It would be easy to write that it was my intention, in all of these works, to explore the concept of the painted image (or the artificiality of the majority of what we assume is reality) as a superficial mirage over the void, that is, the despair of one's imminent decease, etc etc.
Unfortunately, it wouldn't be true. I only planned the Interior with Oranges, Make Belief and One Clown Laughing that way, and the other four got changed as the painting progressed.
I am still unsure whether it is a valid 'trick', which is all it is, however much I might believe in it, and I have avoided it in recent years. The hole in the canvas at the top of Balloon Sculptor wasn't quite the same thing. I created it as the only device I could think of to incorporate the cherubs into the painting in a fairly believable way.
All that aside, the rips are great fun to paint and very useful compositional elements.