Monday, June 6, 2011

A challenge for the stylistically challenged?

Ms. Terri set me a challenge today.  Since I don't have much confidence in the area of color and pattern, she suggested I start to save pictures of things I like stylistically.

The biggest problem is, even though I know what I like when I see it, I have a hard time creating it.  There's a certain balance point that is reached, decoratively, that if passed leaves the realm of visually appealing and enters the realm of junky and cluttered.  I am a pack rat.  A horrible horrible pack rat.  I don't have much of an eye for style or arrangement, even if I do know what I like.

I've discovered some things about my tastes that, even though I am aware of them, seeing them laid out in a panorama of pictures all over the computer screen brings them into sharper detail.  For example:  I don't particularly like intense colors.  At least, not most of them.  I have an aversion for perfection.  I don't like right angles.  I'd be happier with a mossy rock and a barrel than a wingback chair.  I don't care much for upholstery.  I want my furniture cracked, scuffed, chipped, and peeling.  I think galvanized tin and old soda pop bottles are pretty.  I'd rather have "weeds" in my flower box than roses, and I think a flower box made of an old wooden crate or an old tire is perfectly acceptable.  I like rust.  I like contrasting textures.  I don't like visible reminders of technology.  I don't like modern light fixtures.  I don't like visible wall sockets, televisions, etc.  I like lamps, hanging fixtures that are candle or lantern like.  I like warm, yellow, or golden light.

I still don't really know what I like fabric-wise.  I've been looking.  I just don't see much I like.  I like burlap.  Does that count?  I like gingham.  I like solid colors.  I like plaid.  If I have to pick colors... do I have to pick colors?  I like colors that I can find in places humans haven't touched.  But I've discovered there's a certain limitation to that.  I don't mean colors you can find in the Amazon.  I like colors from environments I like, environments where I've been happy.  I don't like the colors at the beach.  I don't like the colors from the tropics.  I like colors from the mountains and the north.  The crazy intense blue the sky turns in winter in the mountains.  The sort of dusty green of lichen, or the emerald green of moss.  All the warm and wonderful browns of rocks and dirt and trees and wood.  The bashful lavender of lupine and snapdragons, or the warm combination of gold, brown, and green in brown-eyed Susans.  The bright red of a male cardinal, and the titmouse's muted silvery gray.

I wish I were better with plants.  I want the outside on the inside.  I want to be able to come home and feel like I've gone to the mountains and the woods, instead of feeling like I'm in the middle of a neighborhood.  I want to feel separate, secluded, isolated, safe and at ease.  What I really need to find is a combination of smells that put me in mind of fresh dark earth, crumbling leaves, wild things, and wide open spaces.

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