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How to paint a marble effect

August 8, 2010


by Amelia vd Berg

What colours are used in this painting ?
Yellow Ochre
Titanium White
Raw Umber

Other Equipment Used :
A Feather
A Marine Sponge
Ordinary Hardware brush 25mm
Some Cloth
Flat artist brush

Medium Used : Oil on Canvas


Many artists battle to paint marble effectively, but if you use my simple technique you will be astounded by the results. Use your new found technique and incorporate it into your paintings, eg. paint a marble table top with fruit on it for a striking still life.



Paint the surface with a light colour, in this case Yellow ochre mixed with Titanium white.

Initial Texture


Mix Raw umber and a little Titanium white. Add a little medium to the paint. Use a 25 mm hardware brush to “fidget” some of this colour across the surface. The movements must be spontaneous, natural and rather impulsive. Repeat these marks with a darker mixture of the same colour, leaving some of the background showing.

Softening Up


Using the same (clean) 25mm brush to soften all the strokes. Make sure that you do not pick up too much paint. Clean the brush if it becomes laden with paint. This can be repeated for a smoother look.



Use the Marine (sea) sponge. It must be soft. If not, moisten it in water and squeeze it out as best you can. Pour in a moderate quantity of medium into a shallow dish. Pick some medium up with your sponge, but dab it to get rid of any excess before you sponge the medium onto your background surface. Don’t overdo. It should open up some areas on your background surface, ie. lift up some of the top colours.

Soften this effect with a brush. I used a 38mm, but you can use the (clean) 25mm brush as well.



Veining takes a lot of practice. Practice on your palette before painting onto your prepared background. Try to avoid repetition in the shape of the veins. Dip the feather in a darker colour (plain raw umber in this case) mixed with a lot of medium. It should be as thin as water. Cut it spontaneously across the surface, sometimes using a jerky motion or pushing the feather to force it to open up. The movements must be free and do not overdo the number of veins.

Use the 25mm (clean) brush to soften the veins.

Finishing Up


Use a flat artist brush with clean turpentine. Dab some of the turpentine on the brush onto a cloth, getting rid of any excess turpentine. Then cut through some areas, preferable adjoining the veins, right down to the light background. These areas are then softened with the 25mm (clean) brush.

Final Word

The key to mastering this technique, as with all techniques is Practice, Practice, Practice.

Marble also comes in a variety of colours. Any natural colours can be used for e.g. Titanium white and grey as a background. Darker grey or black as the veins. Here is the finished product :


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