Saturday, January 11, 2014

Talking about a Painting Class Dream

Not having painted in years and not expecting anyone to show up, I had put up flyers around town for a painting class I am offering at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning. At 8 a.m., the first students appear. (When the teacher is not ready, the students appear).

My painting class is being held in a vast field with a long banquet table that is large enough for more than 30 people.   Not far beyond the table is a dark brown barn. There is a mysterious tour bus parked in between the place where I live (near the entrance to the field) and the banquet table.  A young man tries to enter the bus, but I stop him.  I don't know who owns the bus, but I feel responsible for it.  I continue to wonder why the students are arriving so early.  As I usually do, I assume I am the one who is mistaken. More and more students arrive.  I am tall, but they are all taller than I am. Soon, all the places at the table are taken, and the students are talking with each other.  Even so, more students are streaming into the field.  I get up from my place at the east end of the table and ask the arriving students when they think the class is supposed to begin.  My voice is quiet, and none of them appear to to hear me.  They all have earnest faces.  I do not look like a teacher.  They are looking for the teacher.  

I feel tremendous inner pressure to be a good teacher for them but have no idea how to begin teaching the class.  These students know more about painting than I do.  One of the students, a man in his early thirties, has set up a display of his paintings on the sides and in front of the barn.  His small painting of waves breaking on an ocean shore comes to life.  I say, "Your painting comes to life."  He is the first student who can hear my voice.  His smile is confident.  His large paintings on all sides of the barn are darkly optimistic and abstract. I am sure that he doesn't realize that I am the teacher. Nobody does.  Then it occurs to me that I am not the teacher at all. These students are my teachers.  They are waiting for the teacher to appear.  

(The painting above is from my Calendar Series from the late 1980s and is titled "42nd Month:  Gifts of Love from Imaginary Brothers")


Anonymous said...

I love this dream. The wave painting coming to life is such a beautiful moving image. There is so much balance in this dream, as you are both student and teacher. Wonderful.

Anonymous said...
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Nick said...

A dream? Another life? A parallel world? Frightening or fascinating? Intriguing, certainly.

Rubye Jack said...

I really like the red sky in this painting. I've had similar dreams. That feeling of not being heard is so frustrating.

Goat said...

Of the rare dreams I can remember in the morning, more than my fair share have a theme like this: being embarrassed or feeling unprepared in a very public setting. As for the guy with all the paintings: smug bastard.