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  • Writer's pictureMartin Molloy

A Dream Step by Step

I had this nagging feeling, a thought in my head about a dreamer in their own dream and I wanted to get it onto a canvas. I've got this weird thing where my mind's eye might see colors or run through words but I don't see things in stark, clear images. So I had some blues in my head, different than I usually use. Lighter, more atmospheric.

I also decided I wanted to add some purple to the mix, it turned out darker than I thought but I rolled with it.

I used the white in the middle to blend the two (as you'll see in subsequent shots). What I wasn't anticipating is how the white grabs light shone at it and almost reflects it back in a way that looks like the light is coming from the piece itself. That was a really nice surprise. Part of the way I did this was to use a sponge to blend white paint in the middle and then the clean side to continue to go over the slightly dried paint on the colors. I like how it removed the brushstrokes and spread the paint more evenly than the knives I use.

At this point I let it sit for a day or two, I knew I needed to add something and while I sketched out some things to represent the dreamer, I wasn't happy with any of them. My drawing skills leave something to be desired.

Using another piece, I decided to try to replicate something I'd done previously. It felt at the time like my hand was moving on its own in that piece so I wasn't sure I could replicate it.

I started by drawing free hand with some oil sticks and then used paint to cover and add more consistency. First white and then I moved to some of the more shimmery bronze and gold paints I have. I thought the blue and green went nicely with them. I also tried something I hadn't done before, I sprayed some water on the canvas and used a clean sponge to blend and even out the long spindles and lines.

I added some red to the center of the floating squid eye creature. The details above are from the finished piece. It's 20 inches by 40 inches so a nice size. Also a different size than I've worked with before. The finished piece (Dreamer in a Dream) is below.

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