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Trompe L’oeil Painting Workshop with the fabulous Natalie Featherston

What is Trompe L’oeil art? Trompe l’oeil (French for “deceives the eye”) is a type of optical illusion where paintings deceive the eye by making a flat surface appear three-dimensional and hyper-realistic. 

What is this workshop about? This workshop will explore the formal elements of representational painting, varnishing and making oil transfers.  Daily painting demos, practical studio tips and powerpoint presentations are an important part of the workshop. Natalie encourages each student to create their own compositions that inspire them, with a focus on what they’d like to explore with her individual attention. 

Natalie will also share and discuss her experiences over a 25 year career such as working with galleries, the art business, photographing and cataloging your work, and how to promote your art on social media. She hopes participants will build friendships and connections, and have a fun and meaningful art experience during her weeklong workshop.

What will artists learn?

  • Practical techniques such as how to transfer line drawings to panel in oil and graphite, and how to prepare smooth oil ground panels for painting. 
  • How to begin a Trompe L’oeil painting with a straightforward approach to the initial block in.
  • How to read the values in your subject for tonal accuracy to create the most convincing illusion of light and form in your paintings.
  • How to see edges, shadows and color accurately, bringing visual power to your paintings.
  • Natalie’s simple approach to color and color mixing can be easily implemented into your painting style, bringing your paintings even greater depth.

How can I learn more about Natalie Featherston? Visit Natalie’s website at

How do I register for this workshop? Registration will open May 1st for BAA Members. Watch for updates on BAA announcements (Registration for non-members opens May 15th.)

You may use this link to register: Register for Featherston Trompe L’oeil Workshop HERE

When will this workshop take place? Save the following dates on your calendar: Tuesday, October 24 through Saturday, October 28, 2023. Class times will be 9:00 am – 4:00 pm each day (with an hour lunch).

What is the cost? This 5-day workshop is $625.00 for BAA members (and $695.00 for non-members). Artists will need to provide their own lunch/snacks and drinks plus bring their own supplies. DOWNLOAD THE MATERIALS LIST HERE. 

Where will the workshop be held? At St. Paul’s Methodist Church 4215 Grinnell Ave, Boulder, CO 80305. The church is located between the South Boulder Recreation Center and the Table Mesa Shopping Center. Note: A beautiful park featuring a pond with benches and a walking path is a short walk (and even shorter drive) from the church. The shopping center has restaurants and grocery stores to visit for lunch, or to buy supplies to pack your own and eat at the park!

IMPORTANT NOTE: The space is located downstairs (approx. 15 steps). A kitchen and restrooms are located upstairs. BAA volunteers will be available to help carry supplies as needed, to and from your vehicle.

The BAA will provide coffee and tea so bring your travel mug – or borrow a cup from the church’s kitchen!

Any more questions? You may contact Natalie with questions about the workshop at  Please email with questions regarding registration, the city of Boulder, or the location.

Materials List

Use this LINK to download the list of supplies

Natalie Featherston- Trompe LOeil Painting Workshop

Materials List (Please also check additional items for “raw” space):

Students will set up their own pieces to paint in class. Simple subjects are encouraged, but you are welcome to paint anything that inspires you! Please bring a few items to use in your painting. 

Traditionally, trompe l’oeil features items hung on a wall or board, so if you choose a composition like this, please bring a panel made of any material you like to use for your set up. 

For example: If you were going to paint a horseshoe hung on an old piece of wood, bring the old piece of wood. However, you aren’t limited to this, and setting up a composition more like a still life with depth of the picture plane is fine too. If you choose a composition like this, I’d suggest bringing panels* to make a background surround to control the lighting.

*A folding cardboard/foam core Presentation Board works for this – see image below.

A smooth panel or canvas of your choice, prepared for paint. You can buy Ampersand boards prepared for painting with a gesso ground at most art supply stores.

Oil paints: Bring what you have and we can go from there.  I’ll discuss color mixing strategy and palette organization and will offer suggestions on which colors you might consider adding to your arsenal, as well as list of the paints and brands I use.

A basic oil painting kit should have white, burnt umber, cadmium yellow light, cadmium orange/red, cadmium red deep, thalo blue, thalo green, yellow ochre, burnt sienna and ivory black. Additional hues would be a purple blue violet/transparent violet, ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, quinacridone magenta, sap green, raw umber and a cadmium orange medium hue.

Oil painting medium of your choice: I prefer Chelsea Lean Medium and Italian Wax Medium (Maroger), but also like Gamblin’s Galkyd Lite which is easy to find.

Odorless mineral spirits or solvent: Gamblin’s Gamsol is a good choice. Bring a clean jar to save and recycle spent solvents.

Paper towels and/or a lint free rag

Brushes: I prefer an assortment of bristle types and sizes in rounds. For example, I usually block in with a natural bristle in size #6, then move to a synthetic #4 Monarch (Windsor and Newton). Some of my favorite detail brushes are the cheap Jerry’s brand Ebony Splendor in a #0. We will talk about brushes—just bring what you’re comfortable with and already enjoy using.

Palette knife for mixing paint: I love the Holbein S Series Japanese blade No.39

Palette cups or small jars for solvent and medium

Palette: I prefer a sheet of glass backed with cardboard and duct taped edges, since glass is easy to clean with a razor scraper. Bring what you’re comfortable with; wood or glass are my preferences, although there are many good choices out there.

A few sheets of tracing paper at least the size of your panel to make a drawing and for an oil transfer. I like to buy a roll and cut off what I need as it’s more economical.

Basic drawing supplies: Pencils, erasers, vine charcoal, mahl stick or plumb line if you use one. We will make simple line drawings on tracing paper for transfer to panel. Just a simple pencil will also be fine, bring whatever you like to use for drawing.

Masking tape, Blue painters tape and a T-square are helpful. I will also bring these items so no need to purchase if you don’t already have them.

If you have questions about what to bring, I am happy to answer them. Email me at

Please note from the BAA: This is a “raw” space – not an art studio. 

Artists traveling by car are asked to also bring the following for your personal use:

  • Easel
  • Light (10” utility clamp light to clamp to your easel or a standing light), 
  • Black Cardboard or foam core Presentation Board (to keep your set up & lighting contained – see image below) Natalie recommends black boards rather than white!
  • Small side table such as a taboret or folding tv tray (There will be 4’ and 6’ tables available for 2 or 3 artists to share)
  • Stool/chair (Optional – there will be folding chairs available)

Artists flying/busing in: Please let us know and we’ll make sure the above items are provided. 


St. Paul’s church is located walking distance (north) to the Table Mesa Shopping Center, where both a Whole Foods and a King Soopers are located. There are also several restaurants and cafes including Café Sole, Moe’s Bagels, Abo’s Pizza, Southern Sun, Walnut Café, Tandori Grill and more!

Also walking distance (south) is the South Boulder Recreation Center, which is alonside a lovely pond encircled by a walking path with several benches, perfect for enjoying a packed lunch in the fresh air.

The BAA is excited to welcome you and make this workshop a fantastic, fun and stress-free experience! Contact us at with questions about the location/raw space, the city of Boulder, registration/wait list and/or the BAA itself.


Website: | Instagram: @nfeatherston_fine_art

Artist Natalie Featherston works exclusively in the centuries-old realm of trompe l’oeil, creating dazzling paintings that combine the virtuosity of a Dutch master with a thoroughly modern mind. The Chicago Sun Times has described her work as, “Artful beyond just illusion and trickery, they are truly masterful still lifes made with both craft and wit.”

Natalie says, “What inspires me most is the creative voice, whimsy and humor trompe l’oeil allows the artist to express. Unlike portraits or landscapes, still life doesn’t simply exist around us. You have to build the stage for the painting, selecting the color and textures. The end result draws the viewer in and connects with them in a meaningful way. This is why I’ve always found trompe l’oeil to be a challenge, and although it may qualify me as a one-trick-pony, I can’t imagine painting anything else.”

Natalie discovered her love for painting by accident in the early 1990s after moving from North Carolina to New York City to pursue her master’s degree in music. An accomplished cellist, she has had the honor of performing at Carnegie Hall and across Europe as a soloist and chamber musician. “Although I enjoyed making music, I wanted to do something more creative and unique, something that was altogether mine. I started drawing from the models at the Art Students League and I was hooked.” Classes soon followed at some of New York’s most venerable art institutions: The National Academy of Design, The School of Visual Arts and The Drawing Academy of the Atlantic, culminating in a six-year apprenticeship with Michael Aviano.

Ms. Featherston’s paintings have received numerous awards from some of the most distinguished art organizations in the country, including the Art Renewal Center, the Salmagundi Club and the Catherine Lorillard Wolf Club. Her paintings have appeared in The Artists Magazine, American Art Collector, Southwest Art, and Fine Art Connoisseur to name but a few of the publications that have featured her work. In 2021 Natalie was awarded “Best Trompe L’oeil” at the 15th Art Renewal Center Salon, the largest and most prestigious art competition in the world for representational art. Ms. Featherston is represented by art galleries in major cities across the country, and her paintings are sought after by notable collectors including Danielle Steele, J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Alice Cooper.

B. 1969, Raleigh, North Carolina


1995-2001 Michael Aviano, private instruction, New York, NY

1993-1995 National Academy of Design, New York, NY

1991-1993 Art Students League, New York, NY

1985-1991 North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, NC


2023 Fake It When You Make It – Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2022 High Quality Fakes– Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2021 Faux Sho: New Trompe L’oeil Paintings – Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2020 Greatest Hits: The All New Trompe Loeil Review- Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2019 Crafty B*tch – Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2018 Showcase– Maxwell Alexander, Los Angeles, CA

2017 The Art of Story – Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2016 The Art of Thinking Outside the Box -Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe , NM

2015 New Works– Meyer East Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2014 Fire Sale! Everything Must Go!- Meyer East Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2013 Deceptions and Illusions, New Trompe L’oeil- Meyer East Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2012 Recent Trompe Loeil– Meyer East Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2011 New Work– Meyer East Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2010 Still Life Goes On: New Trompe Loeil– Meyer East Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2009 New Work– Meyer East Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2008 Too Good to be True- Meyer East Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2007 The Best Magic Show Ever– Meyer East Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2006 Trick the Eye, Tempt the Tongue– Meyer East Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2005 Suitable for Framing– Meyer-Munson Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2004 Just Desserts– Portals Gallery, Chicago, IL

2003- New Work – Munson-Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2003 New Work– Portals Gallery, Chicago, IL

2002 Still Life Goes On– Arcadia Fine Arts, New York, NY


2023  Art Palm Beach – Rehs Gallery, NYC

        Art LA – Rehs Gallery, NYC

2022 Newport Biennial– Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI

         Many Moons – Robert Lange Studios, Charleston, SC

2021 Lifting the Sky: Elevating the Works of American Women Artists, National Juried Show with   American Women Artists

         15th Art Renewal Salon Awards Show – The Museum of Modern Art, Barcelona, Spain

         Honoring – The Attleboro Arts Museum, Attleboro, MA

2020 Contemporary Realism- Cavalier Galleries, NYC

         Providence Art Club National Open Juried Exhibition- Providence, RI

         Red Ribbon- Robert Lange Studios, Charleston, SC

         Art Renewal Center Awards Show- Rehs Contemporary, New York, NY

         Still Women Run Deep – Bowersock Gallery, Provincetown, MA

2019 Trompe Loeil Meets Photorealism- The Peto Museum, Island Heights, NJ

       Art Renewal Center Awards Show- Arcadia Contemporary, Pasadena, CA

         Mondo Tondo- Arcadia Contemporary, Pasadena, CA

       The Perfectionists- Robert Lange Studios, Charleston, SC

         Five and Under – Arcadia Contemporary, Pasadena, CA

         Making Her Mark – Meyer Gallery, Park City, Utah

2018 Masters of Illusion: The Legacy of John F. Peto- Morven Museum, Princeton, NJ

     Five and Under- Arcadia Contemporary, Pasadena, CA

     Small Works- Maxwell Alexander Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

     Fool Me Once, Invitational Trompe L’oeil Show- Robert Lange Studios, SC    

2016 The Altitude Project– Lovetts Gallery, Tulsa, OK

2015 The Lollipop Guild– Lovetts Gallery, Tulsa, OK

2015 The Birds– Lovetts Gallery, Tulsa OK

2014 Miniature Show– Saks Galleries, Denver, CO

2013 Femme Fatale– Saks Galleries, Denver, CO

2012 Caution: Wet Paint!- Lovetts Gallery, Tulsa OK

2012  Leslie Levy Fine Arts, Scottsdale, AZ

2011 Flora and Fauna– Arcadia Fine Arts, New York, NY

2010 American Miniatures– Settler’s West Gallery, Tucson, AZ

2009 Trompe Loeil Invitational– Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2009 Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion

2009  Small Works– Arcadia Fine Arts

2009  American Miniatures– Settler’s West Gallery, Tucson, AZ

2008 Santa Fe Food Fest- Meyer East Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2007 Big Talent, Small Works– Arcadia Fine Arts, New York, NY

      American Masters Invitational– Settler’s West, Tucson AZ

     30th Anniversary Show– Leslie Levy Fine Arts, Scottsdale. AZ

2006 Small Works– Arcadia Fine Arts, New York, NY

      Art LA, Art Miami, Art Boston, Art Philadelphia- Arcadia Fine Arts

2005 Small Works Show– Arcadia Fine Arts, New York, NY

      Art LA, Art Miami, Art Boston, Art Philadelphia- Arcadia Fine Arts

2004 Meyer Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ

       Russeck Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2003 Re-Presenting Realism VI– The Arnot Museum, Elmira, NY

      Trompe Loeil– Century Gallery, Alexandria VA

2002 New Year, New Talent- Arcadia Fine Arts, New York, NY

      Images 2002– University of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

2001 Summer Invitational, Arcadia Fine Arts, New York, NY

      Salmagundi Club, New York, NY

      Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Club, New York, NY

2000 Salmagundi Club, New York, NY

      Cooperstown Art Association, Cooperstown, NY

      First Street Gallery NYC

1999 Cavalier Gallery, Greenwich CT

      J&W Fine Arts, New Hope, PA

1996 Cork Gallery at Lincoln Center, New York, NY


2023 Finalist, Art Renewal Center 17th International Salon

2022 Finalist, American Women Artists National Juried Show

2021 Best Trompe L’oeil – 15th Art Renewal Center Salon

      Award of Excellence – American Women Artists National Juried Open

      Finalist, Jackson’s Painting Prize

      Finalist, Boynes Emerging Artist Award

      Finalist, Southwest Magazine Artistic Excellence Competition                                  

2020 The Mary Castelnovo Award- Providence Art Club National Open Juried Show

2019 Rehs Gallery Award and Finalist, 14th Art Renewal Center Salon

2018  Arcadia Contemporary Award and Finalist, 13th Art Renewal Center Salon

2001  First Place, Still Life – The Artists Magazine Annual Art Competition

2001  President’s Choice Award – Salmagundi Club, New York, NY

2001  Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Club, New York, NY

2000  Still Life Finalist – The Artists Magazine Annual Still Life Competition

2000  Art Times Award – Salmagundi Club, New York, NY


Alice Cooper

Larry Luchino, Co-Owner of the Boston Red Sox

J.J. Abrams, Alias Television Productions

Alex Kurtzman, Universal Studios

Paul Feig

Toni Morrison

Danielle Steele

Graydon Parish

Jeremy Lipking

Logan Maxwell Hagege

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Krakoff

Mr. and Mrs. Philip Godel

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Adorni

Alex Williamson

Noreen Taylor, Director of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Ontario


Western Art Collector, June 2021

Fine Art Connoisseur, November 2020

American Art Collector, November 2020

Forbes Magazine, September 2020

Southwest Art Magazine, October 2018

Western Art Collector Magazine, October 2018

Boston Voyager Magazine, June 2018

Fine Art Connoisseur, March 2019

Southwest Art Magazine, April 2020

Focus Magazine, September 2007

Santa Fean Magazine, September 2007

Art Talk Magazine, March 2007

Southwest Art Magazine, January 2007

American Art Collector, May 2006

Santa Fean Magazine, September 2005

The New Mexican Magazine

Pasa-Tiempo, September 16-22, 2005

The Artists Magazine, December 2001