A Dream of Joy and Sorrow

June 26th, 2018

A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

$1,190

A woman stands alone in a bleak rocky landscape, gazing at the total solar eclipse that fills the expansive golden sky.

She feels simultaneously desolate and wonder-stuck by the awesome scene before her.

I’ve always loved the poem “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann, especially the line towards the end:

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.

This is such a true description of the bittersweet nature of our experience. Within a very short window of time, and sometimes even all at once, we can feel the heavy weight of grief and pain and also the buoyancy of gratitude and wonderment. This is what I was thinking of as I created this image: “A Dream of Joy and Sorrow.”

The joyful feeling comes from the rare treat of witnessing this solar eclipse–the light of the sun bursts from behind the dark disk of the moon, flooding the sky with red and gold light. At the periphery, where the sky is darker, countless twinkling stars are visible.

The shadows of the moon’s rocky surface are an earthy charcoal, the highlights a muted gold.

The sorrowful feeling is represented by the stark, barren landscape surrounding the woman, and by the inky black liquid dripping down the hills in the foreground like endless seeping tears. The earth is crying.

You’ll notice that there is a teardrop trailing down below each of her feet, as if the sorrow is flowing down through her body, out her feet which are planted on the top of that little hill, and into the ground along with the other tears. Meanwhile, her body is still and her face is lifted in amazement towards the spectacle in the sky.

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A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Artist with her work: A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee (Background: Oxygen. 30" x 40", Oil on Wood)

A Dream of Joy and Sorrow. 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

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