Friday, July 18, 2008

Eye love Trickery!

Today's Wonder of the World is... Eye Trickery! Or, as the French say, "Trompe L'Oeil!"

This 1874 painting, Escaping Criticism, by Pere Borrell del Caso, makes me think of the paintings at Harry Potter's Hogwarts. It also makes me think that if that poor boy does step out of his frame, he needs to go have that eye looked at ASAP. It's freaking me out.
Let's move on.

Here's a much less disturbing example of trompe l'oeil, found on the streets of my own lovely Greenville, South Carolina. (Remember Greenville and how cool it is? HERE?)

It's a koi pond, right on our city sidewalk!
Trompe l'oeil is art that fools the eye.
I started remembering how much I love trompe l'oeil when my friend Barb, here, did a post about it. Thanks Barb! You inspired me!

You know, now that I take a second look at that koi pond, I'm not so sure I like that snake in there.
Let's hop on over to France, shall we?

Flickr photo by chimera
There, that's better. No snakes around these parts.
Isn't the wall of this building incredible? It's in Clermont, and I used to walk by it all the time.
Here's another view.

Flickr photo by chimera.
It's hard to tell which features are real and which are not. None of them are real. It's just a flat sided building.

The French are masters of trompe l'oeil. You can find it all over France.

I searched through my photos and would you believe that I didn't take a single photo of these works of art the whole time we were there?
Or maybe I did and the trompe l'oeil is so good that I can't tell that it's trompe l'oeil!
I guess I took them for granted, but now I don't!

Look HERE for some more examples of trompe l'oeil in my former French life.
(Really, take a look. They're amazing!)

Maybe the reason I enjoy trompe l'oeil so much is the same reason I like writing stories. The challenge of bringing a scene to life to such a degree that the reader forgets for a moment that they aren't actually inside the story, listening to the people, feeling the wind, or smelling the cheese. (I do write a lot about France. I can't forget to mention cheese.)

Or maybe I just enjoy examples of trompe l'oeil because they're beautiful or grand or bizarre.
Or maybe I just like being tricked.
Or maybe I just like the French word oeil.
Did you know that in French, the eye = l'oeil, and the eyes = les yeux? Such a beautiful, impossible language!

But as I said, trompe l'oeil is not just for the French!
Here's another example in my state capital, Columbia.

Flickr photo by sisudave
Can't you just imagine the roadrunner tricking the coyote into running smack dab into that wall?

I like trompe l'oeil so much that I've thought about doing a small one on a wall of my house. (Not that I want my children to run into walls. Though it might be funny once.)

When we were in France I used to love French decorating and craft magazines. I still do, and I make Todd bring me a bunch every time he goes on a business trip. The ladies at the airport Tabac probably think he's a very sophisticated man, always picking up issues of Marie Claire Idees and Campagne Decoration. Not that he's not really sophisticated. But he'd be just as likely to read one of my deco magazines as I would be to read his cycling magazines. Snore snore.

Anyway, I also liked this one. It often featured trompe l'oeil.

Take a look at this bedroom.

Can you tell what is real and what is painted?
Rug? Painted.
Curtain swag? Painted.
Headboard? Painted.
Artwork? Painted.
Wall lamps? Painted.
Not. Ha ha. Tricked you.

How about this? Most all of it is painted.

I'd love to include a little touch somewhere in my house, just for fun.
Maybe a fake light switch, just so I can watch the teenagers try to turn it on.

Take a look at this trompe l'oeil master, Julian Beever. Barb shared him with me on her post, and I found this Youtube video of his works. You won't believe it!
But I guess that's the point!

Have a Wonderful Friday y'all! And a great weekend!

Love, Becky


LizR said...

I absolutely love Julian Beever's work. It just astounds me that he can figure out how to draw those images so they look so amazing from the right angle.

I've always enjoyed optical illusions, and these certainly qualify!

To answer the question you left on my blog (sorry, I've been on vacation :) ), a honeyberry is a type of shrub that's related to honeysuckle. It produces oblong blue edible berries. They were on sale, so I bought four to see what they're all about.

Anonymous said...

Loved your post!! The video was so much fun! We went to Italy last summer and that was the first time I had ever seen sreet painting up close. Thank you for introducing me to Julian's work!!
OH-- Thank you for stopping by for my give away. I entered your name. Good Luck!


Rosemary said...

I have seen his work before. Amazing!!
Have a wonderful weekend!

May Vanderbilt said...

I love trompe l'oeil too! Only I'm never positive I'm saying it right. Can you spell it out phonetically?

There's an entire house in SF with trompe l'oeil front.

That's the only picture I could find but every time I pass it I say, Hey! Tromp eye trickery thing!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hey Lizr, thanks for the explanation! It is pretty! I'll have to be on the lookout for it.

Hi Karen, Julian's work is indeed incredible. And I hope I win! The prize is gorgeous!

Hey Rosemary! You too!

May, you're probably saying it right. It's close to tromp-loy, but with that little French ye at the end. I'm rotten at spelling sounds out. Go to this site where you can hear it for yourself.'oeil/

And I went to your link. Very cool!

Randy and Linda said...

Nice post Rebecca!
I like the idea of doing some trompe l'oeil inside the home. I remember very well the one at the top of the hill in C-F the last time I was there. I think I have some photos of it too, but they're on 35mm film and it's a bit more of a task to scan the negative. I could always just email you a print. Speaking of, I will email you a little Photoshop designing I have completed recently, and you can also see where the trip was.
Cheese blog: I like most cheeses except the kind that when you look at and smell, you think you should send the CDC a sample.
Drive-thru blog: I'm like Todd, I can't imagine the struggle to comprehend French over one of those outdoor speakers. Sometimes I wish they just had push buttons and photos next to them. Worst experience - in Atlanta after a late concert, we were starved but nothing was open except for this one "Steak and Shake". We were in line for 45 minutes, and when it was our turn, we thought it odd that the people in front of us threw all their food out their car window, shortly after they received it. We get to the window and they ask for our order that we placed 30 minutes earlier! Then its "can you wait 15 minutes for your burgers?". Then (some cussing) we just got our drinks and headed back to Gville. Despite that worst experience, we really like drive-thrus, and also get takeouts from restaurants.
Bon weekend!

e.marie said...

Ha! Your lightswitch idea is hilarious.
My favorite local trompe l'oeil is a window painted on the outside of a house...with da Vinci's Mona Lisa recreated as the house's occupant. It's like she's watching the traffic go by--makes me laugh every time I see it.

Susan Tuttle said...

Fabulous post! Thank you for teaching me. I purchased a dictation program for my computer today. I am now able to blog using my voice. I do not have to type. What a relief.


Rebecca Ramsey said...

Randy, what a great idea! An ordering board at a drive thru rather than having to talk into that static-y thingy. You should sell that to somebody!

E. Marie, I'd love to see Mona Lisa as I drive by. It would definitely make me smile!

Hi Susan, I'm so glad you were able to get one of those. I enjoy your blog and would miss it if you had to stop!

TattingChic said...

That was great and yes, I did like Barb's post on the sidewalk art. It was awesome. That is amazing how the French use their drop cloths over building with the paintings. Marvelous...DAH-ling!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

We have a large doorway in our home that is painted to look like an old terracotta pot.. you know, sort of orangey with mold spots here and there. Very authentically done. My aunt came for a visit once, and upon leaving, promptly phoned my mother to inform her that "someone needs to tell Pamela she has mold all over one of her doorways". Sigh.

Debbie Egizio said...

What fabulous illusions and such a fun and informative post! Thanks for all the great eye candy and visualtrickery. Loved it!! ;)

Nilz said...

I do love to read all your posts - but this one has probably excelled all other posts. Wonderful illustration covering different parts of the globe on creation of illusive imagery.

Life on Bonnie Lane said...

I love trompe l'oeil! There is a town a few hours away from me that has an amazing scene painted on the side of a bank. It's amazing the talent that is out there. I really enjoyed the video. How does he do that? Just amazing!


Susie Q said...

Oh how I love this! Your posts are always such fun and just never fail to make me smile!
I can not tell youhow much I enjoyed your book! I took it to MN with me and read it during the car ride. I never realized how long the trip actually was becasue I was enjoying myself far too much!
You are a treausre!


Writer Not Reading said...

Here is my all-time favorite three-dimensional street art website. I still can't tell where the illusion leaves off and reality begins.

Alex said...

I have some of Julian Beever's work before and it's is astounding! Thank you for sharing with us today. :)

JoJo said...

Amazing! Oh how I wish I were an artist but alas, I just don't think I could do anything close to these works of art. A friend passed along an idea for something that I could accomplish and it seem like a fun thing to do. On the stair risers she painted words so that as you walked up the stairs you read a sentence about the family. Very sweet and personal. Hope your weekend is wonderful too. Tropical storm is brewing so maybe some rain!

cityfarmer said...

I've been a bad girl...not visiting..maybe things are slowing down a bit...I'll be around....thanks for our chats.

CC said...

those are so cool!!

Dana said...

What a great topic---but I think I'm really fasinated by the Twisty Tongue post! You are a hoot! Dana

Dana said...

Dang it, Why do I push Publish instead of Preview first? That should be FASCINATED---I saw it JUST as the screen flickered and said my comment had been saved. Sorry!

Dream Keyper said...

LOVE your blog, thanks for all the interesting-ness that you post! Wow, wonders never do cease! What a world we live in, huh? xoxo Suzy

Matt Jaworski said...

I can't imagine the struggle to comprehend French over one of those outdoor speakers. Sometimes I wish they just had push buttons and photos next to them. Worst experience - in Atlanta after a late concert, we were starved but nothing was open except for this one "Steak and Shake". We were in line for 45 minutes, and when it was our turn, we thought it odd that the people in front of us threw all their food out their car window, shortly after they received it.