Fresh Laundry In Venice

Clothes Hanging In Venice Watercolor Painting

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.

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Clothes Hanging In Venice Watercolor Painting Sketchbook Detail
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25 Comments
  1. Karen Fortier 2 months ago

    Great post Charlie! My mom often hung the clothes out in the summer time but always behind the house. The sheets would always smell good.
    Feeling good in your own skin/clothes is a great place to be at in your life. I needed to be reminded of that today. It wasn’t about how I looked but more about putting my art out for the world to judge. Today is a better day and all is back on track.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕Yay to feeling good in your own skin. And it’s always best to just put yourself out there… in the end, we’re always our own worst judge. 😉

  2. Lisa 2 months ago

    I haven’t worn pants for years. I remember in grade school the girls were required to wear dresses or skirts. No pants allowed except we wore them under our clothes in the winter when it was too cold to go bare legged. It was such a happy day when the rules changed and girls could wear pants to school. I pretty much wore jeans forever after until I started my professional life. Then it was back to dresses and suits. But jeans on the weekends. Then I started having problems getting those pants on and off because of the MS, so I changed over to dresses and have never looked back. Ease and comfort win the day!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      You know, of course, I HAVE to adore a comment that begins with “I haven’t worn pants for years” lol 😃💕 That made me giggle! But I then saw exactly what you mean, of course. To be honest… I’ve always been a bit jealous of dresses… seems a much freer way to cloth oneself!

  3. Robert J. Coleman 2 months ago

    Clothes hung outside on a summer day smell and feel so great, unless a wasp or hornet has hitched a ride along! A walk thru the neighborhood’s back yards could look like a kaleidoscope, very paintable. Now we live in an 0ver-55 community (WAY over 55!) and no clotheslines are allowed – bummer.

    • Sharon Nolfi 2 months ago

      We live in an all-ages gated community, and clothes lines aren’t allowed here either!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Oh wow… yeah, I think clotheslines should always be allowed! So beautiful! 😃💕 But now I remember the wasp/hornet issue from when my grandmother hung clothes out, so yeah, that’s not quite a fabulous! lol

  4. Sharon Nolfi 2 months ago

    I remember seeing scenes like the one you painted all over Italy. It’s truly a beautiful sight. When I was a kid, we hung all our laundry outside on a line to dry. It was fun for me, probably not so much for my mom.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Yeah, I love the looks of laundry hanging out to dry! 😃💕For me it was the laundromat as we didn’t have a washer and dryer, but I loved those trips. The library was right around the corner!

  5. tsc69216 2 months ago

    So recognizable for Italy small streets. You caught that atmosphere perfectly.
    But, also makes me think of my childhood, when my mother hung the laundry in the garden, and later when I had to help or do it by myself. It smelled zo good & fresh.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕Yeah, the smell is so much fresher and better. I love it!

  6. Zertab Quaderi 2 months ago

    I love the smell of freshly washed clothes that hang out to dry. One of the reasons I go for a walk in the back alleys whenever I visit Bangkok. The nice detergent smells somehow lift up my spirits.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Yay to that! I love the smell of detergent! 😃💕 It definitely lifts my spirits as well!

  7. Mary Roff 2 months ago

    Wonderful post,Charlie! When I was growing up every house in the neighborhood had a clothesline in the backyard. Clothes fresh off the line..especially towels and sheets smell and feel so good! Have to admit I still occasionally hang things on our backyard clothesline.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Yeah, I definitely think hanging clothes out to dry is a far superior method. Love it, though we don’t live where we can do it today.

  8. LoriCtoo 2 months ago

    Love this and the memories it brings for you! When I see clotheslines, it reminds me of two things. My older brother who hangs all his clothes on a line….outside in the summer, inside in the winter. He lives in a rural part of town and is single, hence why he can hang them inside. LoL! The other memory reminds me of when I was young and we would hang blankets from the line and make a tent. Bonus points when we got to sleep in it!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Oh wow!! Yay to a blanket tent! That’s definitely the coolest. So much fun!!

  9. Linda Murray 2 months ago

    Wonderful Charlie! You are right. Clothes do not make the person. I cringe when I think of all the money I spent on designer handbags. I hated removing everything from one handbag to another, so why did I think I needed them?!! I finally donated all. Give me simplicity and comfort now.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Linda! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s wonderful to now know about all of the things that just get in the way of our happiness and be able to focus on the others things that actually create it!!

  10. Laura Kate 2 months ago

    I love Italy.

  11. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 months ago

    What a fun image of Venice. I love a city that lets you see the nitty gritty with pride or maybe without reservation. Your vivid colors make this painting sparkle.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, I agree! I love that they just let it all hang out there… certainly a life lesson we can all appreciate!

  12. smzang 1 month ago

    Charlie says, “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”

    The above painting and the ‘autumn blankets’ painting each drew me to the article. It was the fall colors
    that spoke to me. Once I started to read the articles, I was doubly beguiled. It seems strange to me
    that I picked the last line in each piece as the ‘Charlie says’ line. The whole article, in each case is captivating.
    It’s just that those last lines truly as beautiful as Autumn itself.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Aww thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 But, I’m secretly glad you chose the last bit. I always hope it sums everything up nicely.

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