|Alpine Patterns, 30x24, original painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki available in the Buckland Southerst Gallery|
Artists are often asked what their paintings are about.
There may be a vase of flowers in the picture, or a mountain, or a kitten, but really - what's it about?
A grumpy artists will say, can't you see?, it's a mountain, a vase, a kitten. But that can't be all. There must be more to it. Why this mountain, this vase, this kitten?
What makes them special? What's the idea behind it?
I do believe that art is an idea translated into something that we can experience through our senses.
Or the other way around.
In any case, a painting is about what we see, but also about an idea. The problem with explaining what it's about is that the ideas are not always comprehensible. When asked what it's about, I never have an answer ready. For me, it's usually about many things that may take me a lot of time to communicate in a way that makes sense.
Having said all that, I am up to the task. Let's try!
One day, a brilliant summer day, my hubby and I awaited at the bottom of a forest trail in the Banff National Park. Helen Lake Trail to be precise.
The Parks Canada sign read - Minimum 4. Apparently, there are grizzly bears up there that can't eat more than three people at one time. We were two and tasty, thus we waited.
A car pulled into the parking lot and two young dudes jumped out. One of them was wearing some funny white sweatpants. The other one said he was a doctor. They were both from Toronto. Still, they seemed nice so we took off together.
As always, I lagged and the doctor was compassionate enough (more than some people) to keep my pace, lest I become bear food. Somehow (in the hind sight it's obvious why), we got on the subject of the homes for seniors and how poorly some of them are managed. We were both concerned about the senior care.
The guy in white sweat pants (he'd changed into black ones before we took off), worked in a bank. He liked the same stand up comics as we did, and in general, we all shared similar opinions about the world. We all had a great time.
At the end of the hike, our two new friends shared their good tequila with us. We set on a rocky hill overlooking a lake, wide rolling meadows, and distant mountaintops. The doctor had binoculars which we all used to look at two young women that bathed naked in the lake. I didn't get much of the looking time, and my hubby got even less.
On our way back, the doctor jumped into the lake. He kept his swimming trunks on. Good thing too, because the water was freezing cold.
We hurried back so we wouldn't get caught up by dusk in the grizzly bear country. We didn't know if bears were hungrier at night, and we didn't want to find out.
There is a place where the meadows stop and the trail cuts across a creek before entering a sub-alpine forest.
As I made my way across the creek and over the muddy section of the trail, I glanced over my shoulder to where we just came from, thinking about tequila and how I I'd have jumped into that lake too some years ago, and how I hoped for a nice young doctor like this fellow one day when I possibly end up in an old folks home.
The shape and color of that moment got etched in my mind.
It looked so joyful, and reassuring . It wound left and right and I swear that it was trying to tell me something. That there are still many creeks to cross, many nice people to meet. That the life winds its way left and right, and that it's all okay. That we won't get eaten by bears that day.
Months later, I remembered that creek. More than a year later, it made its way onto the canvas. The memory is still bright and fresh, complicated and a little bit blue.
That's what the painting is about.