Bobbywashere Art blog

Beyond what is front of you!

Posted on: October 31, 2008

Back Fence, Acrylic on cavas paper (2008)

Back Fence, Acrylic on cavas paper (2008)

Before anyone comments or asks me via email this is not a painting from behind bars 🙂

Large Version

Ok this is essentially the view from my back garden and was created the same time as my previous painting ‘Manufactured’ for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. I made the mistake of putting some of my back catalog on my flickr profile page and a few people have emailed to ask why I have not featured this on my blog.

So here it is and I will continue to explain the theory behind this one but before I do better point out this does not work as well on screen as it does large in person. Why not? The composition arrangement of this painting (i.e. the white areas) is to create a steady illusion. If you stand about 2-3 meters from the original and view this at eye level whilst taking a couple of minutes to study this piece you will subtly notice the white lines start to disappear and you can see the painting beneath as a whole. It’s an old visual illusion trick but the brain works hard to fill in the missing information so you are effectively painting the missing information, as the spectator, with your own eyes.

I encourage you to view the large version of this on my flickr page and see if it works for you, have to say tried it myself and it still works (sort of) but It not as intense if I’m honest. You will notice two versions of the painting on my flickr page one to give you the opportunity to test the illusion the other is the final artwork framed which now sits opposite on my wall from the original landscape I recorded it from.

Back Fence Zoom, (2008)

Back Fence Zoom, (2008)

Ok back to the creative journey. I’m sad to say I am unable to find the original drawings I recorded for this painting and after spending 2 consecutive nights (hence the delay of my weekly post) tipping my house upside down have not been able to find them 😦 As repeat visitors to this blog are aware I like to document the whole process from start to finish as I feel it brings the audience closer to each painting or creation shall we say.

The inspiration behind this art work as the name suggest in my back garden fence. The initial spark originated from washing up looking out of the kitchen window up the steep hill my garden sits onto the back fence. It was very early morning, better confess it was last nights tea I was cleaning up,  and as the sun rise it caught my attention the way light had begun to pour through the slats or to use a simpler word gaps in the fence. As the sky started to fill up with colour the view beyond the man made obstruction had started to display it s beautiful landscape into my dark garden.

Now I know not many artist will claim to have been inspired whilst washing up but many of the people who know me off-line have commented furiously at times for my tendency to drift off into a trance and this was one of them moments.

I got up the next morning in the anticipation of a recurrence this same event would present it self to me and allow me to record this colorful observation. Wrong!!! What I got was lots of rain, stormy clouds and a very dark landscape almost unrecognizable to view anything through the dark void….but then something happened  a figure in a bright luminous work jacket continued to walk past my blank canvas and I scribbled this down. The kitchen light must of caused his jacket to reflect as it looked amazing this yellow strobe effect as he continued to progress from left to right. As all things in life you start off doing one thing and end up with a completely different destination, makes it interesting though!

Over a few different days I recorded studies (drawings) and the same figure or man walked his dog everyday around the same time (6:30ish annoyingly!) allowing me to capture his presence. For the final painting I thought I would recreate the original sky as close as technically possible from memory inline with the original spark but to also insert the character I had observed. As it happens I think the two works together quite well, could even argue the figure makes the painting. I often think to myself if the guy was to look through the gaps in the fence he might see the painting and himself…ha…how mad would that be as well as disturbing thinking about that man looking through my fence..hmmm….maybe not!

Back Fence Zoom 2 (2008)

Back Fence Zoom 2 (2008)

The sky above was painted to guide your eyes from left to right which in effect or should make your eye’s fill in the gaps as it scans across horizontally, bit like how animation works. The large gaps do exist in real life but this feature helps the eye movement stop and start allowing the information to feed in.

Back Fence Zoom 2 (2008)
Back Fence Zoom 2 (2008)

For those of you interested how I created this effect technically…simple I used masking film (matt) and painted the picture as whole before lifting the mask carfully off. I have to say as I removed the mask my heart was in my mouth because where the paint was thick it was extremely difficult to lift the mask without taking the paint coated on the canvas paper with it, yikkeees!!! It actually took me 3 nights to lift the mask off with out any damage to the actual painting surface, wont be using this technique again!

By Accident and some of you may disagree with this but it could also work on a conceptual level: i.e. we are all busy concentrating on what is directly in front of us to notice what is happening beyond this distraction but that is getting deep and those of you familiar with my last post know I should steer clear of this thought process, especially on a Fridays.

After all this it still didn’t get into the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and even worse my Gran didn’t like it!…all well it looks good on my wall. As always I would be interested to hear if the illusion worked for you and what you think of the work in general.

Bobby Mookini



6 Responses to "Beyond what is front of you!"

Nice Bob, I like that when viewing close-up the mask doesn’t create too harsh of a line – it works really well. Was there any temptation to leave the masking film on?

Hi Dave, good to see you popped back.

When I started lifting the mask there was defo a temptation to leave it where it was obviously happy.

But on the other hand I was looking forward to viewing the final concept, just didn’t predict it was going to take 3 days to lift the damn thing off!


Wow this is really lovely and you’ve put great detail and technique into it to get it to where it is now. Great work!

Hi Fee

Thank you for your feedback and glad you like the technique. All be it a difficult one!

Bobby Mookini

Wonderful rendering!!! My quick, first impression that it was a black and white photo. When I blinked my eyes I saw that it was fantastic details.

Hi there.. u sure have a nice blog!… keep writing…. 🙂

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