Trompe-l’oeil

“I always like to paint organic materials, preferably old and grained. I frequently painted a wooden background to my still life paintings until I decided to use actual wood as a basis for my subjects. I collected old panels and doors against which the animals I wanted to paint would come out. Existing seams in the wood panels are scrupulously preserved.”

We can compare the concept of his work to the construction of old religious icons, in which glue and cloth and substances of glue and chalk are being used.

The effect of this work is to create a Trompe L’oeil; a trick of the eye, an optical illusion. The use of perspective would play and ever more important role in his work.

“Surprisingly real” is often heard and the temptation to “touch and feel” is hard to resist, when you see a horse’s head resting on the frame of the door. Where does the wood stop and where does the painting begin.

During the last 6 years, Johan Mulder developed a special technique that makes sure that his painted animals indeed come out of their wooden background. At least so it seems, because it is all an optical illusion. It is the combination of paint and the skilled use of materials. The use of porous and non-porous materials play an important role in achieving the desired light and shade effect. And by placing the animals at eye – level the perspective is created and so it looks as if the animals could jump out at any moment.