Brick Effect Artwork: Solly’s Mural
The Inspiration for this textured art piece
Using a wall stencil to create composition, structure, and a brick wall effect.
Using 3 simple colours to create the brick effect wall
Applying decoupage and blending it into the piece
Creating an aged metal effect
Using Posh Chalk Patina for the final touches
The Inspiration for this textured art piece:
The WoodUbend and Posh Chalk studio is based within a stunning Victorian mill in the North of England. Sunlight streams from lofty windows, across the pine floors, and lands upon the characteristic red clay bricks. A-frame beams are above, made from solid wood. Rusted metal pipes surround the outside of the building, and steel girders rise from the warehouse below. This industrial atmosphere is beautifully transcribed into the masterpiece that Solly Jo creates.
Something so unique about this artwork, is that it captures such a visceral element of corrosion. It features a linear scattering of WoodUbend decorative mouldings across the surface. These are painted to give the impression of aged, rusted metal. Mixtures of paint drips and washes make the mouldings appear to melt into the decoupaged oval. The brick that you see is constructed by plaster and paint and is completely 3D. Each has unique cracks, crevices and character.
This project was streamed live in our exclusive group: The Art of Posh and Fancy. Find out how to join.
Materials used to create the 3D artwork:
Solly chose 3 main WoodUbend & Posh Chalk products to include.
Posh Chalk Monastery Panel Decoupage
For the canvas:
An old plaster board
For the Brick Effect:
Posh Chalk Brick Wall Stencil
Dark brown paint
For the WoodUbend decorative mouldings:
Dark brown paint
Posh Chalk Metallic Pigment Orange Gold
For the decoupaged oval and paint drips:
Dark Brown paint
Posh Chalk Monastery Panel decoupage
For the final wash:
Posh Chalk Patina in Dark Brown
Posh Chalk Patina Extending Wax.
But how can you achieve this brick wall and aged metal effect at home?
Step 1: Using a wall stencil to create composition, structure, and a brick wall effect.
Solly placed the stencil onto the canvas, ensuring adequate adhesion using spray glue. This makes sure any product placed over the stencil will not bleed (although this can be an excellent technique for a more distressed look!). Then, she applied a thick layer of Venetian plaster. In order to create a less even texture, complete with cracks, lumps and bumps, Solly made sure to not smooth out the plaster too much.
She makes a rough oval shape in the centre of the canvas and begins to separate the top from bottom by placing the WoodUbend moulding WUB6068. This applique is part of the 3rd Generation of WoodUbend mouldings, meaning it has even more detail, durability, and density. This comes in a two pack as well! So, after opening the pack she placed the mouldings following the line of the Venetian plaster. Again, to ensure a less uniform appearance, Solly tore a few of the WoodUbend mouldings to achieve different shapes and sizes. See how to apply WoodUbend here.
She applied more plaster behind certain spots of the decorative WoodUbend mouldings. This made the transition from plaster to applique more seamless.
To fill the space in the middle of the canvas, Solly began preparing the decoupage. After laying it flat, she brushes water onto areas of the decoupage she wants to tear. We recommend tearing Posh Chalk Decoupages in place of cutting with a knife or scissors. This allows for easier blending. She tore the decoupage into 4 pieces and brushed them smooth onto the canvas that she had prepped with Posh Chalk Pigment Infusor.
See more about how to apply decoupage here.
“The Monastery Panel Decoupage felt so fitting for this piece” says Solly. “The blues, oranges and greys are colours all around our studio, from flecks in the brick to rusted steelwork.”
Using 3 simple colours to create the brick effect wall
Painting onto a fresh canvas can be intimidating. But remember, any painting whether on canvas or furniture, is about creating layers.
The first layer of the brick was created by washing them in dark brown paint. Solly applied the paint directly onto the canvas with a circular brush, focusing primarily on the gaps between the bricks to elevate the depth. Spraying water, she dilutes the paint slightly and begins to wash over the bricks.
To avoid the bricks becoming too dark- which would make it more difficult to apply lighter paint in the following steps- she begins to wipe the bricks clean. What does this do? This cleans the surface of the bricks, but still allows for the dark paint to fall into the cracks of the uneven plaster. This creates incredible depth and texture even at such an early stage.
For the second layer, she takes 3 colours:
Yellow- La Magic Souffle
She starts by applying orange patches to the brickwork, then red. Yellow is placed in the middle of the canvas, where Solly wants the illusion of light to fall on the piece. Now, begins the push and pull of adding brown for depth, wiping, adding more colour, and wiping. Brown is placed primarily around the edges of the oval and the edges of the piece.
The texture of the plaster really helped in this process as it meant that Solly did not have to ‘create’ the cracks, grooves and mortar purely with paint. Instead, she simply highlighted texture that was already created thanks to the plaster. This made the process much quicker, and within 15 minutes, the brick effect was finished.
Step 3: Applying decoupage and blending it into the piece
Painting can be simplified when you use as few as 3 colours. This is for your darker tones, mid tones and highlights.
For the decoupage, Solly took these colours from the decoupage pattern itself, choosing:
She first applied a layer of Sunset Blue around the edges of the decoupage. She sprays this with water to begin pulling it from the edges. For the spaces in between the decoupage, she adds the lighter blue, Sugar Paper. Again, she uses the water to brush the colours into one another, creating a seamless blend. Bringing the colours up to the brick edges, she pulls the deep brown up into the blues.
Following the contours of orange in the decoupage, she gently dabs orange paint to mark out an improvised extension of these shapes. Then, she takes a clean brush and pulls it into the blues, so that it gently fades away.
Where the colours were too pigmented for the desired effect of the piece, Solly took a paper towel and scrunched it into a ball. She then applied it to the canvas using circular motions. The harsh edges of the paper towel scratched and removed certain areas of paint. This made the blended decoupage appear aged, distressed and slightly faded.
A baby wipe also helped to remove paint that had built up over the decoupage. However, Solly loved this effect so much she began painting over all the decoupage, spraying with water, and wiping. Again, this exaggerated the faded effect.
For the finishing touch, she applies the dark brown paint thickly onto the WoodUbend appliques at the top of the canvas.
Something Solly wanted to do with this piece was experiment and find new techniques such as the baby wipe paint removal. Sometimes it is helpful to paint with no boundaries. This allows you to learn and have fun- it’s also a great way to remove artist’s block. Remember, creativity is endless!
Step 4: Creating an aged metal effect
Solly looks at the brown WoodUbend appliques at the top of the canvas, now seeming incredibly dull against the blended decoupage and bricks.
Her face lights up. She is going to turn this into a metallic beam that stretches along the piece.
She grabs the Posh Chalk Metallic Pigment in Orange Gold and mixes it with the Posh Chalk Pigment Infusor. She dry brushes the highlights of the appliques, and the effect is jaw dropping! One of the best things about this applique is the ornate swirls and raised grooves. It practically cries out for highlights on its surface.
What could she do next you might ask?
Grabbing her paints in white, grey, blue and brown she applies thick layers to the nooks under the WoodUbend appliques. She grabs her water mister and sprays these circles of paint. The paints run down the canvas, some interwinding and others dripping independently across the textured surface.
Now, it appears as if the golden WoodUbend appliques are bleeding into the paint. The blue undertones mimic oxidised copper, and the brown looks like soot. The colours melt together. The piece looks like an authentic, decaying metalwork above a distressed, industrial scene.
Step 6: Using Posh Chalk Patina for the final touches
Laying the canvas flat, Solly takes La Magic Noyer Clair and mixes it 50/50 with the Posh Chalk Patina Extending Wax.
A glaze of this product gives a subtle browning to the canvas, so any extreme white colours are dulled. Again, if an area became too dark, Solly would wipe this with a paper towel.
The product also acts as a sealant for the paint, stabilising the pigments.
For extra depth she uses Posh Chalk Patina in Dark Brown and a small paint brush, lining the shadows of the piece for extra depth.
This abstract, textured piece is a classic Solly Jo creation, incorporating metallic colours, decadence and distress into one piece. See Solly’s other pieces here. Not only does this project demonstrate HOW to create this brick effect wall, but it also shows the potential of using materials ‘outside’ of the traditional artist’s box. Appliques, patinas, decoupage, plaster… the possibilities are endless and only limited by the imagination!
Solly hopes this project inspires you to explore your creativity and make something incredible.