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The art of trompe 'oeil
The art of trompe 'oeil
courtesy of Keith Blum

Trompe l’oeil is an art technique creating optical illusions of three dimensions. Using realistic themes the artist creates murals that fool the eye. This type of painting originated in the Baroque era, however, illusionism dates much further back.

Trompe 'oeil
courtesy of Keith Blum

One of Coachella Valley finest mural artist, who uses the art of trompe l’oeil in most of his works, is Keith Blum, a Los Angeles raised painter with over 25 years of experience. Keith was recently nominated as “Best Artist of the Year” in the Coachella Valley by CV magazine. “I want to entertain the eye as well as fool it” he says, and “When you find your passion there is nothing in the world more satisfying than doing it.”

Keith has recently taped a DVD teaching the “How To” of painting 3d illusions, which will be available on-line soon. He explains that using water based latex and acrylic paints are more practical for murals. “It dries much quicker, it is easy to correct and it’s cheaper than oils. Oil outside in sunlight will yellow and discolor in time.” He uses 40 to 50 colors, draws the outlines with chalk and continues with white primer to give it a good base. Soon the painting takes on a life of itself and the images begin to look real.

Trompe l’oeil was used in films like Singin' in the Rain (1952), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and many more Hollywood productions. Art has always nourished the soul and is used to enhance one’s imagination.

With talented competition like Snake Jagger, Shawn Savage, Natalia Astankina, and Ron Cameron the competition is fierce at the “Best Artist of the Year” event. It certainly will be an exciting run-off of the most talented painters of the area.

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