Fairy Tale Illustrations Inspired by Dreams and Grief

Illustrations for Fallen
Illustrations for Fallen, 11 x 14 watercolor and colored pencil on bristol.

My latest art project is a series of illustrations for a spiritual fairy tale I’ve written. The story itself was inspired by a dream from many years ago and a phrase that has rattled around in my brain ever since, begging me to unravel its mysteries, to understand its meaning.

In my long ago dream, I have lost my four-month-old baby and I am beside myself with grief. At the memorial service for the child it comes to me that I will create the “Deep Water Leaf Society” and that will alleviate my grief and create healing for many others as well. When I woke, still disturbed by the deep feeling of grief the dream expressed, I was puzzled. My children were all growing up; I had no more “babies”. And I wondered what in the world a “deep water leaf” might be, much less a society of them.

Fast forward several years – seven, to be exact – and I did lose a child, my eldest son who was 26. During my deep grief, I spent a lot of time revisiting my old journals and filling many new ones with my journey to healing. Along the way, I found the record of this deep water leaf dream and it resonated deeply.

My son, Cameron, was born in April. Suddenly “four-month-old” became a metaphor for this child of mine, born in the fourth month, who I now grieved so deeply for. The dream seemed to hold a prescription for healing. In time, I wrote my first book partly as a chronicle of my own healing journey and partly as a self-help roadmap for others who were grieving. I titled it The Deep Water Leaf Society in honor of the dream.

But I still wondered, what IS a deep water leaf? Inklings of the answer had come through in the book I’d written, but there was more mystery yet to be unraveled. The question continued to rattle around in the back of my mind.

Over the years since Cameron’s death and the publication of the first book, my dreams and meditations have slowly been answering that question. In my new book, Fallen, I explore the answer in the form of a fairy tale or fable about the first Deep Water Leaf.

In it, my protagonist Alora falls from the Dreaming Tree into the strange new land of Lake Sojourn where she struggles to remember who she is. Will she continue to drift on the surface, always at the mercy of the elements? Or will she find the courage to face her fears, dive deep and reclaim her true power?

No spoilers here. You’ll have to read it to find out. šŸ˜‰

Fallen, the Adventures of a Deep Water Leaf is scheduled for publication January 2017. Join my mailing list (sign up form below) and follow me on Facebook for release details and opportunities for free downloads and prizes as the launch date draws nearer.

Several of the original illustrations – 11 x 14 watercolor and colored pencil on bristol – will be on display in the Southwest Visual Art League’s INSPIRED! Art Show this November in downtown Mesa, Arizona.

Work in Progress "Into the Unknown"
Work in Progress “Into the Unknown” 11 x 14 watercolor and colored pencil on bristol.
WIP Closeup - Into the Unknown
Work in Progress (closeup) “Into the Unknown” 11 x14 watercolor and colored pencil on bristol.

2 thoughts on “Fairy Tale Illustrations Inspired by Dreams and Grief

  • September 11, 2016 at 5:26 AM
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    Claire, I am really looking forward to reading your new book! In the meantime, I will retread your first book to refresh my memory on the details of your beautiful talent in using symbolism.

    Reply
    • September 11, 2016 at 11:44 AM
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      Thanks so much, Elva! It’s been fun to write. As soon as I’ve finished the illustrations, it will be ready to go to formatting. I’ll keep you posted!

      Reply

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