May's Header

When students pull a paper off the bath, I can tell immediately what they are thinking ~ because I think the same thing when I pull my own papers off the bath: what's wrong with this piece? It's a natural question not only in a learning environment, but specifically in the marbling environment. And it's a necessary question with marbling because its answer (or answers) dictates how you are going to marble your next piece: change up the order of the colors as you lay them down, thin the bath, thin the paints (or re-mix them), increase the humidity in the room, change papers, be more careful when laying down the paper (to avoid hesitation marks or air bubbles), or simply let go of whatever it was you were trying to accomplish and start on something totally new (a completely respectable option!).

Or sometimes, a piece is technically well executed but it simply didn't turn out the way you expected it to based on what you saw in the tank. This happens for a couple of reasons: 1) students forget that the tank is a mirror image of what ends up on their paper, and 2) the background of the tank is not the same as the background of the paper and so the colors, contrast, and opacity don't always translate the way we think they are going too.

So how does this relate to this month's header? Well, I hated ~ HATED ~ this piece when I pulled it off the bath. It was an overmarble (I think twice) and there were hesitation marks, weird spots where the paint didn't take (or I didn't alum well enough), and some of the colors when marbled over other colors made new colors that were icky.

May Header ~ Full Image


There were PARTS of the piece I liked a lot. And this is the message I tell students when I see them being critical of their work: sit on it for three days and then come back to it. And when you do, take a 5x7 or 11x14 mat and go over the piece and look at the DETAILS, not the sheet as a whole. Get up close and personal with your work. You will find hidden GEMS in there. I promise.

When I started scanning sections of this piece, I immediately saw the beauty in it and it has become one of my favorite images thus far this year.

May Header ~ Section

This is such a lesson in life too: the big picture isn't always pretty but somewhere in there, there are little gems waiting to be discovered ~ and celebrated ~ by you.