November Optical Illusion

November 25th, 2007 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

This is the month we most appreciate our dining room. No food fairies come to serve us, but we find magic nonetheless. Our erstwhile resident artist set us up years ago to savor November inside and out.

Marion Etheredge, or Savannah as she is known professionally, did amazing work to bring the glories of the gigantic Norway maple from our sidewalk into the room. She photographed the tree in full yellow leaf, created stencils of some of the negatives, and used these to transfer yellow leaves on our walls.

Pic Click Trick: Click on a thumbnail image for a larger view.

Window with Norway maple leaves

Come November, that fat old beauty of a tree hangs out its huge leaves of many shades of yellow. The best view is from the dining room…and that is pleasant enough.

However, the eal magic happens with the stencils. They too are yellow and their shades vary with the sunniness of the day and the hour. There are times every November day when the view outside is le trompe l’oeil. The walls and exterior have the same size, shape and color leaves.

It’s almost like having a good pair of hidden cards in poker. We know when the time comes, we have this hand to play.

Savannah learned these techniques when she had to support herself to do her artwork. Living in New York’s Tribeca, she created — painted, sculpted and more; we have some ceramic delights of hers as well. However, she also had to pay the rent. One of her regular jobs was marblizing walls for rich folk. She picked up many techniques related to stenciling, daubing and much more.

We initially felt she shouldn’t do that when she visited us, particularly because she is godmother to one of our sons. However, we’ve been buddies for a long time, and she convinced us that she really wanted to leave her mark literally in leaves.

Leaf stencils and window frame

Like nearly all the Woodbourne houses here in JP, ours has gumwood interior trim. We non-artists did not see the potential there for such stencils. Savannah did.

To her eyes, it was obvious that cream walls, light brown wood, and yellow leaf stencils for one to two months a year would match the view from the window. That must be what it’s like to think far ahead in chess.

We simple folk do reap the harvest of her foresight. We could not have done the work or even visualized the possibilities. Come November though, even we can sit down for a meal or walk into the dining room to revel in the visual delight.

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