Before the phrase "What is this?!" or something of the like goes through your head, have no fear; this is not a painting of mine. In fact, it's not a painting at all.
You got it; the mishmash of paint above is actually a cropped portion of my beloved studio apron (Special thanks to Jason, my fabulous impromptu photographer. Also, please ignore the mid-laugh goober expression on my face; I was trying explain that walking outside one's studio to find a photographer out and about was completely commonplace).
This apron, nonetheless, has held an active role in my painting career for almost 6 years now. It's from Hobby Lobby, it cost me $2.00 (yes, that's exact. My lazy self never actually removed the price sticky from the inside tag), and probably has about $100.oo worth of dried paint on it currently. I bought it initially for my first painting class at UGA, and it has stayed with me ever since. And when I mean stay, I mean it has been used for nearly every painting since that first class. It is so covered in paint that it can no longer bend, and the pockets have been painted shut. Regardless, I wear it anyway.
I like to equate the apron to rituals and superstitions that athletes are often reported to possess. These rituals are often created by accident, often actions that an athlete notices after a pivotal performance, and then tries to establish a cause and effect. Whether the ritual truly works, it is certain that it boosts confidence, and without a doubt establishes a sense of control of the athlete's performance. However, I think this practice of establishing a performance ritual can be applied to any performance, especially fine art.
With that notion, my apron is my ritual. While I never had a pivotal performance that made the apron a requirement, it allows my creature-of-habit self to have a sense of control. I put it on before every painting, and in doing so it gets me in the "zone". I turn everything else off, visual what I want to create, and begin the game.