Cat and mice…a figure ground

Upon occasion (well, quite frequently in my Fundamentals of Design class, actually) I get a project that seems like an impossible task.  This was (another) one of those.

Our assignment was to create a figure ground (which harks back to the Gestalt concept we have been dealing with for weeks now.)

The principle of figure/ground is one of the most basic laws of perception… In its basic sense, it refers to our ability to separate elements based upon contrast–that is, dark and light, black and white.


The figure-ground principle captures the idea that the visual field is normally divided into two parts, figure and ground. The figure-ground principle is very much a part of our everyday experience. If we notice a book on a table, we see the book as a figure and the table as its ground. The edge that divides the book from the table bounds the book but not the table. The table is assumed to continue under the book. We would be very surprised if, when we lifted the book, we discovered a hole in the table the size and shape of the book.

So…black and white image yet take it a step further and make something similar to this famous image…

FigGrd Is it a white vase or is it two black faces? 

This was painfully difficult for my brain, but eventually I came up with a concept that I liked using our cat, Stitches.  2006-02-08 022

What I was not sure about was whether I satisfied the teacher’s requirements or not.  Was it too obvious?   I was a bit hazy about that, but after trying to work it out with marker first, using tracing paper and carbon paper to duplicate and then flip the image, I finally committed it to paint. 


 Arrgh!  Not being used to working with acrylic, I did not like the effect at all.  5th time is a charm and using airbrush paint (which is thinner and easier to apply) on a thick Bristol paper, I completed my final piece.

Ta da!!!


Side Note:  My Mom thinks this is creepy.

Critique (other than Mom’s):

  • Teacher said I nailed it, so…happy teacher…happy student.
  • He did say I could have switched to kittens instead of mice if I wanted it to be more cuddly (I told the class my Mom said it was creepy.)

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