Thursday, November 05, 2009

Trompe l'oeil window

click photo to enlarge
As a general rule I'm against the painting of pictures on exterior walls and brickwork. Why? Well, often the paintings are worthy rather than good, and are frequently a cheap substitute for doing something better with a location. Moreover, they rarely achieve their objective of giving the eye something better to look at, raising the spirits and improving the area: time and again I find the unadorned wall is preferable to what appears on it. Even when the painting has merit it starts to lose it when the paint begins to fade or flake off, water stains mar the image, and graffiti appears which mocks or disfigures it. All this makes paintings on walls look shabby. I'm quite even-handed in my dislike too. Whether it's "street graffiti" by Banksy, everyday graffiti by Anon, or a piece by a "community artist" commissioned by a public or private body, I'm against it if it's painted on a wall.

What I don't mind (and often like), however, is outdoor paintings on boarding, hoardings, or any temporary structure. The works that enliven the panels that are erected to screen building work, archaeological digs, etc, are, to me, absolutely fine, because they are not as permanent as wall paintings, and don't usually degenerate into eye-sores. I came across some interesting examples in King's Lynn recently. They were on boards over windows adorning an old building near the Customs House. There were several examples, and it looked like more than one artist had been involved (though in retrospect that seems unlikely). A couple didn't appeal to me, the others were quite acceptable, and this one I rather liked. I'm not a cat lover, so it wasn't the main subject that took my fancy, rather it was the general trompe l'oeil idea. A Victorian sash window with stained glass panels round the edge makes a good frame, and I'm a sucker for green and blue with red highlights. The appearance of a blind being down over the top window was a good touch, and the cats looking out invite passers-by to catch their eye and look at the painting, so that worked very nicely too.

When I photographed it I decided it needed something to break the symmetry. My shadow, though a photographic faux pas, seemed the ideal element, especially since it's also something that suggests rather than is, unreality. Today's photograph is a different take on the trompe l'oeil idea from the example in my October post.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 14mm (28mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/800
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On