Once in a while, I’ll have an incredibly elaborate dream. I wake with it fresh in my mind, but when I try to tell someone about it, the details swirl away like water down the drain, and the dream falls flat. The vibrant colors, fascinating characters, engaging plot, rich symbolism, and enchanting settings end up sounding more like a bad elementary school production than the “must see movie” that played in my head the night before. Sometimes, the passion just doesn’t transfer from my imagination into the spoken translation of the dream.
And so it is with my art. I can envision an awe-inspiring idea in my head–see every detail with clarity and perfection, but when I attempt to put those details on paper, just like my dreams, they fall flat.
It’s one thing to draw a still life or portrait when the subject is sitting right before you, posing patiently. With perceptual drawing, the environment and lighting are carefully staged, and it’s easy to see where the shadows and highlights fall on the form. Sight measuring and triangulation can be utilized to ensure proper placement and proportions. But when the subject is in my head, it is vulnerable and can be lost or altered due to something as simple as a change in my mood. Perceptions shift as randomly as the scenes in my dreams, from orderly and logical to whimsical and nonsensical. If only my brain could communicate with my wireless printer! Then I could capture the image, print it out, and study every nuance as I reproduce it on paper. Right now, that’s nothing more than another dream…
So until technology can make that ‘brain to printer’ connection, my vivid imagination will just have to rely on my eyes, my hand, and a Faber-Castell 4B pencil.