Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dinah's Dream

Dinah gave me this painting. I love it. It was for an assignment at college: you were supposed to do a painting of a really bad dream you've had. That's an elephant chasing her in front of our house, under water. At first I thought about animating it, but I think it's stronger just still. It wasn't for an art class-- rather one of those freshman get in touch classes that I don't understand. I wonder what the elephant represents, other than a large fear. Notice how she gets the joints of the elephant's legs right, even though the painting has such a primitive feeling.

This is a picture of Dinah recolored in Painter. I drew it when she was five. We used to take sketchbooks out onto a rocky point in Colorado and draw together.


Namowal said...

Looks like someone has inherited her mom's drawing ability, including the anthropomorphic houses. Spooky but pretty picture.
Then again, maybe I'm biased- I kinda like elephants.

RHSteeleOH said...

The houses in the background look like they have eyes. Spooky.

I've had dreams where I'm running from something but I can't go very fast, kinda like running underwater.

Thanks for sharing Sally.

Linda said...

When I first saw the painting, I was delighted! Then I read it was supposed to be of a bad dream. It's very strong.

I googled "elephant dream symbolism" and got: "To see an elephant in your dream, suggests that you either need to be more patient or understanding of others. The elephant is also a symbol of power, strength, and intellect."

And: "Also, most western cultures revere the elephant as powerful and possessing a strong memory. Because of our common acknowledgment that elephants have powerful memories, to dream of an elephant may be an association with the act of memory-this may point to something forgotten in your life."

When you say: "It wasn't for an art class-- rather one of those freshman get in touch classes that I don't understand." Do you mean you think drawing a picture of a bad dream is silly?

Your drawing of Dinah is lovely.

stray g said...

I love both pictures. An elephant is scary to me with the upcoming election!

(Do "get in touch" classes affect you like this: once I went to a workshop on healing where we were supposed to dance around to drumming sounds for a while. I skipped out and went shopping and to art museums.)

Sally said...

I have a lot of underwater dreams too, but they're usually the good kind where there are all sorts of wonderful creatures in our fish pond, that I've never seen before, and the fish pond is the size of the biggest aquarium ever.

I don't think the assignment of drawing a bad dream is wrong at all. I got through a very rocky college experience by drawing the things I couldn't express. But her previous description of the course had seemed sort of silly, as a requirement at a state university. Maybe it's not.

Linda, thanks for googling the symbolism. I hadn't thought to do it. I was thinking more of the expression "the elephant in the room" or as a symbol of sex. Since she's been a champion runner, adds to the brew.

oh and here's a description of a dreadful conference you guys might enjoy reading. It was at a Flash conference in San Francisco. The guy who wrote this is Keith Peters. His site is I imagine he's a really nice guy. He's also the top of the top code talents. He wrote:

"After the conference I was invited with a bunch of others to an "Industry Leaders" dinner which sounded good but turned out to be a bit weird. First of all, it was held at the Supper Club, which seems to be a sort of fetish club. The place is filled with beds and pillows and small tables on the beds. Food was served by scantily clad young men with lots of mascara and possible gender confusion issues. Then we were separated into groups and fed a series of questions designed to encourage conversation, such as "What do you have to do personally to drive this industry forward?", "What does it mean to be a leader?", "How would you define this industry both now and in the future?" We were given 15 minutes to discuss and then had to present an answer. Getting together a bunch of creative people, giving them free drinks and food, and then forcing them into specific conversations only invites rebellion, and it devolved into chaos pretty quickly."

A Wanderer said...

Besides saying that I too see a family resemblance in drawing styles (both pictures here are lovely!) I must comment on those freshman "get in touch" classes.
Yes, they are in fact absolute bull crap. Mine was called "Freshman Success." I recall a lot of filling out forms and short essays with no wrong answers, and class discussions that never went anywhere. There was also a requirement to attend a certain number of "Freshman Success" events, which were just normal campus events, like attend a classical performance or the opening of an art gallery. One of them that actually counted was "check out the pool" as they just opened a pool in the athletics center. So...just walk to the pool, look at it, and you're one step closer to graduation.
Oh, the amount of wasted time in college, doing stupid required nonsense when I could have been reading Kierkegaard or writing. I think I was actually much more productive in high school, when I had study halls to read and write in.

Sally said...

a wanderer, I love your comment on freshman success class. It sounds as if yours was very much like Dinah's.

A Wanderer said...

From what I've heard of friends at other colleges, these things are much the same everywhere, and that's quite unfortunate to know...
In high school I recall all of these high expectations of college improving over the time-wasting public school experience. My senior year only had ONE class in which the teacher actually required us to do work, the rest were known as "Pac Man Class" as that's all we all did via an unblocked videogame website. College has been a bit of an improvement, but freshman success was certainly discouraging.

linda said...

Back to Dinah's dream. Didn't you say she was working in a veterinary hospital? Could be one of her patients chasing her.

Keith Peters' description of the "Industry Leaders" dinner is just too much!!--but there's something I love about the idea of being served dinner in bed.