American College of the Building Arts

At the end March, 2014, I attended the American College of the Building Arts annual festival in Charleston, SC.  My friend and fellow decorative artisan, Patrick Webb invited me down to visit and give a few lectures to students.  Patrick is an instructor of plaster works and asked me to teach his students about my […]

NYC Trompe l’oeil Class 2013

Our NYC trompe l’oeil class for 2013 was a success!   We had a full house of students in our tiny little Manhattan studio. The students began the 3-day adventure with a medallion study.  This is an invaluable exercise that forces the student to learn by repetition.  See post on this study. Once the students had […]

Lettering Samina

This flat-tip, lettering samina has proved to be the softest hair that still ‘springs’ into action, for water mediums. It’s square tip allows for starting and stopping each letter/line with a traditional right angle. Using your pinkie as a guide, create controlled ‘thin-thick-thin’ strokes, evenly every time. This brush is a must have for sign […]

IDAL 2013 Convention

We had a great time at the this years IDAL 2013 Convention!  The annual event was held in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 8-12, 2013.  International Decorative Artisans League had its 29th anniversary.  The non-profit organization has been serving the decorative painting industry by offering classes to members in regional chapters along with this annual event.  […]

Versailles, France workshop and tour

Last year’s Versailles, France workshop and tour was a huge success.  Join Pierre Finkelstein and Jean Sablé for classic instruction on a unique panel. Click here for more information and to see the class panel.   Save the date!  

PFI MEDALLION CONTEST

Show me your best painted medallion!  Rendering a profiled, circular object is a great challenge and exercise for a decorative painter. I have a specific way of creating my trompe l’oeil effects (see my step-by-step post).  I have also seen many different styles and approaches that are successful. Show me how you do it! The […]

Trompe l’oeil

Trompe l’oeil is a French phrase that literally means “fool the eye.” In decorative painting, trompe l’oeil techniques use the interplay between light and shadow to create an illusion of dimension and depth. Trompe l’oeil techniques are only used to depict inanimate or stationary objects such as architectural details and still lifes. There are six […]

Ceiling Ornament in New Orleans

The fifth wall is a neck-breaker but it well worth it for the visual impact.  This center ornament was painted on a wood ceiling in New Orleans. The ceiling in this grand room is high, so we agreed on this French ornamentation pattern along with a color palette that is aligned with the Cajun heritage. […]

Frieze

A frieze is an architectural flat band between a cornice and an architrave. The horizontal band was often decorated with a continuous, repeat pattern. Decorative painters often are asked to create one in a space.  It can make a room look bigger while adding a delicate design element.  Usually horizontal and placed either below the […]

Pounce pattern

A “pounce pattern” is a method for transferring a design to a surface.  It is the oldest way to reproduce a design, known to date.  Before there was such a thing as carbon paper or a stencil, the only way to transfer a drawing or cartoon was with a pounce pattern.  In the old days, […]