I’m sure you know which images I’m talking about – the ones that aren’t really supposed to be there, and yet our brains tell us they really are there. They’re the ones we see in things like clouds, floor tiles, painted papers, the moon (remember that guy?) Most of us have experienced this funny phenomenon and believe it or not, there’s a word for it — Pareidolia (păr′ī-dō′lē-ə.) According to Merriam-Webster.com, pareidolia is “the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.” Here’s a fairly obvious one that I saw in some sunset clouds in 2012 and that day, clearly, there was a fork in the sky.
For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed finding pareidolia, and now I especially enjoy finding it when I’m creating. I have several examples of it, but today I want to share a couple of my favorites with you. This first one came about when I was working on a canvas for my grandson and I was filming the process for my YouTube channel. I didn’t even see the hidden image until I was in the editing process. I was so surprised when I saw this portrait of a man’s face, complete with crazy hair and a big moustache, in the background of my canvas! It’s sort of Mark Twain-esque, and he may even have a cigar in his mouth, LOL! He’s facing toward the left… If you’d like to see how it was created, literally by accident, you can click here.
The next one is also from one of my YouTube videos. I was getting ready to create a mixed media index card, using one on which I had already created a background. I had actually picked up this card several times, but just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and I kept putting in back in the pile with the others. But oddly, this particular time, I suddenly saw what was there all along. And maybe, just maybe, that was the reason I kept putting it back. Was I unknowingly waiting for the time that I could see what was there? We may never know, but it’s amazing to me how clearly defined the image was when I looked closer and started sketching it. Click here to watch how I brought it to life.
Then, just the other day I saw something else that was interesting…
So I urge you to keep your eyes open for some pareidolia in your creations. There may be something hiding there that you could bring to life. And believe me, it’s so much fun when you do!
Until next time,
P.S. I first heard the word “pareidolia” from Meri at TheMeriAtlier. Check out her YouTube channel for some wonderfully inspiring videos!