The Dream Appears

The Dream 36 x 36 inches; mixed media on panel

The Dream 36 x 36 inches; mixed media on panel


This painting, “The Dream,” is part of a series, titled “The Journey.” The story behind this series is about my journey. It is both literal and figurative, internal and external, spiritual and secular. It’s about leaving home and returning, about discovering a sense of purpose and place, about courage and vulnerability, love and transformation, and, ultimately, the quest for wholeness.

I don’t always know what my work is about when I’m making it. It can be inspired by a color, a shape, or even a new mark-making tool. I work intuitively . . . a mix of following my curiosity and applying my experience. But there’s something else too, another force at work, and I’m not quite sure what to call it: The subconscious? The psyche? The universe? It disappears when I overthink or over-control a painting, but it’s present when I'm open and curious and allow instinct to guide me.

I try to stay in this space as much possible, allowing the work to materialize and evolve. Sometimes the process feels like solving a riddle or interpreting a dream. The marks I make might remind me of a feeling, the feeling might bring up a memory, and suddenly, there it is . . . the meaning of the work reveals itself as the paintings materialize, and with them, a story.

This is, of course, my perception, my experience in making the work. You may have another interpretation, and I welcome that, for we all perceive differently—my hope is that this painting will resonate with some emotional or experiential facet of your own story, your own particular journey.

If you’re nearby, come and see this piece and others juried into the 2018 National Juried Show at the Oxford Art’s Alliance, in Oxford, PA, October 19th to November 8th. The opening reception is Friday, October 19th 5-8pm.

Susan MelrathComment