A calming, relaxing, healing art: Marbling (ebru)

For Marbling artist Özlem Yüksel, the art of Marbling is the best way to understand life, to capture calmness and find healing in this complex life. The patterns that are shaped with certain touches, but still find their own way, are like the life itself…


Marbling artist Özlem Yüksel, who is becoming more and more passionate about the art of Marbling as she continues do it, now participates in exhibitions in London, and organises workshops for children and adults. She talks about Marbling, which isn’t very well known abroad, at every opportunity.

Belenart’s founder, Özlem Yüksel, takes her love of Marbling virtually  everywhere she goes, as a volunteer ambassador. Yüksel is a University of Bogazici Computer Engineering graduate. who worked as a manager in companies such as Procter & Gamble, J&J and Panasonic, after completing her Masters degree in business administration. She moved to Italy, quitting her 14 years of professional career. Yüksel, who was interested in many branches of fine arts as hobbies, while in Italy, encountered the art of Marbling in 2001. As her skills and mastery of the art of marbling increased, she began to participate in exhibitions. Since 2002, Yüksel had hundreds of uniquely created invitations, in preparation for the circumcision ceremony of her son, and the 20th anniversary of her marriage. During this period, Yüksel had a shift and Marbling has become more than a mere hobby and she began to participate in exhibitions. In 2016, she moved to Dubai and lived there for 1.5 years. Yüksel then moved to England, where she stayed the longest, due to her husband’s job. She says “The opportunities that London offers in many fields of art and culture make it possible to work on many different subjects comfortably”. 

Marbling is an extraordinary free form

Özlem Yüksel’s journey with the art of Marbling, which she is now a master of, continues. Expressing the view that art is an area where new doors are constantly opened and creativity brings change, Yüksel says “I can talk about reaching to a level of specific mastery in terms of techniques. As for the works, every day takes me to a different level”.

Yüksel, who draws attention to the parallel of the art of Marbling, which she loves passionately, with life, continues to explain the similarities with her own unique descriptions:

This freedom applies both to you and Marbling itself. While you express yourself in many colours, shapes and tools, each picture reacts to the tragacanth, temperature and paints that you prepare. In a sense, you and all the ingredients of Marbling are shaping the actual work together. Since we act calmly with gentle movements, it is a calming, relaxing, healing art. When you do this with your sensations, it is possible to see the reflection of life in Marbling. The tragacanths and paints that you prepare also express your preparation for life, and your design plans in your mind. You are first faced with an empty water surface, just like life. You start with a design like the plans in your life. Your dream is realised by knowing yourself, your competences, your wishes. You shape it with a lot of different colours and patterns, using a lot of different tools. Unlike other painting arts, tragacanth and paints express their own reactions. So just like life, you need to choose the right material, and prepare well to realise your design, your dream. Sometimes the pattern spreads out more than you expect. You give it a different format with another touch. Isn’t life is just the same? When things are different than you expect, it needs different answers. Your mistakes make you wiser, more competent in dealing with problems. The choice of paint and pattern determines the beauty of the picture, just like our choices in life. Sometimes drops of paint fall into the surface of the water, like the things that happened to you in life. You shape it and make it part of the picture, just like we do in life. So when I think of Marbling, I think of Halil Cibran’s verse of “A drop of water has all the secrets of the oceans”.

You can see children’s interest after 10 minutes

Yüksel holds workshops with those who want to learn Marbling and benefit from the beautiful things it offers. She sometimes introduces Marbling to children and young people in schools she receives invitations from. She even organises unusual and beautiful birthday parties, where children can use their creativity and enjoy themselves. Yüksel says “Marbling is very useful for children in order to express themselves, but at the same time it is an enjoyable and entertaining art for them” and continues to say: “I don’t limit myself to Marbling and continue painting and engage in other art forms as I am inclined towards painting and handicrafts. In fact, creativity doesn’t allow for limitations in your materials and techniques when you are engaged with art”.

Yüksel’s work in schools is a separate source of happiness. She is like a volunteer ambassador… Yüksel, who says that she lovingly shares her knowledge, continues to say: “I go to all the schools I am invited to. I very much enjoy watching their astonishment and feelings, as if they were doing magic, when I am teaching Marbling to children. I’m sure that the energy in that given moment, in that environment, is very useful for our bodies and minds. When I am teaching children, the time is never enough, especially for some children. Believe me, children’s ability, and interest, all become apparent in just five, ten minutes. Perhaps this intuition comes with age and experience”. Yüksel has held workshops with hundreds of children and teachers in many schools outside London, as well as in Istanbul, Bursa and Dubai.

Özlem Yüksel’s works in different parts of London

In addition to workshops, Yüksel also carries out alternative initiatives for the recognition of the art of Marbling. Yüksel, who had a stall at One New Change Mall, next to St Paul’s Cathedral for 1.5 years and promoted the art of marbling. Despite not having been able to find the time in recent years to do the same,  she will reopen her stand on December 11 and 12. Turning the busy New Year period into an opportunity to introduce Marbling, Yüksel occasionally participates in activities organised by art workshops and Turkish groups.

Yüksel, who is also interested in various branches of art besides Marbling, has different works on display at the Mirerart Winter Exhibition until 22 December. Yüksel said “Since the general concept here is fine art, I joined with fine art works created with acrylic paints, not with a traditional art like Marbling. This style is different than my other works. My colours of this period were black and white, representing duality. I also used red to add colour to the balance in duality”.

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