An expected twist

The story behind my decanter artwork

Whenever I see decanters, I’m tempted to buy them. They are essentially useless to me, but it’s difficult to resist their beauty and elegance. I try to justify the purchase by imagining other uses for them. Perhaps one could be used to serve water, another to store cotton balls, and a third as a vase. Then I think that flowers belong in the garden, and so I walk away.

It wasn’t until recently that I learned that decanters weren’t simply vessels meant to hold alcohol. One of their functions is to aerate wine. Allowing wine to breathe after being bottled up for years, seems like a fitting metaphor for my journey.

Over the past decade I spent the majority of my time as a marketing consultant. It wouldn’t be accurate to say that my creativity had been bottled up, especially while working with startups, but it has been too long since I’ve created art for the sole purpose of self-expression.

It’s been even longer since I’ve experimented with making something in the physical world.

Art isn’t a new passion. I’ve studied art for over 13 years, and those who are close to me always wondered why I ever stopped. Instead of getting into that, here’s how I got started again.

Whenever I used to have down time, I would log in to Codecademy, read a startup book, or clear my Pocket full of tech and marketing articles. My interests became too narrow. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t great professionally. The most innovative ideas are the result of exposure to different topics and industries. I asked around for new sources of information, and ended up reading a few long form articles on random topics. This wasn’t enough. The articles opened my eyes to new ideas, but I needed to be more immersed.

I came across a chemical engineering course, and thought about diving in. Chemical engineering is vastly different from anything I’ve studied before. What are the odds that I would have studied engineering had I known about it earlier? Or, would I have known about it earlier had I was better suited to study engineering?

This lead me to wonder about the subjects I already knew about and somehow forgot.

Whenever a friend turns out to be a secretly talented artist, I encourage them to create even more and sell their art online. I tell them how they shouldn’t doubt themselves, and how I wish I could spend my days making art.

Instead of taking random online courses, I decided to rediscover one of my forgotten passions. It felt incredible to dig up my old sketchbook, and buy new art supplies. My curiosity grew, and being an artist no longer felt like a hobby or a crazy retirement dream.

An old sketch inspired me to play with shapes and lines, and the design of the modern decanter made for the perfect subject. The medium was a given. One of the last pieces I created years ago was in oil pastel. All that was left was to listen to my own advice and share the completed artwork.

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In case of emergency

In case of emergency chocolateA horrible smell spread throughout the house, and the sickly fumes seemed to be originating from the kitchen. Smoke gushed out of the oven as I pulled out some dishes and a burnt plant. A baking sheet was placed directly under the melting plastic, while our small fan was working overtime to keep the fumes away from the smoke detector.

Some people use their oven as storage, because the only thing they’ve ever prepared is a bowl of cereal. While I do bake often, the oven can be a pretty good spot to quickly hide the evidence of a messy counter. Luckily, I usually have a great memory and remove dishes before preheating. Usually.

The plastic on the bottom of the oven floor started to harden, but we were busy trying to pry chunks off the metal racks. After using hot water, scissors and serrated knives, what was left of the plastic container was mostly in the garbage. The whirring of the bathroom fan and the loud exhaust hood reminded me of the time my roommate set her grilled cheese on fire.

The pressure to quickly hit record as a show is starting is too much for some people. For me, it depends who’s around me. When my roommate and friend had no idea how to extinguish the small fire, I looked around for a second and then threw a pot lid on the burning pan and spatula. After that I carefully placed a wet towel over the mess to help smother the flames.

I’m much more likely to scream when I see a spider, or even a rather large ant, but if it’s up to me to place a cup over it and get it outside than so be it. You don’t always have to be calm under pressure, or take charge of a group, but you should be able to assess the situation and know when to step up.

[Image via A Fish Who Likes Flowers]

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