Monday, February 9, 2015

The Mona Bootsie

You have probably seen, in print or online, those pictures that can be interpreted two ways depending on how you look at them. Particularly well known is the one that asks whether you see a duck or a rabbit. Look at it one way and you see the profile of a rabbit looking to the right with his long ears trailing behind his head on the left. Blink your eyes hard, and those ears become the bill of a duck looking the other way.

Another of these drawings, often identified as "ambiguous pictures" or "optical illusions," is usually referred to as Rubin's Vase. In that one, you will first see either a centered urn or the profiles of two people, one on each side, looking in toward the middle. Google it if you want to see it and other examples of these artistic phenomena.

I have always been rather fascinated by things like this, as well as by explanations that use terms like "bi-stable" and "field" to try to explain how our perceptions work. So you can imagine my surprise and delight yesterday when Bootsie, who is all of four years old, took crayons in hand and produced one of these herself. Call me prejudiced, but it is as good as any ambiguous duck-bunny or any vase-people you could ever find:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but in your initial glance at this picture, you saw either a little girl with blue eyes and a huge smile--or what is perhaps an older person with no mouth and a very large nose. Seriously--try it. You can make a good case for both, can you not?

Is it not clear that Bootsie is a talented artist? Some day, when you see this hanging in a museum somewhere, you can tell the docent that you saw it online many years ago as a blog post written by an amazingly perceptive, forward-thinking Googie.

With this, I leave you to your musings. Perhaps you will want to stand up, walk across the room from your computer, and study the subtle changes in light that fall across this enigmatic face. Perhaps you are even now drawing comparisons to the Mona Lisa, and who could blame you?

With that in mind, I will dub this piece of artwork The Mona Bootsie. Watch the Arts and Entertainment sections of your local newspapers for its appearance in a museum near you.

About the Artist

Bootsie is a talented four-year-old who is growing up way too fast. Her tools of choice are crayons and stickers, and she probably could have invented the term "mixed media." The third of Googie's six kids, she graces any family gathering with sparkle and pizzazz, and often asserts her nonconformity by wearing her shoes on what everybody else thinks are the wrong feet. 


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