Anything looks good in this frame.

When you arrive at the Farmers Market and they’re still setting up, you know you’re too early. I hadn’t visited in over a year, and hadn’t bothered to check the time. How could I literally have beat the farmers? Well, according to the sign, I was 40 minutes early today, with nothing to do. I say, “nothing”, but there’s always something to do at Lake Anne. Watching the water ripple. Watching geese cruise the lake’s center. Looking at beautiful flowers and plants hanging off private balconies. Watching the sun rise a little bit higher. And window shopping.

So it was that I found myself walking on the lake’s short boardwalk , glancing across at Reston Art Gallery & Studios. In the first window, a small, vibrant abstract lived in a thick gold frame. Even from 20 feet away, I could see that the frame brought out its rich colors. It occurred to me that you could put pretty much anything in that frame, and it would be worthy of your best wall. I kept moving. The next window featured a seascape. Two boats floated close together near a pebbled shore. The unframed canvas wasn’t very large, but it had a reflective quality that drew me in. I could smell the sea air, touch the water, I could walk into it. I wanted to be there.

I continued walking for awhile. On the way back I chose the sidewalk closer to the windows. I wanted to know more about the paintings. I reached the seascape first. The Dorothy Donahey piece looked very different from 2 feet away. The colors and strokes that produced its reflective qualities from a distance looked more pronounced. I still liked it, but the experience of it was different. I liked new things about it. I could see the boats were tethered together and to the shore. One was smaller than the other, I felt they had a relationship. I backed away a few feet, and the reflective quality I loved was also back. Beautiful!

With somewhat less interest I walked on to the next window, and saw the gold-framed work I’d dismissed earlier. But when I got in front of it, I could see it for what it was. Rosemarie Forsythe’s swirls were stunning. Gold, red, and blues moved and glowed in front of me. I hadn’t seen its beauty at all from 20 feet away, not because it wasn’t there but because I wasn’t where I needed to be to see it.

Perspective is everything. And having more than one perspective helps us know a thing better. I now realize I didn’t arrive at the Farmer’s Market early today. I arrived right on time.