About the Art: "Dream Walkers"

Are you the kind of person who thinks reptiles are cool, or do you say “Eeek! “ (quietly to yourself, of course) and go the other way?

I recently posted a photo of “Dream Walkers” on Instagram, and someone commented on my interest in lizards, saying his wife would have run away. I had to laugh. . .

“Dream Walkers," low bas relief fine art piece. Original and prints available.

Before my husband and I got married many years ago we were hiking on a path to a secluded beach in Big Sur, California. We saw a rattle snake crossing the path in the distance. We hurried our pace to a trot to see if we could spot it disappearing into the brush. No luck.

When we honeymooned on the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean, little lizards were everywhere, including crawling on our hotel room ceiling. When we toured the island in a pickup truck on a on a rough dirt road, every time we saw one of the critters, we yelled "Lizard!"

Original lizard petroglyphs from Dinosaur National Monument, UT

Years late when I saw a photograph of lizard petroglyphs created by the Fremont people in Dinosaur National Monument, UT, I knew this was going to be the inspiration for one of my bas relief, petroglyph pieces.

With some of my petroglyph pieces, I try to stay close to the look of the original images, but tell my own story, as with “Counting Sheep.” With “Dream Walkers,” I stayed true to the composition of the images, which already seemed perfect. But I had already created several pieces with the classic, bright red petroglyphs and darker, “desert varnish” top layer. So this time I tried a different look.

In many areas where petroglyphs are found, the rocks are composed of sandstone. With this piece, I created a standard iron oxide look in the bottom plaster layer, to give the lizards some color contrast.

For the top layer, I used a sandstone palette of raw and burnt sienna and included some typical patterns seen in sandstone, such as ripples and inclusions (for example, the amoeba shape in the lower right).

Why the title “Dream Walkers”? I like to do a little research when I create a petroglyph piece and learn what the images might mean. Some images have obvious meanings, other don’t.

Lizards often sit motionless in the sun for long periods of time to warm up. The Fremont people associated the stillness of lizards with the dream state and the spirit world, and referred to them as “Dream Walkers.” As I’m writing, I’m recalling these details from memory. The web page I carefully bookmarked with these details, of course, no longer exists, but I did find other sites discussing the link between lizards and dreaming.