lost in translation


I have a friend who, while awaiting her mother in a professional office one day, found herself face to face with one of her mothers colleagues.

Because my friend felt out of place and nervous encountering this stranger in a place where she was so clearly out of place, she stood abruptly, thinking, “this man must be wondering who I am and what I’m doing here”.

More calmly, digital hand drawn woman blue janet bright art lost in translation communication left hand drawingshe reasoned, “I will introduce myself.”

Because of her nervousness however, when my friend spoke to the man, what she intended to say is not what came out.

“Who are you and what the hell are you doing here?” she demanded. (!!) and upon hearing her voice she realized her mouth had not said what she had wanted it to say. There was a miscommunication between her brain and her tongue and her kindly intentions (of introducing herself) were completely lost in translation.



digital hand drawn woman blue janet bright art lost in translation communication left hand drawingAnd this is how it is with art, as well.

Seeing an object and getting a drawing of that object onto paper or canvas is complicated. An image that is fantastic in my head does not always look so great on paper because the message of how to draw the Fantastic Image gets muddied and confused as it travels from my brain to my hand.

And so I need to practice. I need to teach myself to look more closely at what is around me, to study the details, to look at the shapes and to see their size and proportion as they relate to other objects and shapes around them. I think, “what am I missing?” and find ways to see more.

One way to ‘see more’ is by drawing in a way that is out of the ordinary. Sometimes I draw upside-down. Sometimes I paint objects backwards. This week I did a series of three small drawings, ending the series with one drawn with my left hand.

digital hand drawn woman line drawing janet bright art lost in translation communication left hand drawing
left hand line drawing / janet bright

I am far less proficient drawing with my left hand than with my right, but I find myself looking, seeing and thinking in much greater detail when I work with my left hand.

Take a look at the (shaky) care with which I created the left handed drawing and then try it yourself.  Perfection is not the intent- it’s about seeing things differently.

Now go! (even if you’re not an artist). Tell me what happens. Take a photo. Send it.

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