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Gaia Bathing in a Pool of Stars

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The earth mother goddess Gaia bathes in a pool of stars. This piece came straight from a dream I had in early October a night or two before I found out I was pregnant. I have often had dreams where I'm swimming in a pool of stars and looking up at the earth, but this is the first time anyone else showed up. I deliberately chose not to show her face, partly because it shouldn't matter and partly because I didn't actually see it. But she was bald and had skin the color of rich, dark earth like a freshly tilled field, and she was humming to herself in a shifting five note scale pattern that reminded me of change ringing.

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While I was trying to figure out what this woman with the globe in a bubble in her belly was doing there, I heard my husband say from behind me, "Without change something sleeps inside us and seldom awakens. The Sleeper must awaken." Then I woke up thinking he was there, but he was out of town.

Up until then I had no reason to think I was pregnant, but I keep pregnancy tests around just to rule it out if I miss a month because that's the first thing the nurses always ask if you show up saying you feel funny. And I did feel funny, all of the sudden anything vanilla was making me queasy and I didn't need any caffeine. So anyway, my bundle of Starstuff, who by all medical logic shouldn't exist, was conceived on the new moon and is due June 1, on another new moon. I don't believe that signifies anything. I just think it's neat.

Now, did I tell my doctor any of this when she asked what compelled me to take a pregnancy test? No. I told her it was because I started craving Fritos. I believe that's the first time I've ever lied to a doctor. But I didn't want her to diagnose me with some kind of pregnancy-induced hallucinatory psychosis and hand me a bunch of irrelevant pamphlets just because my subliminal brain sorted it all out with imagery before my conscious self did. Everyone's brain works this way, it's just that most people don't listen to themselves. Or Gaia.

Gaia, Gea, or Gaea is one of the first gods or titans of the Greek pantheon, representing what the modern West now calls Mother Nature, and is still worshiped by some pagans and neopagans today. "Gaia" in Latin was also the name used to describe everywoman, or Jane Doe. In science, the "Gaia Hypothesis" is a theory which describes the earth as a single superorganism, which probably makes humans a virus since we are killing our host.

Obligatory technical notes: Oddly, I could have done the stars faster on a real canvas with a spray bottle and some flicks of a brush. I'm sure there's some kind of star thingy you can use in Photoshop or something, but I downloaded it for the first time ever this fall. I've used it twice but I didn't like the results so I went back to Corel. It took a lot of brush changes, size changes and stippling.

I used Celestia's earth as a morgue file. It was turning pole over pole in my dream but I can't do that in a painting, so I picked Starstuff's conception date, since in an earlier painting with the earth in it I picked my marriage date and time.

I don't like how her left hand looks. It blended in too much with her shoulder so I added blue light where there shouldn't be any. It looks better artistically but it lacks photo-realism. Sometimes that bothers me. I tried putting water dripping up there, too, but it just ended up looking like maple syrup no matter what I tried so I painted it out.

You can probably tell after finishing Sweetest Tongue Has Sharpest Tooth I spent some time browsing surrealists. I can't look at art while I paint because I am easily influenced (or discouraged) by the styles of others and the painting turns out a mess. Clearly my activities during my rest period between paintings influenced my dreams and my art.