Search
Close this search box.

Trompe l’oeil Ornament – A How To

Here is the finished painting of the trompe l’oeil ornament piece that Pierre Finkelstein completed at Salon in St. Petersberg, Russia. He was asked to do a live demonstration about a large scale ceiling ornament that is meant to be looked at from a distance.  Pierre Finkelstein, of Pierre Finkelstein Institute of Decorative Painting, Inc, shows you how he creates this finish below.

HOW TO CREATE THIS FINISH

Use our step-by-step instruction below

MATERIALS NEEDED:

Here is a list of the tools & supplies you will need to achieve this technique.  Supplies available at fauxbrushes.com are linked below and listed at the bottom of the page.

1

DESIGN ORNAMENT

STEP 1 – DESIGN ORNAMENT: The process starts by choosing and drawing the ornament (blowing it up on the photocopier to the correct size is one way to do it quickly).  Then, the preliminary drawing is refined onto a vellum paper (thick, transparent paper). 

2

PROPER PREPARATION

STEP 2 – PROPER PREPARATION: Use proper preparation methods to prepare your canvas for Step 3

3

TRANSFER THE DESIGN

STEP 3 – TRANSFER THE DESIGN: The trompe l’oeil ornament is carefully pounced with a small prick and then transferred onto a prepped canvas using a pounce bag (small cotton bag filled with ground charcoal).

4

MIX ALL COLOR VALUES

STEP 4 – MIX ALL COLOR VALUES:  Next, it is crucial to pre-mix and test all of the colors before starting to paint.  Using the elements of light and shadow principle to mix the different values is key before you begin.  The difficult part is taking all of the tonalities into consideration and how they interact with each other (always incrementally trying out the newest value over the previous value).

Firstly, mix the ground/base color of the ornament then you begin mixing the shadow system from light to dark followed by the highlights from dark to light and finally, the cast shadow from dark to light. It’s important to work with a system so once the colors are mixed, you only need to be concerned with the correct placement of each value.  Be sure to mix enough for the entire job.

Pictured above is a test piece with a few of the shadows, in order to really gauge how each value interacts with each other.

5

PAINT ORNAMENT BASECOAT

STEP 5 – PAINT ORNAMENT BASECOAT: Once the transferring of the design is done by pouncing, the ornament base color is carefully painted in over the blue background.  Carefully leave out the inner lines of the design (left in blue) in order to follow the drawing and leave the inner details.

6

PAINT ORNAMENT HALFTONE & ACCENT

STEP 6 – PAINT ORNAMENT HALFTONE & ACCENT: Just as in a previous post showing the Step-By-Step of a Medallion, the half-tone and accent are placed first.  Including the cast shadow of the ornament onto the blue surface.  Notice also that the entire ornament is outlined with the half-tone.  This is for effect when viewing at a considerable distance.

7

PAINT ORNAMENT SUPER ACCENT

STEP 7 – PAINT ORNAMENT SUPER ACCENT: Next, the super accent are placed to give the darkest nooks and crannies a punch.

8

PAINT ORNAMENT HIGHLIGHTS

STEP 8 – PAINT HIGHLIGHTS: The highlights are added which finishes the ornament and adds the extra dimension. Always start with the shadow system first because 80% of the effect comes from the shadow system, therefore, your ornament should read very well without any highlights.

9

PAINT SHADOW CASTE ON BACKGROUND

STEP 9 – PAINT SHADOW CASTE ON BACKGROUND: Finally, use the halftone and accent colors to paint over the blue areas indicating cast shadow.

Pierre Finkelstein at Salon

COMPLETED FINISH

Finished ornament. Success is measured by the fact that viewers all the way in the back were able to get a 3-D effect.

FEATURED

PRODUCTS

RELATED POSTS