Simple English Pine Woodgrain

finished with trompe l'oeil

English Pine can be a simple woodgrain to create as seen in this post.  It requires 3 wet layers to complete (not including basecoat or varnish steps).   I have used oil many times to create this finish, but today’s water mediums (like PROCEED by GOLDEN) are perfectly fine.  In this case, I used a fast dry acrylic for a small surface and the convenience of recoating quickly.

Follow these steps to complete.


Layer 1: Glaze a light glaze over the degreased basecoat with a glazing brush.   Stretch the glaze with a spalter.  Flog the surface to create subtle, pore-like marks.   Let dry.

detail heart grain

Layer 2:  Using a flat, pointed synthetic brush, the heart grain is sketched out.


It is important to soften your grains quickly as you go.  Soften in one direction — going away from the center heart.  The round badger brush works best for this.

detail heart grain

Complete the heart grain keeping the characteristics of Pine in mind.  See here, I added a spot for a knot.

veinette sides

Using a tooth veinette, the sidegrains are created by dragging softly.  Soften.

knot draw circle

To begin creating the knot, draw an oval shape.

knot scratch circle

Then, using the tip of your brush handle, scratch and scribble the oval in a way that is characteristic to Pine knots.

finish first step

Let dry.


Layer 3:  Overglazing

Glaze the surface with a translucent glaze.  Apply with a pointed glazing brush for control.

smooth glaze

Apply the glaze as evenly as possible.  Not too greasy or too thin.

smooth with spalter

Stretch the glaze softly with the tip of a spalter.  This is an important step that gives an even “canvas” for the next steps.

make butterfly

Using the spalter on its tip, gather the glaze towards the knot to create a butterfly effect.


Moire’s are created using the same spalter.

soften moire

Soften immediately.

soften moire

skunk brush butterfly

Finally, using a skunk brush, wipe out the glaze past the ends of the oval.

finish sample

And that’s the finished English Oak sample.  This technique requires some confidence in sketching the grain.  Confidence comes with practice and studying how Pine looks in nature.

finished with trompe l'oeil

For a proper presentation, I’ve added some trompe l’oeil to give the illusion of a baseboard molding.


  1. Really great work.

  2. Thanks Pierre,
    I will be back in my shop Monday and start practicing. I read every post on Facebook and look forward to each and every article and technique.


  3. You should list the colors you use (faux effects woody yellow for base?)

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