Daydream Number Four, Acrylic and mixed media painting on canvas by Heather Elliott

Daydream: A visionary creation of the imagination experienced while awake

For me the idea of a daydream illustrates the mental state of mind necessary for creating. An enigmatic shift occurs when your brain is able to detach itself from the stresses and concerns of the more practical, physical world. Transitioning into this dream-like state frees up your brain to fully focus on other matters. Both daydreaming and creating are relaxed, insulated, unhurried, and contemplative.

One experiences a strange feeling of separation, almost like hovering above reality or outside your body, yet your brain is incredibly active. It’s totally awake and alive to new ideas, discoveries and connections. Your mind is inquisitive and deeply curious. You allow yourself to notice and follow the threads of ideas that were previously hidden behind the mundane. This shift in thinking is where the creative process lives and breathes.

Daydream Number Five, Acrylic and mixed media painting on canvas by Heather Elliott
Heather Elliott, Daydream No. 5, © 2017, 12″ x 12″, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Accessing that detached, daydream mode of thinking is essential to creating, but it is also very delicate and elusive. It can be difficult to shut out the more practical side of your brain. Just as most people slip into a daydream unaware, the shift into creative thought isn’t something you can force, or reliably schedule. Once in the creative mode a small disturbance or distraction easily interrupts the process and creative ideas evaporate back into your subconscious and can be lost. For me it feels very similar to the feeling of disorientation you experience in that moment you realize you’ve been daydreaming and are suddenly forced to resurface in the world.

Daydream Number One, Acrylic and mixed media painting on canvas by Heather Elliott.
Heather Elliott, Daydream No. 1, © 2016, 12″ x 12″, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

My latest series of abstract 12” x 12” mixed-media artworks play off of these ideas. They started off as smaller monoprint studies concentrating on composition and color. I’ve found that monoprinting works well as a method to encourage my mind to slide into creative mode. The embroidered flowers just seemed to organically grow out of the pieces as I roamed about in thought about my dreams, goals, and purpose.

With these mixed-media paintings I’m offering the viewer a little window of opportunity to experience their own daydream moments – small, refreshing escapes from the world where they find peace, hope, and clarity. The first six in this new series will be available for purchase in my Etsy shop later this week!

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