Painted Faux Wood Masterworks: When to ignore them

Painted Faux Wood Masterworks are gorgeous…

but they’re often not the best examples to focus on for your own work. In this post we explore why images of real wood are better examples. 

Apologies in advance for getting a bit geeky and theoretic in this brief post. Stick with me. I promise it will be very useful when it comes time for some wood graining.

Kershaw Painted Faux Wood Root of Oak
“Root of Oak” as painted by master Thomas Kershaw, circa 1880.


Master works of painted faux wood grain (or any art) are some of the most compelling images in the world. We tend to get lost in them. We study technique, brush stroke and method… sometimes ’til we’re bleary-eyed and a bit confused.

Of course this study has value, but it’s important to recognize that value for what it is: Inspiration. Something that causes a burning desire to paint.

Real Models

Any master work has flaws and limitations. It can seem photographic, but it’s not a photograph. The painter left something out, changed something, missed something, interpreted a lot in creating their painted faux wood. 

Their painting might be a lot like wood, but it’s not exactly wood.

So if you copy others painted wood grain, yours will be, by definition, less like wood than theirs is. That’s why it’s crucial to use real or photographed models to start with, not painted wood.

Painted wood grain is often just a matter of doing a good job of making something look like wood, so I’m not talking about creativity, necessarily. It’s mostly a matter of using accurate models (what you look at and copy in your paint work) instead of another painters interpretation, no matter how well done.

painted faux wood real Cherry Model
Example of real Cherry wood provided with the Perfect Wood Grain Mastery Course for learning painted faux wood.

“Here. Copy this copy”

And that’s the primary problem with virtually every pained faux wood grain method in print and video: They want you to copy an interpretation of wood, not real wood. The end result is something watered down, not believable and certainly not masterful.

So by all means, study the masters. Look closely, take notes and get inspired. But when it comes time to pick up the brush, use a model from nature, not canvas.

Norman Petersen

Thanks for reading and happy painting.



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



3 Responses

  1. Jaime
    | Reply

    I am a rookie about paint jobs, but i have a woodshop and love classic cars.

  2. ted rybus
    | Reply

    I work for a wealthy man who hired me for my refinishing skills. I restore historical homes that he owns and the are numerous occasions that this skill would come in handy. He also owns several antique cars that could use this service . I love the idea and this could help secure my employment or better yet open up new doors for me. I’m chomping at the bit!

  3. Terry Colegate
    | Reply

    can’t wait !

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