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Trompe L oeil

Trompe l'oeil is a French term meaning "trick the eye" and describes a painting that deceives. This style of painting has his roots going back to antiquity. Apart from their decorative function, trompe l'oeils are often intended to be humorous or astonishing, and one well-known story depicts apprentices who would paint coins on the floor of Rembrandt's studio for the pleasure of watching him try to pick them up!

A good trompe l'oeil mural can blur the boundary between fantasy and reality, making the viewer believe he or she is looking out on a delightful landscape, even from the confines of a windowless room. More than just a visual joke, however, these "tricks" can be used in interiors to enhance a dull corner or transform walls into a room with a view.

Mural painting is one of the oldest art forms known to humankind, and throughout history murals have been creating to perform a variety of functions. They have recorded the rituals of daily life as well as important events from history and legend, they have been used as a form of communication and prayer, and of course, they have been employed as a purely decorative device.

Getting Started

  • Choosing a site: one of the most vital considerations for a successful trompe l'oeil is the location.
  • The best starting point for finding inspiration is the room itself, think about its character and function. For instance, in a small room, you could increase the perceived space by inventing a window view with landscape stretching far away into the distance.
  • Preparing the surface: without a a good foundation your mural could deteriorate, wasting all your hard work. Rub down old oil-painted surfaces with sandpaper to provide a key for subsequent priming. Fill cracks, repair them with good-quality all purpose spackling paste. Prime the surface with matte latex emulsion in any color that suits the mural.
  • Tools and materials: paint and brushes must be of good quality. Latex paint and artist's acrylics are water based so they can be easily mixed together, and quick to dry. Don't buy cheap brushes if you don't want to spend more time picking hairs out of the paint than you will on actually painting.