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Trompe L'oeil painting

Posted by
KS in SC
( on
Mon, Sep 10, 01 at 4:00

Has anyone on this site done any "fool the eye" painting?
I saw a window painted on a wall in a Southern Living house in Knoxville, TN. I LOVED IT and would like to know if anyone on this site has done this type of painting. If so, how difficult is it to do. Would I need to take a class? Do I need special paints? Where do you go for ideas (pictures) to copy? Thanks if you can help! KS in SC

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Trompe L'oeil painting

I do plenty of it as my profession. If you're new at it, I'd suggest keeping it to a minimum - something you feel comfortable with and could pull off convincingly. More complex compositions start to include perspective, colors fading in the distance, etc. and could end up being overwhelming for a newbie. Any kind of paint can be used. I happen to prefer oils, but lots of artists use acrylics. Work out your composition in a color drawing beforehand. It's only paint - you can always cover it up and try again!


RE: Trompe L'oeil painting

Hi KS,
I did a Search for your subject, and came up with your posting, that's why this reply is so late. I hope you are still looking for information.

To save time and my clients money, I frequently use stencils to get the basic structure of my design on the wall. Then I custom-finish the artwork using various paint products and techniques to create a truer trompe l'oeil effect than what stencils alone can do. Windows and shutters are very popular, and I always use stencils to get them started, since all the hard work of perspective and scale has been done. You might want to do a search for some on the net..Dressler Stencils and many other artist/manufacturers carry window stencils. Have fun and good luck!

RE: Trompe L'oeil painting

I'm just now seeing this post. The orginal poster may not be around anymore, but maybe someone else may be interested.
I also have done Trompe L'Oeil. I've done windows with scenes beyond, shutters, a bookcase and a variety of other scenes. I did not take a class, but I've been painting for over 20 years. If you know the basics of shading and highlighting it shouldn't be too hard. I use oils but
you can use charcoals, graphite, acrylics.
I've never used stencils with my work, but they can come in handy if you are having to paint a lot of repeated patterns or if you want to save time and make sure that your edges are perfectly straight. They can save you a lot of time.
A couple of interesting facts about Trompe L'Oeil is that the method has been around since 400 BC. Also, Rembrandt's students used to paint coins on the floor of his studio so that they could have fun watching him bend over to try to pick them up from the floor.
I hope others who may see this will try it and have fun!

RE: Trompe L'oeil painting

I uncovered a 100+ yr old Trompe-l-oeil on the job this the customer is torn between preserving or restoring. Either way, I came to the conclusion I would seal it with laquer as past experience working with old paints has proved many will cloud under urethane.
Any input would be appreciated.'s a stair banister and post, the definition and woodgraining is beautiful.

RE: Trompe L'oeil painting

This is my first time posting here, and I hope someone can help me. My daughter is having a baby boy, and we want to do his room in a horse theme. She has a rustic type wardrobe, and we want to have it painted as tho there were a horse standing and looking thru a stable door. I've seen a picture somewhere, but can't seem to locate it. Does this sound familiar to anyone? We also want to paint a mural on the wall depicting a meadow, with a horse/horses added, but want something with a fence, grasses, and a few flowers. Need help finding a picture of something similiar to this, too. Your help will be greatly appreciated! ;o)


RE: Trompe L'oeil painting

I stenciled a donkey on the back of the Sunday School room door for the kids. It looks like he is looking into the room from his stall. If his ears were smaller, he'd look just like a horse...the kids didn't seem to know the difference, though.
Go to for their catalog. They might have something like what you want. I know they have murals and farm animals.


RE: Trompe L'oeil painting

Thank you susieqsie, will check it out. It would be fairly easy to 'make a horse' out of a donkey, and i'm hoping they'll have something I can use for the meadow~thanks again!


RE: Trompe L'oeil painting

I just did a headboard in a room so tiny I did not want to take up space with a real one, It is at a place near the beach so I "hung" a hat, a pair of sunglasses and a pair of flip flops from thin rope (you can only see the one on this side -haha) on the headboard. I even fooled myself because I kept grabbing at the headboard for balance while working on the details of the accessories. The main thing I focused on was the direction the sun was coming from and made the shadows where they would fall naturally. It was a lot of fun!

headboard pic

This is the painted headboard I mentioned above - bed is a little lumpy and lopsided - not the headboard.
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