Memphis Theological Seminary is hosting a workshop this weekend on interpreting dreams. They have one major speaker but were apparently a little desperate for someone to give him a midday break, so I got the call. Dream interpretation is not something I know anything about, but making art from visionary passages definitely is. I'll be doing a bit of an art history survey of Biblical dreams and visions in art (Isaiah's call, Jacob's ladder, Ezekiel, Revelation), talking about why these places in the text are so powerful for artists, and saying just a bit how I approach making art from a text in my own work.
I'll also talk about how art helps me tap into that unconscious place within myself. I recently found myself making prints that I only belatedly realized were working through something that had happened earlier in the year. So I'll encourage the folks to doodle or sketch and use that as a way of being present in the moment and perhaps listening to the things that flow out of their pens. My college painting prof always said, "Don't think. Just paint." I have never had a great deal of luck starting out with an intellectual agenda for a project (I'm remembering a largely failed effort to do still lifes based on the five senses many years ago.) I make much better art going with the image and instinct that floats to the top and keeps haunting me. Often that's just the best image I have going at the moment, but occasionally it also tells me something about how I'm feeling about events in my life.
Madonna on the moon image from my series of illustrations of Revelation done for the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.