I slept well last night, which is highly irregular for me, but even though I was in a sleep state, I was very busy dreaming. I have found that when I work on art several hours a day, it is not unusual for me to dream about making art. Since I spent quite a bit of time working on my frenetic cubist portrait of Marilyn Monroe, it is not surprising that my dream thoughts were about that project.
Below is a photo of my progress on this piece. I had envisioned painting the dress, or dresses, basically in white with touches of blue to accent shadows, thinking it would hang nicely alongside the Elvis painting I just finished. This seemed like it would also work well because it is true to the original photos with the white dress against the city at night. But somehow, I just couldn't get excited about that idea. My internal dialogue reminded myself that my artistic license surely allowed for me to deviate from this plan, and I decided in my sleep that I should paint the dress gold.
I also considered the further symbolic implications of gold, and was reminded of this poem by Robert Frost:
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
This seemed to perfectly illustrate Monroe's life, with her rise to fame, her seeming innocence, and her death at a relatively young age.
Because I spent twenty years teaching high school literature, I can't help but be reminded of the line in S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders which poignantly refers to Frost's poem when Johnny, on his death bed, urges Ponyboy to "stay gold," meaning that even though it is difficult to do, he should continue being innocent and pure.
My dreams were also impacted by the events of the past few days which have stirred up a storm in our country. While I try not to get too caught up in social media and the hurtful things people say to each other, I would urge everyone to take a step back and consider the Tennyson quote with which I opened my blog today: "Love is the only gold." Life is short, and it appeals to me to make a subtle statement with my art, so the dress will be gold, and these are the thoughts I will immerse myself in as I paint.
So, now I am off to paint and enjoy the day! I can't think of any better words with which to close today than this bit of profound wisdom from Rumi:
Through Love all that is bitter will be sweet.
Through Love all that is copper will be gold.
Through Love all dregs will become wine.
Through Love all pain will turn to medicine.