For today’s prompt of “Clothes,” I wasn’t quite sure what to sketch at first. Then I thought back to traveling in Venice, and realized I had the perfect photo from the free reference photos I offer artists at FreshlyCurious.com! Though Venice is certainly most known for its winding streets and watery canals, this floating city also has another visual attraction. This would be the various clotheslines that hang across the streets. It’s so commonplace that after a few moments there you barely notice them, but one scene caught my eye and I made a photo of it several years ago. While many of the streets can be crowded with people, there are places like this where nothing more is happening than a bit of everyday life. I loved seeing moments like these most. As for the hanging laundry, it just makes good sense as anyone who’s had a shirt shrink or burn in the dryer knows well. But, we Americans are known to value convenience over logic, so it’s no surprise that driers are the more preferred method here. And, we tend to be a bit shyer in the States, so having our undergarments flapping in the wind for the neighbors to see is probably another reason as well.
I personally loved how free and open a culture has to be in order for scenes like this to occur. Sending my wet underwear out for all the world to see doesn’t really bother me at all, because I’m not wearing them at the time. I guess if I were to show up at my neighbor’s door to borrow a cup of sugar wearing only wet underwear, then that would definitely be embarrassing for both parties involved. And, a quite justified cause for alarm on the part of my neighbor. But clothes hanging by themselves are simply ghosts of personal choices and tastes one made while shopping. It’s this very idea that made be find all of the hanging laundry in Venice so interesting. You could learn quite a bit about the inhabitants just by glancing up at their clothing choices. My favorite was looking at colors. One household’s clothesline would be filled with all sorts of bright colors, undergarments included, while another would simply be a sea of black. It made me imagine the people inside and what they might be like if I were to meet them in person. After they put their clothes back on, of course.
Though clothes can certainly say a lot about a person, they are still simply a bit of costume that doesn’t define us or tell the entire story. It’s just bits of taste, like the colors we choose most often to paint. These days, only my shoes reveal much personality at all. They’re the only clothing item I invest a bit of time in selecting. For the rest, it’s just whatever deal I can find at Target. I wore designer clothing for a period of time when I was younger, because I thought my clothes really mattered. I guess in some environments they did, like business meetings and networking functions. After years of that, I’m happy to sport only comfort and the simple tastes that much better reflect who I really am. The fancy costumes were all donated to charity. I figured they should have a second, more positive life doing only what clothes are meant to do in the first place. Today, I’m quite happy in my clothes and more comfortable than I’ve ever been in my life. Sometimes, it’s best to simply be yourself and let that wonderful uniqueness show for others to see, like fresh laundry in Venice.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Vermilion, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!