Dreaming Under the Trees


Dreaming Under the Trees / Elaine Clayton 2015   at Art/Place Gallery “Fresh” Exhibition

Song of the leaves of time and shadow,

Written in the hearts of humankind

A  Light, a Truth

A strange dream

That awakens

 a separation of self

to self

to Other

To All

Sleep, and wake

Wake up to Yourself.

Eve Dreams of a Deadly Vine: How Entrapment is Self-Inflicted


Detail of a recent painting, “Eve’s Dream of a Deadly Vine” / Elaine Clayton copyright 2015

In what ways have you ever entrapped yourself? There is a Native American saying I love: “Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth.” It’s that simple, or at least following that simple sounding wisdom makes room for integrity, clarity and a feeling of lightness that is impossible to feel when burdened or ensnared by self deception. In this series, a visual midrash, “Eve’s Dreams”, I am exploring ways in which we pine for Paradise, and can ensnare ourselves in illusion and misery very easily. It is a painful place to put ourselves, most of us know what it feels like.  And it is much more difficult to disentangle than it is to never become entangled in the first place. We seem to do it until we learn not to .

Staying Unruffled: The Magician Enters (And Goes…)


My quick study of the moment the Magician swan enters, stirring the tranquility of the sleeping swans

Elaine Clayton copyright 2015

My favorite part of Swan Lake is the dramatically dangerous moment the Magician enters, his dark and powerful wings triumphantly fan out  in his menacing approach, fluttering the delicate feathers of the innocent.

Swan Lake is so archetypal, it reminds us and speaks to us of what we know to be true in life: It ain’t Paradise.  We live in this world of shadow and light, positive and negative, where sweet guileless trust meets cunning and cruel manipulation.

Swans get ready. Don’t relinquish peace and grace because of evil deeds and intentions. Be a swan in your placid environment, and know that in the end, the magician gets caught in his own brokenness, his wing crushed and his flight permanently damaged ( Swan Lake Part 2: Broken winged Magician is sent to a nature preserve where 3rd graders get to pet him and this rehab softens his sickness and propensity for harming others before he dies a less bitter agent of ruin).

An Angel with You in Your Grief


This is a section of a recent intuitive stream drawing reading I did for a client. At the root chakra, from hips to feet in this case, I saw an image of one doubled over in grief, holding a heart, wearing a turban. An angel below holds all of this emotional activity, safely. It turned out that the client had a lot of grief, two deaths in one 3 month period, and one was unexpected and devastating. Yet, this turban with a dripping jewel (a tear?) seemed to me to say that this person will have many dreams come true. And love is so big, her ability to love, her desire to keep on loving life even during such sadness, is worthy of angels. I really do feel that we each have our spiritual protectors to help us through all the emotions we go through in life. The emotions teach us, shape us. I don’t think we go through life struggles alone.

Cultivate Your Dreams in 2015


A recent Spirit Painting/ copyright Elaine Clayton 2014

I started a new dream journal so I can use the scenes, symbols and signs that come through in dreams to help guide me toward deeper consciousness this New Year. Conscious awareness will help me make choices that will truly be good for me, and will show me what I am doing to hold myself back. I think dreams do give us clues and, like intuitive stream drawing, dreams allow us to be on the river of our flowing unconscious knowledge. Some of the knowledge is mysteriously present (a small thing recently is that I dreamed a good friend from college days loves the candy known as Pop Rocks, and when I sent him a message about the dream, he told me in fact he does love Pop Rock candy–this may seem trivial, but why would I even dream that detail, and why was the information correct?). Some of the content is obvious, and I think we live somewhere in-between the mysterious and spiritual and the physical, psychological obviousness. With both aspects, we create our future and respond to events as they unfold.

I wish you a fantastic 2015!

Get Ready for the New Year: Intuitive Stream Drawing Self Reflection


This is an intuitive stream drawing I have just started, so there are barely any notes on it yet. This is one of 4 views, a life experience view.

I am reflecting on this past year, as many of you are also, I’m sure. What was good about? What was hard about it? What were the highs and lows? How can I use everything that happened this past year (or at least those experiences which stand out for me) to help me grow stronger, wiser, more empowered and more forgiving and loving?

I did an intuitive stream drawing to see what would come up for me, and you can create one, too. Below is an example of an intuitive stream drawing I am in the process of seeing into, with a few notes on insights I got that surprised me and gave me new ways to look at some things. I want to be able to move forward into 2015 without anything holding me back, and being conscious of that which may, to my best ability, is essential for me now. The stream drawing’s life experience views (from left to right) showed that it is time to “wipe away tears of the past”–to consciously stop carrying whatever I may not have been aware of even carrying in the way of sadness (there will be a few things I will name to myself). A new doorway of opportunity ahead (an arch) also looks like the head of a puppy–for me dog signifies loyalty, companionship, protection, so I ask myself, “what/who am I loyal to and who/what deserves my loyalty?” amongst other questions, as I move forward into some new experiences. A heart stretching in to a new shape at the center is partially submerged, so becoming more conscious of flexibility in relationships is very, very important. There are specifics that relate to this that I am aware of and which are meaningful to me. I have yet to look at the two chakra chart views, that will be a lot of fun!

These are just some insights, there is no limit to the ways in which these symbols or shapes and lines can be interpreted, like dreams, they are multi-dimensional. I find it a fascinating way to explore self knowledge as a path to empathy and compassion toward others. If you create your own intuitive stream drawing for 2015, what might come up for you?!

To get a copy of the MAKING MARKS: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing book, click here.

An Intuitive Stream Drawing that Changed My Consciousness


This past weekend I was lucky enough to travel to Virginia to do readings and an intuitive stream drawing workshop (based on the intuitive method in my new book, MAKING MARKS: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing). At one point in the workshop, we broke into teams of two and did stream drawings for one another. I’d like to share what happened in my one-on-one with a partner. I told him I’d hold a concern in my mind and heart, but would not tell him what it was. He promised me he’d close his eyes and using his non-dominant hand, would draw in my honor, to help me (even though he didn’t know my concern, or know me at all). The drawing was very meaningful to me!  My partner showed me his drawing and then shared with me what he saw in it, while gazing at it. He saw a mountain peak right away. It immediately spoke to me. He didn’t know it, but the concern I had was that of worry as a mother having a high school senior about to graduate to move on in life. I dreaded the mountain peak, which my partner said, “Has a snowcap.” Could it be that my son would go to a college very  far away in the Northwest (I would prefer he not go so far away!)? This had been a worry of mine! see below, upper right snow cap image I validated that he was on the right track. Excited, I began to show him other things that I saw that was validation– we got into a fun and easy-going conversation about his stream drawing. We saw various things such as “a strong arm” and he helped me realize that I’d have to “let go, don’t hold on so tight” to my young adult son.  (Wise words!). And then I saw, to my amazement, that the entire stream drawing had a shape of a bear, in a dress. This is significant because my life lesson with my sons was to learn to advocate for them, like a “mother bear”. The bear has a tight grip (gulp–learn to let go now) and seems to have a little surrender flag up near it’s head. see above image Should I surrender control and instead let my son’s life take the course that he wants it to take, rather than holding on so tight? I think so. THANK YOU for the insight! I have learned something. I faced that this was a new time, with new lessons in life and parenting ahead. And that drawing really helped me change my viewpoint,  I was not even fully conscious of the need to acknowledge that I was perhaps unwilling to let go. (And these drawings are to be read “multi-dimensionally”, like a dream, they never stop offering new perspectives, new ways of perceiving. There is no absolute here, it’s about discovery and seeing what you see and embracing it, keeping an open mind to possible other views.)



Spirit Painting: The Valiant Nature of the Soul



Spirit Painting / Copyright Elaine Clayton 2014

In this recent Spirit Painting, I had feelings of the human personality in contrast (yet in unison) with the soul. In other words, I felt that we get born and develop in a growing body and our personality evolves as we mature. We are all that has conditioned us and contributed to our sense of self. And then there is the soul-essence which, every now and then, we may feel very strongly, a deep inner sense of self. An identity not necessarily like the personality at all. The soul seems to be a force or source informing our sense of ideals and capacity to love, it is above our human responses often, and the more we remember who we truly are “deep down inside” as some would say, we begin to fully integrate, becoming more conscious, of our soul as we respond to the world around as human personalities within a body.

The person who commissioned this painting, I felt during meditation, has strong ideals and desire to go and do good in the world, with archetypal heroes built into the sense of self, and a powerful spiritual motivation to find support and offer support to others.


Stream Drawing a Dream: In the Wilderness

Stream drawing after a compelling dream has some interesting benefits. I noticed the first time I tried it (read about it MAKING MARKS in the Streaming and Dreaming chapter) I did the drawing thinking about the dream, and discovered upon gazing afterward, that the drawing highlighted a particular incident that was the catalyst for changes in my life. Both the dream and the stream drawing with the dream in mind showed me elements of this life change, but from very different angles. This fascinated me as I had not connected things that way and the stream drawing helped me to more fully understand.

Last night I dreamed we were in a kind of wilderness land, and met people I’d consider guides (kind, patient, thoughtful, good advisors). The dream won’t leave me, it lingers like a movie continually playing, so I decided to create a stream drawing to see if I can learn more from or about the dream. Here it is, with my interpretations:



Detail from a stream drawing based on a dream/May 2014

I gazed at this drawing and was struck by what the word “wilderness” means to me in terms of this dream. A wilderness can be emotional or physical. In the dream it was both at once, kind of. I thought of lack of love and sense of goodness or ease as a good definition of wilderness as it relates to the dream and the stream drawing about the dream. I realize that the feelings I had in the dream were a kind of sadness I have or a hint of disappointment. This derives from parenting sons who are more young men than children now, and poignant memories of when they were still vulnerable babies and young children linger in my heart–you can’t get those years back. The “Little Red Riding Hood” image, facing the past (left) and a large bird (spiritual messenger) facing future (right) are significant to me. The fact that our earth walk seems to be perfectly captured by the story of Little Red. She is asked to step into the wilderness (forest with all it’s unknowns) and trust that she’ll get to her grandmother’s house safely. In the story, the wolf almost got her, but didn’t. She trusted herself and questioned the wolf.  This Little Red here faces the bird/spiritual messenger, who has a body shaped like one big heart. Love is the key–and love is the simple message. Further to the right a child clings to a heart with a tear (love, sadness) and the number 2 there for me symbolizes being a daughter–just as I am a parent who wishes I could do it all over again, and perfectly this time, I am also a child never wanting to lose my own parents. The wilderness dream and the stream drawing helped me see that we are caught on a journey where time takes us through stages of life and grief, but here we are. The only way through it seems to be to focus on love, on being a loving person.