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Red Griotte Faux Marble – A How To

Red Griotte marble is renowned for its intense red color. It is quarried in Belgium and France and its name literally means sour cherry. Typically, faux marble finishes are completed in a 3-layer process; 1- background, 2- veining, 3- overglazing.  In this how-to Pierre Finkelstein of Pierre Finkelstein Institute of Decorative Painting shows you how he created this dynamic effect using paints on a piece of baseboard – yes that’s faux marble.

Real marble - red griotte

MATERIALS NEEDED:

Here is a list of the tools & supplies you will need to achieve this technique.  Supplies available at fauxbrushes.com are linked below and listed at the bottom of the page.

1

APPLY BASECOAT

STEP 1 – APPLY BASECOAT: Use proper preparation methods to prepare your surface for Step 2. Basecoat tinted to a dark brick color using two coats of Paint (oil or water) on your surface. Then degrease with whiting to prepare the surface.

*Apply 1 coat of varnish before Step 2 ONLY if water-based basecoat is used.  See also: Degreasing a Basecoat

2

BACKGROUND LAYER: APPLY GLAZE DIAGONALLY "IN BEDS"

STEP 2 – APPLY GLAZE DIAGONALLY “IN BEDS”:  Apply tinted Glazing Medium mixed with the following palette, cadmium red, carmine lake, burnt umber, and orange.  Using a Flat Badger 2-Headed Brush apply a medium red color using the “working in beds” technique. Lightly load the brush with color and apply in streaks until almost dry.  The marks will become smaller as the brush runs dry. Work in diagonal layers.

The surface should look similar after one complete pass with the first color.

Using the same technique, add a second tonality.  Here burnt umber was added.

Use a Softening Brush  to soften the layers. Take care to blend the colors together and let dry.

The palette for red griotte
3

BACKGROUND LAYER - APPLY SLICK COAT

STEP 3 – BACKGROUND LAYER – APPLY SLICK COAT:  Apply a slick coat of Glazing Medium.  Stretch it with a Spalter Brush and ensure that it’s even.

4

BACKGROUND LAYER - APPLY DARK GLAZE

STEP 4 – BACKGROUND LAYER – APPLY DARK GLAZE: Using a Pointed Glazing Brush, apply a generous amount of glaze. Here, this dark, transparent color is created with black and carmine lake. Use a Spalter Brush to even out the glaze. Ensure that the glaze is evenly distributed.

Use a Round Badger Brush to smooth the glaze for the layer.

Wait up to ten minutes to let the glaze stabilize. This is important if the glaze is too wet the next step will not work.

5

BACKGROUND LAYER - CREATE DISPERSION PATTERN

STEP 5 – BACKGROUND LAYER – CREATE DISPERSION PATTERN: Use a Flat 2-Headed Squirrel Brush or a Chiqueteur Brush (squirrel hair will give the best print).  Heavily dip the brush into the palette cup filled with denatured alcohol.  Then twist the brush to expel excess liquid.  Use the tip of the hair on the brush and gently tap the surface. Continue to “work in beds” until the brush is out of alcohol.  See also: Shagreen Grid Pattern Panels

The alcohol should eventually start dispersing color to form a reptile skin-like pattern.  After going over the entire surface, the alcohol will finish opening the glaze. To slow down the activation of alcohol a hair dryer may be used if needed – but not too close.  (Note: the area with blue tape was too wet from too much alcohol. So the glaze was wiped off and restarted).

Let the surface dry completely.

6

VEINING LAYER - ADD FRAGMENT DETAILS

STEP 6 – VEINING LAYER – ADD FRAGMENT DETAILS:  Using a combination of cadmium red and carmine lake (alizarin crimson) start adding in details.  Use a soft Veining Brush, color a handful of clustered fragments.

On the palette in addition to the reds, white, payes grey, black and yellow ochre are added.  Load the Veining brush so that two tones will mark after each stroke. This is called a “quail’s eye” fragment.

Using a sharper Pointed Detail Brush, create a “C” shape on some of the fragments with yellow ochre.

7

VEINING LAYER - PAINT FISSURE VEINS

STEP 7 – VEINING LAYER – PAINT FISSURE VEINS: Use a Single-Head Brecher and off-white color to create large veins (fissures). 

Use smaller Veining Brushes after the fissures are completed. Work in white yellow ochre and raw umber.

Here a bristle veiner was used to “skip” across the surface.

8

OVERGLAZING LAYER - SOFTEN FISSURES

STEP 8 – OVERGLAZING LAYER – SOFTEN FISSURES:  Mix a very transparent glaze (black, paynes grey and raw umber). In a zig-zag motion, use the Single-Headed Brecher to soften the white fissures.

9

PROTECT AND FINISH

STEP 9 – PROTECT AND FINISH: Add satin or gloss varnish to protect your finish.

COMPLETED SAMPLE

The finished sample of Red Griotte by Pierre Finkelstein.

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