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Mixing Prints and Shades of Blue for SIA: Taking in the Laundry

Shelbee at Shelbee on the Edge is the curator for this round of Style Imitating Art (SIA), and she picked the 1951 painting "Taking in the Laundry" by American folk art painter Anna Mary Robertson "Grandma" Moses. Shelbee chose this painting because hanging laundry outside to dry is her favorite household chore and one of her "favorite things in life ever." I didn't know this, but Grandma Moses began painting in her late 70s and created over 1,500 works before her death at age 101. That math calculates out to more than one finished artwork per week!

Style Imitating Art selection
Source: shelbeeontheedge.com

My approach to creating an outfit inspired by this painting was a little different this time because I used only two elements from the art in my outfit. First, I was struck by how much the colors and forms in the lower left section of the painting resembled my colorful geometric print skirt. There's no one-to-one correspondence between the pieces yet the overall impression feels quite similar to me. So I used my skirt as the starting point and built the rest of the outfit around it.

Painting and skirt with similar patterns

The second bit of inspiration came from the sky in the painting, which looks windy and rainy in the distance. (No doubt the reason that all the women in these two houses are rushing to take in the laundry is that they see that rain coming at them.) I love the striations in the color and the range of blue tones that she included to give the sky a sense of movement and slight menace. I decided to round out my outfit with a mix of blue colors as well, starting with my new navy and white striped T from Lands End. Again, this top doesn't have a direct parallel in the painting but I thought it was a reasonable choice to reflect the streaks and striations in the painted sky. (I didn't have a short-sleeved navy and white striped T so I was happy to get this one on deep discount last December for $5.18. Technically it's a pajama top but it's really no different from any other knit top/T!)

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 6/5/23

The denim shirt worn as a shirt-jacket was a great match to the soft blues in that stormy sky, and I couldn't resist adding a cobalt blue scarf as a nod to the woman at the lower left wearing a bright blue dress. Did you notice that there's another bright blue dress on their clothesline? While it's possible the second dress belongs to another one of the women in the household, I like to think that our white-haired blue dress woman frequently wears bright blue as her signature color.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

My first (and second and third) instinct was to wear my orange leather earrings with this outfit because that picks up the orange in my skirt and creates a dynamic complementary color scheme. But I do that all the time, so I chose to go a different direction for this outfit...by picking up the aqua in the skirt with my aqua leather earrings. OK, that's not a huge departure, but it is a change! I put on some cherry red lipstick for some contrast (and to represent the pops of red in the painting).

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

I continued shades of blue theme with my shoes, which are the blue counterparts to my old, much-mourned Nordstrom BP brand gold flats discussed in this post. Luckily these shiny blue shoes are still in wonderful condition!

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Never fear, I did wear a DIY bracelet stack with this outfit! The top tube bead bracelet and bottom two bicone bead bracelets are my DIY blue/white/gold paper bead set that I made to match a blue ombré sweater I wear in winter. To those I added the navy starry sky paper bead bracelet with the white glass pearl spacers, dark blue lapis lazuli bead bracelet, and blue/clear glass bead bracelets (all DIY). I thought this stack went well with the shades of blue theme.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

I only have photos of the page-to-bead evolution of the top tube paper bead bracelet. I started with a blue patchwork tunic image that appeared in two Coldwater Creek catalogs and split them down the middle so I had four pieces to work with. I attached each piece to a full magazine page before cutting the rectangular strips so that I had plenty of the blue patchwork design to roll beads from. Since only the very end of the long strip shows on the outside of the bead, it's easy to make a good number of beads from a small amount of desirable paper. I love how small images of clothing, bedding, rugs, and other textiles in catalogs makes such wonderful paper beads; the scale is just right for us to see the detail on the beads! (Tube bead tutorial; tube bead examples using small paper.)

Paper bead page-to-bead example

Now for our Rabbit Imitating Art selection! For this, I focused on yet another area of the painting, so far overlooked: the lower right section with the horse-drawn carriage and the watching dog.

Close up of the artwork

As both the dog and one of the horses have high-contrast black and white fur patterns, it was obvious that a black Dutch rabbit with his distinctive white wedge ("blaze") down the center of his face (like the horse) and white fur around his neck (like the dog), all against a background of rich black, would be the perfect choice.

Rabbit Imitating Art selection
Black Dutch Rabbit

Our gorgeous rabbit fits perfectly into that corner below the pathway of the horses and to the left of the dog. (This covers up the artist's signature, but I think she would forgive us that.) To keep our bunny from being intimidated by these other animals, I have made him quite large and imposing, which allows him to loaf serenely among this company. When the rain gets close enough for him to worry about, he can shrink himself down to usual rabbit size and quickly run for shelter.

SIA artwork with rabbit
Taking in the Laundry "improved" with rabbit

Thanks for joining me today for this Style Imitating Art + Rabbit Imitating Art post!


To see other outfit interpretations of this artwork, check out the review on Shelbee on the Edge.


Do you like to hang laundry on the line to dry? Have you ever had to rush out to save the laundry before the rain starts? Do you have a signature color (like the blue dress lady of my imagining)? Do you like dressing in multiple shades of the same color?


Blogs I link up with are listed here.

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