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Doors to the Moon

1968, oil, c. 54 x 54", by Jenny Badger Sultan

I had been working on a painting trying to show an experience Id been having: I felt like a large voice was constantly speaking, jabbering, just below the level where I could understand it. It was a complicated thing to represent in paint, and it was not going well.

So I began to cover over what Id painted with Indian Red oil paint. Suddenly I saw the large face with the hushing gesture on the right and outlined it. It was showing me that something was about to unfold. Then in the central part of the painting the other figures emerged from paint traces and I brought them out. They were proceeding towards the door opening to a night sky and a huge moon.

'Doors to the Moon', a painting by Jenny Badger Sultan. Click to enlarge
Somewhere in the painting process it came to me that I had expressed the meaning of a dream in which I had been in a waiting room looking at a magazine and seeing an article entitled The Doors to the Moon. There had been no image in the dream, just the words.

This painting felt like an initiation and a guide to what my paintings would be dealing with in subsequent years: the inner world.

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