In a very real sense, when we draw or paint any subject, we are translating it from one “language” into another.  We either translate directly from the landscape, figure, or still life into the worlds of paint, or charcoal, or pen and ink…  Or we begin with a 2-d photograph and translate what we see there into a different 2-d form.  I used photos of my favorite places right where I live:  Mr. Whicker’s farm and Smith Hollow Lane.  It’s fun to ask yourself: How can I translate this image into pen?  What lines would express what I see here?  Would twirly lines describe this particular tree?  Would straight lines, without crosshatching describe the movement of the land?  What is the value pattern here, and how can I alter it to make it stronger?

Vincent Van Gogh was a master at translating the landscape into his own language of dots, dashes, swirls, hatches, etc.  If you’ve never seen his drawings, YOU MUST!  Here and here are examples to give you a glimpse of the language he employed to translate what he saw all around him.  If you look back at your sketchbook, you’ll probably see the language you use to translate your world onto paper.  It’s SO much fun…being a translator!

0 thoughts on “Translating

  1. Lynn says:

    These are really good! I really love the second sketch! I actually did go back and look at my sketches to see my visual language. Interesting! I will post soon about it on my blog. Thanks for the idea!

  2. betty wilkins says:

    I love this post, these sketches, more than I can say. Your sketches are wonderfully textured and filled with character. I have that Van Gogh book of drawings and it is such a treasure.

  3. Susan says:

    Your second sketch spoke to me so clearly that I said aloud, “Oh, I LIKE that.” and I’m sitting here all alone. (Yet not lonely LOL. Lovely lines.

  4. jenpedwards says:

    Thank you so much everyone!! Your comments make my day and encourage me so much! All the best to each of you in your creative endeavors!

  5. Deborah says:

    It’s funny, I can smell the ink in the Bic pen 🙂 These are absolutely stunning drawings, filled with emotion and energy — and yes, even sanity. Beautiful work, Jennifer.

  6. raena says:

    I sometimes have a difficult time referring to myself as an ‘artist’, ‘translator’ sounds so much easier! You’ve translated beautifully in these!

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