, Bridgette. Yes, we can vote for change, long for change, adapt to change, but other changes constantly arrive. Expanding your art focus can seem scary but I’m glad you are allowing it to speak to you. Something is calling to you and you have the courage to listen. I think this is the way we grow and evolve. As far as your dreams, the symbols can mean certain things but they also have deeper personal meaning as you supply the circumstances of your life. Maybe the houses are on stilts because a new flood of change has entered your life with this recent move. Maybe sea lions, crows, boats, and waters harken back to your old life in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve heard house dreams mean you are exploring your inner life. You are looking for a compass to navigate in your new home and these new symbols are surfacing. Continue the journey knowing you can find the shore!

  13. sounds like quite a challenging but ultimately fullfilling workshop Bridgette. these experiences that take us outside our comfort zone can be so life altering.

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