Marbling and Graining

Marbling & Graining can be used as backgrounds for customised signs made of any material.Or these techniques can be used in public buildings or private homes as decorative features which enhance the environment they are in. Also furniture can take on a new life when decorated this way. Many examples of this type of work can be seen in Brighton & Sussex.

Sienna Marbling for Backgrounds on Signs.


Sienna marble has many colours in it, yellows, reds, grey, cream, black, brown & purple. Some pieces are vibrant with lots going on whilst others are much softer & have a subtler look.

The veining is important to get right in this marble to give it the correct movement associated with this marble. The irregular lozenge shaped veining must not appear repetitious or pattern like.

Oil in the background, which should be white, so the colours may be easily blended once washed in. The medium used is equal parts of stand oil & turps. All brushes used should be first dipped in the medium so that a translucent effect is obtained with the colour washes. The more dominant stronger colours should be washed in at the bottom of the board & lighter ones on top. Once the washes are put in soften the whole with a hogs hair softener & then tamp out the entire surface with a sponge or crumpled rag as in rag rolling. Then soften again. Scumble in washes of pale yellow, grey & white, scumbling is thin washes of opaque or semi opaque paint. These are put in with swan feathers & you need to create both coarse & fine lines & shapes. Soften the whole rendering again.

Now it is ready for veining, Indian red & burnt sienna are used with a little ultramarine blue, if both colours are used on either side of the brush & then drag through the panel. Intermittent colour changes are then created. Try to go around not through the various coloured areas. Soften then put in smaller veining of a paler colour with more yellow in the sienna & reds, avoid sharp angled shapes & work from a good image of the marble. The darkest veins are also the finest; black is used & is generally not softened.

With a rag moistened with white spirit wipe out some of the large lozenge shapes & then some of the smaller ones to brighten the rendering. Next with a swan’s feather loaded with transparent white put in the final veins.

Once the rendering is dry glazes can be applied to unify the marbling & add depth & veracity.



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