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?


6 thoughts on “Trompe l’oeil Painted Doors

  1. Betty Jo Leftwich

    The Texas blue bonnet painting you painted for me was exactly what I envisioned it to be! The painting is outstanding! I love your work and I would like to have one of your pond scenes done some time in the future!
    Betty Leftwich

    1. William Post author

      Thank you Betty! I’m so glad that the painting was exactly what you envisioned it to be. It was a pleasure painting the scene for you.

  2. Tim Benson

    That is AWESOME Bill ! I can see this type art really taking off for you ! If you end up visiting West Texas any time soon you might paint a few trees and a gentle rain storm on our doors . We could use a little more of both here 🙂 .

    1. William Post author

      Thanks Tim! Hmmm. An open door or glass door looking out and with rain falling. A Rarity in West Texas for sure.

    1. William Post author

      Always glad to hear that my work still inspires. Thanks Cheryl for letting me know. It keeps me going. 🙂


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