3 Dream Symbols You Should Know

If the world around you were a dream, what symbols would stand out?

Here are 3 dream symbols to get you started interpreting landscapes of the heart.

Marigold oil painting
Marigold, I Love You Buckets, oil, 6″ x 6″

Marigold, I Love You Buckets

The title of this small painting contains all three. Marigolds, buckets, wildflowers ~ so what do they mean?


Let’s start with the last one first. The first thing I do is break the word into syllables. Wild flowers, or wild flow-ers ~ The first thing that pops to my mind is, “oh, I AM a wild flower!” A new way of seeing myself, I never thought of myself as a flower.

Then I catch myself re-reading the syllables, wild flow-ers, and the question of flowing comes to mind. Do I flow wildly? Am I a flow-er? Are we in the flow together? You get the idea.


I had a pre-conceived idea of marigolds from long ago when they were the only flowers I could grow in my garden. So strong in my mind, I hesitated even to paint these at all. Yet I painted them anyway. So what do they mean? Could it mean that I am giving them a second chance? What else am I giving a second chance in life?

Mari -gold. Could Mari be a woman’s name? Could it mean marry? Be wed to an idea? or a way of doing things? What am I married to? Or is it an instruction for my second chance in life?

Gold? What does the color represent to you? Riches? Precious? Sacred? Write your thoughts in the comments below, or join me in a free online class Exploring the Meaning of Wildflowers & Dreams.


So what about buckets? Why buckets and not flowerpots? Buck – it? Buck what? What do I really want to buck? Or is it a container??? If it holds love, what are we doing with it? Who is the bucket?

As you can see, interpreting just these three symbols raises more questions than answers. However, it is living with questions like these that moves the flow of inspiration. If one sticks in mind, write it down in a journal. Giving it physical form on the page magnifies the flow of ideas. Write anything else that flows with it.

Wildflowers at the Light House

Explore the Meaning of Wildflowers & Dreams

Wildflowers at the Light House is an interactive Healing Arts Project created to raise awareness and end violence. Join me in sharing wildflowers and sowing seeds of healing. Share this post and spread the seeds. Thank you for your support! ~ Dorothy Fagan

Did you know??…… 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner. Statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the Laurel Shelter Hotline at 804-694-5552 or 804-694-5890 to speak with an advocate.
Find Help Near YOU

Laurel Shelter logoThe Laurel Shelter is dedicated to assisting victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. They offer shelter, advocacy, education and support to survivors, legal support, and community education to foster awareness and identification of victims.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.


How Inspiration Sprouted from a Week at the Beach


It all began with Happy Dance  ~ how I felt after three days at the beach with my sister-in-law!

I painted at sundown on our last night. Two weeks later …

Potted Joy
Potted Joy

inspiration grew from a seedling into a prolific garden

This week it spread to a whole garden of dreams.

Sundown at the beach
Sundown at the beach

I painted this small plein air painting at sundown on our last night at the beach. 

Happy Dance by Dorothy Fagan copyright 2016
Happy Dance, prints available

When I returned home, I kept fiddling around with all the paintings. This one kept niggling at me to paint it large. Finally, I consented to give it a try.

I prepared a 30 x 40 inch canvas with light terra cotta primer. Then washed the colors of Happy Dance in loosely. Strokes of happiness bottled up inside spewed across my painting.  

I grabbed a twig of willow charcoal and drew back into the wet paint, gently coaxing the color into form. 

Potted Joy by Dorothy Fagan copyright 2016
Potted Joy, prints available

Potted Joy? Did I know I was potting my joy? or that the pots symbolized anything at all? No!

I just felt it the urge to paint it. Like an itch, I had to do something about it so I picked up a brush and let loose.

prolific garden of paintings sprouted from it. I had no idea that following this urge to paint would create a wondrous and joyful container garden!

See more Joy’s Garden Paintings>


Tweaking the Nest

A thought was murmuring in the back of my mind, but I was ignoring it. When a friend visited, she brought it to the surface.

“The nest doesn’t really show up.” she queried about my pastel of the osprey nest.

“No,” I replied unconcerned.

A day later the thought about my nest is now front and center. If I COULD, how would I highlight it against the deep Ultramarine cloud without it being garish

Pondering, I continued painting other canvases. Could I lighten the cloud? No that won’t work. The intense Ultramarine Blue cloud is what gives the whole painting depth.

Could I highlight the nest? No way, the nest is is shadowed by the cloud. It isn’t out on the point in the light. It’s at the back of the cove, sheltered and safe.

What if I scratch an orange line on the underside of the nest? Can I do it right the first time without messing up the whole painting? Maybe.

Tweaking the Nest

Scanning the pastel palette, I found a gold pastel with a sharp edge. Carefully I rolled it down the left side of the nest and pole. Then added one more mark at the top of the nest ~ just a spark of light reflected up from the sand.

Feeling the light on the beach, I ran the same pastel gently across the shadow side of the sand. Then found a pink highlight and touched it softly just in front of the nest.

Stepping back I found a soft blue pastel for a soft atmospheric mist behind the nest. Careful not to disturb the deep blues, I touched it only on one side.

Now I must say that all of the symbolism of the nest is not lost on me. I get it, or at least I think I do. I am a shy person. My nest is my studio and this website. Tweaking it is what I do. Shining a light on myself is not comfortable. Much better to let light from the landscape around me reflect on my nest.

And my friend? Oh she lives in a tree house!

Coastal landscape pastel painting
The Nest, pastel, 9 x 12, Purchase this painting>

Now if you want to delve deeper, ask yourself about the osprey. What does she do in her nest? What does she symbolize?

By the way, I’m finishing up on “Coming to the River, CreativSOUP.” This painting will be in that book!

Shop Daily Paintings>