What dreams are made of

The Ara's Message acrylic on canvas 100 x 100 cm

Dreaming of dreams

As I told you in my last blogpost, I had this wonderful experience of being picked for the World Tour with the Art2Life Academy and Nicholas Wilton and his team.

During this interview, Susan Melrath asked me if the motifs on my paintings came from a dream. This particular painting did not, but it made me think about painting your dreams. Many people dream a lot, and often when they wake up, they wonder: where did that come from? What does it mean?

In my art therapy education, we learned a lot about dreams, and one of the advices was to paint the dream, at least the strongest impression of it.

Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961, psychologist) was very interested in dreams and meant that dreams were letters from your subconscious, and as such it would be wise to open and read them. Dreams are full of symbols, and when you paint what you dream, your paintings may have lots of symbols you wouldn’t dream of thinking about awake.

If you should paint your dreams, your paintings would truly be unique. And you might learn something about yourself. Think about what the symbols mean to you, what are your attitude to this symbol, how did you feel when you woke up, and most important; write them down! Maybe you say, I don’t dream, but if you decide you want to remember and keep a pen and a book by your bedside, you will remember more and more. I know it works.

Below is a painting I made of a dream I had many years back, in India.  My boyfriend and I were on a meditation trip then, and every morning the group met up with our guide and had a dream sharing session. I don’t quite remember the dream now, but it was about a bride, riding in a car, downhill, and she had to jump out of it in order to throw up.


So what does it mean? What does a bride symbolize? A car? Vomiting? When you look at the painting, it looks like the car is driving into the bride’s head. Is she going to be overrun? Look at the colours in the background, red and black,…. Well, now, all these years after, I don’t remember how I interpreted it then, but it is interesting, because at that time, my boyfriend and I were discussing whether we should move in together, and I think I felt he was reluctant, and I was wondering; will it work?

The Interview

The interview on Art2Life lasted a little more than 20 minutes, and I thought I would share it with you. However, 20 minutes is long, so now it is clipped down to 6 minutes. You can see it here if you are interested: https://youtu.be/lTr7r30st4A

The Closing Party

This fall’s painting course in my studio was finalised last night. After 6 weeks of painting exercises, I thought it was time for a party. Many students had other appointments that evening, but the rest of us had a great time.

Happy students
Anne Liv, Solveig and Anne Grethe
Proud students

The Winner

During the party the students could buy tickets in order to win one of my paintings.

And here is the happy winner! Anne Liv.

Anne Liv with the painting she won!

Edvard Munch and Marlene Dumas

At the Munch Museum here in Oslo there is now a wonderful exhibition curated by the french artist Marlene Dumas. It shows works by Munch and Dumas, side by side, and the theme are Moon rising – Måneoppgang. There is a lot to be said about this exhibition, but that would be too much here. It is a strong exhibition, and many of Dumas’ paintings are very moving. Last week I went to see it together with a friend, and one of the paintings left quite different impressions on us. Her is the painting:

Imagening - indbildning

My friend Astrid thought this painting visualised a little girl peeking into another room. While I thought it was a little girl who had been hanged.

What do you think the painting is about?


I would love to hear your thought about this.



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  1. Sorry, but it really lookes like the girl is hanging. Congratulations with another painting course carried out. And thank you for bringing up this very interesting theme of dreaming. Wish you a wonderful day, Toril!

    • Thank you, Linda. Dreams are very interesting.

  2. I love this dream work @Toril!! Great blog post!!

    • Thank you so much@Susan. Please follow.

  3. I still see a girl peeking into another room. Look at the way her head is bending and her body’s attitude! Well, it doesn’t matter really, and it’s so nice to walk with you through an exibition, Toril. I learn a lot ,too!
    The interview was very interesting, must have been quite an experience! Gratulerer!!!!

    • Thank you, Astrid. It was great being with you, too!



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