Thursday, March 08, 2012

Faux Painted Venetian Plaster Walls for my Studio

Busy, busy, busy! It was the season just a few short months ago. I'd been filling orders daily, working on commissions and packing up artwork and note cards to ship off to clients for Christmas, many of them newly-new collectors.

And, of course, I was doing some shopping myself and getting ready for a house full of people for Christmas dinner.

On top of that, there was the URGE that suddenly overwhelmed me to put new drapes up in my studio and re-paint the ceiling and walls. There is no use fighting something like this, it just must be done.

When I checked out at the store the second week of December with two gallons of paint in hand along with assorted wall painting supplies, the clerk looked at me and said, "Are you out of your mind, painting your house at this time of year?"

I must be. Because I was not going to just paint the walls, no. That's too conventional. I had this idea of how nice an artist's studio would look with stucco walls or plaster walls. When I found directions online for faux Venetian plaster walls, I knew this was it. "I'll get it done this weekend," I thought. One... week... later... it was finally finished.

So now I have nice walls to hang my artwork on for photo shoots.

OK, let's see how this is done:

1. I get my supplies ready
  • joint compound
  • ivory latex paint
  • a darker shade of latex paint - I used one called cafe latte, but often terra cotta is used
  • paint roller and tray
  • two 4 inch wide flat painting brushes
  • a spatula for applying joint compound
  • paint rags - lots
  • something to cover the floor
  • painter's tape for taping woodwork
I had already stripped old wallpaper off the wall, so the walls are clean.

2. I apply the joint compound with the spatula in a random manner to create texture:

Here's a closeup:

Here's how the wall looks with the joint compound - kind of blotchy:

3. I let all this dry for 24 hours before doing anything else.

4. Next, latex sealer is supposed to be used, but my walls had been sealed already and I have paint that does not need primer. So I roll on a coat of ivory latex paint for a base coat. If the paint needed primer/sealer, I would have put that on first.

Here's how things look at this point:

Nothing spectacular, yet when my mom and dad stop by, they think it looks wonderful. I explain that it is only halfway done and secretly hope the finished product will look much better than this.

5. After letting that dry, now comes the fun part (meaning, my-arms-are-aching part). Taking one of the wide brushes and the darker shade of paint, I rub paint into the wall in circular motions keeping the brush as dry as possible by wiping it on a rag often.

The effect is subtle, but rather than a solid shade, it makes a soft brushed kind of look. It wreaks havoc on my brush though, and by the time I've done all four walls, my poor brush looks like this:

Good thing I have a second brush for what comes next.

6. When the darker paint is dry, it looks OK, but does not have that lovely Venetian plaster look. So I repeat the whole thing of rubbing the paint into the wall surface - but this time with watered down ivory paint. I water it down quite a bit because I want the other shade to show through creating depth. I make sure to keep the brush dry by wiping it on a rag often.

For some reason, this brush never gets as battered as the first one. Maybe by now, I know what I'm doing? Here's the wall in progress - the left half, which is lighter, is the finished part:

The final effect is neither as pale as the ivory shade nor as dark as the cafe latte. I painted the upper part of the wall with cafe latte, so below you can see the difference:

Daffodils - oil on canvas

Though it's difficult to see in photographs, the "plaster" wall has a beautiful depth to it and makes a lovely background for my paintings.

Now I've got more work to do: photographing all my paintings on the wall!

I'm happy to take custom orders. Contact me for a custom painting or to have a print made of a painting you like.
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mikki senkarik said...

Janet, that is a cool wall and LOVE the Daffodils! Your hard work was worth it. Don't you just feel so good walking into your "New" studio?
Hugs, Mikki

Janet Zeh said...

Mikki, Thank you! Yes, it is so nice to have new walls. It's like a whole new place now. Thanks for the nice comment on the daffodils too. Hugs back to ya! :)