'Wasband,' Abstract Art and Punctuating Out of the Box

I have always been Alicia R Peterson. It never made sense to me that I would assume another’s name if I married. So, I did not. Yay, I did not have to change back when I divorced. Excuse the diversion. But it’s a story with a happy ending.

“Wasband” my gift to the world.

(Actually, it was a friend who gifted this to me… as a divorced friend had gifted it to her.)

This is the perfect word for the men in our lives who now are not our husbands. It’s an acknowledgement of a past life.

I don’t have a word for ex-wife. Sorry guys. “Waswife” does not work. Please think on it and get back to us. You need one too.

Me (Alicia R Peterson) in my North Shore of Long Island, N.Y. Studio. The paintings on the top shelf are in the contemplating state. Is this work finished? Does it have more to say? How do I change it without destroying the glory that it already has? This process is one I have honed over 23 years of abstraction. I have ruined my share of paintings. It can be a lengthy process; the longest to date is three years in completing a painting. © 2017 Alicia R Peterson. Photo: Artist

Me (Alicia R Peterson) in my North Shore of Long Island, N.Y. Studio. The paintings on the top shelf are in the contemplating state. Is this work finished? Does it have more to say? How do I change it without destroying the glory that it already has? This process is one I have honed over 23 years of abstraction. I have ruined my share of paintings. It can be a lengthy process; the longest to date is three years in completing a painting. © 2017 Alicia R Peterson. Photo: Artist

As a Doctor of Audiology, I always used my middle initial and was gleeful in the many opportunities to see my name up in lights. My first business card, my diplomas, and my first nameplate on the door to an Audiology practice.

When I was called to paint in 1994, I signed my first work and then promptly refused to sign paintings for several years.

It was a long journey to own my creation.

When I finally stepped into myself and started to sign my paintings, I stopped putting the period after the R. The period changed the flow of the signature and jarred my eyes so I left it out.

But back to the name at hand. In 2013, I jumped off the cliff of certainty. Just divorced after 32 years, I was in a life of extreme re-vision. I quit my day job as Doctor of Audiology as I was certain that I must transition into what has become my life’s work…. artist entrepreneur.

But I was oh-so wobbly on my feet!

What do you do when it snows in March? You paint the solace of the snow. © 2017 Alicia R Peterson, work in progress, 18 x 24,” acrylic on canvas. Photo: Artist

What do you do when it snows in March? You paint the solace of the snow. © 2017 Alicia R Peterson, work in progress, 18 x 24,” acrylic on canvas. Photo: Artist

Looking for anchors, I began taking business classes. I met Alyson Stanfield, AKA Art Biz Coach, virtually on the Internet and have been soaring with her ever since.

In Alyson’s Art Biz Lift Off class, she discussed branding and it became clear that yes, again I could claim my name: Alicia R Peterson.

But I declared no period after the R!

Since I signed my paintings without the period, it made sense to me to brand myself that way. I just don’t like the punctuation mark after the R!

So, four years later, I am tired of politely telling editors, shows, curators, etc., “Please take out the period.”

Inevitably, it would re-appear.

Then recently I felt a sinking feeling as a colleague respectfully listened to my too long story of why I punctuate out of the box. I then realized (FINALLY) that the better visual flow of punctuating made me seem unprofessional. Without knowing the backstory on punctuation, it would look like a mistake.

Version 2

March snow painting. Oh, there was evolution as I continued to work on the painting as it dried. I did not use a medium to flow the paint. I used Mother Nature; the surface was covered in snow. It was an awesome experience! © 2017 Alicia R Peterson, work in progress. Photo: Artist

So here I am, do I renege? Give up my ban on periods after an initial? Was this a battle worth fighting?

And now how do I appear? Like I can’t make up my mind? Like I don’t know how to punctuate?

Well, that does not look good! Oy Vey!

I am thinking this is punctuation that I must embrace. Not on my paintings…you will always see the flow of my signature but perhaps I need to stay in this box. That makes me a little cranky.

I remind myself that “mistakes,” may we call them “off the beaten path moments,” are a life long journey. Sometimes, out of the box works, sometimes it doesn’t.

But getting out of the box is always a worthy endeavor.

Shout out your opinions on the R. and share your stories of out of the box experiences. And what is the equivalent of Wasband?

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