In the eye of the beholder – By Rosemary Bach-Holzer

Remember those prints called “Magic Eye” that were so hip and of the moment a few years back?

They looked like leftover wallpaper from the early seventies except they hid a treasure chest full of three-dimensional (3D) surprises and the key in which to unlock them was held in your very own hands. Or, should I say eyes?

The trick was to stare at them until your eyes became so tired they would cross and only then the picture hidden amongst the psychedelically painted lines and waves would become visible. The facial expressions pulled in order to unmask these artistic delights – in addition to the stupid grin of expectant pleasure at what was unveiling before your very eyes emulating in a cross between Marty Feldman and a halfwit – was something best done in the privacy of your own home.

It wasn’t possible to step outside without stumbling upon a vendor flogging them on the pavement. How street traders managed to retire to sunnier climes on the proceeds of these sales still leaves me totally mystified.

I was searching for inspiration for my column… anything… even just a hint of something. No such luck. I sat and stared and stared out of my window until my eyes positively pricked and burned. My head remained empty and I feared I was suffering from a bad case of porridge brain when it hit me. Not so long ago, a titanic percentage of the public would stare in exactly the same manner and it was called appreciating art.

It was fortunate the window of my office overlooked nothing but a field whose only visitors included blackbirds and the odd seagull squawking over a piece of bread that had been left behind by a myopic-feathered dinosaur.

Which brings me back to the here and now.

I wonder what has happened to all those original prints… torn up and thrown away or relegated to the attic – giving some poor unsuspecting spider constant headaches. They could prove useful. The next time I’m doing my stuffed dummy act waiting for inspiration to strike, I could be appreciating art at the same time… or… perhaps not.

I think I’ll stick to the stuff where you don’t have to contort your eyes or any other part of your body in which to appreciate it.

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Rosemary is a published writer and author and has been published in various magazines.

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