I am fascinated by the mural on the south wall of the Central Life Building in Ottawa.
On Friday mornings when I park my car across the street at the Encore Salon, I study the painting. It looks so real – as if the girls in the mural are really walking out of the wall.
With a little research online, I learned the mural was done by John Pugh, a world-renowned trompe l’oeil artist. This is what I found out about the mural:
“Adorning the top rotating wall is a painted rendition of a ‘poppy’ by Georgia O’Keefe (circa 1927). Recognized as the ‘Mother of American modernism,’ O’Keefe was emblematic of the modern woman. Inside the windows are the Radium Girls (Ottawa 1920s). These sweet women are pointing brushes with their lips and painting glow-in-the-dark clock dials, unaware that the radium paint sentenced many of them to a lingering radioactive death.”
I recently finished the book, “Radium Girls,” by Kate Moore. It’s an interesting read.
The mural, by John Pugh, titled “Revolution” depicts women of the “Roaring Twenties” 100 years ago. Greeted by flapper girls Frannie, Cat and Gaby, the giant revolving walls open into the world’s tallest speakeasy.”
Pugh’s “trick of the eye” murals delightfully fool the viewer.
Go to https://streetartnews.net to read more.
This type of drawing is called “perspective.” To me, it brings back memories of Miss Hodkinson, who taught drawing and penmanship at the Ottawa Elementary Schools “back in the day” when I was in a student at Lincoln School. Miss Hodkinson said in order to draw roads, telephone lines, boxes or buildings we would need to select a “viewpoint,” and all the lines of the drawing would need to meet there. I liked to draw and I found her instruction interesting. I can still picture her standing at the blackboard illustrating how one can draw so that things would look “real” and she called it “perspective.”
Miss Hodkinson would have approved of Pugh’s mural.
Perspective is also what we call our way of looking at things. It’s how we “see it.”
We are living in a time when many different perspectives are being presented to us. Perhaps this has always been true, but it seems more so today. Perspectives can create illusions of reality. Just like the mural on the wall of the Central Life Building, they can fool us into thinking things that are not true. As I view the mural on the Central Life Building, I remind myself that it is a flat wall on which the mural is drawn.
It is well done.
But the wall is still flat.
You may have one perspective, and I may have another, and someone else may have another. But perspective doesn’t change reality.
We need to examine our perspectives. We can make room for other opinions and consider other points of view. We can choose our perspective, but it doesn’t change reality. Perspective can also create illusion.
If I could touch the brick wall of the Central Life Building, I would still find it a brick wall. The paintings create a colorful illusion.
Faith is a perspective that provides a sense of inner balance, enabling us to trust the creator of the world. We need to seek his truth. Faith in God and his Word can give us a biblical perspective.
While we may consider another person’s point of view and possibly choose their perspective, it might not be reality, just like the mural on the Central Life Building.
• Carole Ledbetter of Ottawa is the author of two books, “Carole’s Columns” and “Who Am I Now? Growing Through Life’s Changing Seasons,” and is a speaker consultant for Stonecroft Ministries. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.