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Art That Will Trick Your Eyes

You know that old saying, “you can’t believe everything you see?” It’s very true. Sometimes we can use art to teach us a lesson about magic, being skeptical and why you shouldn’t believe everything you see.

Our eyes are selfish and needy and want to see all the primary colors at all times. The primary colors are red, blue and yellow and are used by our palettes and our brains to mix all the other colors we as humans see. When those primary colors aren’t present the eyes will literally generate those colors by creating after-images with opposites. It’s true and one can demonstrate this phenomenon!

Down below is a painting I did of two birds. Stare at the white dot on the top bird for at least 30 seconds. Then, stare at the black dot on the bottom (uncolored) bird. You will see the complementary colors from the bird above displayed below. Complementary colors are the opposite colors on the color wheel.

TIP: Click the image to view it larger and on its own page without ads and clutter. The effect will work better that way!

bird trick sm

The orange turns blue-ish and the green turns to reddish. This effect will also work if you stare at the top bird and then look at a white wall.

Remember that sometimes you shouldn’t even trust what you think you see. And a major hat-tip to the American artist, Jasper Johns who first got this trick of the eye into art museums and utilized the color after effects as a social and political commentary in some of his work!

Bird painting by me, Amy Davis Roth. Acrylic on found wood 11″x 23″ © 2014 All rights reserved.

Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia, science-loving artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics and is currently in love with pottery. Daily maker of art and leader of Mad Art Lab. Support her on Patreon. Tip Jar is here.

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