When a Claremont homeowner wanted a trompe l’oeil painting of grass cloth on her wall, decorative painter Dan Gallagher wasn’t surprised. While real grass cloth wall coverings are gorgeous, they can be expensive. They can get dusty. And if they get harmed, stained or mildewed and need to be patched, the new piece rarely matches the original pieces that have aged with time. So painting a grass cloth look makes some sense.
Here you see the wall that Dan painted, including the "seams" to make it look real. The majority of the painting is done with transparent glazes to create natural color effects. According to Dan, the finished painting must be protected. He says:
If I’m painting in a living room, I will use a flat, water-based varnish over the surface after the paint work has dried for one day. If I’m painting a bathroom that has a shower or bathtub, I add varnish to my glaze to flatten the sheen level, or I make a 50/50 mixture of flat varnish and satin varnish and coat all surfaces.
By the way, in case you’re feeling artistic, here’s what Dan says about places to purchase your materials:
Two of the best place to purchase artists’ acrylic paints and varnishes are Guerra Paint & Pigments in New York City. The other place is right here in Los Angeles: Nova Colors, which is by far the best artists’ paint store on the West Coast.