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Inspiration 2023

Gray Painting: Decorative Painting Series With Friederike Schulz

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Gray Painting: Decorative Painting Series With Friederike Schulz
Gray Painting: Decorative Painting Series With Friederike Schulz

Video: Gray Painting: Decorative Painting Series With Friederike Schulz

Video: Gray Painting: Decorative Painting Series With Friederike Schulz
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The representation of three-dimensional objects has a special magic. The basis of the painting craft is the teaching of gray painting (French grisaille). Friederike Schulz explains what to look out for in the 12th episode of the decorative painting series.

Author / Photos: Friederike Schulz

Correctly set light and shadow in its shades of gray give the painted a special plastic effect. With the help of gray painting, architectural elements, such as profiles or rosettes, can be painted that appear three-dimensional.

The whistle sound as the starting sound

The basis for the gray painting (or gray plastic) is the so-called "pipe tone", from which all other tones are mixed with white. The pipe tone is the darkest shade and its color matches the gray of the background. If an ocher or umber has been added to the surface, then the pipe tone (besides black) should also be mixed from these colors.

The first light (medium tone) and the second light (brightest tone) as well as the first shadow (drop shadow or medium soft shadow) and the second shadow (dark shade tone) are mixed with the corresponding amount of white from the pipe tone. The basic tone of the painting is a warm light gray.

Tools required for gray painting are:

  • For the surface (stone look): natural sponge and toothbrush
  • For gray painting: line drawing, pointed brush and ruler

How to do it

First you make a glaze from umbra, binder and water, which you apply to the surface with a slightly cloudy structure using a natural sponge. In order to emphasize the stone structure, fine spots are sprayed with dark brown by rubbing your finger over the toothbrush bristles. To imitate the effect of crystallization, the surface is dabbed white with the natural sponge.

The desired architectural element, here a profile, is transferred to the substrate on the finished stone structure with the help of a hole break and a carbon bag. For longer distances, it is advisable to connect the coal dust spots of the main lines (2nd light and 2nd shadow) with a chalk line. The miter of the profiles to be painted is attached and taped at a 45 ° angle.

The light and shadow painting begins with the 2nd light (this is the brightest tone that reflects the strongest refraction). After the 2nd light comes the 2nd shadow (the dark shade). Then you add the 1st light and the 1st shadow. To increase the visual effect even more, the pipe tone is drawn as a fine line in the shadow folds.

To form the corner of the profile, the adhesive tape on the miter must be implemented. Then you transfer the profile at right angles to the first section of the profile using a hole break and carbon bag. It should be noted that light and shadow are now reversed. The second light becomes the second shadow and vice versa.

The drop shadow also deserves special attention: it only appears in one direction and is not mitred.

A seminar on gray painting is offered by Friederike Schulz in collaboration with guest lecturer Reinhard Nöhammer from Austria on 13/14. March 2020 in the workshop and academy of decorative painting (WADEK) in Hamburg.


Other episodes of the decorative painting series:

  • Painted fabric
  • Painted mahogany wood
  • Wall in a tartan skirt
  • Three-dimensional painting
  • Not quite in white: imitation brèche grise marble
  • Black gold: imitation of Portor marble
  • Classic Art Nouveau painting: based on an old pattern
  • Floor painting: concrete floors with chic
  • Sky painting: fair weather clouds
  • Gold plating with metal: fake gold creative technique
  • Imitation of Swedish marble

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