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Translator chooses paintbrush over pen

Prominent literary translator Trinh Lu, whose translations include Life of Pi, Norwegian Wood, The Centaur in the Garden, has revealed a new talent, painting, at an ongoing exhibit in Ha Noi.

Translator chooses paintbrush over pen
Translator chooses paintbrush over pen

Entitled Painting en Plein Air in America, the exhibition showcases 67 oil paintings created by the translator between July and December of 2014. He captured the landscapes of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, atop his minimalist studio-on-a-bicycle.

Bearing a slight resemblance to the landscapes by master Russian painter Isaac Ilyich Levitan, Lu’s paintings depict the greenery of America’s midwest – the Hubbard Trail, Michigan Lake, Lake Park, Oak Leaf Trail and Estabrook Park.

The artworks are accompanied by the artist’s stories of their creation told in a 170-page book titled, Painting en Plein Air – 2014 Diary. The book, just published by Phuong Nam Book and the Viet Nam Writers’ Association Publishing House, is now available as a guided tour of the work.

Born in 1948 in Ha Noi, Lu was taught by his parents — Lecole des Beaux Arts de L’Indochine painters Trinh Huu Ngoc and Nguyen Thi Khang.

He carried on his drawing and painting work during his many careers as a radio and television presenter, strategic communication specialist, interior designer and literary translator.

Lu actually already premiered his paintings at two exhibitions held in Ithaca, New York, in 1992-93, when he was pursuing a masters degree at Cornell University.

Over a decade later, he has decided to premiere his work in his hometown.

Fascinated by gorgeous landscapes, Lu said that whenever he holds a brush in his hand, he is always led by his feelings and emotions.

“I never push myself to follow any specific painting school. I just take it easy and follow my own feeling,” he said.

Le Xuan Dung, one of the many guests to stop by the exhibition, commented that despite the small size, the paintings present the peaceful, free and boundless soul of their author.

Among the guests attending the exhibition’s opening ceremony was US Ambassador to Viet Nam Ted Osius, who appreciated the character of Lu’s paintings.

He wrote in the guest book, “…Thank you for showing the USA in its best light…”

The exhibition at 31-33 Hang Dong Street will remain open until March 11.