Perspective

Good artists, I’m told, know what  perspective is. I don’t know much about horizons and lines doing the right things on a page, even though I had my first acrylics painting lesson recently and found it completely exhilarating. But back to perspective: I know that everyone needs it, more than only graphic artists.

Last week one day, spring finally, finally arriving, I happily wore my new shoes that Michelle had talked me into buying. It was liberation to put away the winter boots and wear something light. As I walked down the sidewalk, I noticed a woman scowling at my shoes. My cute, brown shoes didn’t deserve a look like that. In a flash, I decided that she was narrowing her eyes at them because she was jealous, not because she thought they were ugly or unseasonable. Perspective.

The next day a mother interrupted my English lesson by knocking and handing a huge orange to us, her two children and me. A single orange, in the middle of doing a worksheet.   I found a knife to peel it, and the children and I ate the segments, dripping and squirting, between questions about spring. I remembered the stories of women who got one orange for Christmas when they were girls in communist Poland. They savored just the fragrance for several days before peeling it.

Perspective. Contrast. Color.

An artist needs an accurate way of seeing things. Not only for a project on a canvas, but for the whole of life.

I’m learning, slowly. That crooked lines and dark colors aren’t the whole picture. That the person next to me sees something differently from me because of where she’s standing, not because her eyes don’t work.  That failure and coloring outside the lines is not fatal but a sign of life.