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Warm Mother, the Comforter

Dreamed March 14, 2001; painted 2001, acrylic on canvas, 49.5 x 60", by Jenny Badger Sultan

Acrylic painting, 'Warm Mother, the Comforter', by Jenny Badger Sultan. Click to enlarge


My mother is in the house. In some way she has taken over the role of comforting my daughter Naomi about her friendís death (earlier that day, her friend had been run over by a cement truck). She has moved in and kind of pushed me out and made me superfluous. Naomi has gone to bed. My mother says, ďIíll go in to see Naomi now,Ē like she is going to be the final one to comfort before Naomi goes to sleep.

I guess I will just let her do this--after all, whoever can give comfort should do so--we donít own the right to be the comforter. Still, I feel pushed out.


The painting took off from this dream but attempted to express the positive comforting mother, not the conflicted, competitive situation in the dream. It also came from my sense of a lack of warm nurturing in my own childhood. I donít think I really achieved my goal here in this painting, however!

In the background is the temple of Mnajdra in Malta, which I had just heard had been vandalized recently.

Other dreams from that time are also in the background:

March 29: Through the Gate

My husband Hank and I and a woman friend are going to a place--possibly in another country--where we go up an ascending road, with lots of other people, and have to pass through an entryway of some sort by a certain time in the late afternoon. If you donít get to the entry by the allotted time, then you canít get in. We get through, but there are lots of people who wonít, who have come from their jobs to stand in this line and will then have to go away, back to their homes and other places. That seems frustrating. We will now go to a square building that has a name over it (canít remember) to get something to eat. I am wondering if there is a time limit on this also, but it seems that once youíre past the gate you donít have to worry about time limits.

Inside the building, it seems we are getting food. I have the impression that the woman we are with is treating us but Iím not sure. Paying for ourselves will also be OK.

The woman tells us that there is an announcement that across the way someone wants groups of people (like the three of us) to be observed and photographed (nude perhaps?) Very unclear. Detail of painting 'Warm Mother, the Comforter', by Jenny Badger Sultan.

March 30: Get the Baby Out

I am out in a remote, arid place. There is a concrete structure that is very blocky, with an inside space. There are panels of some kind of dark aggregate on the walls. Very vague, but I think a baby is immured here behind one of the panels. I have made an appointment with a Russian plumber to come and meet me here to see if he can get in behind the wall and get the baby out. (It must be a dead baby.) He has not arrived. I am trying to scrape away the aggregate surface to get inside the panels but can make no progress. I hope the plumber will come.
Detail of painting 'Warm Mother, the Comforter', by Jenny Badger Sultan.

April 1: Jeannie or Naomi?

At a wedding reception. Jeannie, my sister-in-law, is going to dance. She has on a dress of a kind of ivory lace. It has long sleeves, a fitted bodice and a long skirt which is gored and full. There is a fairly large expanse of wood floor. She twirls and twirls and then sinks down a little bit and the skirt settles on the floor in an incredibly fluid way, with ripples, looking almost like ocean foam. She does this over and over again--she is able to make the skirt of her dress the most expressive and beautiful thing. People murmur and gasp, it is so beautiful.

I am just amazed. I didnít know Jeannie could do this--she must have been practicing a lot. I am both awed and somewhat jealous. Perhaps I also can dance. But no, I think--Jeannie is the mother of the bride and this is her moment, her time to shine.

Later it is as if there is a shift and it was Naomi doing this beautiful dance.

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