Red Griotte faux marble (part 1 of 2)

finished red griotteHere is a how-to for painting Red Griotte faux marble.  This example is painted on a small baseboard piece.  In this case, we base coated a dark brick color in oil – 2 coats.  After, the surface needed to be degreased with whiting to prepare the surface.  A water-based paint can be used, but it would be best to apply a coat of varnish before the second step (where alcohol will be used).

On the palette – cadmium red, carmine lake (alizarin crimson), burnt umber, and orange.  In the palette cup,  have a clear medium (for this step, low viscosity glaze).  Using a flat badger 2-header, a medium red color was applied using a technique called “working in beds”.  The brush is lightly loaded with color and then applied in streaks until the brush runs dry (not literally).

start chiqueteur

You see how the marks are becoming smaller – the brush is running dry.   Think of a layered cake.  That is the idea of “working in beds” – but not straight across like a cake.


This is after one complete pass with the first color.

backgroun texture

A second tonality is then introduced.  Here, burnt umber is added.  Use the same technique.

background secondary color

This is the palette.


Using a round badger softener – the best softener for profile moldings, take time to melt the colors together to achieve this look.  Let dry.

after smoothing

Apply a slick coat of glazing medium.  Stretch it with a spalter to be sure it is even.

add slip coat

Next, apply a generous amount of glaze with a pointed glazing brush.  This dark, transparent color is created with black and carmine lake.  Again, use a spalter to help even the glaze.

add dark glaze

The idea is to have an even layer of glaze for the next step.  A round badger gives the final smoothing to attain this layer.


Wait a few minutes (up to ten) to let the glaze set up a bit to help stabilize the glaze.  This is important.  If the glaze is too wet/fresh, the alcohol used on the next step will eat the glaze too fast.


Using a flat 2-headed squirrel brush, dip the brush in the palette cup filled with denatured alcohol.  You can also use a chiqueteur brush — the important thing is the squirrel hair which gives the best print.  Once the brush is heavily dipped into the alcohol, twist the brush to expel the extra alcohol (this technique is also used on the Shagreen post).

Using the tip of the hair,  gently tap the surface.  The action of the alcohol is not immediate, so continue to “work in beds” until the brush seems to be out of alcohol.  The alcohol should start dispersing the color to form a reptile skin-like pattern.  Note the area on the left of the image below.  This area was erroneous because too much alcohol was on the brush or the glaze was too wet.   At this point, the glaze was wiped off and the step was started again.

begin opening

Tickle the surface with the tips of the brush.

open with chiqueteur

The alcohol has finished opening the glaze at this point.  It is possible to slow down the activation of the alcohol by hair drying the surface – but not too close.

open with chiqueteur

On an angle like this, you can see the parts dispersed by the alcohol are completely dry.

open chiqueteur

Let the surface dry completely.   Stay tuned for part 2.

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