Ideas for my paintings often appear to me as vivid dreams and images. While they are still fresh in my mind, I grab a pencil and the nearest scrap of paper, and quickly capture them before they vanish. My sketchbooks are full of written notes and tiny sketches that I've taped and glued to the pages. As I flip through them, I find that over and over again, I'm drawn to certain symbols, especially those of the female form and the natural world. In my study of symbolism, I have always been fascinated by how certain symbols have the ability to convey universal as well as personal meaning. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung believed that some symbols, also called archetypes, have the same meaning, crossing historical and cultural boundaries. As an artist, employing universal symbolism enables me to tell stories and express themes that can reach all people.
Exploring and understanding the importance of symbolism in our own lives can help us gain a greater understanding of ourselves. Self described symbol lover Sarah Densmore shares her thoughts on symbolism and her dreams on her website, symbolwatcher.com. The site, she explains, " is my attempt to start a wider dialogue among the general public about how symbolic meaning permeates our day-to-day existence - whether we're conscious of it or not." John Betts, a Jungian analyst, presents a wide range of Jungian lectures and workshops. In the introduction to one of his workshops, Jungian Dream Interpretation, he states: "Working with dreams enables us to embrace the symbolic life and, hopefully, gain a deeper sense of meaning."