Don’t laugh—before a weekend concludes, I will have determined my entire wardrobe for the coming work week, complete with shoes and jewelry. As some have become of aware of this, they think one of two things: “She is so organized.” OR “Why is she wasting away her weekend?” I have learned—the hard way—that choosing what I am going to wear in the morning is going to end with me either frustrated or late. Or both. This is not a good or pleasant way to start the workday.
The weekly wardrobe plan developed out of necessity over time. Apparently, when I wake up in the morning, I am fresh and ready for a brand new wonderful day ahead just brimming with possibilities. These possibilities all live in my closet, and the outfit building options are simply endless. There are so many combinations to try, some I hadn’t thought of until that moment. This goes on for who knows how long because I’m in a zone. The next thing I know I have a mound of items needing to be put away, and I wonder what I am going to do because since nothing is coming together that I know works for that particular day, I must have nothing to wear. This has clearly not been the time or place to set up an artist playground. Hence, the purposeful choosing ahead of time.
Imagine what ensued when I began to define my specific painting style. I should have taken a cue from my wardrobe experience, but I did not. Again, I thought about all the possibilities and knew there was going to be something that came together shouting how much it was so me (knew and assumed are interchangeable in this particular sentence). I did begin to try different things and primarily found what did not work.
Flowers are nice, so I thought this would be a good place to start. I saw how clearly the pot, the stems, the petals, the background fit together in real life. On canvas, it would have been helpful if I had just written the word “flowers” across the top. I tried painting flowers a couple of times and determined I would just enjoy looking at them instead of “working” with them. Nice.
From here, I took on still life. That seemed like the next natural step. There were a few accessories on our mantel I liked the grouping of and placed them right in front of me for reference. I’m not sure what the objects were I created, but what I did know is that I would not be doing more still life.
The great outdoors is a wonder to behold, and I never tire of enjoying nature’s scenery. Somehow this translated to my trying a sunset landscape with a silhouette bent to it. That was interesting. If I had brought it home from school in my younger years that might have put it in context. This confirmed painting something recognizable was not for me.
The release from definition in that way was freeing. I have found I do bring in definition as it seems to be grounding. This was proven in the non-specific piece that looked like a box of melted crayons. But this too helped to move me forward in what was the style that would fit me.
Thankfully, I did find it and not without courage and perseverance. For some reason, the abstract world pushed me and challenged me, but boy howdy is it the style for me! I love it. I find it inspiring, expressive, and limitless with possibilities. Landing on a style helped me then develop my own style within it.
It’s possible that development will always be a work in progress. I think that is part of the joy in art. There is always something new to learn, to try, to explore—and for obvious reasons—do not paint before work.
Thank goodness for painting.