Gerhardt Richter recently had a phenomenal show at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. This German artist has explored and mastered many styles including abstract, pop art, minimalism and photo-realism, where he creates paintings derived from photographs and adds his trademark blur. His work sells for prices higher than any other living artist, and is considered by many to be the most important working artist today. I loved his series of lacquer-on-glass paintings, and thought it would be interesting for kids to explore the idea of creating layers on plexiglass.
At the end of this post, there are some photos of Gerhardt Richter’s lacquer-on-glass paintings from his Aladin series.
1. Plexiglass is a great substitute for glass, making it safer for children to work with. It can be found at hardware stores like Home Depot. To cut plexiglass (which an adult should do), use a plastic cutting tool/utility knife and run it along the edge of a ruler, making sure to press hard. Once you’ve gone over the line several times, bring that part to the edge of a table, and press down to break the piece off. If the edge is too sharp, you can sand it, and if it doesn’t break off cleanly, you can use pliers to snap off the rest.
2. Prepare the acrylic paints you’ll be using by mixing each colour with Pouring Medium as per the instructions on the bottle. This will change the consistency of the paint and allow you to pour it, and create swirls, drips and splatters. To create different layers of paint, each one must dry completely before more paint is applied on top, or it will all mix together. Remember, everything you do will be viewed and displayed on the the other side. We created some splatters and allowed them to dry.
We then applied other paint colours on top of the splatters with a brush.
This covered the splatters completely, but once the plexiglass was flipped over, they were still visible and looked really cool. We only made two layers, but you can obviously make as many as you want.
Richter has focused a lot on layering in his work, and can be seen creating his abstract paintings with the help of a giant squeegee in Corinna Belz’s documentary Gerhardt Richter Painting.
Here are some photos I took of his work, that inspired this project. It’s from his Aladin series, Émail Sous Verre, which he made in 2010 and was shown at the Pompidou Centre this summer.