Styling in an Instant

Mary/ June 8, 2015/ Art, cooking, domestic, Food, My Book Project, Photography

I’ve found a new art form. One that is immediate, easy, fun, and infinitely creative.

I worked in advertising prior to returning to school to study design. In design school I found our Theory Plate exercise (dubbed Pinky Plates for the U of M professor who initiated this process) such a fun exercise. It allowed me to use my nascent skills and understanding of the principles and elements of design and put them to work: organizing a layout, finding balance, playing with scale and colour, as well as shape/mass/form.

It’s been a while since then….I’ve spent 25 years as an interior designer by day and an artist by night. In the last ten years, single home ownership and motherhood has taken a lot of my free time – there hasn’t been much space to create art, in the form of painting, although I keep saying “I’ll start soon”.  I’ve realized though, that I have been “creating art” continuously, as I carve out a creative existence and live artfully every day.

I’m loving working on a book right now, which is the documentation of that creative experience, and I’ve chosen this as my priority to pursue right now. I’m really enjoying it. Along with that, and to support that, I’ve been blogging here on WordPress and posting on Instagram. Instagram has opened a door to a whole new world of visuals and inspiration. I’m following food bloggers, stylists, photographers, and foodies from all over the world.

When I first saw some of these stunning images, in particular a gorgeous aesthetic that’s coming out of Scandinavia right now, I thought: “OK! I GET this…I can do this….” It had never occurred to me to take, let alone stage, photos in such ways. Of course at first I thought I would mimic or replicate some of the styles I saw, but I quickly realized that I had my own style developing.

Now I go through my day and I find all kinds of opportunities to capture and document beauty and design. How to show a particular meal in a beautiful way, share a gorgeous view of something, a captivating leaf or flower. It’s made me up my game. And I’ve found that it is second nature, and it flows with ease.

I pull a piece of beautiful fabric for a complementary background, I wander into the garden for something to add that accentuates the visual. I look in the cupboard for a beautiful dish or plate. All this happens in five minutes or so.

I usually lay things out on the back porch, where natural light abounds, but is soft and gentle, without hard shadows. No additional light required, and usually no filters needed….

I find it’s like painting….instantly… I snap a shot or two with my phone. Then, if it’s a meal, I sit down to eat. Maybe it’s a visual blessing of sorts; creating some reverence for the bounty we usually consume in a less mindful state….As I try to eat healthier, slower, more mindfully, I find this practice enhancing that experience.

styling meal

I dug up my original Pinky Plates, from my first year in design school, 1987. I still like them.

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