• Tory Voner

Dreams and Intuition, Where the Imagination Thrives

Sometimes I like to paint from my imagination, and in fact it seems to be happening more and more. I think the fact that I haven't been traveling because of COVID, has given me a huge itch to scratch with the environment around me. I do love living in New England, I love the seasonal changes, it makes every day unique and interesting in that way. But I know there is a whole world of places to explore, and all of my dreams (literally) have been revolving around that. I am either in a boat, an airport, a hotel, or get this, a flying party tent. I even covered the inside of the tent with peanut butter, so that we could eat something on the go. I think my subconscious needs some stimulation! I just booked my first trip to Vermont, to at least get out of Massachusetts, and plan on booking a flight to Seattle later this year, and maybe paint some different landscapes from the Pacific Northwest.

Northern Lights in Iceland, Getty Images

Recently, I have produced a mini-series of paintings inspired by the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. This is also on my bucket list of dream trips. Going to another country I am still fairly tentative about, I am starting small and working my way outwards! COVID really has done a number on my anxiety, as I am sure it has for many of you. But I feel if I start small, at least it is starting somewhere. My soul is for sure craving adventure, and new places.

I also thought of the Northern Lights as visually similar to my style that I have been developing as of late. I feel my style, at its core, is capturing the energy of whatever I am painting, which is what made me think of the Aurora Borealis in the first place. The Northern Lights are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth's atmosphere, creating these violent but beautiful displays. The long brushstrokes I am creating seem to be getting more and more spontaneous, and playing with light and color is something I always love exploring. This phenomenon just fascinates me, why not turn it into beautiful pieces of artwork? This is how my mind works usually, the "Why not?" I figure, if I end up not liking it or loving it, I can always try again with something else. Or just put it aside, and ponder how to develop it at a later point. I did start a piece just before this, that is now sitting in my corner, because I have NO idea where to take it next! So I just moved on to this project, which has taken me in multiple directions.

I started thinking about this as more of an abstract painting, but to start I wanted to solely work on how to utilize my style, and make it feel like the Aurora Borealis. I decided to start with two small pieces, with the palette knife as my tool. It became a diptych, one side I used wood panel, and the other I used canvas. This was also an experimentation to see which I preferred best, using the palette knife, and to see how they differed in appearance when I was finished. The paint sinks into the canvas, as opposed to the wood panel, the layering of paint builds up rather quickly, which I enjoyed. The canvas it feels much softer in person than the wood panel. So I decided I like both, but it would depend on what the subject would be, for which material I would use. Also, if I want the painting to really feel 3D, it takes much less time to do that on the wood panel.

"Aurora," acrylic on linen, 22" x 28", $900

The next piece I started soon after the diptych, was a larger, more surrealist piece. I started with the idea that I wanted a tall, Mount Everest-type mountain, in front of the beautiful Northern Lights. And then I realized I wanted a nude woman leaning into the mountain, as if she awoke at night, and saw the beauty that was around her. I even ended up adding a male figure behind her, in a fetal position, asleep. Having her hand on his back, as if to show the moment, "Honey, wake up! Look at the magic around us." But really, this moment is just for her, which is why she is the central focus, even with the vivid colors all around her. The background went in so quickly on this one, I really felt like I was meant to paint it, just as is.


After these two were finished, I wanted to keep going, and abstract it even more, with just the colors of the Aurora Borealis, with however I felt the composition needed to look. So I started two at the same time (this is how I work best), one large, and one small, with the same idea. I actually drew up some sketches with my Tom Bow markers, just to come up with some compositions of color. Then I just let them develop with where I wanted them to go intuitively. Learning to listen to my intuition has been a very rewarding journey, because before a few years ago, I was terrible at it, and I just felt confused ALL of the time, and stuck. Now, I feel empowered to listen to myself, and follow my journey to where it takes me. I hope the year 2022 brings amazing journeys to you all, in whatever that may look like for you. Listen to your dreams and intuition, and your life will become much more joyful. Trust me on that, you will not regret it.


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