The Dreamer

As one of 93 female artists invited to put a painting into the upcoming exhibition, ‘Eva Gore-Booth’, this is a little behind the work I did in response to a poem Eva wrote called The Dreamer.

‘All night I stumble through the fields of light,

And chase in dreams the starry rays divine…’

The Dreamer

By Eva Gore-Booth 1929

All night I stumble through the fields of light,

And chase in dreams the starry rays divine

That shine through soft folds of the robe of night,

Hung like a curtain round a sacred shrine.

When daylight dawns I leave the meadows sweet

And come back to the dark house built of clay,

Over the threshold pass with lagging feet,

Open the shutters and let in the day.

The gray lit day heavy with griefs and cares,

And many a dull desire and foolish whim,

Leans o’er my shoulder as I spread my wares

On dusty counters and at windows dim.

She gazes at me with her sunken eyes,

That never yet have looked on moonlit flowers,

And amid glaring deeds and noisy cries

Counts out her golden tale of lagging hours.

Over the shrine of life no curtain falls,

All men may enter at the open gate,

The very rats find refuge in her walls—

Her tedious prison walls of love and hate.

Yet when the twilight vails that dim abode

I bar the door and make the shutters fast,

And hurry down the shadowy western road,

To seek in dreams my starlit home and vast.

When I first read this poem, I immediately connected with it and instantly I had to record my own ideas, personal feelings and visual description of what I got from it into my notebook. It was just a quick written sketch so I could reference back to when painting.

‘Coming down from the hill of light and starry skies. Long sharp shadows and silhouettes of a gazing face in a eutrophic trance.  
The simplicity of a starry night sky, the complexity of the beyond..

The reality of impending death where we will all rejoin the stars.

A pull of darkness and light
Fear and euphoria,
The paradoxal mind of much awareness and granted freedom.
Give way, give way,
We are too small and too large all at the same time…’

I began ideas for this piece with some sketches and studies to come up with composition and try to create a dream-like atmosphere. In my experience of dreams they can often be vivid yet hazy where they feel real but with peripheral edges visually dulled out or too bright to see. Dreams can sometimes define us and try grasp what may be out of reach of in the waking world. They are an escape into the inner self which can be unpredictable, frightening and euphoric all at once.

Here are some of my studies

Study, Acrylic on cotton rag

It was an exciting piece to do and I referenced back to an older painting I did back in early 2019 titled ‘Lucid Dream’. It took several sketches and studies to finally come up with something tangible.

Sketch in charcoal

With the studies I tried to give a sense of flight as if an onlooker gazing down into a dream. The light of the stars come through scattered thin cloud of the night sky. It outlines edges of fields with shadows created between the gaps in the night sky of light and darkness.

Study in charcoal, pencil and pastel

Running and stumbling along the path of reflected light, she is free and ecstatic for a moment in time.

Published by Derval Freeman

Graduate of Limerick School of Art and Design 1996 Fine art painter and photographer

One thought on “The Dreamer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.