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The Power of Dreams for Ideas and Inspiration for Your Art Journal

Do you ever find yourself waking up from a vivid dream, filled with intriguing images and emotions? Dreams have long been a source of fascination and inspiration for artists throughout history. If you’re an art journalist looking to unlock your creativity and explore new realms of self-expression, or simply looking for ideas and inspiration for your art journal, then dream journaling might just be an option. In this article, we’ll delve into the power of dreams, the benefits of dream journaling, and how you can integrate your dreams into your art journaling practice.

The Power of Dreams

Dreams have a mysterious allure that captivates our imagination. They offer glimpses into the subconscious mind, where ideas and emotions blend together in surreal landscapes. Many renowned artists, such as Salvador Dalí and Frida Kahlo, have drawn inspiration from their dreams, creating masterpieces that merge reality and the fantastical. My dreams however verge more on the side of the fantastical than reality. So, while my dreams would more than likely be impossible (or concerning) for any therapist to interpret, I’ll just continue to use them as inspiration for art. 

When we tap into our dreams, we gain access to a wellspring of unique ideas. Dreams can serve as a flurry of inspiration, where we encounter extraordinary scenes, vibrant colors, and unexpected symbolism. By paying attention to our dreams and exploring their meaning, we open ourselves up to a world of creative possibilities. 

Benefits of Dream Journaling

Keeping a dream journal can have numerous benefits for artists. Firstly, it improves dream recall. Often, upon waking up, our dreams slip away from our memory like morning mist. However, by developing a habit of recording our dreams in a journal, we can train our minds to remember them more vividly. I’m not so keen on writing a bunch of stuff right when I wake up, so I do (really) raw sketches like this.

This has worked OK for me so far, but you may want to give yourself more details to refer back to.

Dream journaling also encourages self-reflection. Dreams can be rich in symbolism, and exploring their meaning helps us gain insights into our subconscious thoughts and emotions. By examining our dreams, we can unravel hidden desires, fears, and aspirations, leading to a deeper understanding of ourselves as artists and individuals.

For instance, I’m always dreaming of large places that are easy to get lost in (airports, casinos, malls). While the recurring casinos are a bit unsettling, I realize this very well be my subconscious letting me know that I’m struggling to find my way. Yes, this offers inspiration for art journal pages, but it also allows me to question other things going on in my life and really take a good look.  

Combining Dream Journaling with Art Journaling

Art journaling is a perfect medium for translating the ethereal quality of dreams into tangible pieces of art. It provides a safe space to experiment and express our innermost thoughts, allowing us to merge the worlds of dreams and art. By integrating our dreams into our art journal pages, we embark on a journey of visual storytelling that speaks directly to our souls.

So, how can we bring our dreams into our art journals? One way is to incorporate symbols and imagery from our dreams. Perhaps you dreamed of a vibrant red rose, symbolizing love and passion. You can paint or draw that rose onto your art journal page, using colors and textures that capture the essence of your dream. Allow your dreams to guide your color choices, composition, and overall mood of the page.

Examples of Dream Journaling

Looking at this page, this was inspired by one of my dreams of floating in a hot air balloon on the bluest of days. But the balloon was made out of a patchwork quilt and I was flying over a beautiful, lush green countryside.

You can see on the (unfinished) page, that I used collage for multiple textures to help me convey the scattered thoughts but also wanted to capture the bright colors and beauty.

I incorporated a bit of music pages into the backgrounds because this dream was a very light, enjoyable one. I didn’t want this page to be dark or gloomy or convey any mysteriousness.

I’m not entirely sure what this dream meant. But I can tell you it was beautiful. Not to mention, I was thrilled that it wasn’t another dream trying to find my way out of a casino or a mall.

Dream journaling and art journaling are two powerful practices that, when combined, open doors to boundless creativity and self-expression. By exploring our dreams and integrating them into our art journals, we embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation. So, consider finding a little notebook to keep by your bedside to capture quick thoughts first thing. Then use these thoughts to unleash your imagination, eventually letting your art journal become a vivid reflection of the realms you visit in your dreams.

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