Brakhage's intent in his films was to "show sights" rather that "sharing sights." He created a film to show the viewer what it was that he saw. He did not create images out of fictional devices. He showed the truth as seen by his own eyes.
Brakhage often scratched or painted on the film himself. This was to represent the colors and lines that he saw when he viewed the images under his eyelids. "The hand painting was always in direct relationship to the particular kind of closed-eye vision' that comes only in dreams. The commonest type of 'closed-eye vision' is what we get when we close our eyes in daylight and watch the moving shapes and forms through the red pattern of the eyelid." Painting onto the film was the closest approximation Brakhage could find for this.