07 April 2010

Preparing for a Dream....

This is a quick ink and watercolor sketch made as a study for a painting commissioned by Orin Scandrett. Orin has recently been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and has been receiving a series of Chemo treatments. He says that his prognosis is good with an 80% chance of remission and 50% chance of a cureOn the night of his first treatment, Orin had a "wonderful and powerful" dream. He asked me to paint it for him.

Here is Orin's dream in his own words:

"I dreamed I was out in the middle of an open prairie (not like MN prairie but more like Africa…maybe the word would be Savanna.)

Standing in a circle around me were large animals…twice as big as life. In front of me on my right was a Lion, standing next to the lion was a rhinoceros with a white horn, next in the circle was a large bird (ostrich family…Emu?)… on my left next to the Lion was a brown bear, next in the circle a gorilla, next in the circle some kind of baboon like animal. I was surrounded by a complete circle of other animals but I can’t visually recall each of them right now.

In front of me behind the Lion was a beautiful bronze colored sunset arching across the horizon. The sun was not visible. It had already set. The animals were high-lighted and shadowed in browns and bronzes against the rays shining over the horizon.

Standing in the midst of this circle I felt about two feet tall.

Then, the Lion stepped forward and bowed his head. I reached out and touched his head. I will never forget the feeling of that moment. Then the Lion stepped back into the circle, turned around, and walked slowly off into the sunset. Next the rhinoceros stepped forward and bowed his head. I touched him. He stepped back into the circle, turned around and walked off into the sunset. This took place with each animal around the circle ending with the huge brown bear.

When they all had left, I spoke: “Wow all of God’s creatures care for me and are here to help me.” Then, a warm wonderful feeling flowed from my head down to my feet."

I feel honored to be trusted with such an important dream.
The little watercolor painting above was made to generate ideas for composition and color. I'm going to run this by Orin and hopefully he will be able to give me some feedback about changes that can be made for the finished product.

Here is what I think I need to do:

  1. Bring the horizon line lower.
  2. Put the animals in the correct order according to his dream.
  3. Work through the colors to get a consist scheme of browns and golds.
  4. Look at reference pictures of the animals to make them more accurate.
  5. ...and look at picture of African prairies.
I also question of whether or not the human figure should be in this painting. Since it was Orin's dream, he probably didn't actually see himself in it. Should this painting be what Orin saw with his eyes rather than from the prospective of someone looking on?

With all of this said, I'm going to consult Orin. The finished product may end up very different from what I have here, and I am completely fine with that.

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