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Guides Offer Help for the Adventurous

November 07, 1998|LYNN O'DELL

Can the person with average artistic talent trompe l'oeil?

"Yes and no," says artist Kerri Sabine-Wolf, who makes her living creating trick-of-the-eye paintings and teaching others how to do it.

To do it well, she said, you need a good understanding of drawing and painting and basic technical skills.

"If you've never had a drawing class, I wouldn't say sit down and try it. That doesn't mean you couldn't do a mural. You're just maybe not going to create true trompe l'oeil," she said.

Now high-tech help is on the way in the form of Trompe-in-a-Box, a multimedia instruction program by A Matter of Perception, an art firm based in Elkridge, Md. The company does commercial work and offers classes for artists. The "box" courses, expected to be available in early 1999, will include instructional videos, CD-ROMs and traceable patterns.

"It's help from beginning to end. People who have played around with faux finishing will be able to make the leap into something a little more difficult," said artist Andrea Tober, who runs the company with her husband, Richard.

The company already offers four Paint Your Own Mural packets for beginners: Italian columns; a summer window; a moose peeking into a castle window; and birds darting in and out of stone pillars.

The packets ($17 each printed or $40 for four murals on CD-rom), include detailed drawings, color selection guides, instructions on rendering perspective and full-scale patterns.

For the artistically challenged do-it-yourselfer, the company sells painted murals on canvas that can be framed or transferred to the wall like wallpaper. The Web site is If all else fails, affect a French accent and learn how to pronounce trompe l'oeil ("trawnp loy"). That way, you can call an artist for help.

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