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Backstory: 'City Lights'

I was just minding my own business, when out of nowhere...

This one is simply impossible to explain. In early 2021 I decided to begin a painting using streaks of bold colors on a black background. I grabbed a 12” x 16” canvas panel, got started…and after a while decided I didn’t care for the direction it was going. So I put it aside and let it sit for a couple weeks.


Eventually the idea came to me of adding a city skyline and letting the streaks of color light the night sky. To soften the streaks I brushed

City Lights (painting) - Tom Delamater

over them lightly with diluted black paint, then added the buildings. This was the result. I liked it and posted it on social media, where it was well-received. All’s well that ends well, except…

Fast forward to a year later. A friend from college with whom I hadn’t really been in close contact over the years saw my website and sent me a very kind message about my art. I thanked her, we messaged back and forth a bit, and I figured that was that. Except an hour later she hit me with a bombshell.


She messaged again to share that she had seen the image of 'City Lights,' with the exact colors, in a dream she’d had several years earlier. Excuse me? I didn’t know what to say to that, and still don’t. She told me that, when she’d had the dream, the colors were so vivid that she looked them up to learn their meaning and see what spiritual significance they held.


How in the world could that have happened? I’ll admit it’s kind of cool, but it’s not something I can explain. Like so many artists, I simply paint what comes to me, and that’s that. I certainly didn't see any spiritual significance to "City Lights." It was just something I came up with at the time, a creative solution to a painting that didn't turn out the way I had originally expected.


Labyrinth (painting) - Tom Delamater

Ah, but it didn't end there. My friend blew my mind a little further by telling me the same thing was true of one of the other paintings on my site, called "Labyrinth" (shown here). She had also seen it in a dream years earlier. What made that strange was that I had started the painting in early 2021, set it aside, and finished it a year later, in 2022. 


She admitted that seeing these images in my paintings all these years later was “a little shocking.” (Ya’ THINK? Lol.) I have no explanation for any of this and am still amazed by it. However, when people ask me if there is a spiritual component to art, I can speak from this and other experiences when I tell them, without hesitation, that there most certainly is.

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