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    Thread: Discussion of artwork in dreams

    1. #1
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      Question Discussion of artwork in dreams

      This is a discussion mainly aimed at other dreamers who are primarily visual artists in waking life, though anyone's thoughts on this are welcome.


      This is only one of many times this has happened; today I've had a semi-vivid non-lucid dream where there is some art which is very perfectly portrayed and detailed. The amount of detail is fantastic in the dream, and even now awake I can remember some of the details with accuracy. The shading in particular was the best part. At first I thought the artwork was mine, as the signature resembled one of mine, but on closer inspection it changed into a string of numbers.

      My thoughts whenever I have this sort of dream are the kind that make me ask myself: how or why is it that my mind, at least when I'm asleep and dreaming, can in some part have the capacity to create a highly detailed piece of artwork that does not even exist in waking life? A completely original piece of artwork with a highly detailed composition and excellent shading...

      And now, if I tried to recreate that piece of art, or some of the artwork I've seen and made in other dreams, I wouldn't be able to get to the same level of detail without first getting a lot of reference imagery, then making many different sketches based on what felt right for the composition and then moving on to finally start trying to paint it in detail.

      Even my waking capacity for visual imagination is terribly limited, compared to the detail the dream-mind achieves, and I am not advanced enough as an artist to be able to achieve some of the detail present in dream artwork without pouring far too much time into a single piece. In the dream, the artwork is pretty much instantly there with seemingly no effort, and in reality, the same piece would take me many hours to get right, especially at the conceptual stage of its creation.


      The main questions I can think of to start off discussion:

      • Have you ever had any such dreams? Either lucid or non-lucid, really.
      • In waking life, were you able to accurately recreate some, or all, of the detail you saw?
      • Got any thoughts on what could possibly help the waking imagination reach the same level of focus and vividness as the dream-mind's capability?
      • Have you ever painted or created some art in a lucid dream, and what was that like?
      Lang likes this.
      Singled out from some of my favourite quotes from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: "Risks of [Planet] flowering: considerable. But rewards of godhood: who can measure? - Usurper Judaa'Maar: Courage: to question."

    2. #2
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      I'm not an artist by occupation/profession but I like creating art a lot as a hobby, mostly pencil, charcoal, digital (PS), and sculpting.
      One of many reasons why I want to master lucid dreaming is the artistic aspect of it.

      Recently I dreamed that I took a perfect photo of a lovely scenery with my phone and still remember the photo.

      Some thoughts I had a few days ago:

      • If I could ask my subconsciousness or dream to show me an amazing artwork, be it a painting or a sculpture, but with the condition that it should be replicable by myself in real life, would that artwork still be as masterful as one without the given condition?
      • As a next step, I would love to see the creation of this artwork in the dream as a guide.


      Perhaps one day I'll find it out.

      Got any thoughts on what could possibly help the waking imagination reach the same level of focus and vividness as the dream-mind's capability?
      I think the waking imagination does throttle a big part of any creative ideas that come from our deeper mind and kind of limits them to fit one individual's ability and aptitude. For example, I find it quite difficult to learn and master new techniques, so that I limit my ideas to my current level of skills.

      What I've noticed is that whenever I smoked marijuana in the past and lied there in my bad thinking about stuff, I kind of felt more connected to all these thoughts that seemed to flow from one deeper part of my mind. Thoughts that also affect creativity in my case.

      I wonder how many known painters used this neat little trick.
      DarkestDarkness likes this.

    3. #3
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      I've often thought about this.
      In a dream, its like a whole world is generated before your (dream) eyes. When I explore my lucid dreams, it's amazing to me that around every corner is something I might not expect. It's from my own mind, but I can't predict it. I can tell my mind to show me something I wouldn't expect, and it does. And in some dreams I see cool pieces of art or hear great music which doesn't exist in real life, which I couldn't make myself in real life.
      For music, a couple times I've remembered the melody for a little bit after waking up, but ended up forgetting it.
      There was once where I recreated music I heard in a dream. In the dream, I was out on my bike during a very blue dusk, in a bad part of town. I remembered that there was a mass murder that took place around where I was, really recently. Then, I heard this dark ambient droning sound. Weirdly enough, in the dream I recognized it as non-diegetic, like it was just part of the dream's soundtrack. The sound really stuck in my head and I tried to recreate it with a synthesizer when I woke up. I can't know for sure now, but I remember thinking when I finished it that it really sounded like what I heard in the dream. You can hear it here:
      https://vocaroo.com/i/s0nZRXEkVrLX

      Oh, I remember another. I had a dream in which I was watching some movie. I think it was a Wes Anderson movie... There was a scene where two characters were playing tennis. But the colors were extremely garish and strange, and the composition seemed to be designed to be intentionally unappealing, I think to symbolize the incongruous relationship of these characters, or something like that. I remember thinking that in the dream. It was extremely flat looking. When I woke up I decided to try to make it just to show my GF how strange it was. Just imagine that the characters are actual live action people:
      movie in dream.JPG
      (that opens higher resolution when you click it right...?)

      Both these examples are admittedly pretty simple, most of the more complex stuff seems to leave my mind pretty fast after waking up.

      I think my most successful attempt at creating art of something I've seen in a dream was this one.
      In the dream, my friend and I were in some dark empty mall. My friend had a flashlight, and we were exploring, I guess. At the end of the big hall we were in, there were three bizarrely tall mannequins in strange poses, each standing on a small pedestal. We probably weren't even as tall as one of their legs.
      Basically I saw one of them move, and then move back to its original pose and told my friend to shine his light back on it, and that's the moment I tried to capture in this painting:
      DED3.jpg

      As for creating art in a lucid dream... I don't think I ever have, but I've always wanted to try. I just never remember to. I really wonder what that would be like, if I would be limited to what I could achieve in real life, or if things beyond my ability would come out. Then I wonder if that would just be an illusion, or if in the dream my "true unconscious ability" is unlocked or something.

      I do have some ideas about what could help the waking imagination reach the same level of focus. I mean, maybe not the same. But I think it can improve a lot.
      Right now, I'm focusing my art practice on memory and visualization.
      I've noticed that, after reading some novel for a while, when I go to write something, I often write like the author I was reading. Not on purpose, but just automatically.
      Then I noticed this happen with art as well. On days when I sort a lot of reference pics, for example, or find a bunch of art I like and end up looking at it a lot, I notice that the art I make somehow resembles what I've been looking at. As an example, there was a day when I was downloading and sorting a bunch of reference pics, most of them were of places in central and eastern Europe, like Poland and Russia.
      Once I was done, whenever I closed my eyes I would see images of places that looked like they were in central or eastern Europe. But they weren't any of the photos I looked at. It was like my mind was generating new images just based on the photos I had been looking at. And I found that my visualization abilities were much stronger than normal, and I was able to draw from it with better results than normal.
      So I've been trying this kind of thing, emphasizing visual input a lot. I'm trying not to draw directly from reference anymore but to rather look at a lot of references beforehand and then draw afterward. I think it's strengthening my memory and my ability to visualize.

      The artist Claire Wendling has talked about doing this as well, which I thought was interesting. She really doesn't like drawing from reference ever. So instead, when she needs to know how something looks, she'll google it, look at a ton of pictures of it, then draw afterward, and not draw while looking at the pictures.

      Robert Henri also has talked about emphasizing memory training in art. In The Art Spirit I recall him having written about the idea of a new kind of art school, where there were two main rooms. One where a model would pose, and the students could come into this room just to observe the model. Then the students would enter the next room over to draw what they observed. They would be able to re-enter the room with the model at any time, but when they drew, they had to be in the other room, unable to see the model. I think he thought it would be too different to gain much support though.

      I also recall that Kim Jung Gi has said that during the times of his life when he was unable to draw (since he's Korean he had to enter the military at a certain age), he would look around and just imagine drawing what he saw. He would imagine tracing lines over everything around him. This I think is a similar concept. He's constantly absorbing visual information in the language of drawing, you know what I mean?

      Anyway, yeah, that's what I'm trying to do recently, emphasizing input, memory, and visualization, and I'm finding it's working well for me in being able to draw things from my imagination and from memory.
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    4. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by SKYZ0R
      If I could ask my subconsciousness or dream to show me an amazing artwork, be it a painting or a sculpture, but with the condition that it should be replicable by myself in real life, would that artwork still be as masterful as one without the given condition?

      (...)

      I think the waking imagination does throttle a big part of any creative ideas that come from our deeper mind and kind of limits them to fit one individual's ability and aptitude. For example, I find it quite difficult to learn and master new techniques, so that I limit my ideas to my current level of skills.
      As you say it would be interesting to ask a dream to show you something only under the condition that you'd be able to replicate it; but, and I don't know if this is the same for everyone, my ability to draw and paint can vary a lot from day to day, and so the resulting quality of my work is often very varied. When I take that into consideration, I'm not sure that even if a dream did accurately show me something I could actually make, that I'd actually be able to make it up to that level on a specific day, though maybe on a different day I could...



      Quote Originally Posted by hornkin View Post
      I've noticed that, after reading some novel for a while, when I go to write something, I often write like the author I was reading. Not on purpose, but just automatically.
      Then I noticed this happen with art as well. On days when I sort a lot of reference pics, for example, or find a bunch of art I like and end up looking at it a lot, I notice that the art I make somehow resembles what I've been looking at.
      I do this quite a bit both with my art and writing as well. It does feel a bit "automatic" as you say.

      Quote Originally Posted by hornkin View Post
      Once I was done, whenever I closed my eyes I would see images of places that looked like they were in central or eastern Europe. But they weren't any of the photos I looked at. It was like my mind was generating new images just based on the photos I had been looking at. And I found that my visualization abilities were much stronger than normal, and I was able to draw from it with better results than normal.
      Mostly food for thought here, but you might notice that this happens with any learned skill that has visual elements to it, I think? I get this a lot with games I'm playing for the first time, but it stops happening quite so much, over the time of a few days usually, as I get better with those games - at least until something new/different is added. I've also had it happen with manual skills, like when I first started to learn to work with leather.

      In any case, I've also been trying to do the same recently of looking at more reference even when I'm not actively working on pieces, and focusing more on what I'm taking in and try to reproduce that without looking at the reference later. Mixed results for me, but my referenceless drawing has always been OK anyway.

      Thank you both for all your input so far. Gotten me to think, which is kind of what I wanted.
      Singled out from some of my favourite quotes from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: "Risks of [Planet] flowering: considerable. But rewards of godhood: who can measure? - Usurper Judaa'Maar: Courage: to question."

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