I made a promise to myself to work in my studio for one month straight sometime this year. The goal is to master some of the popular traditional patterns so I can do them perfectly even if blindfolded, drunk, and with one hand tied behind my back. Well, it turns out that time is now. I have two commissioned pieces I'm working on, I'm teaching a weekly private lesson for the next five weeks, and I have an Experience the Tank class I'm offering at the end of April. As long as I'm going to be in the studio for those things, I may as well be in the studio, period. So Sunday night I made my size, prepared my paints, pulled my tank and tools out, inventoried paper, and got my studio ready for me. I decided to set up my big tank this time since the last few times I've marbled in my smaller tank. This decision is significant because when one is just "practicing," it makes more economical sense to use the smaller tank. You can get four sheets of paper marbled in a small tank for every one marbled in a big tank. To put it another way, 10 sheets of large paper cost roughly $12. Ten sheets of small paper cost less than $3. And I can crank out 20 large sheets easily in a half day in the studio. So, yeah...setting up the big tank meant I was SERIOUS about my practicing.
But then I got in the studio. And, well...something happened. I had the urge to PLAY not practice.
For a while now, I've had an image in my head that I just needed to execute in the tank. And I felt it needed to be the big tank. So standing in front of it on Monday afternoon I just went for it.
These pieces aren't my most prized works. Nor do I know what I'm going to do with them or how they can be used in other mediums (like making journals or for collage). But not only did I have fun making them, I learned A LOT about placement of paint and the different effects one can create in the tank.
So in a way, I guess you could say I WAS practicing. Just because I didn't master the master patterns, doesn't mean I didn't master anything. Plus, it's only the first day in my month-long marbling marathon. There's plenty of time for tradition. After all, these marbling patterns have been around for centuries. A few more days isn't going to make a difference.