“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

7.20.2008

Where the butterflies grow


Lately I dream of the night. Of walking through fairy rings of breast high cannas, the flowers not yet fully opened, each bud actually a candle - the hidden candlelight escaping from the tip of the yet-to-be blossom. The yard is full of these rings & I wander from one to another. The round white glow of the flower-tips mimics the stars in the black sky. There are red dragonflies moving around me, the candlelight from the cannas illuminating them in the darkness. It's a dream of circles.

When I was a child I once dreamed of the woods next to my house. I followed a path through the trees & there were flowers everywhere. Ankle high baby flowers, flowers towering over my head, flowers growing on rocks, circling the trees, hanging from trees, flowers glowing with a thousand colors. Even the air glowed. A breeze moved through the woods & the flowers began to sway & I realized they weren't flowers at all, but butterflies of every color. And I thought aha! This is where the butterflies grow.

I have never forgotten that dream. I can still see it in all its detail. I tried to dream it again many times - in those dreams I would be calling the butterflies, I would be looking for them. They never returned, but I always felt like I'd seen the real world, the real woods.

These are the feelings I want to paint. I don't want to paint the places, I want to paint the feelings. When I grow up I tell myself, I'll know how to do that. But will I still want to do that when I grow up? And so, I agonize. Because I haven't yet figured out how to paint the shimmery feeling under my skin, or the silky/velvet feel of a blue butterfly wing, or the tickle of candlelight on my face. Today I began a painting that I hope will rustle like silver leaves in the breeze of a hot night - I want you to feel the owls looking over your shoulder when you look at it, I want you to know they're there even if you can't see them. How do I do that, I wonder, and so . . . the wandering in circles begins. The coming back to the beginning, the starting over, the agony, the joy. The tips of my fingers will glow with paint.

16 comments:

  1. So beautiful!

    Your thoughts and dreams and ideas are so beautiful. No wonder I am so drawn to your gorgeous paintings...they come right from your soul.

    I have been surrounded by butterflies lately. Everywhere I go. Sometimes in nature, sometimes through a loved one, sometimes through a blog I treasure. Thank you for bringing more of these little winged angels near me.

    Much love
    xo

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  2. now that is a dream meant to change a life! and your photograph glows... like that flame. i think my dreams like that have been waking dreams that began in childhood and have remained into my adult life. many of the places i spent my time were made magic by my imagination.
    another treasure of a post. i look forward to that feeling of silver owls peering over my shoulder and the fluttering leaves of your painting dear debi.

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  3. Some dreams do change out lives. Some dreams make us feel unforgettably blessed.What a stunning dream!

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  4. Magical.

    The glowing flowers the butterflies, your words. They all spun a web of sheer joy around my heart.

    Last night I dreamed of a water snake.

    I can't wait to see the painting.

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  5. So beautiful and inspiring..what lovely words. What lovely thoughts...

    Cxx

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  6. Jaime - I appreciate this. I feel just not talented enough sometimes.

    And by the way, your flowers sometimes remind me of the butterflies in my dream. I do believe you are raising the little things in some secret hideaway. They are so gorgeous!

    :) Debi

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  7. Robin - the dream really DID feel like it meant something. Even in the dream it felt important.

    I think the summer nights are an inspiration.

    Muchas gracias!
    :) Debi

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  8. Pam - It was pretty wonderful. it even felt dreamlike in the dream, if you know what I mean.

    :) Debi

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  9. Hele - Thank you so much. The painting is in the works, and I am already agonizing like crazy, even though I'm still on the sketching stuff in part. Somehow, though, this one feels as if it knows where to go. So I'm just following it along.

    A water snake! Hmmm . . . was it good water snake or a bad one? LOL!

    :) Debi

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  10. Claire - Thanks for stopping by again. It means a lot.

    And thanks for YOUR lovely words - they also mean a lot!

    Love, Debi

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  11. wonderful..weaving dreams and creativity. to be able to capture something of the elusive nature of both on canvas...somehow i am sure that it will come to you, flowing out of your brush onto the canvas, shimmery, but solid and real.

    please do show us when you've finished!

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  12. Julie - I know you've been posting about dreams over at your place also. Do dreams mean more than we think? Less than we think? I know that my father dreamed of JFK's assassination the day before he arrived here in Texas - he dreamed he saw the president sitting in a barber chair, with a white drape over the front of his body & well, I won't go into the rest of the details, but suffice it to say he was VERY upset when just a day later the unthinkable happened. Dreams are their own creatures, I'm thinking.

    Thanks for the thumbs up!
    :) Debi

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  13. Sometimes, just when you think you don't know how to paint those feelings, you may be doing it. I wonder what those who see your paintings feel.

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  14. Mermaid - the million dollar question. Because I THINK I want them to feel what I feel, but art is so subjective (is that the right word?), not autonomous once you've put it out there. And I'm always SO HAPPY when folks SEE something I didn't see. Hopefully they'll at least feel the energy that leaked from me into the work.

    :) Debi

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  15. I have an easel with a blank canvas on it. Your blog makes me want to start trying again.

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  16. Breda - I have a few of those blank canvases myself. I'm reminded of a friend who, back in the day, owned a NordicTrack, and said, "yep" (and here he'd pat his belly)"I look at it every day." Same with me. I look at those canvases every day.

    Thanks for the visit!
    Debi

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