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Layering Necklaces for SIA: At the Risk of the Sun + DIY Paper Beads

Terri at Meadow Tree Style is the curator for this round of Style Imitating Art (SIA), and she picked the 1947 Surrealist panting "At the Risk of the Sun" by French artist Yves Tanguy. Terri says that this work is one of her all-time favorites to view at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and was one of her first experiences with Surrealism. She views this painting as being in the science fiction genre: "I can imagine Captain Kirk landing on this austere planet, maybe run by intelligent machines."

Style Imitating Art selection

I like Terri's sci-fi interpretation of this painting much better than my first impression. I was a bit nonplussed by it, so I asked my husband to take a look and tell me what immediately came to mind; he said, "A pile of dicks." And yep, I had thought: OK, is this a pile of bones or a pile of boners?

Shelbee shared this information about the painting from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art:

In the foreground, two constructions of a congeries of bonelike forms in grays and faint red. Right: form has a right-angled arm jutting from left side and pointing upward. Dark gray desert-like background, flat stone from right rear, low horizon, green-tinged white sky area.
Strange, organic forms appear in this dramatically illuminated, desolate landscape. A heart form can be seen on the right. To the left is an imaginative array of stacked shapes, referencing parts of human and animal bodies. Yves Tanguy and other Surrealist artists sought to reveal the contents of the unconscious mind. Inspired by Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theories, they depicted images from their dreams, nightmares, and memories. Tanguy based this image on the prehistoric stone monuments he saw as a child in Brittany, France.

Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theories, a male painter's dreams and nightmares...yes, a pile of broken, malformed bones/boners sounds about right. But never fear, I did not interpret this outfit in an osteophallic manner!

Instead I started with the "desolate" grey-tinged neutral colors of the painting's background and pulled out my new-ish dark grey T-shirt, my dark grey fabric flats with the black ribbon (that aren't entirely flat), and a pair of grey faux pearl earrings with what is probably supposed to be a plant leaf detail but that I call my "claw" earrings. (Claws felt appropriate given the "animal parts" referenced by the stacked shapes in the painting.)

Desolate grey items

Then I turned my attention back to the jumbled pile of shapes with no idea how to interpret that in my outfit...until I happened to see on the table next to me where I'd laid out my recently-purchased necklaces from Fire Mountain Gems. I had bought a set of 5 glass bead necklaces made from bicone beads and some random shaped glass beads in the center as focals. Three of them are in the neutral colors of light grey/black, dark brown-purple, and pale mauve/blush. I layered the necklaces on top of each as a neck mess to see whether the jumble of shaped glass beads worked for me as a stand-in for the jumbled pile of bone(r)s/body parts. I have daggers, stars, fish, flowers, butterflies, ovals, crescent moons, swoopy curved bells, dog bones (!)/bow-ties, and rounded rectangles all piled on top of each other...and I liked it!

Jumble of beaded necklaces in a neck mess

I staggered the lengths of the three necklaces (using necklace chain extenders) slightly when wearing them and placed them off-kilter from each other but overlapping, in true neck mess style. I added a long black/silver pendant for balance and for some shine against the dark grey. With the charcoal grey T, faded black headband, grey claw earrings, and the neutral layered necklaces, my outfit had an appropriately bleak feel to it so far. My wavy golden blonde hair is definitely the rays of the "sun" putting the figures in the painting "at risk" in my interpretation. (At risk of what? Good question!)

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

I wanted to finish up the outfit with pants, and the grey/black mottled pair at the left were the obvious "bleak" choice. But I was feeling maxed out on bleakness so I pulled out a pair of silky pants with a small colorful floral print on a black-with-grey-dots background instead. After all, even the inspiration painting had those hints of green and red in it, so some tiny pops of bright pink, yellow, and green was not entirely amiss. In context, this floral motif against the black and grey feels like a small affirmation of life and beauty within even the most dreary circumstances...and I definitely was in the mood for some of that! After all, if the painting had been inspired by my subconscious, there would have to be some color and whimsical detail no matter how desolate the landscape. So perhaps the sun put the land at risk of growing flowers because that's what happened in my outfit.

Two pairs of black pants

This T is one of my day-to-night (i.e., daywear to PJs, haha) tops, and I bought it on the long and oversized side. On the right is how it looks worn at its full tunic length...which actually isn't as bad as I expected it to be because it does have some drape to it! On the left is how I actually wore it, with the front hem tucked into the waistband so that the fabric folds over and drapes in a blousy version of a front tuck.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 9/25/23

I know some people think that they can only wear their tops untucked because they are not thin enough, don't have a defined-enough waist, or whatever...and I hear that. Untucked can feel like a safe place when your size/shape doesn't fit the socially promoted skinny hourglass model. But I would encourage anyone, regardless of their size/shape, to experiment with different styling options rather than assume that they can only wear their clothes one particular way. You might be surprised to find you have more choices than you think. But in the end, it is your choice, so you do you!

I really, really like what the longer pendant necklace adds to this layered necklace look. It's absolutely possible to create a terrific neck mess without a longer piece, but I appreciate the way it breaks up the expanse of solid grey and introduces a vertical element to the outfit. And I'm generally a fan of the shine metal adds to a look.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Here's a good close-up of the floral print pants and these shoes that always make me feel fancy when I wear them because of the richness of the materials. And yes, we definitely can mix a T-we-sometimes-sleep-in, drawstring waist pants, and "fancy" shoes in the same outfit!

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

My all-DIY bracelet stack was a joyful element in this outfit that made me smile all day long. I used three grey bead bracelets to continue with the "bleak" neutral theme: light grey glass, light and dark grey glass pearls, and green-grey spotted stones (which I think may be kiwi jasper). Then I added some touches of color with a set of 3 paper bead bracelets that I made to coordinate with these floral pants. Isn't the swan charm so pretty? There is something about her spread wings that feels upbeat and hopeful, too.

DIY Bracelet Stack
Design a paper bead bracelet set

The paper bead bracelet with the swan charm was made from this absolutely gorgeous colorful animal drawing page from an alumni magazine. I mean, is that stunning or what? I was almost tempted to just frame it as-is and stick it on my wall! But I decided that the colors were too good to pass up when making this bracelet set, and I was not disappointed with the result. And even if no one else can tell, I know that I'm wearing zoo animals!

DIY Paper bead page-to-bead example

The paper bead bracelet with the flower bead as a center focal was made from this colorful drawing in The Economist. I just cut it into strips and rolled them up as-is into beads. I like the variety in the colors and color placement on the different beads.

DIY Paper bead page-to-bead example

The final paper bead bracelet started as a full-page drawing of a person playing with climate technology on a chessboard. (Of course I am attracted to any fun chessboard motif because the chessboard is the basis of the story and structure of Through the Looking Glass.) These strips also rolled up into nicely coordinated but differentiated beads for making a bracelet.

DIY Paper bead page-to-bead example
DIY Paper bead page-to-bead example

Now for my favorite part: our Rabbit Imitating Art selection! Since we featured the front end of a Flemish Giant in the last SIA, it seemed a good time to choose the back end of a Flemish Giant for this one. With Tocktober right around the corner, and the painting description mentioning animal body parts, this feels just right. Our rabbit has fur in the "desolate" neutral grey colors, too.

Rabbit Imitating Art selection

The painting title "At the Risk of the Sun" didn't make a lot of sense to me, but now I understand. The artwork was unfinished. With the inclusion of the giant rabbit legs that are ready to kick the structure of bones and knock it down, the true title "At the Risk of the Bun" is apparent. My rabbit Leo absolutely loved playing the game of Set 'em Up (me) 'n' Knock 'em Down (him) with paper towel/toilet paper rolls and various blocks that I would stack into towers for him to destroy. So I can readily imagine this giant bunny wreaking havoc on this scene. Also, when a rabbit turns around to show you his back end (aka Bunny Butt) or flicks his feet at you (aka Foot Flick), this is a sign of displeasure. Foot Flick has been called the "equal of a rabbit's middle finger"...which is funny because I swear the figure on the right is flipping off the figure on the left. I'd say that structure of bones is not long for this world.

SIA artwork with rabbit
Yves Tanguy's At the Risk of the Sun "improved" with rabbit into At the Risk of the Bun

Ever since I saw this painting was our SIA artwork, I've had the They Might Be Giants song "Where Your Eyes Don't Go" {video} stuck in my head, particularly this part:

Every jumbled pile of person has a thinking part that wonders

What the part that isn't thinking isn't thinking of

Should you worry when the skull head is in front of you

Or is it worse because it's always waiting where your eyes don't go?

Where your eyes don't go a part of you is hovering

It's a nightmare that you'll never be discovering

You're free to come and go or talk like Kurtis Blow*

But there's a pair of eyes in back of your head

*Kurtis Blow was the first commercially successful rapper

It's even more appropriate since John Linnell wrote this song based on a dream he had as a child. It's clear that as much as Yves Tanguy dreamed of piles of bone(r)s, John Linnell dreamed of skulls.

Speaking of being at risk of the sun, this has not been the case this week around here! I took this photograph ("Not at the Risk of the Sun") on a short break between two waves of rain.

weather photo
Not at the Risk of the Sun - St Paul, MN 9/25/23

Thanks for joining me today for this Style Imitating Art + Rabbit Imitating (and Improving) Art post!

To see other outfit interpretations of this artwork, check out the review on Meadow Tree Style on Thursday.

Do you like Surrealist artwork? What did this painting make you think of? How would you interpret it?

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