Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Painting Naturally

Pic of print roller in hand painting green lawn with daisies on wall

Dutch Flowers followed by My Back to Nature. Two National Gallery exhibitions in one day; two entirely different approaches. Both had Nature as the subject. Both inspired reflections on the ‘arts’ of translation and copywriting. A difference in artistic perspective?

Art v Text
If I were to pick up a paint brush, I wouldn’t choose to follow either exhibition’s style. Artists are lucky. No-one is likely to come along and decide that they have got that bit wrong and should redo it. (Unless you are my fellow Bristolian Banksy and positively invite it). 

An unfortunate drip of paint may be incorporated into a painting. The viewer simply assumes the ‘slip’ was part of the artist’s intention.

Artist's paintbrush about drip red paint

You can admire elements of someone else’s style or approach without feeling the need to intervene. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case with translations and copywriting.

No-one would dare to smudge out a few bits of a painting, having just progressed beyond painting by numbers.

If you are a translator or copywriter, you may well be subjected to a reviser’s Michelangelo flourish in the middle of your Pop Art.

Claims of artistic licence and originality will not wash. The reviser will not see the creativity for the textual equivalent of a drip of paint.

The two exhibitions at the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, UK:

Exhibition runs until 29 August 2016
Free admission

Exhibition runs until 30 October 2016
Free admission