Self-Portrait After an Alchemical Dream

Self-Portrait After an Alcemical Dream, 20”x26”,charcoal on Yupo paper. ©Brenda Clews 2021

Self-portrait after an Alchemical dream. ©Brenda Clews 2021. 20"x26", charcoal on Yupo paper.

[Adding the original dream & something on the process of what's appeared in this preparatory sketch for a possible painting, if you'd like to know what it's about.]

Original dream
…red spots develop under my cheeks, and as I powder them, they become raised wheels, one on each side, which the thick powder whitens, six spokes, a central hub and an outer wheel, a relief sculpture perhaps, like something from myth, an archetypal symbol, which the attempt to hide with powder only accentuates. I feel no horror, or pain, but awe as I brush the powder on skin become wheels and spokes. Sculpted like Medieval cosmological wheels, alchemical wheels of transmutation, the configurations are mysterious, almost reverential, an embodied reference the Wheels of Ezekiel, but also to the powdered faces of highly-stylized Oriental performance, and somehow the magnificent coiled antlers of Bighorn sheep… (2008)

Process of charcoal sketch:

Friday, I decided to try a charcoal drawing to see how my dream of the alchemical wheels appearing in my face, rising in my cheeks, might appear. In the dream, I powdered them as they rose sculpturally. But here I hoped to let my 'unconscious' take over and I did go into a light trance and even worked with my eyes shut at times. At the beginning, I used a sponge and charcoal powder that I then sprayed with a fixative, and kept working. There are distinct shadow and light sides. The wheels are dark - to me, the one in shadow looks floral; the one in light, ocular. The hair fed snake-like into the wheels, which seem almost to be whirring and that is unlike the dream. And I see four eyes!

I find the drawing a bit scary, actually. There's psychic progress for sure. Self-portrait after an alchemical dream. 20"x26", charcoal on Yupo paper.


A self-portrait in ink: process

Self-Portrait, 2011, 20.5cm x 25.5cm, 8" x 10", archival, Rotring and India inks on archival paper.

And it's not finished yet, I don't think. Or, who knows? Words, a poem, may appear, or not.

Instead of a slideshow of the process of this ink drawing, I've opened the images in Photoshop Elements and taken a screen capture. The plain pencil sketch upper left and the black and white one in the middle are the 'real' ones - the others have been filtered with Sepia (and currently used for profile pics at Identica, Twitter and Facebook ♥:). I know, so many of one image is a bit much. :)))

click on image for larger size

My daughter's photos of moi...

Photos on the blog are one way I keep track of myself, I suppose. The composite shot happily imbibing from a usually-packed away Waterford crystal wine glass that's one of the few remaining from the gift they were 30 years ago was taken in December on my daughter's birthday by her with her new camera. The Krishna-blue lady was also taken then, as a black and white photo and don't ask how I managed to colour it so, call it an act of 'soul force' through Photoshop, the path of filters and colorations I have forgotten. I'm not sure if I've shown it to her, but I like the blue skin and hair of fire... creative collaboration, of sorts.

A little self-portrait reflected-in-the-mirror from September. The thing is that top is a danceskin and my legs were bare and so I had to paint in a dress -you know how it is... :-)

Back to regular programming shortly...

At 28 years of age...

I now go on a 'treasure hunts' in the packed storage unit in the basement that will be a small studio whenever I can get help clearing it out... and find, oh, things that give me pause. Like these photo-booth photos at 28 years old, the only ones from that era, found in an old journal. This one in particular haunted me for about a weekend. I'm not sure who I was, or who I thought I'd be, or what I've become, but the fire is still there, though, ::grinning:: a little wrinkled now.

 BC 28 yrs - 700px

A couple more... the last one looks rather 'Pre-Raphaelite'- something I heard a fair bit in those days. Oh, it makes me laugh to remember!

BC  28 yrs - 1 - Four

(click on photos for larger versions)
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