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1999: two studies by Chris Wayan in automatic imagery; ink & acrylic wash, 18x24".

Fellow dream-artist Jenny Badger Sultan taught me this old surrealist exercise. Here's her formula: get some odd veggies--limp ones are fine, but ketchup (despite Ronald Reagan) should not be treated as a vegetable unless you're SERIOUSLY into goth. Close your eyes, dump the veggies on a big piece of paper a few times, till you get an intriguing composition. Now draw their silhouettes. Then... don't draw THEM, draw EVERYTHING ELSE. What do those strange-shaped spaces turn into? What do they say?

Here was my first try, playing mostly with texture.

Vegetable silhouettes create surreal worlds in their negative spaces. Click to enlarge.
I was amused to find I quite unconsciously had created an elegant squash-man out walking his pet seabird. A squash with a huge, bizarre erection.

The exercise tranced me out. I sank into the textures (click on image to see close-up) but afterward I realized... I'd been censoring/suppressing faces and figures and images that wanted to creep in.

So I tried a second one. No censoring. Let the creatures come. And they did!

Vegetable silhouettes create surreal worlds in their negative spaces.  Click to enlarge.
Try it yourself and see what you get. If you quit censoring.

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