Trompe l’oeil Painted Doors

For the first post of 2023 I thought I’d share a couple of unique and fun projects of Trompe l’oeil painted doors. If your unfamiliar with the term, trompe l’oiel is a French term used to describe a highly detailed painting meant to fool the eye. Variations on this concept have been used for interior and exterior murals with varying degrees of detail. Sometimes you don’t always have to go to the extreme in detail to dress up and provide a piece of art onto an otherwise plain flat utilitarian object.

Such was the case when contacted by a client to paint the illusion of a Dutch door onto a plain metal interior door that was the entrance to the living area of their “barndominium.” After taking a tour of their home and seeing the interior colors and gathering more info from them, an initial sketch was done and once approved work began. The following will show some progress shots.

First was the door as it originally stood before it was delivered to my studio.
Interior metal door before a tromp l'oiel painting was done

The photograph of the door was printed out and I used it to draw my preliminary sketch and a color mock up to show the client. Once approved the work began.






First Phase

Start of a Tromp l'oiel painted door by William Hagerman

After the drawing was done, areas were masked off and then painted with latex interior house paint. The color was a close match to other existing colors in my clients home. Once dry, blue painters tape was applied to mask off the already painted area, which made it easier to paint the background.





Second Phase of the tromp l’oiel door

tromp l'oiel painted door in progress by William HagermanOnce the background was painted in, the painters tape was removed. The tape had also been put over the bluejay bird on the ledge of the door. An exacto knife was used to cut around the shape. Invariably a little paint seeped under areas of the tape requiring some touch up. Now with the tape removed the bluejay was painted.

The rest of the door was painted sitting on the floor.



tromp l'oiel painted door  to look like a Dutch door by William Hagerman

Here’s the completed door which included my clients Shar-Pei dog Hazel sitting at the base.






Tromp l’oiel painted Dutch Door Installed
tromp l'oiel painted door to look like a Dutch door by William Hagerman

And here’s the door installed!

This was a new experience in painting and it was sooo much fun to do!

The fun continued with another painted door project for another client with a slightly even more challenging subject.




Another painted door!

The work process was similar to the above, however,  oil paint was used in areas that needed more open time making it easier to blend colors. However, the door had texture and panels so a sheet of smooth plywood was attached and then primed prior to painting. The subject was  my client’s daughter who had done some modeling and his English bulldog PaPa when still a pup sitting at the base.

Tromp l'oiel painted door to look like an open half door.      Tromp l'oiel painted door by William Hagerman

So what do you think?


Windberg Style Bluebonnet Painting

Windberg Style Bluebonnet Painting

In this prior blog post I wrote  about famed Texas Artist Dalhart Windberg and how he had an early influence on my art. Early on I tried to emulate his style, before embarking on my own way of painting.

After 30 plus years, I decided to try out the technique he employed once again in this Windberg Style Bluebonnet Painting.

It’s not as flawless in it’s smoothness as Windberg’s but then again, he had many years to hone his skills in applying this smooth brush style of painting. Currently this painting is available via my eBay auction. The painting is 8×10 and painted on a prepared cradled panel.

If you’re not familiar With Dalhart Windberg’ his work, here is an example. It was fun to do and I may just have to try this technique once again!

Dalhart Windberg: A Recollection

Dalhart Windberg: A Recollection

The following is a recollection of the early influence that artist Dalhart Windberg  had on my art.

I was around 8 years old when I first became aware of famed Texas artist Dalhart Windberg during the mid 1970’s. My aunt who was quite talented and painted as a hobby and my uncle, collected Windberg prints. During a family visit, my aunt was showing my mother their print collection and I wanted to see it too. Even at this young age my interest in art was already quite high. My eyes became glued to the works as my aunt carefully unveiled each print. Windberg’s atmospheric qualities and little hidden details so characteristic of his work captivated my attention. This was probably my first real experience in seeing another persons art and I wanted to paint like that I thought to myself. The image below was one of the prints.

Dalhart Windberg Contentment 1970's era painting

Dalhart Windberg’s “Contentment”

My Introduction to Oil Paints

My aunt must have taken notice of my interest in painting and a couple of years later bought me a starter set of oil paints as a gift. The first attempts were clumsy to say the least and I didn’t pursue it much until a couple of years later when a family friend and artist C. L. Curry began teaching lessons.  Thankfully my parents agreed to the lessons and at the age of 12 I regularly attended the weekly 3 hour class. Soon the clumsiness that I first experienced with oil paints had passed.

Meeting Windberg

Soon after this time at the age of 13, Dalhart was having a print signing in Houston, TX where we were living and was also showing a few original works. My father took me to see him. There was a long line to wait for him to autograph my copy of his first biography book “In The Path of the Masters” printed in 1978. Dalhart Windberg In the Path of the Masters bookWhile standing in line I overheard the conversation of a couple standing in front of me. One gentleman was describing one particular work of Windberg to the other about a night scene that he liked, but couldn’t remember the title. I spoke up and said: “Nocturnal Harmony!” The man turned to look at me with a very surprised look on his face. “That’s it!” he said in a voice of disbelief. I don’t think he expected a skinny little 13 year old to know that. But, I did. I liked that painting too.

Dalhart Windberg Nocturnal Harmony

Nocturnal Harmony

Soon I was standing in front of the artist whose work I first admired several years before. He signed my book and then I viewed for the first time some of his original paintings. They were even more beautiful in person. There was still a long line of people waiting to see the artist and have their prints and books autographed, so I had to move along. I could have stared at those painting for a long time.

Another Meeting

In 1984 another opportunity to meet the artist was in Midland, TX. He was having a showing of works at a local bank with artists Mark Pettit and Daryl Trott.The Windberg Technique of Oil Painting book I had purchased his first instruction book on his painting technique and wanted him to sign it. I took my aunt along who also had a copy. This time I got to spend quite a bit of time talking with him and even got to show an example of one of my paintings. It surprised my aunt who had never seen me talk so much as my inclination is to be rather reserved and quiet. But, when it comes to talking art, I can chatter with the best of them. The encounter ended with Dalhart giving me his business card and the invitation to contact him.

Visiting Windberg at His Home

About a year later, I mailed some photos of recent work to hopefully get a critique or some advice. I followed up with a phone call to see if he got the photos. He received them, but he told me it was hard to tell much from the photos and was there anyway for me to bring some of my paintings to his home so he could look at them….nope, not a chance, couldn’t possibly do that…yea right, I was already packing my bags.

I drove several hundred miles to his home in Austin, TX where he lived at the time. By now I had my driving license. Dalhart took me to dinner at nearby cafe where we ate and talked art. I was shown great hospitality from him and his wife Evelyn. I spent the night in the guest room and the next day was able to watch him paint in his studio. A funny moment was when while watching him paint, I noticed that some elements with a similar shape in the painting lined up in a row. I spoke up and pointed it out. Thankfully, I wasn’t thrown out onto the street. No, he was very gracious and admitted that I was right. He then corrected the area. Later, he told me; “I can’t teach you to paint. You already know how to do that. But, I can teach you how to get a more professional look to your paints.” Thus he shared from his experience some of the technical aspects of painting with me. What a privilege.

For a considerable time after that I tried to follow his technique from reading his instruction book. Then in 1987 I was invited to spend a day or two in Fredericksburg, TX where Dalhart was teaching a workshop. Again, I accepted the invitation and took along one of my paintings. By this time my work was receiving comments from others that they looked like Windberg’s! Dalhart even showed the painting I brought as an example to some of the other students in his workshop. One of those students later took a few art lessons from me!

But, as time went on and as appreciation for other art styles and my artistic knowledge about various techniques grew, I now had the desire to find my own look and style. I’m happy to say I feel I have, but I’m still ever grateful to the advice and experience of Dalhart Windberg who became one of several early influences on my art. All receive a heartfelt thanks for sharing their time and expertise.

How to Draw an Oak Tree Video

In this post I’d like to share with you, how to draw an oak tree video. When taking painting lessons, many years ago, the instructor shared an approach which has been of great value not only to myself, but to other art students in drawing trees. I’m now sharing this beneficial art tip.

How to Draw an Oak Tree Video online art lesson by William Hagerman artist

Seeing Shape and Form in Drawing an Oak Tree

A tree is recognized by its shape or silhouette. What gives a shape it’s dimension is through the use of light and dark values, which describe the form of the shape. This video will show you how to use an HB, 3B and 6B graphite pencil to compose a convincing tree form. In this instance a personal favorite. The mighty live oak!

Hope you enjoyed this How to Draw an Oak Tree Video!

You might also like this blog post on How to Paint a Tree. If interested in joining my Zoom art class, please contact me.

Here is the Video Transcript on How to Draw an Oak Tree

Note: The transcript sounds a little weird if you don’t watch the video. 🙂

Hello. William Hagerman here, I’m going to share with you a little bit of a tip that I learned many years ago from my own art instructor about drawing trees, some things that helped me be able to compose.

I have laid out here my HB pencil, a 3B and a 6B hard graphite pencil. This represents what will be three different values. The harder the lead, the lighter the stroke appears, the softer the lead, the darker the marks will be. You could use one pencil and just through pressure and make a darker accent. But I thought I would work with these. What I learned here, this is my HB pencil is trying to design, say, an Oak tree with sort of a block, almost circular type form. For example, started doing some things like this.

Hopefully you can be able to see that. I’ll be darkening things up. But what this helps to do is I can kind of visualize areas that will sort of overlap certain areas and help me to try and draw in some sort of a silhouette here, of a larger Oak tree. So starting with, say, source of light coming in from this direction, we have this one sort of rounded, oval type of a form, and it’s going to graduate from light to dark. So I’m starting with the lighter HB pencil, using the side here, got it sharpened up, so you have a little bit of a longer lead there. And I want to come down just a little ways, and then I want to pick up the 3B pencil, which is a little bit darker. And again, it graduates from a light to middle into a dark value. So I’m going to go in here, keeping in mind the direction of where the sunlight is coming from to the side there on the left.

And then a 6B pencil, which has a darker mark, I’m going to indicate areas underneath here that represent more of the deeper parts of the tree, the shadow. And here it meets another form that’s sort of in front of it. Excuse me, just hit the camera. Sorry about that. I’m going to go back to the HB. It’s going to repeat the process again, lights coming from here, and we’re going to have sort of the lighter tone. I could probably erase that little line there but I’m not going to worry about it right now. This is not to be a finished drawing, but something to help you visualize the structure of some trees. Okay, so there’s the light. Pick up next the three B hardness graphite pencil.

And each of these kind of represent some little forms of smaller ones in the big area, kind of light, dark, like dark, and then into the deeper parts of the tree, then oops there goes the lead, pressed a little too hard. That’s okay.

Re-darkening some of this to get a little greater contrast. Now then going back again to the HB to start the process over again. Each of these clumps are going to get the same sort of process of a light, a middle value, and then a dark value.

Do this one as well, if you notice, keeping in mind the direction of the light is coming from here. So it’s catching light. But as it comes down and underneath, some of this might be getting a little darker. Again, some of the deepest part within the shadow.

Okay. So now we have a couple of areas, we can maybe divide this one larger shape, this one kind of overlaps. But I want to take this one here and this one maybe pull it down a little bit. Okay. Repeat the process,  get the right pencil here, my lighter one, HB.

Then we’re going to go darker.

Switch to the darkest graphite pencil there.

Now then, this one here is sort of more because I have this one overlapping. It’s sort of sitting more up underneath all of this. So it’s not out to the front, it’s more to the back. And as a result of the lights coming from here, these clumps of foliage are going to cast its own shadow across this. So this is going to be mostly dark. So this is kind of like on the backside of the tree.

There may be a little bit of light catching through, kind of a middle value there, but for the most part, that’s on the back side of that tree. So that’s why it’s a little darker overall. Now, this is going to be another clump. I may change its direction a little bit. I say you can alter it as you go along, but again, you’re going to have the this one is sticking out a little bit in front, so we’ll have some light on it.

This one then go into the darker area. And again, because this is curving back and it’s kind of away from the light, see, it’s going to be darker. And underneath, again, we’re going to have the darker foliage.

This is a clump that’s kind of sitting off in the back. And because of all of these, it too is going to be mostly dark. So it’s not going to get the lighter, but it will get a little reflective light from the sky. So I will use the 3B pencil here, kind of represent a little lighter edge up against the sky. But for the most part, it’s all going to be in shadow. This clump here is going to be also perhaps on the back side. So it’s going to also receive some more dark, maybe quite a bit of dark under here because all this other foliage is casting a shadow.

Okay. So here I have the basic structure of tree. We can then go back in and imagine maybe some limbs, the trunk, wrap, some limbs that’s going to come down, fall down. More details, since it’s going up into the dark of the tree, the tree trunks also have to be dark because I say there’s not light, it’s more overhead. So most of the tree trunk is going to be dark because it’s underneath. Indication of some little limbs coming through, and just give a little ground line.

As you see this gives you kind of an idea of light middle, dark. It describes more of the form of the tree. Now as you go if you were painting this then you would mix up three different values of a light, middle and a dark value. So that would help you I think in being able to achieve more realism into your tree getting more shape and form so it doesn’t look flat. So I hope this little tip that helped me in visualizing many years ago from my artist you’re working with these little blocked clumps and having some overlap one another you can more easily visualize what’s in the front, what’s on the backside and it’ll help you understand your light and darks where they would possibly go.

Selecting Art for Your Living Space

Selecting art for your living space can be a challenge. However, it’s not as difficult as you might imagine. After all you  choose other items in your home that reflect your taste and personality. selecting art for your living space

Recently, I was asked to give my two cents for an article published on the Redfin Blog.

Here’s a little blurb below with a link to the full article. You’ll find my comments along with the other suggestions.

Art can make any house feel like a home, but sometimes it can be a challenge to find art pieces that speak to you and reflect your design style. With many different art forms, there are some pieces that could fit well with your existing decor and others that may not. If this sounds like a problem you are facing, Redfin reached out to art experts from Encinitas, CA to Windsor, ON, for suggestions on unique art pieces to consider for every room in your home. From metal sculptures to metal prints, Check out The Art of Selecting Art: Experts Share Unique Art Pieces for Every Room of the House to see what they had to say.

By the way, the image above was a free stock photo, but, I inserted my latest “Byron” signature work onto the wall since it was a perfect match for the color scheme! Hopefully these suggestions on selecting art for your living space will inspire you to beautify your home with art.


Completing a Mural

The work is done! I now get to share the completing of a mural for the Haystacks restaurant in Sulphur Springs, Texas!

My first video post on the project is here. It basically shows the sketch. Here are the next 3 short videos showing the progress and completed project!

Getting the Ground Covered

Sky Work


Detail Work and Finish

This was a fun project and quite different than working at the easel. Plus working with acrylics and acrylic mural paint rather than oils was also different and using Styrofoam plates as  palettes!

Here’s some still shots of the mural. Click the images for a larger view. So what do you think?


Old Barns

Painting Inspiration: Old barns!

I love old barns, don’t you? They have such character! Now that I live in Northeast Texas, there seems to be quite a few. Even nicer is some aren’t very far away. This little trio cluster of barns wasn’t far from our home and became the basis for my painting titled “Barn  Trio” which is 9×12 and available for purchase direct.

landscape oil painting, painting of old barns by William Hagerman

In Plein Air

When time permits I enjoy painting on location. If you wish to paint landscapes it’s such a valuable learning session because you see so much more than what a photo will show. But when combined with photos for reference, it captures the essence of the scene and becomes more true to life.

Here’s a little on location video showing the start of the painting and the scenery. Enjoy!

Painting a Mural

Painting a Mural

Of late, I’ve received several different projects that were out of the ordinary, one is painting a mural for the Haystacks restaurant in Sulphur Springs, TX. The subject matter isn’t different as it consists of a Texas landscape, but it’s in a panoramic format of a little over 18 foot in length by about 4 and half foot high.

New Materials to Try Out!

To paint  the mural, I’ve abandoned oil paints for mural paint and fluid acrylics. The combination seems to be working out well. I started with a small sketch that I gridded off and then mostly free handed the sketch with a large graphite pencil, followed by washes of Burnt Umber Acrylic to establish the scene. Afterwards the work begins of adding color.

Here’s a little short video. I’ll post more on painting a mural.

Oil Landscape Painting Demonstration

In this short oil landscape painting demonstration, I hope to highlight a general procedure that I use in all my work whether it’s highly detailed or more painterly.

oil landscape painting demonstration by William HagermanThe first step is to sketch my scene onto canvas using thinned down ultramarine blue and a small brush. The ultramarine blue color is easy to wipe off and over paint without it showing through. My first marks of color is generally going to be my darkest mass area. In this case the large tree.



oil painting landscape demonstrationGenerally I will paint the areas directly adjacent to the big tree to compare my values, but I departed from this by going to the next largest mass putting in the water. Notice how the color becomes lighter in the back and darker towards the front. The lighter blue color in the back has some Phthalo Blue and white with increasing Ultramrine towards the front and with the addition of Permanent Rose for more of a deep violet cast.

Oil painting landscape demo by William HagermanNow colors of the land are put in. Again notice how the color intensity diminishes off into the distance to create depth. This is called atmospheric perspective.

Now the colors can be compared to the darks in the larger tree.



oil painting landscape demonstration by William HagermanNow the sky is started. In this case the color was first applied nearest the horizon with a pinkish cast. The sky color Phthalo blue and Ultraoil landscape painting demo block in stage by William Hagermanmarine. More Ultramarine at top and more Phthalo blue and white. Over all value is also lighter than the water, as water has a tendency to reflect the sky darker and it’s influenced by the depth of the water and what lies underneath.


With the sky completed, it’s time to let the painting dry. Once dry details and refinements are added to all areas.




landscape oil painting blue lake by William Byron Hagerman It becomes a matter of personal decision on how much or how little detail you desire, whether you want it more impressionistic or more detailed. Under my Byron Signature I opt somewhere in between, depending on my mood.

To learn more about painting, contact me regarding my Zoom art classes. This allows you to take a class wherever you are!

Here’s a brief video with a bit of up close views.

Thanks for stopping by and viewing my brief oil landscape painting demonstration. All my best.


PS. This painting as of 6/25/2021 is available via my eBay auction. Direct link to auction page. Be sure to first sign into your eBay account to bid!

Hagerman Oil Painting Video

Hello there!

Well, I thought I’d share a short oil painting video that I created. Originally it was for Instagram, (@hagermanart) so it’s less than a minute. It shows the general order in which I work, whether it’s under my Byron Signature or William Hagerman Signature works.

Hope you enjoy it. This little painting is also up for auction on eBay ending Saturday June 26, 2021. Direct Link to auction.

Hagerman Oil Painting Video