Faux finishing columns are still in demand and it seems that Onyx Marbling Technique is as popular as ever.
However, I have done a couple of other faux finishing marble techniques recently which will follow this post.
As you may have guessed I do get a lot of calls for my marbling techniques and columns seem to be the most popular surface to be faux finishing these days here in Naples Fl.
In today’s interior design of contemporary/modern styles, Onyx is a commonly used marble, (actually, it’s classified as a mineral) but what do I know I just like to paint it.
In a previous post, I wrote about a rare Ribbon Onyx marbling technique that I replicated on two columns which are different from the onyx that I am writing about here. This faux finished onyx is much more subtle in appearance but that doesn’t mean it was any easier, in fact, because of how it was more on the pastel side of color I had to be careful with the intensity of the colors.
The other trick to faux finishing marble columns is to ensure that it is not done in a way that it replicates a “barbers pole” as you would see outside of a barbershop. This is not the way marble is structured especially a faux finish onyx. In reality, it would be very rare to even see an onyx column because of the fact that onyx is used more for a laminate than anything structural. It just simply would not be strong enough to support itself because of the mineral base contents of the stone.
As onyx falls in the same category as alabaster I did some research on the subject and found some interesting information about these beautiful marbles and thought I would share the link rather than repost the information here. Although I would like to just copy and paste it on my blog I would be running the risk of “like-kind ” content and the way Google has been penalizing websites for such antics I don’t want to risk what little page rank that I already have. So with that being said, I am just going to send you to the definition of alabaster and onyx marble this way.
The process of a faux finish onyx marbling technique is done like most others in which you create the ground over satin or semi-gloss base coat of white enamel. In this case, since the columns were already base painted in an acrylic semi-gloss this is what I used. However, you can achieve a much more realistic appearance over an alkyd-based paint (oil) and using oil glazes but this particular budget could not support the extra steps involved for this onyx marbling technique. I can still achieve a realistic appearance by using water-based products and they do have the advantage of drying quicker and speeding up the faux finishing process.
The colors I used were White, Hookers Green, Ultramarine Blue, Ochre Yellow, Raw Umber, and Burnt Umber. If you are not familiar with using faux finishing marble techniques with both warm and cool colors, be sure to practice using these combinations because they can get away from you very quickly and turn to mud if you’re not careful. Generally, when using this faux finishing marble technique I work with an open palette meaning that I simply apply my clean glaze to the surface and on my palette and then add my colors from the palette to the glaze. To me, it is much easier for me to control my values and intensity than mixing up different variations and quantities of glazes. I work the same way when painting murals and fine art and rarely do I ever mix big batches of color when painting murals. It is much harder for me to adjust translucency, intensity, and value from these mixed batches of paint when I need to. However, they are great for blocking in large shapes and basic areas and it really depends on the artist and how well you know color when it comes to using this for a faux finishing marbling technique. Doesn’t matter how you get there, it’s whatever is easiest and how you develop your own style and way of getting there but of course, we are not talking about murals
The tools I used were a badger brush(softener), marbling brush for veining, #40 tooth Spalter, tooth vignette, vignette, #8 round glazing brush, a flat two header brush, sea sponge (for first glazing), and throughout the entire process for removing glaze and color where I needed. I also used the sponge for “flaming” and the final overglaze to create that crystalline appearance.
All these brushes can be bought at Pierre Finkelstein’s site Faux Brushes.com and I highly recommend these. I have had mine for well over ten years, I do however have to replace my tooth spalters because they are worn down to nubs.