Redon's Spider--and Mine October 18, 2022 06:55

Redon's charcoal image The Smiling Spider

Yesterday I was reading about Symbolism and came across an illustration of Redon's "Smiling Spider." I've always thought this was a fairly scary painting (actually, a charcoal drawing). 

Last night, I dreamed I was painting a huge black spider with oil on canvas. The support was big, about 36 x 36". I was using black paint. I thought the painting was finished and stepped away from it.

A lot of people were around and they complimented me on the painting. Some, though, were afraid of it because it was moving around on the canvas. I thought this was silly but went to look at it, and it did seem to have moved on the canvas.

I saw I had not painted any eyes on it and thought that if I did, it would stop the image from being in any sense evil or dangerous. And I knew in the dream that a lot of people like spiders and post pictures of them like they are cute. And sometimes they are indeed cute. 

But when I painted the eyes, I painted two, badly, and they were basically just two ovals of orange paint that made it look less like a spider and more like a demon. It didn't look more friendlier; it looked creepier.

So I thought "they have eight eyes, not two." The two eyes had slowed the spider's motion down some, but it managed to moved around on the canvas. I got ready to try to paint the 8 eyes, but the spider pressed itself against the surface of the canvas to wipe off the two eyes and free itself from the canvas space. It came off the support and started running around of its own free will, scaring people. I knew I would not be able to recapture it and that it might hurt people, even kill them. I felt guilty that I had been responsible for creating the image and hoped no one would find out I had painted it. I slunk away.