Thinking and Dreaming presents the viewer with a complex combination of colorful layers. As in the previous prints from the Wasteland series, the non-representational shapes appear fractured and make up a loose framework for the rest of the composition. A central image of a human face and neck are created by contrasting the the outline of the form with multiple layers of line and color. The image behind the face and neck is made up of transparent purple curvilinear lines which increases the contrast between the central image and the background. The eyes of the face contain no apparent pupils but still seem to look directly out of the composition as if to acknowledge and engage the viewer. The central image is reminiscent of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures of Plato, Aristotle and Homer and is meant to symbolize both thinking and dreaming.
The colored shapes that make up the composition’s framework are twisted to one side as if teetering in the background. The complex framework that holds the composition together represents the conscious elements of the creative process while the curvilinear lines and fragmented, non-representational shapes suggest the creative unconscious. Both elements of conscious and unconscious creative activity exist simultaneously in a chaotic environment that disintegrates behind the combination of layers. The two goldfinches in the upper third of the composition appear to be escaping the fractured environment instead of occupying a structured space. These symbols represent ideas of independence and autonomy similar to the wings contained in Reconciliation.