About six months ago I had a dream. In my dream I was painting. When I woke up I couldn’t understand what the dream meant -if it had meant anything at all. Lately, I had been thinking about painting, so the morning following the dream, I went to the art store with my dad. There are technically only two art stores in my hometown. One of them has been there for a long time, although they don’t even offer the best quality art supplies; the other is a national chain that sells the art supplies that most colleges require for their design students. I went to the first and oldest art store and bought a pre-made canvas and an easel. When I got home, my dad and I put the easel together and I set my painting space in our living room. I mixed my colors and began the painting process. However, I didn’t paint what I had been painting in my dream. Because I had been thinking about this for weeks, I knew that I wanted to paint something symbolic for the week of creation; wanted this painting time to be a process about a process. I put my base color and then waited a few days to sketch what I wanted to paint. After I got my sketch and my first layer of paint, I dreamed again. My dream was about the same painting that had been in my first dream but there was something wrong with it this time.
In my first dream I had been painting a landscape that was very similar to something I had painted when I was in middle school. When I had the dream, I couldn’t tell whether I was seeing the sunset or the sunrise, but the colors were beautiful, surreal, and like nothing I had ever seen before, and I have seen many sunsets and sunrises. In the second dream, the landscape was still there but there were also circles of dissonant colors that covered part of the canvas. It seemed like a had painted those there, but my role in the dream was to fix what I had ruined. Towards the end of the dream, I worked on getting rid of the circles and painted what was originally supposed to be there. It was a landscape and and the sky had the features of a human face, and extending to the earth were a set open hands; I was not told what it was but I knew those features were a representation of God.
The following day, I woke up and put two layers of white to cover what I had initially ruined. I began working on the painting from my dream, but I left for another semester of college and never finished the painting. When I went back home this Christmas, the easel and the canvas were just where I had left them, but I didn’t work on it because I was unsure of what I was painting; how could I ever paint something I had never seen before, something I had only seem in dim dreams?
I took the plane to fly back to Bethel on the second. My flight departed from Managua at two in the afternoon, so we would be arriving in Atlanta at sunset time. There were only twenty minutes left until our plane landed so I lifted the cover off the airplane window and I saw it. The colors were the exact colors from my dream, and after a moment of staring at the horizon my mind was taken back to the painting I had left unfinished. It was a line of orange red -the color of fresh blood- and it ran from one of the earth to the other. It created a separation between earth and sky and I wished I could have pulled that image over my canvas. The colors were amazing, a dream come true, but they were not what made me cry. It was the idea that I didn’t need to see the features, the hands, to know that the striking image was the representation of God.