Thursday, January 21, 2010

Trompe l'oeil

Trompe L'oeil is a french term for "trick the eye". In truth it is wonderfully imaginative and fun! Three dimensional renderings are always easy for the viewer to fall into. They capture our curiosity. Escher was a master of architectural illusions, study of infinity, and tessellations. The architectural illusions or architectural trompe l'oeil is known as quodlibet. This form of illusion features realistically rendered paintings of every day items such as ribbon, playing cards, pens, knives, brushes, make it look as though the items were haphazardly left on top of the painting.

Tricking the eye is best achieved when we have something to reference. In the case of quodlibet, the use of every day items assists in tricking the eye and bringing the otherwise flat image into a 3D proportion. We see wonderful trompe l'oeil murals all throughout the world. Some of the most fascinating utilize a person seemingly outside of the mural looking into the mural. A well known artist, John Pugh often executes this very example.

Trompe l'oeil is mostly associated with murals. We thrive when confronted with a mural. As Grhamam Rust states:
"From cottage to palace, there is always a place for a Mural Decoration; it can transform darkness into light, the humdrum into the exotic; it can lift the spirits of the meanest room and visually transport the occupants into another world."

Perhaps you would like to know how to execute a trompe l'oeil?

For beginners, start with something simple. I suggest you use an everyday. Lauren Cole Abrahams is an artist and a teacher. Below, she walks you through the basics:

I have my students use simple everyday playing cards. There are a few hard and fast rules for choosing what to depict....

  • The items have to be the SAME SIZE as the real object....
  • they have to all have the SAME LIGHT SOURCE....
  • and SHADOW RENDERING is very important.....
  • the objects have to be STATIONARY, NOT MOVING to be convincing....the minute you try to capture movement, the illusion is broken.

You can't get a convincing illusion if you are painting something that comes away from the surface very far...choose objects that are low to the, envelopes,keys, ribbon, fabrics are just a few of the many things that translate well into trompe l'oeil.....this pertains equally to vertical surfaces as well as horizontal ones....if you try to paint a tall glass of wine on top of a tabletop, it will be hard to convince someone that it is really there..if you have it on its side, with wine having been spilled, it works.....

Please visit this site for a fantastic HOW TO lesson!

Enjoy life and painting what you depict!

Contemporary trompe l'oeil artists are: Ellen Altfest, Julian Beever, Daniela Benedini, Henri Cadiou, Ronald Francis, Richard Haas, Ranier Maria Latzke, Istvan Orosz, Jacques Poirier, Susan Powers, John Pugh, Pierre-Marie Rudelle, Graham Rust, Anthony Waichulis, Sara Watson, Asha Zero, and Kurt Wenner.

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