Archive for the ‘trompe l’oeil’ Category

IMG_0750This is a project I’ve wanted to try for ages. Some time ago I found an old, traditional French bread bin – huche de pain – and thought that the front panel is crying out for a little trompe l’oeil.


The huche is finished in DecoArt Americana Decor Chalky Finish in ‘Serenity’, discretely distressed (as opposed to thoroughly traumatised, as is the want of some upcycle-ers), and treated with clear wax.

The picture is in DecoArt Americana acrylic paints, with DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics for shadow.

Details shown below:





“Steampunk it!” she said. “Nobody in the family can play it, so it might as well look good!”IMG_0619

So it begins. I have been the custodian of a rather knocked-about acoustic guitar for a few weeks, and now I’ve cleared the backlog of ‘things-I-gotta-do’, this musical monster has emerged from its lair.

I confronted it, head-on, grabbed it by the neck and ripped out its vocal chords. Now it lays mute on the bench as I scour its glossy skin with sandpaper …

Well, that’s the prep work done. I’ll keep you updated as things progress.

The marble headboard is finished. The colours chosen for this take on Carrara marble are shades of grey (but not fifty!).

The finished piece

Rather than the extremes of black and white, I have used Paynes Grey for the darkest, and mixed a value 8-9 grey for the lightest. White was used for the light fault lines.

The finish was built on MDF, sealed, then base coated with a pale beige silk emulsion.  The final finish is satin. What do you think?


Left to right: flogger, softener, spalter, stippler

It helps to have the right tools for the job.

I have a commission for a large faux finish piece, so I need the proper equipment to get it done. On a small decorative article I can use my ordinary artist brushes and achieve the desired results, but this one will need more time, and the correct tools.

It took a while to track them down, but after checking out various suppliers, I ordered them on-line.

To achieve the desired finish the paint has to remain ‘open’ – workable – for considerably longer than it would normally, so it is mixed with a glazing medium. An industrial size pot is needed, rather than the small quantities used in art work.

My commission is for a large faux marbre (marble) headboard, so I need a large stippler and a badger hair softener. For faux bois (wood), I’ll need a horse-hair flogger and a spalter. They’ve all arrived, so I’m ready to paint!

On Saturday I invited one of our BADFA members, Shirley, round to have a go at trompe l’oeil with some ideas that formed the basis of a one day class. The ideas stemmed from my ‘hole in the wall’ painting (see recent post).

We started with a blank canvas, literally, and began by designing something specifically to Shirley’s requirements. It’s not possible always to paint directly on to a wall, so we used a flat canvas which can be mounted in the proper place when finished. We decided on a small window in her downstairs bathroom, opening out over an imaginary flower border, which is bathed in sunlight.

The first stage was the planning and layout of the design. A bit of theory here, working out perspective and the other aspects that turn an ordinary mural into a trompe l’oeil – that trick of the eye.

After that we got out the brushes – well, after coffee. We chose colours to match the Michelmersh bricks used in her 100 year old house on the outskirts of the New Forest, and the imaginary oak lintel that would frame the window. Various brushwork techniques were used to get the textures just right. After more coffee, cake (Shirley’s home made), and more coffee, more painting, varied random conversations and more painting, we ran out of day. I hoped that I had armed my brave pioneer with the skills to finish the job at home.

I waited for the finished article to appear on Facebook.

… and here it is, just as I had hoped! The net curtain intensifies the ‘trick’, making the window look even more like the real thing on that important first glimpse. Well done, Shirley!

shirley tromp 1     shirley trompe 3

I’ve been working on a project sine the BADFA convention, and now it’s finished.

A little trompe l’oeil, viewed from the bottom of the stairs …

Hole in the wall

Created in acrylics, on matt emulsion (latex in the US) painted plasterboard. I mainly used DecoArt colours, with a little help from their new Media Fluid Acrylics. I used Americana Extender and Retarder for some shading, and techniques that needed extra time to work with.

This piece is high up on the wall, and the perspective is only correct when viewed from the bottom of the stairs.

The BADFA Spring edition has been sent out, via email and snail mail, so all members should be happy bunnies. They will be soaking up the scenes from the convention, wishing that they had made the effort to turn up.

Although I haven’t produced anything vaguely artistic for a while, the stash of stock that has been lurking in the garage has started to make its way to the conservatory. This means I may paint something soon.

The steampunk uplighter has made a little progress, but not enough to get excited about, but what really needs to be itched is the urge to get a trompe l’oeil done. I’ve got just the spot on the landing – I just have to get the right theme …

… or perhaps knock a hole in the plaster.

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