A trompe l’oeil medallion

We have spent the last week painting a condo in a highrise building in the Inner Harbor, and I have been so annoyed with how dismal, grey and cold the weather has been the whole time. I have been looking forward to spending lunch breaks on the waterfront and visiting my friend Glenn’s boat, The Mistress, where he lives in the marina outside the condo, but it has been blustery and yucky the whole time. I hate March. 


The project has been about half straight and half decorative painting, with us responsible for the undercoats to our blended sponge finish, and repainting the trim and ceiling to complete the paint package. All the walls are in a subtle beige sponge, which doesn’t photograph well, but maybe when the space is furnished I will try again. In the meantime, I have been working the last couple of days on this medallion in the vestibule. 

The sprinkler head is in an unfortunate place, and off center to boot, but nevertheless I am happy with the result.

I should have photographed the process, but did not take my camera to work yesterday. I started with a white octagon and pencilled in the circle to inpaint the beige background, then stencilled the medallion in quarters using a similar midtone beige. Shadows were painted in a darker brown latex, then the whole thing was glazed in a thin wash of raw umber artist’s oil paint in mineral spirits. Highlights were wiped back with a rag, then sharpened with titanium white oil and the shadows deepened with more raw umber oil. The frame is a blend of white and umber, glazed yesterday, then sharpened today with additional crisp striping. 







The best vantage point is from laying on the floor, but I am not sure how the clients will get their guests to properly enjoy it. maybe a great big divan sprawled in front of the door….

When I go back tomorrow to install the switchplates I might polish back those darkest shadows on the left side of the medallion. Since they are in oil they ought to still move a bit. Looking at photos allows one to be a bit more objective. Or, maybe the flash pushes the contrast a bit. I’ll see.

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