Web Design, Murals, Fine Art, Faux Finishing

Faux Finishing (Marble Painted Columns)

Marble painted columns
Faux finishing marble painted columns

Marble painted columns with another faux finishing technique

An analogy of color and using yet another kind of glaze that worked very well

Since I have been faux finishing  for a number of years I have always liked to try out different mediums that are developed by the few product lines that I use.

An Interior Designer I work with does not like plain painted columns and while talking to the client about

faux finishing the ceilings

the client asked about doing something with the columns.

Faux marble technique
Faux marble technique

Of course the first thought was a marble or a stone perhaps and again it seems that most clients want their columns similar to their flooring which in this case had more of a stone look but we needed to keep some kind of separation between the two, after all it would be boring in my opinion and wouldn’t stand as it’s own element in the room so why not create a stone look with some marble characteristics? The other challenge of the flooring was the  fact that the tile had a very cold color of black while still appearing warm from one of the other colors within the tile hmmmm….

Now I do try to stick to the rules of mother nature but as I am sure that most of you will agree that the client and designers vision will more than likely over ride the rule and when it comes to creating custom finishes there really are no rules except for the use of color theory in general. I originally wanted to do a Violet Breche marble but after seeing that the 8″ columns were set on a 10 ft frame I knew it would be to directional and only add to the problem of the columns appearing too narrow. After I pouted about this privately I came up with another Fantasy Marble using three colors, (not counting the white as a color of course)

I chose Van Dyke Brown as one of the colors even though its on the warm side and hit it with just a touch of Ultramarine to cool it down I just had to hit it with a bit of Burnt Sienna which would push towards a violet hue once overglazed with white. ( I couldn’t help it I just had to see some violet despite being shot down about the Violet Breche marble hehehe)

Faux finishing columns
A stone marble?

On these particular columns I used a product made by Faux Effects International known as RS Glaze of course you can use any glaze you like but this one is a bit different being that it is designed as a “pull off glaze”. It was really fun to work with and being able to actually pull off the glaze cleanly was an asset when applying the look that I was trying to achieve.

Faux finishing in general can be a challenge at times especially when you must combine colors that are associated to the space you are working with. In today’s economy faux finishing of accent areas is more the market than doing  entire room designs which have also gone into the more modern contemporary trends. Although this trend is usually short lived for maybe 4 or 5 years in my experience it does open doors for new challenges to incorporate some faux painting ideas that I have been wanting to try out, so it really is a win win situation although very challenging to those who are not up on their color theory.

Columns painted like marble
Marble painted columns

As you can see another challenge was the yellow ochre color of the walls and trying to bring in this color into the faux finishing technique without turning green because of the VDB and UB combination. (Yellow and blue make green.) So with that in mind I went to Faux Effects version of Raw Sienna called Italian Sienna which is very yellow and if blending a glaze from this with the combination of the Ultmarine Blue and the Vandyke it can go to a muddy green very quickly, plus remember we want to overglaze the marble painted columns with a white. So my 2nd glaze I used the FE Italian Sienna and VDB without the Ultramarine of course and applied both glazes separately and by blended them with a “bagging” technique which picked up both glazes at the same time without actually blending them together and replacing them next to each other to create a broken color result and only after softening the glaze with a “badger” brush did I achieve the look without turning muddy.

The trick is NOT to over blend and turn it into mud this is where the beauty of the pull off glaze was most useful because when bagging the surface it was actually picking up the glaze clean from the surface.

The biggest faux finishing challenge of all was the relentless shadows that were all over the place, being very warm in one area and very cool in other areas despite the fact that the shadow side of the marble painted columns was so dark in shadow at times that the veining was going to have to be a very dark value so you could actually see it from a distance even during the middle of the day.

Faux finishing columns
Marbling columns

Viewing a room in different times of the day are very important when creating a faux finishing techniques to use for marble painted columns as you can see in these next few jpegs at different times of the day

Marbling techniques
Shadows were the biggest challenge

Having to create darker veining was a must for the marble painted columns. Even faux finishing walls you really must see the room from all times of the day including the late evenings.

Faux finishing columns
The reason for the dark value

I just had to put these last photos in here

Faux painted columns
Faux finish ceiling works with faux painted marble

I hope you were able to get at least something from reading this mile long post

Faux finishing columns
Art-Faux Designs Inc, Naples Fl 239 417 1888

And hope you will join us for more faux finishing tips in the future by signing up for our newsletter or even our RSS feed. Realizing of course that these are photos of a Fantasy marble technique there are many different marbling and faux finishing ideas.

Please leave a comment or question to anything covered here and I’ll do my best to help you along.

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21 thoughts on “Faux Finishing (Marble Painted Columns)”

    • Hi Debi, Thanks for the compliment, It really depends on how many colors and the medium I am working in. A real complicated marble on a large column could take as long as 4 or 5 days from start to finish or perhaps one of just a fantasy marble could only take a day or two. Just depends on heavy the detail the customer wants to see. Marble can also be done in trompe loeil panels, ornamental work and design.

  1. Good evening Arthur. I love the columns that is painted on this page. i am in Polokwane if you can advise me how to go about because it is the exact colours that I want to do. Do not know if it is going to work on our columns that is made from asbes. Kind regards.

    • Hi Annatjie, thank you for the compliment and sorry I didn’t get back sooner but this time of year is very busy for me. The columns you speak of are of an Italian style of fantasy marble. I worked the colors from the floor tile into a veined marble style. You say your columns are made of asbestos? If this is true then I would recommend sealing them as best you can. This type of material has cancer causing agents and has been banned from use here in the U.S. In fact if you can replace them it would be best.
      The second thing I would need to know is what is your experience in painting marble and art. The colors are worked from a limited palette of earth colors in this technique. However marbling is a learning and practicing process and not something that you just do on your first day. You must understand the structures of the four basic marble structures in order to paint them convincingly. Without knowing a persons own experience with color it makes it hard to explain the process.

    • Thank you Gordon, yes there is some that are less than shall we say “acceptable” to some than it is to others, but in most cases that has to do with and comes with experience. Marbling and many other specialty and organic looking finishes take years to learn and master correctly and it takes a master to teach the correct ways to render these finishes to achieve the realism that most expect to see. Then there are those who just want the look or the appearance of marble and don’t mind that it doesn’t look real, personally it’s hard for me to paint unrealistically lol

    • Hi Christina,
      It’s Like Pierre Finkelstein says “it’s 10% talent and 90% practice”. I practice every marble technique I do before every job for two reasons. One it brings back a few things that I may have forgotten about and two, it seems I always discover something new to add to the technique or even sometimes make it quicker to complete. A different brush or tool and sometimes a different kind of music you listen to can make the process seem easier. You do know of course that music has color right?

    • Debbie you’ll do fine, and I am sure yours will come out better
      Your work speaks for itself, one thing I didn’t mention about the RS Glaze is, to keep the colors separated for the first layer, believe it or not, I “bagged” the colors then badgered them with an old badger brush. Also if you re wet what dries with the same glaze you will be surprised of the result but do it on a board first

  2. Hi Art,

    I just showed this picture to my client and they LOVE it!!! But I’m doing it in reverse — dark sienna-ish column with light veins. I’ll have to pull out my RS Glaze. Any hints, especially for the veining, which you’ve nailed?

    Thanks for sharing,


    • Thats great Debbie,
      Glad it helped, try to stick with 3 points of interest on your column with none being at eye level. Remember that using compliments on a small scale of your dominating color will intensify the lighter color veining when placed next to or underneath it per se. Think of your veining as if you were painting a mural when creating volume with light and shadow. When I vein a fantasy marble I seem to push the limit of appearing over done by not allowing enough room for the imagination to complete the structure. Fantasy marble can get away from me pretty quickly because I am not thinking of any of the four basic structures of marble. Sienna marble has one of my favorite colors (eggplant) in it and myself personally I would go with using an activated system instead

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