Artist Mary Veiga practices decorative painting with realistic effects

Mary Veiga practices the art of deception -- but only in the most respectable of ways. Since 1995, she has been plying her skills in decorative painting, which includes murals, faux finishing and trompe l’oeil for homeowners and businesses. With her, every assignment is a custom job and a new challenge that excites.

“Trompe l’oeil is French for ‘deceive the eye,’ so it’s a technique for using realistic imagery [and] shadows to create an optical illusion to make [the work] look three-dimensional,” said the Baltimore-based artist, who attended the Maryland Institute College of Art.

“Faux painting, again French, means ‘false’ and is an old art form used to describe a paint finish replicating a real material such as marble, stone or wood. The possibilities are endless for faux finishing; I do faux tile backsplashes, faux linen and even faux grass cloth.”

Veiga’s current clients have requested such special effects as a faux rough cut “marble tile” backsplash, a few “marble” columns, a metallic tray ceiling, decorative vines around the kitchen and a Chinese “wallpaper” design with birds, trees, even bamboo, flowers and butterflies.

Exactly how realistic can her work be? The proof is in the finished product.

“One time I got the best compliment from a dog,” she says. “I was painting a former family dog on the wall within a scenic mural, and upon completion the new dog would not stop barking and growling at the painting!”

Veiga will tell you there is always a place for decorative painting. It never goes out of style and there is so much she can achieve with paint and brush. Her favorite comments are when clients tell her the work is so realistic, they could touch it.

“This sounds funny because, of course, you could,” she says, laughing. “But I know what they mean. They mean it has the sense of texture, which is a really good thing beyond just visual sense.”

Mary Veiga Studio

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