ayla marika

May 2, 2014 Marbling with oil paints Posted In: Uncategorized

A Google search on ‘marbling techniques’ will reveal complex instructions on how to marble using exotic ingredients such as Ox Gall Bladder (to allow acrylics to float on the water) or expensive paints specifically made for marbling. Not willing to wait for exotic ingredients to arrive in the post and nor to spend $10 per 50mL bottle on specialist marbling paint, I took another approach.


Science tells us that oil floats on water. Sooo… why couldn’t I just float oil paint on water to create my sought-after marbling effect? I couldn’t see why it wouldn’t work, and I couldn’t see why I shouldn’t give it a go. So I did just that.

Below are a few of my favourite pics from my experimentatal marbling with oil paints. The result is not a typical ‘marbling’ effect, but I do love it! I love the imperfection and unpredictability of it. I have been researching the Japanese aesthetic wabi-sabi alot, and have been inspired by this as well as the work of Dale Frank.

The effect was achieved by floating the oil paints (mixed with either turps or oil) on water, moving the paint around and then laying the paper over this. The images show my favourite results.

Overall turps in oil paint was more successful, it created finer details and unlike oil paint in oil, the paint did not clump into large bubbles or leave big dirty oil stains. I do however like the moldy look on the far-left centre image, this was on rough watercolour paper 300gsm and the paper probably played a large part in creating this effect.

I love the purple netting in the third pic that looks like tripe, and well, the second pic is just a crazy ocean of all sorts of organic looking stuff that makes me a little confused and seasick to look at.