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Moon and Fire Rising

Dreamed before 3/10/1994, painted 1994; acrylic on canvas, 48 x 59.5”, by Jenny Badger Sultan

Acrylic painting, 'Moon and Fire Rising', by Jenny Badger Sultan. Click to enlarge


THE DREAM

A "dragon lady" is after me. I think of her being dressed in red and black. Her hair or head is black and lumpy. She goes to a cupboard looking for paper. She takes something and leaves. I go to see what's there.

I find examples of student work that is very fine; it will be a good teaching aid. There is a drawing or painting of a very active woman in front of a building.


ON WAKING

At first, I felt this was a negative image, a kind of underworld figure like Mata Hari. But as I thought more about this dream being, I thought the dragon lady might be a helpful, energetic force--sharp and fiery perhaps, but very active.

As I realized her energy could be positive, she took form in this painting. She is fierce, powerful, embodies fiery qualities, serpent energies. She is related to Kali.

But there is also the need for the child to be protected, so I found and brought out this child, with her dark doll and her flame, inside the body.

I had a very difficult time with the Dragon Lady’s face and painted it many times. When I finally got it the way I wanted it, I had a shock of recognition: it was the face I had seen on myself in a dream 25 years before!

That dream had been about conflict with a strong, passionate father figure; at the end, I saw this terrifying face with flayed skin.


LATER

While working on the painting, I had other dreams that contained cataclysmic imagery:

earthquakes,
lightning,
a gigantic observatory,
strangely shaped rock formations along the coast,
a huge full moon rising.
Because they all seemed to share the energy that the Dragon Lady embodied, I added them all to the painting.

'Moon and Fire Rising', acrylic by Jenny Badger Sultan: detail. 'Moon and Fire Rising', acrylic by Jenny Badger Sultan: detail.
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