In the eye of the beholder

“Katie didn’t like my sunflower, Mom.”

Emma and I were discussing the previous evening’s events, which included a frolicking good time at our local fair with a neighbor friend and Grandma Karen.  Our first stop was a trip through the youth exhibit to see a particular piece of artwork.

“How did you know she didn’t like it?”

“Because she just said, ‘great‘ and nothing else.”

“Hmmm…did YOU like your sunflower?”


“Hang on a second…”

Sensing an opportunity to seize the moment, I sprinted into the living room to fetch the most immediately available art book–a collection from Van Gogh.

“Maybe Katie thought, when you said you wanted to show her a ‘sunflower,’ that you would show her something that looked EXACTLY like a sunflower–you know, pointy leaves, detail in the petals… Yours isn’t really like that, is it? What you did is called ‘abstract’…look at some of Van Gogh’s paintings.”

We looked at “Starry, Starry Night”, Van Gogh’s sunflowers, roads, nighttime cafes and decided that, although nothing was sharp or especially distinct, there was no mistaking Vincent’s intentions.

“Em, did you paint the sunflower for Katie or did you paint it for yourself?”

My girl pauses.

“I painted it for myself. I like it.”


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