I was stopped again on the street today by a well dressed man on his way to work. “Those are colourful pants!’, he said. Yes, yeah they are. “You should sell those!’, he continued… and so the conversation goes… It is not uncommon for me to get stopped like this on any given day while wearing my painting pants. I must admit, in the people traffic wearing black and grey and brown and blue, they are a conversation starter – in line getting coffee, at the grocery store, or out running errands. I’ve even worn them in the summer with sandals and a white linen shirt. It makes for creative evening attire and perhaps makes me more approachable. People are curious to know where I got them.
I think my first pair of painting pants were an old pair of doctors pants, cut off at about the knee for more freedom of movement. I liked the drawstring which made it easy to get in and out of. The fabric was light and comfortable, but like jersey material, they didn’t hold the paint. Often, it would soak through to my skin, leaving me with thigh markings in a tribe all my own.
I opted for denim jeans, choosing ones a bit too big for me made it easy to slip out of at the end of the painting day. Many times I’ve asked friends for their old jeans and put them to good use. On several occasions I’ve been loaned pants with the request that I wear them while painting and then give them back. It seems some of my best work ends up on my clothes.
I can’t exactly explain why, but I have saved all my painting pants since I started painting full-time and I keep documenting them when each pair are ready to be retired. I sometimes wonder if they might look good framed and hung on a wall. There seem to be secrets and stories hidden in each of them. Other times, I think it would be fun to make a coffee table book with my art followed by the clothes I wore while making the paintings. It’s like keeping a bit of a diary in paint and fabric. If you look through some previous work, you can probably pick out what pants were worn during certain paintings. I think a fund raising auction would be amazing if it consisted of only artists’ painting clothes in large shadow boxes. Imagine owning the painting clothes of one of your favourite artists. What a treasure to have something so personal.
For now, my retired pants sit folded on a shelf in my studio, and they’ll likely stay there until I figure what to do with them. If you have an ideas for a good use for them, feel free to leave a comment by clicking the speech bubble icon to the right of this blog title above.
…And for those curious, I wear a 36 waist and am always in need of new denim pants for painting. Feel free to email me and drop by the studio for a visit.
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