In July, I wrote about my ridiculously fun experience marbling in EXTRA LARGE. Well, the past couple of weeks, I've been having a ridiculously amount of fun marbling in miniature! Talk about going from one extreme to the other.
My mini tank is 5" x 7" and the papers I'm marbling on are roughly 4" x 6". I'm amazed at how the size of the tank (both big and small as well as everything in between) really affects the outcome of the marbled piece. I guess I can describe it as being similar to the differences between an acoustic guitar and one fully plugged in. Same instrument, same notes, different sound. Well, that's the way it is with marbling in miniature...same paper, same paints, different look. For example, the Stone pattern takes on a whole different feel on extra-large paper versus mini paper. On extra-large paper, it feels like there is more space and movement in the Stone pattern, and, oddly, it feels more contemporary in tone. On mini paper, it feels more crowded and fixed...and, well, ancient. If I ever do a solo show, I'm definitely going to devote space featuring this pattern in these two sizes side-by-side. It's really something to see.
I've had to adjust my technique a bit for the mini tank and am using a different set of tools too. Marbling is all about surface tension and working with the surface tension to get great results. The size of the teeth in my combs must be much thinner. I'm even using a thinner stylus. And the bath is a tad bit thicker so my paint doesn't spread as much and I can get more colors in. I don't even use eye droppers and instead dip a stylus into paint and dab it onto the surface. All of this, of course, has been learned over a couple of weeks of experimenting. And it works under these hot and humid weather conditions. Who knows how things will change with a new batch of paint and cooler weather. Nothing is easy in marbling. And I like it that way.
I look back at the past year and how much experimenting I've done in the studio and I'm so proud of it all--marbling on fabric, in extra large and mini, on wood and ceramic, on different papers, and with new techniques. As frustrating as it can be to have "failures" lined up because of all the trail and error, it just makes the wins that much more grand. And it helps me see my medium in a different way and keeps me thinking outside the box...giving me layers of layers of experience to bring into my work and into the classroom.
So what are you doing to expand yourself and your practice these days? Leave a comment and you'll be entered into a drawing to win one of my Marbling in Miniature pieces! Comments will be open through 9 a.m. Wednesday, September 12 and then I'll announce a winner!