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Beloved Daughter

Painted 2000-2002 with dreams from 2001; acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48", by Jenny Badger Sultan

Notes from my painting log--

Nov. 2, 2000

Yesterday I did thin color gestural sweeps all around the canvas. Nothing in mind. Two themes rattling around in my head: “lap energy” and “maternal line.” This morning saw the little girl standing amid mountains. And now I have begun to take the little girl (me) to various places--washing blood off in the pool, in a tree, being given food by the tree mother (Hathor), sitting amidst flowers, walking hand in hand with her mother on a beach (the fossil footprints at Laetoli). It seems like a pure fantasy--wish fulfillment/escapism--will I do it? Breasts of the Mother.

The mountains that proliferate in this new painting. Afghanistan--I feel it is here in this painting and in my consciousness though I’ve never seen it. Caves, mountains, barren landscapes. I have been painting the robed Middle Eastern women in one form or another for a very long time (even think of Dream of the Dancing Goddesses). We hear on the radio that Laura Bush will speak of women under the Taliban. And yet we supported the Taliban, with no mention of how women had no rights. Outrage at the manipulativeness of governments.

Nov. 27, 2000

Today I introduced the old man in white. Began to clarify the little girls. I didn’t like the one sitting in the grass--seemed too tense. So I made her curled up, lying down, then thought of the grasses as green hands. Resting in the hands of the Mother.

Dream painting, 'Beloved Daughter', by Jenny Badger Sultan. Click to enlarge

Dec. 28, 2000

I am struck by the girl in the water, washing the blood off. Echoes of the baptism of Jesus. Here the old man is like God the Father--”This is my beloved child (son) in whom I am well pleased.” And the Vulture Goddesses (from Catal Huyuk, inTurkey) become the dove of the Holy Ghost.

January 18, 2001

The gray cat has come in. I’ve been working with this image since yesterday. My gray rubber bath toy. Its relationship to cats of ancient Egypt. And today I remember the cat cookie cutter that Dad made.

October 28, 2001

Dream fragment: a young girl--6 or so. Her pubic area and thighs have blood spatters on them. Has she been assaulted? Raped? She is under a faucet and water is being run on her to wash off the blood.

Nov. 13, 2001

Dream--I am in a store with a companion. We are buying clothes for a man who is with us. I have the feeling he may be tall, perhaps old, perhaps poor or a street person. A male clerk in the store (also older) is helping us find things. The man has on loose white trousers--perhaps wool. Then he tries on a long, loose silk shirt--it is creamy and beautiful. I saw the price tag--it said $60 or something (which seemed like a lot.) Then the clerk brings out a gray wool or synthetic shorter jacket. It costs less--perhaps $40 or so. I indicate that I don’t like the way it looks with these other beautiful items. We’ll go on looking. It seems that we weren’t necessarily going to buy these clothes for the man, but now I feel I really would like to buy the beautiful silk shirt (maybe other things too?).

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