The Golden Mean and Trompe L'oeil

In many of my paintings I use 'the trompe l'oeil concept', meaning that I create with the precise goal of conveying reality to my audience, that is, to the viewer.  In other words, to you.  I always deviate a little (artistic license) from that reality, after starting with a very important basic: The mathematical system of proportion referred to as the "Golden Mean". 

It is generally believed that the structure and balance of the Universe is explained by certain numerical relationships. Throughout history the "Golden Mean" has been used to improve the aesthetic balance of man made objects. The Greeks and Egyptians used it in the design and construction of their Temples, Pyramids and even the human form. [The Golden Mean can be defined geometrically as a line that is divided such that the lesser portion is to the greater portion as the greater portion is to the whole. Technically, you calculate 'portion' by taking the first number and multiplying it by 1.618 respectively.]  

The Golden Mean is important in relationship to any painting, and most important in Trompe l'oeil, because you are attempting to arrive at a heightened degree of realism in order to provoke a strong response from the viewer. For the viewer to be fooled, it is imperative that the aesthetic balance be one and the same with the objects being observed.  This  makes Trompe l'oeil mural painting even more complex (in terms of execution) than traditional paintings. Extensive detailing and greater expertise are required to paint a realistic image on a wall that is 10 feet high and 15 or 20 feet long than on a canvas that measures 24 by 36 inches. Only a handful of Trompe l'oeil artists have made the leap from small realistic canvasses to large scale paintings.

I want to convey feeling in my paintings as well as accuracy, particularly through the use of color.  This is not always a priority with other trompe l'oeil artists though, and you might notice that their quest for accuracy has left their work devoid of any feeling.  This is not the case with Harnett, maker of small works, or with the talented trompe l'oeil mural artists of today, all of whose works are full of feeling and life.

It is recommended that when choosing a Trompe L’Oeil artist you hire a skilled artist (as opposed to a novice) to ensure that the style is used properly. It will have a greater impact and effect on the guests who visit your newly created Trompe L'oeil mural.  This technique will take some time to complete, and depending on the artist you choose, it can also be very expensive.  As you are well aware though, a trompe l'oeil mural is well worth the price for the enjoyment and visual pleasure it brings.

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A Brief History of Trompe L'oeil  p.3