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Sculpting Bas Relief Faux Bamboo

Faux Bamboo bas relief Art-Faux Designs Naples Fl
Sculpting Bas Relief
Better Than Goodbye by Alexandra Kay
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Sculpting bas relief faux bamboo

For everyone who is involved in the decorative arts and faux finishing I wanted to show how versatile the wall art form is and the importance of expanding your creative wings to meet new and changing demands.

To begin this I was called upon to create something special for a particular client from one of my favorite interior designers for a couple of floor to ceiling wall art niches that had to include some metallic qualities. I first thought of my faux finishing technique

“Plaster For Niches”

as a starting point for the background

which has a very nice reflective quality.

Bas Relief Faux Bamboo
Plaster for Niches Background

Sculpting a faux bamboo bas relief was to be created, but not in the usual sense of using restrictive stenciling methods. The interior designer wanted an artistic flair and more of a free form of sculpting which of course forces a challenge on me to think more openly and creatively composition wise. We discussed the details of the project and discovered the lighting in the wall art niches was going to be directly over head of the faux bamboo so I knew right away that the opportunity to work with actual cast shadows was going to be a huge plus in the sculpting of the bas relief faux bamboo.

bas relief faux bamboo
Creating the faux bamboo

This in fact inspired me to venture past the level of a basic bas relief  which has been a practiced art form for hundreds of years.To explain it a little more clearly I pulled an excerpt from Wikipedia a  short description of what I wanted as an effect.

This expression is probably derived from the Italian basso rilievo, the literal translation meaning “low contrast” as opposed to “alto rilievo” (“high contrast“) and “haut-relief” (“high relief”) in French. It is pronounced [ˈbaʁəˌlif], French for “low relief”

I wanted a mix of both haut and bas reliefs to harmonize with the back ground and also to add some trompe loeil techniques to create some depth to accentuate the sculpting of the faux bamboo. Sculpting has always been a fascinating form of art to me and I have been reaching further into the possibilities of using sculpting, and bas reliefs with other faux finishing techniques that I have become so versed in. Although common to some extent, for what I am trying to achieve takes it a bit further and gives the combination more of a “punch”

bas relief bamboo Art-Faux Designs Inc
Ready to prime

 At this point the sculpting and bas relief of the faux bamboo is finished for the most part in this and the second niche and are at the priming stage. This is where I will add in hand painted faux bamboo to which some trompe loeil techniques will be used to create more depth. Note: The background is already finished and you can find the information on my plaster for niches post about the process.

I tinted the acrylic primer with some hooker green because I wanted to seal the bas relief faux bamboo and yet create some intensity in color knowing that the white of the primer would dull the sculpting. I wanted the intensity of this primer color to peek through the base color to hopefully give it a glow under the burnt sienna that I’ll use as my final color. The designer wanted a graiselle (shades of gray) kind of end result and yet liked the intensity of the burnt sienna because of how well it went with the fabric being used for the drapery.  For the base color I only used one coat which was a mix of Faux Effects Setcoat Woody Yellow and Neutral White (1p Wy to 3P Nw) which allowed the glow of the hooker green to peek through the base.  Sounds complicated huh? well there is a reason for the madness lol
base painted faux bamboo Art-Faux Designs
Base painted faux bamboo

Adding in the faux painted bamboo with the bas relief bamboo combine with the sculpting technique you can see that the effect is really starting to come together. Its already getting difficult to distinguish the bas relief faux bamboo from the painted faux bamboo. The sculpting is already giving away the bas relief part due to the cast shadows from the light not to mention how the color is taking on a glow from the warm colored lighting, So far so good!

Now these next couple of pictures are going to show why the sculpting, bas relief, faux bamboo, trompe loeil and even the faux finishing all must work together to create harmony just as it does in a well painted mural and when you look at the next picture you will see that it is difficult to see what parts are the scuplting and what parts are painted in the natural light of the day.
Bas Relief Faux Bamboo Art-Faux Designs Inc
Bas Relief & Trompe Loeil

You can also see how the effects of the underpainting has the glow I was trying to achieve to work with the metallic back ground. This is actually from the natural light of the room during the day there was no flash used when taking this photo.

Where the drama really comes into play is in the evening after the sun has gone down and is pretty much dark outside and you get the full effect of the sculpting and bas relief.
Faux Bamboo bas relief Art-Faux Designs
Night time drama

The cast shadows in the sculpting really show off nicely with the lighting and with that being said I will end this post with a final photo

Faux Bamboo Sculpting Bas Relief
Left Niche Bas Relief

The final photos tell it all as to the success of this project on Sculpting a Bas Relief Bamboo

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12 thoughts on “Sculpting Bas Relief Faux Bamboo”

  1. Wow. Nice work. I am starting my first bas relief wall art and having a hard time identifying the best compound/mixture/plaster/cement. The type of result is to be along the lines of this piece of calla lilies any recommendations on what the mixture should be? Thanks in advance.

    • Steve with the thought of it seems that I answered this already, have you tried emailing and asking the one who did the finish work? Looks like he posted a whole gallery of work there on Facebook. I would say he used a casting plaster or plaster of paris. In the case of my Bamboo I wanted a more lightweight medium so I used, Lightweight drywall compound

    • Hi Denise I do so enjoy your input and hearing from you. Yes the medium is going to be some interesting research as I progress with it, I have a couple of people who are giving me some insight on it that I think will improve the durability compared to the compound that I used on this one, (not that there is anything wrong with it of course). There were just a couple of things that I would like to do with it that I couldn’t and I want something that I can use solely for the technique without having to adjust or change the medium thus increasing its versatility. I will keep everyone informed as it happens so watch for my updates in my newsletter. Hope you had a great Holiday season Peace!

    • Thank you Joyce,
      I try to share as much as I can when doing things that end with good results. However I would not recommend doing this with out first testing it yourself and making sure your substrate is sound enough to accept the technique. Proper adhesion is critical and I would not use a primer that has any kind of a sheen to it. The Luster Stone held it very well but it was unburnished and had some “tooth” to it. I am currently doing further testing and using Faux Effects Texture Coat as a base.

  2. Glad to see your blog again==
    bass relief is getting more and more popular, and you have certainly mastered it beautifully.
    I’m curious as to what you material you used for the bamboo?

    • Hi Lyna, Yes I am starting to see an increase for this type of work and I do love it. I am already looking at another project that will involve both Bas and Haut relief applications and I am excited about the commission. This particular application was done with a lightweight gypsum compound that worked very well but there are a few characteristics I found that inhibit the use of it. There are several kinds you can use including the making of your own which is what I am more interested in. I like to have total control of the medium I work with which is why I love heavy bodied acrylics for canvas painting and my mural work cause I can control the viscosity and translucency when I need it plus I love the speed of the dry time. I will be documenting my next relief in more detail as it will be more about the medium.

    • Thanks Bro,
      The thing about talent is everyone has it, its just a matter of developing it and you for one being a drywall man can do this as well, its just a matter of thinking outside of the box. You yourself have a ton of ideas and experience in creating some phenomenal ceiling textures. I know first hand because I have seen your work, don’t cut yourself short on the “talent” part

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