Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Decorative ceiling, dressing room

Here's a project I loved working on.

This was without doubt the most extravagant home I have ever seen. That could mean anything really, but in this case it meant tastefully decorated and elegantly proportioned, with an unlimited budget. Every day I worked there I just shook my head when I looked at the craftsmanship on display. A real highpoint for me.

In this case, I gave the designer a price for what he asked for; a coffered ceiling. As I was looking through my books I came across this next image. It's from Queen Charlotte's dressing room from Rosersberg palace, designed by Gustaf af Sillén. I thought that the Neoclassical Pompeiian decoration might be a good fit, and he went for it.

I kind of came to regret that, because it was a whole lot more work than I had anticipated. Maybe I should have just kept my mouth shut, oh well!

First I had to adjust my image so that it worked for a squared-off dome.

I made a paper template on-site of each surface. Using Photoshop I isolated one section of the original design, then re-configured and designed it to fit the new shorter ceiling and squared top edge. I used that as a guide to paint a full section as a sample. I then went back into Photoshop, repeated and skewed it to fit my paper template. Here are a couple of my rough Photoshop drawings...

Once I had Photoshop layouts for each side of the ceiling, I printed them out small and used an overhead projector to cast their image onto sheets of canvas, which I had hung and base-coated on my studio walls. Then I set about hand-painting each side, step-and-repeat. Simple!

I probably could have created the entire job in Photoshop, since with my other company, Decorative Imaging, I had been experimenting with digitally created and printed decoration, but the designer wanted it to be painted. Besides, the measurements called for a lot of hand re-touching on site.

Here's a shot of the finished ceiling, which I installed. The thin green foliated border on the top edge was a separate piece, as was the bottom border. Once all the canvases were installed I over-glazed the whole thing lightly, and then added the shadows to create the tented pillowing effect.


  1. Hey Alan beautiful blog from such a talented man, I am adding you to my blogroll
    x helen

  2. ...."Neoclassical Pompeiian decoration",,,,you definitely got my attention!

  3. oh my heavens...and I mean that literally! Just gor-jus!!!

  4. You're scary talented. XX

  5. What a great approach to a daunting project. Beautiful. Tasteful. SWEET!

  6. Thats stunning Al, you must be a monk or some such.
    Serene at least.

  7. Hey Al,
    Looks amazing.. my super talented bro!!
    loving the blog too by the way.

  8. I am tearing up. Holy Damn.

  9. I really wanted to include those semi-circular scallop shapes from the top of the original design, but unfortunately the new ceiling was just too short, so I had to do some editing.

  10. Nice photos! I enjoyed seeing artistic and decorative ceilings especially in churches! Cant help to raise my head up high and look at those exquisite ceiling art works! =)

  11. Very nice, precise and well done work, But why go through all this process, in my company, Chenille interiors Co. Ltd. in Saudi Arabia we draw the outline and paint directly on the walls, this particular dome could take approximately three days time to complete if done directly on the ceilings and walls..