I admit that I did much of this yesterday. I was playing around with water marbling and not having any real success. The one thing I KNEW worked well (scraping pastels or chalks over the surface then dipping) I couldn’t do because I can’t figure out where I stashed my pastels. I have my chalks but they are very pale so really a bit of a waste to use them.
I moved on. I tried a few things, mostly knowing they wouldn’t work WELL but I thought they might work a bit. Ink sinks and colours the water – so does Cosmic shimmer mist, acrylic mists, really any other water-based thing. So I thought back to my childhood, and the immigrant community where my Grandparents lived. Every Easter they used to marble eggs. God, it was probably dangerous to eat them, but we all did and survived. They had a tub of water that they flicked oil paints over, swirled with a stick and dipped. It was very long ago, but somehow I feel like gasoline was involved at some stage, as that was the overwhelming SMELL I recall. Perhaps it was just that they always did it in the garage. Frankly if gasoline WAS involved I can’t imagine my Mom letting us eat the resulting eggs. But I digress….
What I did have success with, a bit, was dropping alcohol inks into the water. As you may be able to see the water still has the ink, mists, etc still in it, with the alcohol ink floating on the surface.
So I was thinking about surfactants – what might allow the water based ink to float (important: that I HAD ALREADY)? I thought about dishwasher rinse aid. I tried it – not great. Here are the samples of the two alcohol ink dips and one that was rinse aid with inks dropped on it.
Interesting but not perfect, any of them. I did a larger sheet with AIs and then dripped spots of AI colours onto that and set them all aside. I wasn’t happy with any of them really, and when I went to bed the plan was to get up and try something new. They were all left in a jumble, on top of each other, overnight.
But when I got up and moved them I found that the larger piece done with the AIs, which had the others on top, had picked up some colour from the rinse aid and ink one. I really liked it. So I decided to build on it.
I added a bit of Distress Ink, some dotty mask areas, a bit of stamping and ended up with this:
The areas that picked up the inky bits are quite cool. You can see the bright blue and hot pink in this area particularly well.
Now, I don’t fool myself into thinking that I can ever recreate this – it was too much of an accident to expect to have it happen again. That is partly why I carried on and used the piece. Like all things arty, accidental is interesting but who wants to spend the time to refine something to the point you can get expected results even 80% of the time, wasting resources to get there? But it might be something worth playing with when time is more free, just to see if it is possible. I’m wondering if just brushing on rinse aid then dripping ink on and laying it over other stuff is enough….
I do know that floating AIs on a water tray DOES work, although it is def. more blotches of colour than true marbling.