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Faux Onyx Marble On Columns

faux finishing marble
Onyx Faux Finish
Better Than Goodbye by Alexandra Kay
  • Better Than Goodbye
  • No More

Yet another call for marbling columns but this one was different.

An Interior Designer that I have been fortunate enough to work with gave me a call once again about faux finishing more columns for another client of hers but

This client is “real artsy” as she likes to put it.

Cool!, a chance to get real creative!

Anyway, we met at the clients new home so I could get a look at the surroundings and the usual stuff like warm and cool light and shadows to determine color and the combinations there of, because as most of you know who follow my blog I am all about the use of color and believe if you can’t or don’t understand color theory and how to get to the color you need, take my advice and start learning, and make sure the designer your working with understands it too, because in the end you are the one who is ultimately responsible and you will be that very first speed bump that the proverbial bus runs over before you even know you’ve been hit.

The last few jobs that I have completed for this designer all involved columns and it has always been a fantasy marble technique and although I really like producing this look it does get a little redundant and isn’t much of a challenge other than determining the right color based on the surroundings.

So as we continued the conversation and she was showing me fabrics for the drapery, upohlstrey, rugs and the type of art work and the over all style she was trying to hit on which was a mix of contemporary but yet more of an Art Deco type of a theme. Remembering what she said during our first conversation that the clients were “artsy” and “fun” kind of people that when the idea hit me like a ton of bricks.

Why Not A Hand Painted Onyx Marble Look?

Faux Onxy Marble Sample

I usually start by creating two samples when rendering a marble showing different stages for my own reference and basing this on an Italian style of hand painted marble is the goal because of the Art Deco/Contemporary interior design, my objective was to get a “painterly” appearance rather than a realistic one which is more of a French style of hand painted marble. My first sample above is a bit contrived because I was working out the color where as the second sample below was more focused on composition which has a nice “flow” about it.

Faux Onyx Columns

So with that in mind I proceeded to work on my samples which you saw in the first photo. Of course when working on a rendering you basically work out the problems which there are a couple of issues that I don’t care for in the first sample but I thought I would post it anyway to show how I get to a final result. I was mainly focused on color for the first sample and on the second sample is where I worked on the composition. With Onyx marble there are both warm and cool colors and you need to be careful with the placement so one doesn’t over power the other.

Faux Onyx Columns

The other consideration was color intensity. As I’m sure most of you know, onyx marble can be rather intense in color depending on where it comes from. The designer and I didn’t want the columns to be “screamin” to where they would be the center of attention and the veining alone would bring enough attention to the column on its own to say the least. In fact decorative painting is suppose to compliment a room and work with all of the surroundings and not be the center of attraction by pulling your eye away from everything else in the room, for instance, some of the wall finishes I have seen are so saturated in color and so far apart in values that the over all appearance is so contrasting that you don’t notice anything else in the room, some of these finishes result with dry lines that some “faux painters”  try to pass it off as a wall marble which in reality is a huge mistake in use of color. To me that’s just like viewing a bad mural or painting which has no continuum or flow and makes your eyes dart all over the wall usually stopping at areas that are either too dark or too light or worse yet, seeing the same sized space or  spots on the wall. You see in nature nothing replicates itself exactly the same in size or shape so it is important that you don’t make every vein in a marble the same width, direction or size or paint every cloud the same size or shape next to one another in a sky mural. Things like this rarely happen in nature and it is very important to know these “rules”, because after all you are replicating things of nature that have taken years or even centuries to create and no two pieces of marble or no two flowers or leaves are exactly the same or evenly spaced

Faux painted Onyx marble columns

As I approach the final stages of my columns (yes these columns belong to me until I’m done) there are a few adjustments I am going to make at this point, simple but yet huge as you will see when I post the next set of images. Although this is based on a Brazilian Ribbon Onyx there is still something here that isn’t quite right and I never saw it until reviewing “my progress images” which I take with every finish I do, because pictures don’t lie and will show you things that your eye can’t pick up on the job.

Can you guess what it is?

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4 thoughts on “Faux Onyx Marble On Columns”

    • Thanks Greg I just had a look at your new site and love the trompe you did on the backsplash, you should start a blog to show more of your work. I see you had a class with Pascal also. Being from Conn. did you go to Pat’s for the class?

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