While I was in school, a professor told me the story of a painter who had an odd system for creating compositions. This was early on in my school career and didn’t seem to help me much. I knew the story must be important as it was so interesting— I could not stop thinking about it.

This story involved an important painter of the early expressionist period who, like many of his time, used thick and coated brush strokes on canvas. The building of the layers of paint was what made this new style so important. Texture was beautifully crafted by creating crossing brushstrokes and thickening and thinning of layered paint. This particular painter was very popular for creating beautiful compositions of flowers in vases. He would spend hours on his flower arrangements. Carefully pruning and clipping. Tediously arranging and sorting until there was nothing left for him to arrange. The bouquet itself would become a masterpiece. The painter would set up his canvas, arrange his paints and mix his colors. As his final step in preparing his art piece, he would take his carefully composed vase of flowers and turn them 180°, to the opposite side of where he spent so much time.

This painter prepared everything so perfectly and at the final moment, turned everything on its head. Why would he do such a thing?