Sunday, April 02, 2006

sad red moon dog dream

durring the last 2 months, i've had a re-occuring dream (first in sleep and then while awake)- many times over. i kept seeing a picture of a sad, red, thin, slouchy dog walking on the snow in the moonlight with a big dark tree behind it.
i couldn't get it out of my mind so i finally painted it tonight. i have no idea what it means.
and perhaps it has nothing to do with me and means something to you. any shots at interpretation out there?
image copyright: phil nellis, 2006.

12 comments:

nathan Barrett said...

Does Clifford ring any bells?

nathan Barrett said...

What about Red Dog, the semi pro alcoholic drink?

pedro said...

I don't have much experience interpreting dreams, and I'm not very good at interpreting art, but it somehow reminds me of the classical mythical them in which hope is borne out of despair.

A lot of childrens' fiction utilizes this theme in which the protagonist is muddled in some quest or burdened with some task which seems hopeless and impossible. The way is wrought with obstacles, and every turn of the plot reveals new setbacks. However, as George MacDonald wrote in At the Back of the Norht Wind, "Now wicked fairies will not be bound by the laws the good fairies obey, and this always seems to give the bad the advantage over the good, for they use means to gain their ends which others willn not. But it is all of no consequence, for what they do never succeeds; nay, in the endit brings about thethe very thing they are trying to prevent."

In the end, the trials and sufferings that the characters endure always grant wisdom, a perspective on hope, and a refinement of character that they otherwise would not have enjoyed.

For some good examples of childrens' literature that uses this plot mechanism, read The Maze in the Heart of the Castle by Dorothy Gilman, The Iron Ring by Lloyd Alexander, Enchantress form the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl, and East by Edith Pattou (for the short list). If you have read Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis, you will also recognize this plot theme.

What has the sad, red dog lost? What must he do, and where must the journey to regain that which was lost? Regardless, at the moment, he is hoplessly, joylessly alone.

chris said...

maybe it's that little puppy dog you guys had in oaxaca speaking to you through this dream?

i do like the painting. especially the tree. during the winter looking at the shapes of tree branches is fascinating. especially when they're silhoetted with the sun or the moon.

k-bye

chuck said...

if you have another dream concerning a fatted red dog on one side of a river let me know. i read the answer to that one somewhere.

mikeymarchman said...

what if you are the dog? red with passion, anger, and life? yet lonely in the cold snow and moonlight? and who or what does the brooding, protective yet scary, tree represent?

OR, perhaps, the dog is that which you so desire to rescue, yet you feel like the tree, deeply rooted in the ground and not able to hold onto or grab the slowly walking passion life, walking by?

i might have just walked in the front door. if so, lo siento, mi hermano.

Lian said...

This dream is just for this painting - that's enough for me.

elnellis said...

i think you might have walked in your own front door mike. but it speaks to me as well.
i'm always interrested in the triangle between art, artist, and viewer. so many people look at art and try to "interpret" what it might have meant to the artist- and that the discovery of that information is what is "true" about the piece. that is important but almost more interresting to me is what art evokes in the viewer, outside of the artist original "intent" for the piece. it is there that art seems to transcend the artist and come alive in a different way...

elnellis said...

chad, we posted only minutes apart. thankyou for your perspective.

pedro said...

Phnil,

Thank you for your perspective on art, artist, and viewer. I expounded on this in loopis billow and brought Moltmann into the discussion.

The Crystal Sea said...

artist are given visions so they can have something to paint. perhaps there is no intrepatation. perhaps its just a matter of you thanking god he gives you vision and dreams in color and red dogs in the moonlight...its an awesome painting. take it at face value. your an artist therefore you must art.mcm

Andrew said...

I personally like the alcoholic interpretation...