What Can't I See?

This August, Stevie and I took my sons to one of those paint your own pottery places. I’ve never considered myself to have any artistic talent whatsoever, so I was surprised to discover a few years ago that my eight year old has a talent for drawing. This outing was his suggestion, and so I put motherly love for him ahead of my distaste for spending money on things that look like crap, and off we went. (I said he had a talent for drawing, not painting.)

Long after everyone else had started working on their pieces, I was still deciding what to paint. I wanted something purposeful and easy to complete since I bore easily. In the end, I chose a simple medium-sized bowl with handles, and two shades each of pink and blue glaze.

Inspired by a canvas in the store, I glazed the inside of the bowl with the lighter shades, blue on one side and pink on the other.  On the outside of the bowl, where the inside was pink I applied the darker shade of blue on the outside. I painted the darker shade of pink on the same side where the inside was blue. I added a few stamps for decoration and then handed my bowl to the employee who would finish our pieces in the kiln.

When I picked up our finished pieces, I was pleasantly surprised with how well it turned out. The imperfections that I worried would detract from its beauty only contributed to its uniqueness. My husband and I admired it from every angle--or so we thought.

The following day, our eight year old pointed out a detail that we had completely overlooked. When viewed through one of the handles, the bowl appears to be either completely pink or completely blue depending upon which handle you look through. The other colors are completely hidden from view.

Our minds are like that bowl. We don’t actually see the world as it is; we see the world as we are. If you’re looking at a problem from only one or two angles, then you are missing the big picture. Conversely, if you only choose to see the situation from a wide angle--or to look through only one of the two handles--you’re missing important perspectives.  

Turns out I am artistic, after all.  

Kathleen Schwarz