lost in various translations

Life has themes and seasons...and I don't just mean the weather and commercial holidays. If you sit down and think about it, there are certain songs you listen to that stir memories, certain smells, an article of clothing in your closet...something that reminds you of a time or season in your life. Good or bad. It ties in with that object for some reason, and you find yourself lost in thought for a bit. Good thought? Bad thought? It's fun to relate these stories to others. Like going through old photos with your grandparents. They get that look about some things...a picture of themselves when they were younger for example...and suddenly their eyes are focused years back. You can just tell. It's not mistiness all the time...but there is distance there. And trying to articulate those memories can be so difficult. What words do you use? By the time you get it out, some of the explanation has been lost, or can't be articulated. It's a bit maddening. It's been a reoccurring theme for me lately, creatively and in interaction with friends. Especially texting. Friends don't let friends text important messages. They make them call or visit in person! (Remember this kids!)

I got thinking about this phrase my friend Jason has been using a lot lately in our conversations....lost in translation. Oh how much this applies to painting I thought! (But then, everything eventually applies to painting for me...) I willing omit details or focus on them when I'm painting or drawing...something catches my eye specifically...light and shadows, details on the gable of a house, leaf patterns on a sidewalk...sometimes the stress is figuring out how to convey this accurately, or in a way that represents what it was that caught my eye.

"northern sun (along the highway to AB from NWT)"

acrylic on canvas, 9" x 12"


Translation is not an exact science, whether it be visual or spoken language. That's half the fun and half the battle. Heck, seeing the Group of 7 sketches at the AGO and the National Gallery looked a LOT different in person than they did in the various coffee table books printed on glossy paper that I have on my shelves at home. But....that's the magic of going to see these things for yourself. Getting to know them. Getting to know people. Real interaction. Yea, somethings get lost in the process of creating a painting or relating a story to someone....but in it's stead, something maybe more interesting or unexpected can be found. I love the trees and the intensity of the sun amidst the gathering clouds in this little painting. I translated the things I love about this photo I took from the moving car on the way home from Yellowknife last July. But who knows...had you been on that trip with me...it might have looked very different to you.

How cool is that?