What you see is what you get!

What is the meaning of optical you ask? Well it’s basically vision or sight enabled by light. Light is colour.  Colour is light.  Black is the absence of colour or light.  Simple yes ?

Remember that crappy dress where everyone argued its colour and nobody wanted to be wrong? this one…


well whether you said it was blue and black, white and gold, you would have been right. There is no real wrong in the colour world.  It is most certainly in the eye of the beholder. Light certainly can play tricks with ones perception. Optical illusions can be achieved with the most subtle change in background contrast.  I often giggle when I read fellow artists complaining of colour limitations or colour matching in art apps. With the right approach, its amazing what can be achieved just using contrast techniques and visual illusions.

colour bar

The above image looks as though the horizontal bar is fading from dark grey to light grey from right to left yes?  Or is it just the fact the background is in fact fading from dark to light grey from left to right. The horizontal bar is the same shade of grey left to right.
Our minds are just easily fooled.

Pale yellow or white

Here’s another. It kind of looks like the general colour with in the borders is a faded yellow. Or is it the fact the image’s blue and yellow border has tricked our brain into believing the image is a pale yellow when it is in fact plain old white.

The word ‘optical’ can really be associated with anything to do with light and colour and general visual perception.  It’s what you see.  You can only see with the light on.  No one can see in the dark, in the black, the absence of light, the absence of colour.

I’d suggest any artist not aware of these optical illusions spend a little time to understand how to play tricks with colour.  It certainly helps if you are using apps with colour limitations.  Learn the colour wheel and work out how to blend your own colours.  Never forget the background colours and contrast. It ultimately amplifies your foreground to be visually interpreted however you want it to be.

So what kind of optical artworks can you monkeys create.  All will be employing the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum.  They will all be optical unless someone paints minimalistic black canvas…  but that wouldn’t be any fun now would it?


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