Thursday, 3 March 2016

Trompe l'oeil horse with brush and hand

Trompe l'oeil horse with brush and hand
I have long been fascinated by trompe l'oeil work and blogged about it once before, here.

Trompe l’oeil is French for “deceive the eye” and is an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create an optical illusion that the objects actually exist in 3 dimensions. 

In this painting, everything is - painted. Including the torn paper and the masking tape. 

I started off by setting up a little model scene so that I could shine a bright light on it to judge the shadows. I took some aged-looking note paper and tore it, mounted it onto black card and posed a model horse against it, in front of a bright light. Like so:

set-up for trompe l'oeil painting

The plastic horse is attached to the background with blu-tack.

Then I drew it out with a combination of paint, charcoal and fine, permanent marker (for the lines of the notepaper, so they wouldn't be dissolved by the oil):
set-up for trompe l'oeil painting
As you can see, I started off intending to have a dog peering up at the horse (bottom right). I got as far as painting him in, too. But it didn't work and the optical illusion was broken. It is because the scale was all wrong, I think. So I wiped him off with methylated spirit and painted in my hand holding a brush, instead. The masking tape I just painted by sticking a bit to my drawing board and copying it:


I used Titanium White with Raw Sienna and painted thinly so there was some translucency. My masking tape is the cheap sort and you can see through it!


My favourite trompe l’oeil is this one. The Chatsworth House “violin” - in fact, a painting by Jan Van der Vaart (1653-1727) on the back of a door.