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Shagreen Grid Pattern Panels – A How To

Shagreen is a type of rawhide consisting of rough, untanned skin. In this project, Pierre was asked to create panels of squares with a shagreen finish on canvas.  Shagreen is a 2-layer decorative painting technique.  Shagreen is an organic decorative painting technique. It’s a semi-precious material so it would never exist larger than the squares in this demo.   It’s important as a decorative painter, to adhere to the rules of nature. Pierre Finkelstein of Pierre Finkelstein Institute of Decorative Painting shows you how he created this finish.

HOW TO CREATE THIS FINISH

Use our step-by-step instruction below

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

DESIGN

STEP 1 – DESIGN: To honor nature, it is not possible for shagreen to be large, so the area had to be divided into squares.  This photo indicates the taping off after the first set of alternating shagreen squares were complete. 

2

TAPE OFF & SEAL ALTERNATING SQUARES

STEP 2 – TAPE OFF & SEAL: Tape off the alternate squares with a wide tape (this is 2-inch, low-tack tape).   Be sure to seal the tape with a light brushing of a quick drying medium to create a protective seal Matte Medium

3

GLAZE BACKGROUND LAYER

STEP 3 – GLAZE BACKGROUND LAYER: Mix your glaze with slow-drying Acrylic Colors to maximize the open-time.  Glaze the area generously with a transparent, blue/grey Glazing Medium with a domed Glazing Brush

Stretch the glaze to make an even distribution of the glaze.  Start first by applying the glaze with a Glazing Brush.   Then, in a horizontal motion, stretch the glaze with a Spalter Brush (size 80).   Finish with a vertical, light touch.

Depending on how fast your Glazing Medium dries, a few areas can be glazed at the same time.

4

APPLY CENTER COLOR

STEP 4 – APPLY CENTER COLOR: Mix a darker, more saturated version of the same glaze. Using a very controlled amount of glaze on your pointed Glazing Brush, carefully draw a line in the visual center of each square. 

Using the same brush, fade out to one side – keeping over 1/3 of each side untouched.

Repeat on the other side.

5

STIPPLE BACKGROUND LAYER

STEP 5 – STIPPLE BACKGROUND LAYER: Stipple the entire area while still keeping the vertical stripe intact.  We used a standard, Stippling Brush for a fine stipple. Smooth the stippled texture with a Softening Brush.

6

DISPERSING CENTER WITH ALCOHOL

STEP 6 – DISPERSE CENTER WITH ALCOHOL: While the glaze is still wet, begin creating the skin texture. Dip a small Rondin Brush into a controlled amount of denatured alcohol. Use a palette to offload excess solvent being sure to prevent drips.   Make tiny pounce marks in the shape as seen. Watch as the alcohol reacts and disperses the wet glaze. Only do a few rows of this.

7

DISPERSE SIDES WITH ALCOHOL

STEP 7 – DISPERSE SIDES WITH ALCOHOL: Using a 3-Header Flat Chiqueteur Brush dipped in denatured alcohol, create similar pattern on either side of the center (don’t make them too strong, visually).

8

REFINE SPINE TEXTURE

STEP 8 – REFINE SPINE:  Go back into the center area and add bigger marks to indicate the spine of the shagreen.   Refine areas where needed.  Using a fine Pointed Detailing Brush, outline the spine to accentuate it.

The first step is finished. Don’t make every square exactly the same. Vary the value of the glaze and pattern of the shagreen. Let the background layer dry.

9

OVERGLAZE LAYER

STEP 9 – OVERGLAZE LAYER: Once dry and all of the tape is removed, overglaze the entire panel (all squares) with a blue/green transparent glaze.   Apply the glaze with a Roller or large Glazing Brush and stipple.

10

PROTECT AND FINISH

STEP 10 – PROTECT AND FINISH: Apply Varnish in the desired sheen to protect the finish.

COMPLETED FINISH

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