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Winter Dreams

A series of dreams during the winter of 2004-5 by Jenny Badger Sultan


This painting is a cluster of dream images whose vivid color struck me. I had just begun teaching a class on color in spring 2004--a class I had thought about and developed for years. I asked my students to pay attention to how color showed up in their dreams and think about the symbolic qualities of the color.

Acrylic painting by Jenny Badger Sultan of a series of dreams about color: a blue dragon, maroon and gold flowers, a seated Persian woman in a yellow robe, a circle of kids in green hoods; background of reddish rocks.

I dreamed someone was presenting the story of a huge and fearsome Chinese dragon. We see it huge and looming as a grey stone sculpture which moves. I confront the dragon. Its mouth opens and closes and it seems to roar. I throw a ball of wadded-up paper into the dragon's mouth. I hope that this will disrupt its menace. I go back to my seat. We wait. Then the dragon emerges from its space, gliding. It is large, but is a stuffed sculpture, completely harmless.

Acrylic painting by Jenny Badger Sultan of a dream: a fearsome blue dragon turns out to be a sculpture.
I relate this dream to some very specific fears from my childhood (having to do with my older brother) which turn out to be harmless when I confront them (possibly through writing or painting--the crumpled paper.) Acrylic painting by Jenny Badger Sultan of a dream of yellow and red bougainvilleas. Acrylic painting by Jenny Badger Sultan of a broken string of red beads.


This was from a dream about a planting of bougainvillea with groupings where dull red and golden yellow show up together. They looked most unusual.


These beads on a string came from a dream where I am collecting such beads from a necklace that is broken. I plan to take them and re-string them while I am visiting my mother (though she had been dead nearly 20 years).

Acrylic painting by Jenny Badger Sultan of a dream: a seated woman in a rich yellow robe by an pyramidal indigo carving.

This woman is from a dream in which I was trying to make a copy of either a painting or a real person dressed this way. She seemed Persian. Acrylic painting by Jenny Badger Sultan of a dream: children sit in a tight circle, wearing pointed green hoods, looking like seedpods.

November 8, 2003

My husband Hank and I are going around the city doing various things. In large open places where there are many people we see circles of children, sitting close, with their heads together. They wear little hats or hoods of a fuzzy material--all alike--kind of an ochre green, maybe a little bit peaked. They look like seed pods. It is remarkable and unusual. There may be different color configurations--maybe denoting boys or girls. I wonder if they're tour-groups of children from a foreign country and this is the formation they were instructed to use.

We see one of these groups of children in a large, crowded plaza. We look at them intently. I think we have another friend with us. We are speculating about the children. I say "I think they are from Central Asia."

A girl from the group sees our interest, and sends a pale pink piece of paper over to us that explains a bit about who these children are. However it's not very clear.


These come from a dream where I am with Hank and my parents (both dead long ago). We are in a place built on a circular plan. First we're waiting for food. Then we get separated. Then Hank and I are trying to locate my parents and we see the ruins.

Acrylic painting by Jenny Badger Sultan of a dream: red pile of crumbled rock or brick.
They look like the remains of brick buildings in strange many-tiered shapes. They felt very eerie and unexpected. What used to be here?


These are from a dream where two children, a boy and a girl, are making vows to one another (as in a marriage) and they are given these fruit offerings.

--Jenny Badger Sultan

Acrylic painting by Jenny Badger Sultan of a dream: a green and a yellow oval fruit, in separate serving bowls on stands.

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