The Dream Watchers


Continued . . .

The Dream WatchersWhat happened as I painted is unclear. It seems Hunter and Bailey were visited first by a an old farmer, perhaps an authoritarian figure, a parent or a grand, between them and the barn. But then something from a dream, they were visited by an other-worldly angel, both of them watching the watched young man, who is "watching" his horse. The painting asks, who is watching who?

I've come to believe we are never really alone. The spirit of love is everywhere in the form of energy and spirit, in whatever form that makes sense for us. Our loved ones visit us in our dreams as we dream about them. And they are in the familiar places and objects, even in the trees and the air that we breathe. We all have been left by those we love, either through death or as people have "moved on." The spirit of love, God, the Holy Spirit, Mother Earth, whatever you choose to call her, speaks to that loss. We are watched, perhaps by armies of angels, bearing witness to our sorrow, or perhaps witnessing our bravery in the face of deep loss. This force of love comes in the absences to fill the void. In a way, those who have left us are more present than ever, safe in our memories and dreams. Anyway, that's what this painting is about for me.

A suggested setting for "The Dream Watchers."

I asked my FB community to suggest titles for this piece, something I've never done before. And the willingness, variety and depth of the responses truly surprised and moved me. They also made me think more about what aspects of the piece resonated most to its viewers. Deborah suggested, "She watches over me," which got me thinking about the watching elements in this work, hence the title I ended up with. Dana was inspired by the sanguine phrase, "please don't leave." The theme of being abandoned and/or reassured in our loneliness was a common theme. Andrea came up with a lovely, "Remembering April," which struck me as very sweet.  "Behind What Is" was suggested by Ariel. Hal suggested simply, "Echoes." My dear friend in Haiti, Job, suggested "Ke Bondye fè èv la grandi pou lavi," translated from Creole, "May God make Eve Grow for Life." The image evoked by these words is haunting and beautiful. Dave came up with "Whispers of the Unseen" which tugged hard at my heart. Cindy thought up, "Always Present" and Avery suggested "Glimpses." There were so many ideas, some funny, some more literal, like "A boy and His Horse,' from Amy. A common theme was love, "Lost love (Sam)" and "Depth of Love (Suzanne)." The painting seemed to evoke love and loss, without any prompting. I loved Sarah's "Thresholds"  and Jenny's "Memories." They were all fantastic ideas that made us all think about the world of this painting and explore our own feelings about any number of issues. Putting a name or image to those difficult to express emotions is cathartic and inspiring. I guess that's why I paint. I don't think I would have arrived at my title without these wonderful suggestions. I'm not sure if these alternative titles wouldn't have been better for the piece. Either way, I am extremely grateful to everyone who took the time out of their day to suggest a title. I look forward to this exercise again.

More narrative paintings

Commission a portrait by Robert Maniscalco

Additional information

Type of Work

Original Painting by Robert Maniscalco, Giclee – archival inks, stretch on canvas, Artists Proof (AP) – archival inks and paper


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