I asked a relative not long ago if there was any sort of artwork he would like me to make for him. I had in mind not a commission, but some sort of labor of love. He mentioned a few works to which he had been attracted recently. After giving these works some thought, I decided to abandon (for now) the attempt to make a piece that he would like. The reason is as follows (and it has to do with the black umbrellas).
I like the saying, "Write what you know." The sorts of things I am exposed to and notice inform the visual art I make. For instance, I take pleasure in domestic beauty - the light through the curtain in my kitchen in the evening, a cat walking through the garden, a Shasta daisy in the window. Many of my subjects are domestic subjects. The umbrella is a domestic subject. It is also a sculptural object. That is another frame of reference from which I approach things visually. The art pieces my relative mentioned did not contain much overlap with my visual experience and sensibilities. Granted, it would be an interesting experience to try to find some overlap or to enter into those sensibilities, but sometimes, I think it's more fruitful to follow the lights you have been given. And, thank God there are many kinds of artists in the world. I only have to be the kind of artist I am.