About Perfect Wood Grain

about perfect wood grain image of hand painted faux wood paint sign
Promotional project: Sign I painted in my neighborhood that brought me many jobs.

Perfect Wood Grain is a powerful, unique method for creating gorgeous, realistic wood grain faux finishes.

The courses are taught via pdf ebooks packed with very carefully written steps, exclusive access to instructional, streaming video and hi-res photo models of real wood.

You’ll learn to create realistic faux wood paint in a totally unique and effective way; by using images of real wood for visual models. 

I’m Norman Petersen

I fell in love with decorative painting back in the early 90’s and since then I’ve learned and applied dozens of “faux” finishes (sounds like ‘go’, not ‘fox’. Silent X) including marble, tile, semiprecious stone, authentic Venetian plaster, stenciling, sponge and rag effects and of course, wood grain faux finishes.

In the beginning…

 Lon Channey Make up KitAs a child I was enthralled by all things creative. One of my earliest creative passions was movie monster make-up. I had a make-up kit and my friends and I would make 8mm films including special effects and gory death scenes.

My first art hero was the silent film actor and make-up master mind, Lon Chaney. My mom got me posters and books of his work and I spent many hours practicing and torturing friends and family with monster make-up. 

Pretty sure if I’d grown up in LA I’d have been a professional make-up guy. Oh well. Fate does its thing. 

House Work

Real Venetian slack lime plaster
Distressed slack lime plaster

As a teenager I worked with my Dad doing home remodel. I credit my father with giving me a solid basis in working with tools and a general willingness to tinker, repair and build stuff.

Wood grain faux finish in walnut and ebony with tile

I later worked with a relative building high-end, custom homes. That led to working with an old master painter on some big, expensive houses in Mercer Island, WA (Bill Gates neighborhood, btw).

This master showed me a lot of “secrets” of the trade that made the job as fun as such work can possibly be. I took to brush work like a fish to water. 

One day I stumbled onto a book by Jocasta Innes called “Paint Magic”. I was completely, instantly enthralled. I bought it and didn’t put it down for weeks. I started painting samples and experimenting like crazy. 

I suffered severe lower back problems from my mid twenties through mid 30’s which kept me away from ladders and scaffolding to some extent. Still, I’d been fortunate to learn and apply some great finishes on some very cool projects. 

Soaring, Falling, Getting back up

I’ve painted for captains of industry, state senators, an Olympic medalist, countless businesses and homeowners, family, friends and girlfriends. I’ve done Street of Dreams projects, design showrooms, corporate boardrooms and public spaces.

"Piazza Fountain". Faux Fresco panel mural of a fountain in my old neighborhood in Renton, WA.
“Piazza Fountain”. Faux Fresco panel mural of a fountain in my old neighborhood in Renton, WA.

The back issues led to becoming more interested in mural work. Of course I realized right away that while mural work pays better than general faux finishes, it’s still really hard on the body. So the next logical step was fine art, which I still practice today.

Cabinet in gold and silver faux finishes.
A silver/gold leaf cabinet installed in a high-end condo in Vegas owned by a chocolate mogul. Can’t say the co name, but it rhymes with Bradburry ;^

 As a side note (but not really, since many of you work with your bodies), I found a cure for my back trouble: About 4 years ago I started lifting weights regularly. No more back trouble.

Turns out the trouble all along was weak back (and other) muscles. As soon as I learned to dead lift, squat and do chin-ups, no more back issues. In case you’re interested, I recommend Tim Ferriss and Martin Berkhan for weight lifting and diet advice. 

Painting across industries

I’ve learned that a lot of people will see an artists work, get very excited and ask them to do some project, then get occupied with something else and forget about it.

Evening-on-the-inlet by Norman Petersen
Art panel. Acrylic on Masonite. 16×32. SOLD

So I’ve grown pretty good at screening the real customers (who spend money) from the not so real.

The first time a car collector asked me me to do some wood grain, I told him I wouldn’t do his project unless the dash and trim were removed from the car first. This can cost a bit, so it usually deters the not-serious people.

But his upholstery guy is a wizard and not only told him he could pull the trim and dash, but convinced him that it couldn’t be painted properly inside the car! 

Long story short, the owner went for it, the project came out amazing and I started getting more fuax wood auto paint work.

This taught me to pay attention to all the possible industries where my skills can be applied. 

Show me, Show me!!

Trompe L'Oeil faux stone Acanthus panel by Norman Petersen
Acanthus leaf faux stone panel. Acrylic on PVC sheeting. 12×18. SOLD

After that, furniture and woodworking people began showing interest in learning about faux wood painting techniques for repair and restoration. Then some crafters and fine art friends wanted to learn.

My wide range of life and work experiences has put me in a very unique position to combine knowledge and information from multiple industries to create an entirely unique and effective method for creating faux wood grain

So here I am today with a full-blown, one-of-a-kind wood grain faux finishing system.

Perhaps most amazing are the people that are involved: Custom car painters, professional wood workers (one of my students if responsible for maintaining and restoring over 1200 pieces of historic US govt. furniture), fine artists, crafters, Hollywood movie prop makers, remodel and paint pros, Do-It-Yourself home and business owners, interior designers and of course, faux finishers. 

This is  an awesome community and it’s growing every day. Thank you for being involved.

Please don’t hesitate to send me any questions you may have. I’m happy to help.

Thank you!

Pachyderms Delight Detail
Pachyderms Delight Detail
Pachyderms Delight. Acrylic on reclaimed cabinet. 28x14x48. On exhibit. Email for details.
Pachyderms Delight. Acrylic on reclaimed cabinet. 28x14x48. On exhibit. Email for details.




Would you like some help with Faux Woodgrain?

Link to woodgrain paint course sign up page

Link to woodgrain car paint course sign up page