Paint a trompel’oeil is discovering how an illusion is created. Velázquez said that art is any activity that involves the use of reason. This is a definition of humanist art, since it discards the direct action of chance and nature in the creation of a work. Therefore the resulting work must and can be explained in its intention and / or chance.
Every work has a beginning, a base or a foundation. And in the procedure of painting a trompel’oei, its principle is the key to reaching the finish. That is, from the beginning we must know where we want to go. An “Itaca”, regardless of what we find along the way and the detours we must do. Depending on the purpose that is sought, the technique is selected, the means, the tools are searched and the work is programmed. In this way a trompel’oeil is painted and following this script I will explain the procedure that I use in The Santi’s Workshop to perform the trompel’oeils.
The process of realization of a trompel’oeil
Regardless of the pictorial technique used, it is necessary to plan and schedule the execution. You can start the work in the middle of the journey, recycling an object as a support, but sequencing and knowing the achievement of the steps to be performed. I want to say with this that the object that we want to recycle already brings in itself a material reality, and this determines the result of the work in a certain way. It can even be the inspiration for the composition of the work. It is the reason for the rusticity and “vintage” style of many trompel’oeils that have left The Santi’s Workshop.
Remember that trying and sketching are preheating and rehearsal exercises. And when you paint a trompel’oeil, testing will help us run faster and safer. Starting from these previous tips, The Santi’s Workshop begins the search for elements such as doors, tables, shutters, etc., on which to stage his work. These elements, selected as support for each case, help while conditioning the execution. It is not the same to “thematize” a door, than a table or a shutter, as to the result. But there are a number of rules to follow in any case.
Planes and levels
For the result to have some depth, it must have several levels or planes. The depth will give us a field to create a stage. Therefore, it will be the space where the lights and shadows will be distributed. The light that illuminates the scene of the composition must be consistent throughout the space represented, and should have as reference the same focus of origin. When painting a trompel’oeil all the lights, brightness, penumbra and shadows must have the same size, a window, a lamp or the light bulb to be determined. If this light also has an external reference to the work, it is more effective.
Paint an interior or exterior trompel’oeil
The format and size of the recycled and “themed” object are decisive, the space must be filled and with an intention. With a function that consists in creating an illusion, in a specific place and space. And, at the same time, the work can suggest new spaces and places different from the surrounding reality. Something very baroque as is the same origin of the genus “trompel’oeil”.
The objects that we select as motifs and represent between the different planes and levels must have a thematic coherence. There is always some reason to relate these objects, however different they may be, and that reason must be in the background of the work. It is the theme of the work (example). Therefore the subject is the key on which the consequent actions are executed. The composition, lighting, color, etc., will have as reference the theme chosen to be represented.
And finally, the inspiration will be in the end what determines the theme of the work. Thus seen the process, from beginning to end, or from the end to the beginning, the interesting thing is in the process itself. The path in which we learn and enrich our experience.
If you liked this publication about trompe-l’oeil I encourage you to consult the following publication of L’Atelier de Santi;