I saw a movie once where an artist (a composer, actually) said something about how he wasn’t really in his body anymore. That was because his body ‘was a great disappointment’ to him and that he was just happier to float around in his music.
Daydreaming for me is kind of like that.
I mean, my supermodelesque (not) physique aside, being trapped in this human form has always been irksome to me. So naturally, I guess, nine out of 10 times I’ve had recourse to an admittedly (and perhaps unhealthily) hyperactive fantasy life.
Practically speaking this does come in handy, sometimes.
Where I live, for instance, waiting in line is a way of life and I’ve got to save my data for the ride home. So it’s very, easy to just slip off into a whole other world~usually peopled with (surprise, surprise) unicorns, mermaids, et cetera and long-haired dudes who are either wizards, scientists, warriors, aliens or a combination of all four.
Okay, maybe not so practical when where you live is also densely populated by the Artful Dodger’s descendants, or if you’re driving (good thing I don’t drive anymore), but, anyway, you get the idea.
Lots of artists paint their dreams~and their daydreams. Or, their work has very dream-like qualities. Remember that Chagall with the cello-playing goat? (So not all the films I watch involve martial arts and exploding cars ^^) Like that.
Now I’m not going to say…
…‘So now I’m wondering what took me so long to work on a series about daydreaming’ because 1. My daydreams are very private things. As gabby as I am, there are things I feel weird talking about, even privately. And 2. I guess you could say all my work is the result of my daydreams, one way or another.
I mean, when I ‘mentally rehearse’ how I’m going to render a certain area, let’s say, or layer or texture something, that’s kind of like daydreaming, too, isn’t it? Or, moving from technique to ideation, imagining what certain monsters might look like or watching what goes on in my head whilst a certain piece of music is playing—is daydreaming, too.
So I thought I’d take a very superficial look (the quick Google search jumped over the lazy jill) at some daydreaming science. (Just a surface-scratching look because, indolence aside, I might find something out about myself or something hahahaha)
Then I thought I’d follow that up with a sort of backstory-sharing for this year’s more, intentional daydreams which hopefully will be up by the time you read this (it hasn’t, at the time of writing). I hope, by then, you’ll be able spare a few to go see my reveries over at Virtual Artists.
So science says…
…daydreams are normal, basically, and defines them as ‘spontaneous and subjective experiences’ people have when they’re not doing anything, responding to anything or being ‘stimulated’ by anything. The Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science goes on to say daydreams include ‘unintended thoughts’ and ‘undirected ideas’ you have when you’re awake.
So of course daydreams are ‘normal’, right ~ it’s just they’ve always seemed to be generally associated with slacking off and bumming around, that kind of thing. Of course, if you are, like, operating heavy machinery, performing brain surgery (or floating around in a mugger-infested public park or driving, as I’ve said)~maladaptive daydreaming probably isn’t a good thing.
But otherwise, recent science says daydreaming is actually good for you ^_^ Verywellmind says daydreaming lessens stress and anxiety, solves problems, helps you reach goals, expands your creativity, and lets you use different parts of your brain. WebMD adds how daydreaming helps you decompress and relax to prevent burnout or fatigue.
WebMD also makes a distinction between daydreams that are intentional and the ones you didn’t mean to have, although they use the same parts of the brain. Still, daydreams are different from the ‘regular dreams’ you have when you’re asleep, and science estimates that people spend 33 to 50% of their waking hours daydreaming.
I guess it’s a little, comforting…
…to know I’m not the only one who spends an inordinate amount of time in my own head like that ^^; But I confess, pulling some of those ‘spontaneous and subjective’ experiences out of my head and plopping them down on paper felt a little strange ~ like I was actually seeing them in the real world, you know what I mean?
Part of me wondered what people might think if they saw them~ but the other part of me figures you’ll probably just see the blobs and potatoes and colours anyway.
But in lieu of ‘proper exhibit notes’ (which I used to usually sort of share in my discontinued blog), I thought I might share a little bit about some of the reveries I’ve had that I’ve, ‘captured’. (I’m kind of looking at it the way the BFG caught dreams and put them into glass jars ^^)
• Red Yellow Honey Picnic was the first of four works in this series that I guess I couldn’t help basing on some of my favourite music (a recurring theme in my work and the subject of three of my shows).
Some songs, like the one that inspired this piece, really and almost automatically make me daydream that I’m in it, doing just what the song says (unfortunately I have a tendency to be quite literal when I do these things ^^; ). Although, I wouldn’t be able to drink the moonshine ^o^;
• See You, My Spinning Star is the second of these works~ you know how when you often daydream about doing what you can’t do? I can’t ride a bike (or draw one, it seems ^O^***).
But for some reason, the song that I based this piece on that came out of a video game I barely know (although I played it to death on my phone) always makes me daydream about biking. And in my dreams there’s always sunshine (either early morning or not quite late afternoon), and trees (and/or giant flowers) and butterflies and birds. No idea why. But yeah ^^
• Daang Bahaghari is sort of the third~ I say ‘sort of’ because even without the mindblowing soundtrack with an LSS Factor of 10, I always used to daydream about being in the race that inspired this, myself. (I never win, but hopefully I never come in last, at least LOL).
And in my dreams it was always dark (in the game, it’s set in space), and cold but not so cold as to be freezing. If you grew up playing video games that involved plumbers, princesses, mushrooms and killer turtles (and throwing their shells, sometimes with spikes), you’ll probably be able to relate. If you hadn’t, I hope you enjoy this piece all the same ^^;
• Back and the Jeanstalk isn’t a typo, and I unfortunately am quite unable to resist a facile jest whenever the opportunity presents itself ^^;
I confess this piece was more about composition than one of my actual daydreams (especially since I’ve inexplicably developed acrophobia in my old age) ~ but you know that song in that musical about there being giants in the sky? It has always made dream and feel adventurous (so in a way, this kind of would be the fourth piece, but it isn’t).
• Jacob’s Finger Ladder, as I’ve had occasion to share with jillafriends (if you’d like to become one, head here ^^;) is a sort of diluted, long-running daydream I have~or rather, daydreams. One involves actually watching the ladderful of angels going up and down, and the other, involves painting it.
Referring to it as a ‘finger ladder’ invokes not just its relatively small size (this piece measures 15 x 77 cm (about 6 x 30”) but unpleasant memories of doing physical therapy for a torn left shoulder some years back.
• Fly Like Marty is based on a recurring daydream I’ve had all throughout my childhood until a couple years ago when I’d moved into the jillahouse. As I’d also shared with jillafriends, this daydream involves a hoverboard akin to the one used by Mr. Fox in his trilogy involving a flying DeLorean.
What I didn’t tell the jillafriends is that this daydream would crop up particularly whenever I’d go to someplace like, with a view or with a lot of nature? Not that I never daydreamed about doing this in cities because I did. I don’t know why I stopped having this daydream; maybe because where I live now isn’t, um. Conducive, to this mode of travel. Or that whole acrophobia thing, I don't know.
• Pet Pegakit is another super personal daydream I started having more than 10 years ago by now. I can’t really go into particulars, but it does involve a giant, extremely luxuriously furry (but not long-haired) flying black kitty. For the life of me I could not remember the kitty’s name. But she is wearing the horn of the dead pet puppicorn of the person snoozing on her back.
And yeah, the world they come from is entirely populated with hybrids like ligers and rappigs. Anyway, I find more recent variations of this daydream involve snuggling up on the ground in the woods rather than sleeping on kitty’s back mid-flight (again, probably because of the heights thing 0_o).
• Potatoboats is more of a three-year itch I wanted to scratch (and a play on the PotatoBOTS I’d painted a few years back). I was in a public park in that place in the mountains I liked to hop a bus to get to every now and again for no good reason (at least before Covid).
They have like a fake lake (the water was that green, no kidding) in that park with these rowboats and paddle boats for tourists like me. And I liked to sit there and contemplate the nature of mortality (lol) and daydream about being able to re-design and re-paint all the boats, which really were mostly pink and blue at the time.
• Fairies’ Summer Dance was another itch I had to scratch because I always said I’d wanted to paint my little niece’s ballet recital (she really is a little fairy of a child <3) (and I’m her hairy godmother, nyahaha). I’d painted her before right when it was taking place, so this is the ‘whole bunch of fairies with ribbons and butterflies’ I said I wanted to do as a sort of spin-off ^^;
The fairies with her are her classmates and it amazes me to this day how the entire recital was done online ^_^*
• If I was Green I Would Die is that fourth piece in this series based on a piece of music, specifically a song I’d first heard in a superhero movie (involving a suit of armour and exploding humans). I read somewhere that the lyrics of this song are often misheard~ I couldn’t stop singing them while I was working on this piece so I just decided to, call it that ^^;
One of my most recent daydreams which, has really helped me I guess to cope with, stuff is in this piece, too. Oh, and certain of my house plants I was able to squeeze in (along with a dead moth that used to just sit in the pot of one of them) ^o^;
• Curry, Vanilla, Silk and Dreams is yet another long-running itch for scratching coming off of a wildly inaccurate film adaptation of one of my forever favourite books. In it, a bank representative had just given a practically bankrupt shipowner three more months to pay his debts, and the shipowner’s son asks the bank guy what in blazes he does with all the money anyway.
It sure as heck wasn’t in the book, but ever since I heard Max go on about how the money of his father’s firm flew on the wind, travelled the seas, and turned into ships, voyages and free men~ I knew I had to paint this someday, even on a tiny scale (this painting measures just 23 x 31 cm (9 x 12”).
• Treehouse is a daydream I have where I live in, well, a tree ^o^ It’s high up and hollowed out of a trunk and all it’s got inside are my books and a sort of furry nest for me to sleep in ^^ The tree is in this forest which is very, very quiet, as in apart from me, zero sentient life (no Ents).
Although, there’s a wizard who knows I live there and occasionally crashes Goldilocks-style (eww, I need to dry clean my fur XD) if I happen to be out and he’s passing through and gets caught in the rain or something. He’s not my wizard, unfortunately, but, he’s a good guy and he’s welcome ^^;
So I do hope you’ll have a few minutes to spare (or more) to see my daydreams in full (those were just details back there ^_~) over at Virtual Artists. They told me they intend to leave my show up past the Summer Art Festival’s run until the 28th.
Because it’s a festival, there will be lots of other artists there (one of whom, I understand is also mounting a solo), so there’ll be lots more to see and experience, all online. If you’ve got questions about how to access the gallery or would like to meet me there to walk you through my work, just let me know ^_^