In my opinion faux finishing and decorative arts are two separate categories or art forms.
Ornamental painting or The Art of Painted Decoration, an art form all its own, should fall under the category of Decorative Arts as a whole.
Let me explain,
The term faux finishing or faux painting was forced upon decorative artists during the housing boom because of the French word faux meaning fake or false, and personally I don’t care for the term or like being labeled as such but sometimes its just the way things come to be. So with that being said when I think of, or discuss faux painting ideas as a topic I think of it as a subject that covers everything in our industry as a whole. All the several techniques of the business are respectively all sub categories such as “marbling”, “graining”, “gilding”, etc.
Decorative Arts would be a category in itself to include The Art of Painted Decoration, ornamentation or ornamental painting.
However by rights they are all separate art forms. Yes I know it sounds confusing but for me I have to think of them this way to at least have some kind of order within my scrambled way of thinking. I know so many various techniques that I would probably go mad if I didn’t. But don’t worry I have no intention of cutting off my ear or anything like that as of yet.
I don’t know why but sometimes I feel that I have to explain my mindset in hopes that it brings you down to my level of thinking so we are on the same page before I explain how or what I was thinking when I come up with some of things that I do.
Trust me after a few of my posts some of my subscribers will hit the last link on my newsletter never to be seen again.
The ornamental painting idea I came up with for this rather small decorative arts project actually came about while working on the bamboo bas relief finish that I posted about a couple of weeks ago. The Interior Designer wanted to pick up the ornamental design from the kitchen table and use it as an accent above the cabinets but she also wanted to keep it simple, so I sharpened my pencil and grabbed my pad of graph paper.
Most would try and match a stencil design but I prefer to draw out my own ornamental painting idea for my decorative art and here is where I started with this particular design which was really quite simple but it goes back to the old adage of sometimes less is best
When laying out this kind of ornamental painting idea it is a pretty simple process of whats called mirroring the drawing. If you look closely at the photo you can see where I folded the graph paper and traced the drawing to create the lower half of the drawing. Being that if you have a dark enough line drawing of the top half of the decorative art piece you should be able to see it enough to transfer it from the back. What you end up with is a line drawing on both sides of the graph paper which means all you need to do to create the left side of the ornamental design is flip the right side over to create the left side. This eliminates the use of graphite or transfer paper thus saving you time and money, you just need to be sure that your bond and center lines are laid out correctly on the surface that you are transferring the ornamental painting design to is square and centered in accordance to your reference lines of your decorative art piece.
The maple leafs I added after creating a separate pattern of one and placed it after I transferred the initial ornamental painting design. The flower design for the center I will do the same way but only I will paint that in last as I want it to be a little lighter in value and a little more intense in color so the eye is pulled to it when viewing the overall ornamental painting.
I have already started the hand painting part by base painting the design in a darker value of a color that compliments the green/brown surface that I was painting on to create some color harmony within the ornamental painting ideas. I needed to match the colors in the furniture but I also had to make sure the colors worked with the tones of the mahogany colored cabinets which this decorative art was going above.
I darkened the value of the base color by using Faux Effects Faux Creme Colors Vandyke brown with a touch of Ultramarine to gray it out some. The decorative art painting was done on a textured surface known as a “knockdown texture” which actually helped when creating the distressed look like what is on the furniture piece so the paints I used where applied using an “open palette” with a dry brushing technique. Also just so you know the flower in the center was added after I completed the initial ornamental painting of the main frame work to keep the colors uniform.
The second color I used for this decorative art was almost a perfect match to one of the distressed colors in the chair which was Faux Effects Setcoat Terra Cotta but I did have to adjust it a bit to kill some of the intensity and then for the final color I used Faux Creme Color White and Vandyke brown. To create some dimension to the ornamental painting I just used a trompe loeil technique adding light and shadow by going back to the FCC Vandyke brown with a touch of Ultramarine and dry brushed shadows where they needed to go and the hi lights consisted of my “dirty white” mixed with a touch of my Terra Cotta mix
Adding the flower I wanted it to stand out just slightly more than the rest of the ornamental painting idea and by using the same colors I just added more intensity to it which from the correct viewing point it draws the viewers eye to the center of the Decorative Arts.
Hopefully I have brought some insight with this post about what is involved when it comes to the decorative arts and I hope you now can the difference when comparing it to basic faux finishing. As I said ornamental painting ideas comes from many different things and the work that is involved is much different than what most people would consider to be “sponge painting.”
However I do realize that my way of explaining some things does butcher the English language and confuses some people but I’m an artist and not an English major so if you have any questions about this post just leave a comment below.