Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Friday Rorschach: Artisan Tree With Bushes

Artisan Tree With Bushes, 2014, Acrylic paint on paperboard

This is one of my son's paintings. He started out with a paintbrush, but fairly quickly moved to using his fingers. He was proud of the fact that he mixed the reddish brown color in the middle of the painting by himself. I think it is a combination of red, green, yellow, and blue.

What it is: A tree. The reddish brown in the middle is the trunk and branches. The green and blue on top are leaves. The same green and blue that are below where one normally sees leave on a tree are bushes surrounding the tree. My son did not know what the red, blue and green at the very bottom of the picture is.

He used a paintbrush for the trunk and branches, and he used his fingers and handprints for the leaves and bushes. If you can imagine, he painted this very quickly.

What you thought it was: As always, you had some great responses this week. As a psychologist, I was most interested in the fact that this was the first week where multiple people had responses that, in a normal administration of the Rorschach, would indicate psychopathology. In the Friday Rorschach, they are just clever, creative responses! But, they stood out in my mind, so I will point them out in the post.

A surprising number of you saw fish (I would have never seen fish until you pointed them out. Now, I can see the tails pointing toward the right of the page):

Numerous people saw dancers (this indicates movement in the painting):

A few of you saw some anger or aggression in the painting (this includes one of the fish responses from above):

In addition to the aggression, a few of you came up with fairly morbid responses that combined different forms and/or religious imagery (in the real Rorschach, this can be an indication of problems such as depression, anxiety, or psychosis. In the Friday Rorschach, it is an indication of creativity):

And then there was humor (which can be a good way to keep from revealing too much about yourself--if you respond with humor, it deflects from what is going on under the surface. Humor is my go-to defense mechanism):

As always, there are a bunch of creative responses that I just don't see (in the real Rorschach, these responses would be "unusual" and would hurt your score. In the Friday Rorschach, they are encouraged):

A lot of you saw the tree (this would be considered a "popular" response in the real Rorschach):

One of you went completely literal:

And my personal favorite for the week (this one got a lot of favorites/retweets. I liked that it implied a story, and it made me laugh out loud when I read it):

What you might have missed: If you haven't already discovered this, our kids create a lot of art. In order to make sure they always have paper, we cut up cereal boxes, cardboard, scratch paper from work, shoe boxes, and anything else we think they might use. This has the added benefit of repurposing packaging materials we would otherwise throw away.

For this painting, my son used the underside of a shoe box lid. You can't see it well in the picture I posted on Twitter, but the name of the shoes is embossed in the paperboard. Since it is the back of the lid, the embossed letters are backward.

In the details below, can you make out the brand and style of shoe?

In this cropped detail, the painting has been rotated

Here, the painting has been flipped
so that it can be read more easily

Even though it was hard to see on Twitter, one of the regular Friday Rorschach participants spotted it and totally nailed it (Bravo, good sir):

Word of warning: Remember, none of your responses indicate mental illness or psychopathology. This is a fun game, and I encourage creative answers. Taking the standard psychological Rorschach test is a very different experience where you are not supposed to be creative--in fact, you get penalized for it.

For the Friday Rorschach, keep the creative responses coming. They are great!

One other word of warning: One person posted a semi-racist response, which I did not retweet. This is the first time anything like this has happened in the Friday Rorschach. I am giving the person the benefit of the doubt and assuming no ill-will was intended. Nevertheless, let's try and keep this positive and fun.

Thanks for reading-- Max Wachtel, Ph.D.

Friday Rorschach is a fun project designed to engage readers' creativity. To participate, follow Max on twitter. He posts the drawing every Friday morning around 10am ET/8am MT. There are no wrong answers to the Friday Rorschach.



1 -. How old is the child?
2 -. How many colors was available to paint?
3 -. Why a tree?

I'm not the type to interpret a drawing with my personal contents, so I need to know this information first.

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