Nostalgia

nos•tal•gia
noun \nä-ˈstal-jə, nə- also nō-; nə-ˈstäl-\
: a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the past.

I think we’ve all experienced nostalgia at one point or another – we hear a song and remember our youth, see a picture and are instantly transported back to a different time, usually (although not always) remembering those times as better, gentler, kinder.

Although often bittersweet, nostalgia counteracts loneliness, boredom and even anxiety. It is a reminder that life has roots and continuity, providing strength to keep moving forward.

A Girl and Her Dog 2014

A Girl and Her Dog
2014

This painting, A Girl and Her Dog, is a commissioned piece, based on one woman’s memories of her childhood home. Growing up in a log cabin in Canada, she remembered vividly an old wagon, a ‘29 Chevy, her dog and the beautiful Northern lights. For her, this piece is a reminder of her youth, a time when things may have seemed simpler, a time long past.

I’m happy to say that she loves the painting and the nostalgia it evokes.

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Home Sweet Home

Much of western art from the 19th and 20th centuries portrays the American West in a romantic and idealized style, often glossing over the harsh conditions of life. “Home Sweet Home” is an effort to frame the Native American woman in a realistic setting. Her lodge reflects the rough reality of outdoor living – no paradise, little comfort and the bare minimum shelter to survive in an unfriendly environment. The small size emphasizes the central theme – life is hard.

Gone is the romance. Remaining is the reality of a hard life.

Her pose shows her braced against the harsh cold. She is somber, almost fearful.

She might be waiting for the return of her husband, gone too long, on a hunt, a raid, or a vision quest. She may be wondering when she will eat again or when a son or daughter will return.

What do you think is happening when you look at her somber expression? Do her eyes mirror the actuality of her life?

Home Sweet Home

by Gale F. Trapp, 2012
Acrylic on hardboard, 5×9″
Sold – Prints available