@app, that's wild! Do you have some way to force categories per line or do you just have everything memorized?
If you create a folder of shortcuts, Windows allows you to open that on your taskbar as a toolbar. That's what I have done, and the shortcuts are very well organized.
app, how do you remember what all the icons are for? I prefer names, or icon+name. Maybe, being an artist, you're particularly visually-oriented, rather than text-oriented?
Do you recognize what running apps are all the icons sitting in your tray? What happens if you don't remember all the app names? Can you remember what some of them do, rather than their names? Do some of them always appear in the same position and you know it more by location than by name?
It's just like that for me, except more rows, which didn't happen overnight. No, I don't know what they are all called, but where they are gives me a hint as to purpose, and position on a row has some meaning, too. And I can always hover over an icon if I forget. Some of them, my hand knows more than my brain does.
If your very first Windows based PC was set up this way when you go it, with no desktop icons, and you were forced to use it this way, you'd get used to it and it would seem natural. Three generations of my family have their taskbar like this...my dad started it, then passed it on to myself and my daughter when he gave us one of his old computers (our first computer).
Even though I am used to it and it all makes sense to me, it's not all fun and games. I have a dual boot machine with Ubuntu and I do not feel comfortable in Linux because I haven't been able to find a way to duplicate this functionality in that OS. Whenever I want to do something, my hand instinctively goes for that big toolbar on the right, to the region where what I want to do belongs...and there is nothing there and no way to put it there...and I get frustrated and feel so lost.