This is one of those images that is difficult to write about because of its simplicity. I am drawn to meditate on the image more out of a immediate, emotional response to the whole picture, opposed to out of a more cerebral desire to explore complex details. It reminds me of the difficulty I have with putting into words how I am deeply moved by many Mark Rothko paintings. On its face, this image is easy to describe: a nondescript sleeping woman across the bottom third of the composition in several shades of blue, contrasted with a striped arch behind a butterfly and flower, all in shades of warm yellow-browns. The longer I look at this image, the more I detach from the literal subject, sink into the abstract qualities. I enjoy the looseness of how everything is described, how the lines and shadows of the sleeping woman and bedding are suggestive of landscape, and the arch behind her isn't quite symmetrical, but rather, it leans to the left as if pulled by the butterfly. The colors, too, are quite vivid, almost cheery.
When I come back to the subject, it seems that the woman, the butterfly, the flower, and arch are much more than they seem. The subject of her dream is so mundane: a butterfly approaching a flower. Yet butterflies and flowers have always captivated both the human eye and imagination. There are profound reasons for this: softness, delicacy, flashy fluttering, resemblance to female sex organs, and simply gorgeous symmetry. There seems to be something achingly feminine about these two, lovely organisms, which might begin to explain why almost every little girl (and many boys) with a crayon-in-hand tends to draw them by the truckload.
There is no conflict in this image, and yet it isn't just pretty. It is rather like a butterfly or flower, just as captivating for its mystery as for its beauty.