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A Trompe L'Oeil Floor in Your Home: Interview With a Special Effects Painter

By: Mary Williams BA (hons) - Updated: 4 Apr 2011 | comments*Discuss
Floor Trompe L'oeil Specialist Effects

The exquisite art technique of “trompe l’oeil” dates back to Greek and Roman times but remains a popular decorative technique. The method, which means “trick of the eye,” makes the viewer think they are seeing something they are not. Trompe l’oeil can range from murals of doors, windows and views to floors, ceilings and other surfaces which have been painted to make them look as if they are made of a different material. While trompe l’oeil is undoubtedly used to create a certain look for purposes of aesthetic style, it is also often employed by those who have a sense of fun.

Artist Kaye Devereux discusses using trompe l’oeil on a floor within your home.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your background in art?
A: I trained as an illustrator and then went to work for an artist’s agent in publishing. It was when my son asked for various constellations to be depicted on his bedroom ceiling that I first went into murals and specialist decorative paint techniques. I had to research the constellations, to get them correct. I then painted them in a glow in the dark paint.

Q: What are some of your other specialist areas today?
A: All sorts of paint effects and trompe l’oeil, where the aim is to make something look as realistic as possible.

Q: What kinds of trompe l’oeil artwork do you carry out for people?
A: A wide variety. People usually have their own ideas about what they would like in their home. I have to try to fine tune their words into an image, and then we work forward from there, be it a fake bookcase or a fake window. In all cases it has to be planned very carefully.

Q: What is it about trompe l’oeil that people like?
A: People have trompe l'oeil effects in their homes for many reasons. If they have a dull room with a boring, large wall, I could paint a panoramic view on to it. This will give the room greater depth and interest. Sometimes people like to have quirky things, such as a toad painted behind a door, just to add a note of curiosity or surprise.

Q: So how would trompe l’oeil work on a floor?
A: You can use trompe l’oeil effects well on the floor. Through various paint techniques you can make very plain surfaces look different. You can also make one material look like another. A concrete floor could be made to look like tile, wood, granite or a Marble Floor, for example.

Q: Could you give us an example of trompe l’oeil on a specific type of floor?
A: Well, you could make a wooden floor look different, for example, by filling in any grooves, say in a rectangle area. You could then paint this area to look like it is a rug. Also by using rocker graining tools, and combs, you could add interesting textures to wood, making it look more like a textile.

Q: How durable would a trompe l’oeil on the floor be?
A: Any painting applied to the floor would be Affected by Wear. It should therefore be sealed with various heavy duty varnishes, depending on the effect.

Q: How expensive is it to have a trompe l’oeil painted on to a floor in your home?
A: The price of a trompe l’oeil floor depends on how long the design takes to achieve.

Q: Are there options for people on a tight budget?
A: I would think that if you have plenty of time, and not much money, but you like marble - then a trompe l’oeil paint effect with that look would be an ideal compromise.

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