Pierre's classes and teaching procedure

Pierre Finkelstein teaches the techniques that he uses on his own jobs in his NYC business, Grand Illusion Decorative Painting Inc. He shares his experiences with the students in an open forum and bases his information on real job site situations.

Pierre, himself, spends up to 80% of his time "on the ladder". He's happy to teach those with limited experience. His teachings are efficiency-based techniques that will make you money. Classes are usually 3-5 days long. Prices depend on the school that hosts Pierre. View the current schedule for classes, locations, and school links.

Marbleizing: Don't be afraid of marbleizing! Watch as Pierre simply dissects the most challenging marbles and gets fantastically believable results with fewer steps. Some examples of marbles: Black and Gold, White veined Carrara, Sea Green, Yellow Sienna, Rouge Royal, Napoleon, Yellow Flower, African Breche and Violet Breche. Make money with marble!

Woodgraining: Can you match this wood? The next time a client asks that question, you will have a better answer after completing Pierre's woodgraining demo/interactive class. See the classics: Maple, pine, mahogany, burl, and more. Don't pine over it - sign up!

Trompe l'oeil: "Trick the eye" even faster with Pierre's efficient striping system for faux molding or other linear projects. With the right tools, striping can be a breeze as well as stunningly believable with instruction and practice. Ornamentation is discussed during longer classes.


Pierre Finkelstein is dedicated to teaching the tradition of fine European decorative painting. His classes are designed to efficiently give a comprehensive explanation of the following elements of decorative painting:

Standard teaching procedure:

  • Instruction on the correct use of color
  • Correct hand positioning and hand movement with the brushes
  • How to properly hold and use tools
  • An explanation of the characteristics of marble types, wood essence, and all other natural finishes
  • A series of drawings performed as practice exercises
  • Overview of technical information including different types of glazes, (oil vs. water)
  • Preparing your own glaze with any available products, (oil, acrylic, etc.)
  • Pierre Finkelstein's two books, Recipes for Surfaces and The Art of Faux will serve as a guide during the course plus a reference to take home for future use

Additional discussion topics:

  • "Tricks of the Trade" -Identifying problem areas with recommended solutions
  • Proper application of specific decorative finish
  • Recommended techniques for specific period or design/style
  • How to work successfully with a designer
  • Sample presentation to illustrate different techniques
  • What is expected from the painting contractor who prepares the surface
  • Student's are encouraged to "pick Pierre's brain" regarding specific paint questions

* Please note: depending on the duration of the class, some topics may not be covered in interest of time.