Friday, June 06, 2008

Art Revealed

If you haven't read the diverse and imaginative comments from everyone describing what they saw in the mystery art image, you should. This experiment demonstrated exactly what people can see when they keep their minds open and their imaginations active (and it will also become part of a class that I teach on creativity at various public schools.)

Before I show you exactly what the image is, I will tell you now that I misled you a little. The image is not of an art object, at least, not deliberate art. It is an ordinary, utilitarian item that was transformed by the creation of art.

The mystery image began life as one of these:

I separated from others like it for a purpose, namely, to deal with some of life's more interesting messes.

At first it just sat there, blank and boring.

But as soon as it went to work, it began to absorb everything it was exposed to:

What it absorbed stayed with it, and began to change it.

It's hard to see such a gradual thing happening, unless you put it with others like itself in various stages of the same transformation.

Finally it had absorbed so much from the process of creation that it grew to be than what it was. I hung it up on my cork board and stared at it for a long time, until I'd sorted out what I was seeing.

Even something like a well-used paint rag can become a small universe of possibilities, all open to countless interpretations (as you all so wonderfully demonstrated.) When I look at it, I connect with it on multiple levels. I recognize the colors from the Darkyn book covers, the fire inside a dark opal, the sunlight shining through a Tiffany window, and how I imagine the colors of Marco's eyes. I also remember how much paint I dripped on the work bench over the last week.

Looking and connecting, recognizing and remembering, all important things. But when I look at this image, what I see is you.

The winner of the Mystery Art giveaway is Lainey, who wrote: Northern/Western Hemisphere as seen through southeasterly variously colored movement. Lainey, when you have a chance, send your BookWish details, full name and ship-to address to and I'll wave the magic BookWand and get your prize out to you.

My thanks to everyone for joining in.


  1. Anonymous12:44 AM

    wtg lainey. almost like my mind lol

  2. Just more proof that there's beauty even in the seemingly mundane.

  3. Gods dumbit! When you posted it yesterday I almost said "a screwed up paint rag" but didn't want to offend!

  4. Anonymous6:12 AM

    A rag? How cool is that.

    Congrats, Lainey!

  5. Anonymous8:17 AM

    Hehehe, I actually thought it was something like this. Mostly because the kid I take care of did something similar a few weeks ago and they cut it into an animal shape (crocodile, I think).

  6. . . .but can you wring it out and use it again? Oh, wait--don't do that: keep it hung on the board!

    Way to go Lainey!

  7. Squealllllllll!!!!!!!!!!!
    I won! I won!! I'm so excited!
    Thanks anonymous, Shiloh and Shawn (visualize "heart" here).
    I must remember to commend my neurosurgeon on his choice of post-op narcotic pain meds. :)

  8. Anonymous11:17 AM

    I used to get similar effects on wet paper towels when I "erased" overhead projector ink--I liked to use various colors--from the film roller or from my individual film sheets. I also ended up with multicolored hands.


  9. Congrats Lainey! Maybe I need to back off all the coffee drinking I've been doing lately. I still see faces so it must be like clouds. If it was a secret Rorschach ink blot test I don't want my results. lol

  10. Congrats Lainey!

  11. Very cool! I just got all of my beads down from the attick for my Dd and when we spread them all out I realized I had a thing for jeweltones. They're some of my favorite to play with, despite the fact that I rarely wear them (I'm an Autumn *sniff*).

    I learned about that technique when I started making ATCs. You always make me want to go create something.

    Congrats Lainey!

  12. hehe

    Congrats, Lainey :).

    The eyes still make me uncomfortable, tho'.

  13. Congrats, Lainey!

    As for what it WAS, I wouldn't have thought of a paint rag. However, it reminded me of one of my daughter's shirts, with that kind of "bohemian" dye work. Same colors too (well it has a little yellow too, and more green).

    But I loved to play finding the images on it. I do that all the time. Clouds, patters in tiles, walls, fabrics, everywhere.

    I really enjoyed being a part of this experiment. *g*

  14. Anonymous6:49 PM

    Congrats, Lainey!

    Just between you and me, "northern/western hemisphere thingy" was my second choice...

  15. Anonymous2:41 AM

    Just checked back to see what this really was and love it - from rag to art work.


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