Recycling used engine oil as a medium and finding a memory of TREES!

Working with the suminagashi technique got me thinking about using waste oil as a medium.
We run a small , local, family garage here, so this toxic, rather unpleasant substance, is in good supply!

In my mind I have an affinity for mediums such as charcoal (burnt tree), ink (primarily soot) as these mediums are so tied up in our modern, human, relationship with trees. As is the paper itself! I was loosely working with the idea of recycling engine oil into art that references its origins….trees. But was unprepared for the magik that began to happen as I experimented!

These were the first dabbles in used engine oil. A series of mono prints.


I had concerns as to whether this medium would ever dry….it did, quite quickly, as it soaked into the paper.

I continued to experiment with marbling effects.


As I gazed at these oily expressions I began to see trees everywhere in them! And decided to ‘draw’ them out using charcoal. Finishing them with some bronze pigment.

I began to feel almost as if the oil held a memory of its origins, so clear were these aboreal forms.

Treeforms appearing in used engine oil prints.
In this one I had already drawn the ‘tree’ in the oil….
Treeforms appearing in used engine oil prints.
..but this one was there in the marbling…so clearly!
Treeforms appearing in used engine oil prints.
I found trees were easy to see and obvious in each oily mono print. The oil recalling it’s origins!?

Treeforms appearing in used engine oil prints.DSC08897Treeforms appearing in used engine oil prints.Treeforms appearing in used engine oil prints.Treeforms appearing in used engine oil prints.

Treeforms appearing in used engine oil prints.
recycled old engine oil prints, rebirthed as trees again, lying on my artden floor.

Tried using the marbled images to make a mandala too. Funky!

motor oil marbling mandala
motor oil marbling mandala digital image. 2018.

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