|Portrait of Stanley, The Cat, 2013, tempera paint on paperboard|
|The real Stanley|
|detail of Stanley's fur|
@mwachtel A dove of peace, with Attitude
— ChrissyM (@czmason80) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel Dove in search of peace:) #FridayRorschach
— Fiona (@Mistress_Fiona) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel #FridayRorschach A snowy owl of course.
— karen kogod (@boosean) March 28, 2014
A surprising number of you saw a chicken:
@mwachtel #FridayRorschach A chicken in a field of flowers?
— Silky, MBA (@ohsilky1) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel Looks like a chicken after seeing something terrible. #FridayRorschach
— Mohammad Hasan (@mohd_hasan95) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel an astonished chicken because of all the fire surrounding it which came from the fireplace in the corner 🐥💥 #FridayRorschach
— Jesús M Hernández (@jesusmhdz) March 28, 2014
An even more surprising number of you saw this as a penguin:
@mwachtel Looks like a penguin wearing lipstick in a staring contest with me. #FridayRorschach
— Hans Tishmack (@hansincolorado) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel A female penguin cooking the breakfast's eggs.
— Inès Ortega (@Clauni) March 28, 2014
“@mwachtel: #FridayRorschach: What might this be? Baby penguin.
— Trust (@smitmarv) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel #FridayRorschach a cowboy penguin/dove in a fabulous Puerto Rican landscape inspiring to salsa 💃💃
— Arundhati Sharma (@arundhatisharma) March 28, 2014
Several of you saw this as a bird wearing clothes. On the Rorschach, this would be considered a troubling sign--when an animal is engaging in an activity that is impossible, it is usually a sign of psychosis or traumatic brain injury (Remember, don't diagnose yourself with anything based on what you saw in this picture. I saw a bird wearing a hat, and I am neither psychotic nor cognitively impaired, as far as I know):
@mwachtel it's a puffer bird w/an oddly appropriate wide brimmed hat in distance
— neditsimple (@neditssimple) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel A Fred Astaire-like bird getting dressed for a formal occasion. #FridayRorschach
— MissBumptious (@missbumptious) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel a bird with a rain hat
— kathleen (@topazkat) March 28, 2014
One of the most common responses to this week's picture was negativity of emotion:
@mwachtel a sheep scared for its life #FridayRorschach
— Mariah Waller (@str8_aNarrow) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel Disgruntled penguin. #FridayRorschach
— Jessica Lahey (@jesslahey) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel It is plain it is a bird afoul in a pile of carrots.
— Hogan (@jphoganorg) March 28, 2014
As always, there were the pop culture references:
@mwachtel Psh, I think it's obvious...that's clearly Katy Perry
— Jay Vogel (@JayLewisVogel) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel #Bjork http://t.co/X9pdJrqgjX
— John Englert (@poloniumman) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel definitely an up and coming Picasso. #FridayRorschach
— Dr.Stephanie Mihalas (@askdrstephanie) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel The AFLAC duck, after he's been roughed up. "What might this be?" (Reply with #FridayRorschach)
— Beardsworth (@CO_contraband) March 28, 2014
A few of you saw something wrapped in a cocoon, as if for protection:
@mwachtel A screaming boy wrapped in a cocoon. #FridayRorschach
— Mae Anne Jose (@remaenisce) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel #FridayRorschach a muppet in a cocoon
— Nettie P (@The_Nettie) March 28, 2014
There was a lot of fire in this week's responses. In the Rorschach, fire responses are typically negative, as though the form is being destroyed. These responses, however, seem to be more of an indication that the black and orange paint in the lower right corner looks like a campfire:
@mwachtel A marshmallow that doesn't want to get cooked over a campfire. #fridayrorschach
— MMc (@RieMcAz) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel A Puffin on his first Boy Scout trip, starting a fire.
— C. Irwin (@Bookwormdearlor) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel it looks like the pigeon is on flames due to the campfire on the bottom right... #FridayRorschach
— wallflower_ (@ShufangSays) March 28, 2014
There is always at least one Friday Rorschacher who uses the word obviously or clearly. As in, "it obviously looks like blah blah blah." On the Friday Rorschach, it is usedin a joking manner, because the Rorschacher's response is never very obvious.
On the real Rorschach, someone will make an obvious or clearly response every now and then, but he or she is usually not joking. And, the responses are never obvious or clear. They tend to be bizarre responses like, "It is obviously a penis with wings that has just exploded out of the window of Rapunzel's castle. Anyone could clearly see that."
@mwachtel an ant with a mullet hatching from an egg in the middle of an orange sherbet river. Natch! #FridayRorschach
— Lindsey (@iremembernot) March 28, 2014
A theme that crosses weeks in the Friday Rorschach is poop. People always see poop in these pictures:
@mwachtel A litter box trained bird!
— Quidnunciac (@Quidnunciac) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel It's a stool pigeon (note the pile of stool on the ground to the right)
— Ed Endicott (@WYSIWYGFOTO) March 28, 2014
And then there is this great psychology/owl joke (google John Bowlby for more information):
@mwachtel John bOWLby's childhood pet (to which he was securely attached)! #FridayRorschach
— ☀️WestCoast MFT☀️ (@DKM33) March 28, 2014
There is the reference to a swan, from a person with a swan for an avatar (what more could you expect?):
@mwachtel A baby Swan who got his head in an oil slick.
— Big Swede (@litebeernut) March 28, 2014
There is an Australian politician (I had to look this one up):
@mwachtel No question... ths is Anna Burke
— David Lewis Cox (@CoxGiselle66) March 28, 2014
And, my personal favorite for the week:
@mwachtel the new president for Hair Club for Birds...he's not only president, he's also a member.
— Theresa Benson (@radiantmeatball) March 28, 2014
What you might have missed: For me, the first image that popped into my head when I looked at this painting was an owl wearing a mortarboard. I mean, it was so obvious. Looking back on it, it might have been the 12 years I spent as a university professor...
Nevertheless, a few of you saw it too:
the adjunct professor @mwachtel #FridayRorschach
— Willow (@wshemp) March 28, 2014
@mwachtel a white bird with a graduation cap. #FridayRorschach
— Sophie G ^_^ (@is0ph) March 28, 2014
One last thought: Stanley is no longer with the Wachtel family. My wife and I had him before we had children. When our daughter was born, it turned out that she was horribly allergic to cats. I don't think she could breathe for the first three years of her life.
It was a tough decision, but we ended up giving Stanley away. My daughter almost immediately felt better (especially after a thorough house cleaning). But, the whole family missed the cat. So, we have the portrait of Stanley (the photo and now my daughter's painting) to remember him. And no one sneezes when we look at them.
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.