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.


We created a quarter of the design in a  pounce pattern.  The pouncing was then done in 4 increments – in the sticky July heat!


Can you see the pattern?  Anyway, we saw it enough to get the outline.


The basecoat was painted in using a synthetic, pointed ornamentation brush.  It’s important that your paint has a good flow (viscosity) when basecoating ornaments.


I’ve got all my tones mixed, but before the trompe l’oeil begins, we had to establish a light source – see the arrows on the blue tape.


The halftone is the first color I mixed.   This transparent color is applied graciously to all areas that are even remotely touched by the shade.  I used a soft, synthetic, pointed brush for this step.


After the first pass, we continued building up the shadow with reduced layers of the tone.


My second tone is the accent color.  I used this to emphasize the darker areas.


Sorry the pictures are bad, I blame it on the bad lighting (and fatique).   The super accent was applied to the most darkest areas.


From the shadow, we moved to the light and added the highlight and super highlight color.


Added the outline on the entire design (new color).  Much needed definition to allow proper viewing from the floor.  You can use a pointed synthetic brush for this, but I used a synthetic lettering brush (fantastic for ornamentation).


The last step is the drop shadow – lighter version of outline color.  I love this step because it very impactful and it’s means I’m almost done!


Reads nicely, huh? If you are interested in learning this technique, take my 2-day ornament and painted molding class at the IDAL convention on October 9, 2013 in Indianapolis.


  1. Where in New Orleans did you paint this beautiful ceiling? I want to go see it in person!

Speak Your Mind