A World of Speculation

The artist and her friends were placing artworks in the Starbucks gallery (hung on the coffee shop walls for sale).

They were bold, colorful oil paintings with bright yellows, oranges, purples. One of the women mentioned how much she liked the “fish” painting, but if there was a representation of a fish, I didn’t see it.

As I sat there trying to plan chapter 4 of my book, they wandered around the shop, looking for the right place to put the paintings.

One of the friends took a 2 x 2 1/2 canvas that may have been of a bouquet of irises and tulips — or not — and hung it in a vertical orientation between two windows. “That looks really good,” she said, and several others agreed.

The artist stood back apiece. “Well, it’s sideways,” she said, and seeing me watching, she gave a friendly nod and shrug. “I guess it doesn’t matter which way the dedication hangs.”

And while I admired her flexibility, it was a different way of looking at art from what I would have expected. I would have thought that vertical/horizontal orientation, rightside up/upside down, would be important, would be crucial to a visual artist. Apparently, I was mistaken.

And taking a cue from the flexible artist in Starbucks, I give my permission to my readers — if I ever finish this darned thing and if anybody actually does read it — to read the book rightside up, upside down, sideways, forward or backward — whatever works best with the available wall space and light.

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