Category: Improving Your Art

  • Weldbond Mosaic Tile  Adhesive Outdoors?

    Weldbond Mosaic Tile Adhesive Outdoors?

    Weldbond is a PVA (poly vinyl acetate) adhesive that is the best all-around adhesive for dry indoor mosaic projects and craft projects. It is water based, nontoxic, fume free, archival, easy to clean up, and water resistant when fully cured.

    Note that Weldbond is water resistant and not waterproof. There is a significant amount of difference between being water resistant and being waterproof.

    That is why our online instructional pages and blog articles always restrict the use of Weldbond for dry indoor projects.

  • The Importance of Context in Figurative Mosaic Art

    The Importance of Context in Figurative Mosaic Art

    Artist Lisa Sunshine emailed us asking about improving one of her recent mosaics, and Natalija and I both agreed that the problems Lisa perceived in her work largely disappeared when the mosaic was viewed at the appropriate distance.

    The situation reminded me of a line from the award-winning 1995 movie Clueless, which is the story of a spoiled Beverly Hills high-school girl AND a loose adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1815 novel Emma:

    “She’s a full-on Monet…It’s like a painting, see. From far away it’s okay, but up close it’s a big ol’ mess.

    -Cher Horowitz, Clueless

  • Framing and Hanging Exterior Mosaic Plaques

    Framing and Hanging Exterior Mosaic Plaques

    Artist Brad Srebnik’s mosaic street number plaque is worth taking a look at for several reasons. It has a harmonious color scheme with good warm-cool contrast, it’s tightly executed, and the numerals have crisp outlines and subtle curves in a distinct font style.

    If you are thinking about a project with mosaic numerals or letters with any kind of calligraphy or distinctive font, this mosaic has a lot to show you.

    Brad also did a good job photographing the work in progress, including the method he used for mounting the hanging wire.

  • White Tile in Mosaic Artwork

    White Tile in Mosaic Artwork

    Artist Brad Srebnik‘s latest mosaic street number sign is a good example for a discussion about white tile in mosaic artwork.

    I also think the color scheme is excellent, and I wanted to say a few things about that.

    The green and blue and red are all intense but not bright. The color scheme is all “in the same key” (instead of being a mix of intensities) and so the mosaic looks more sophisticated.

    I think the accent of green was a critical addition. The choice of a dark marbled red instead of a bright primary red also goes a long way toward creating an antique look.

  • Mosaic Surfboards

    Mosaic Surfboards

    Hermosa Beach artist Katy Jenssen makes mosaic surfboards, and for her, it is a logical choice of sculpture base.

    Katy’s family history and ethos are grounded in the local community, a premier beach town and surf destination, part of an area where a lot of Americana was born.

    Katy’s compositions fit the shape of the surfboards and are ocean themed.

    I also recommend looking at Katy’s work because she uses best practices and correct materials and methods for her mosaic surfboards.

  • Value Contrast in Abstract Mosaic Artwork

    Value Contrast in Abstract Mosaic Artwork

    Natalija has made some abstract stained glass mosaics over the years, and I noticed something about one of them last week: It’s as a great example of value contrast and its power for creating a sense of depth and increasing visual interest.

    I’ve written previously about the importance of value contrast in figurative mosaic artwork for depth and visual interest, but seeing it demonstrated in abstract mosaic art “proves” the point more objectively.

    In abstract art, there aren’t figures to create a sense of depth with some figures in front of other figures. There isn’t perspective either.

  • Mosaic Planter Grouted in Sections

    Mosaic Planter Grouted in Sections

    Artist Donna Stern recently completed a round mosaic planter, which she grouted in sections.

    I wanted to share that work for several reasons, and not merely because it is solid work with an emphasis on primary colors with a good balance of warm and cool colors.

    There are several discussion points:

  • Value Contrast and Variegation in Small Mosaic Artwork

    Value Contrast and Variegation in Small Mosaic Artwork

    I have written quite a bit about using color variegation to increase visual interest and the importance of value contrast in mosaic artwork.

    These two concepts are related, at least in a crude way: they both involve using multiple colors instead of one color, and they both make the artwork more interesting visually.

    Value Contrast

    Contrast in value is usually encountered in the form of highlights and shadows, although it should be noted that even abstract art is much more visually interesting when there is contrast in value.

  • Student Mosaics & Black Grout

    Student Mosaics & Black Grout

    The mosaics in this article are mostly student work and use a wider grout gap than I recommend. The most-helpful tip about grout color is to use smaller grout gaps:

    The smaller the grout gap, the less impact grout has on the image and its colors. The process of grouting is also easier with a smaller gap.

    All that being said, some artists like wide grout gaps because they give the mosaic the look and feel of tiles pressed into wet mortar. That’s fine. It all depends on what you are trying to do.

    Most of the improvised tile/found-object mosaics of Mexico have that look and feel because that is what they are, and they are nothing short of magical.

    These mosaics are from one of Jill Gatwood’s many classes. As a group, these mosaics illustrate several discussion points about grout color.

  • Excellence in Mosaic Art

    Excellence in Mosaic Art

    In my post, “Agonizing over Mosaic Icons,” I discussed artist Sue Hague’s mosaic reproductions of Greek Christian icons, and the troubles she was experiencing due to the grout gap.

    My advice to Sue was to eliminate the grout gap in her future work because these icons weren’t architectural surfaces exposed to the elements. The grout isn’t needed. Make the tiles touch. You couldn’t do this on a backsplash, but for an icon or plaque; sure, no problem.

    I am pleased to announce that Sue took the advice to heart, and the results are soooo good.

  • Rendering Light with Verisimilitude in Mosaic

    Rendering Light with Verisimilitude in Mosaic

    Artist Karen Kittmer’s mosaics are beautiful works of art. They are also worthy of study for several different reasons if you are serious about improving your own mosaics.

    The first reason I recommend Karen’s work for study is that she renders light and shadow with photographic verisimilitude.

    The second reason is that Karen isn’t limited to photo-realism but also creates imaginative pieces including mosaic sculpture. There is Art in the art.

    Serious students of mosaic technique might also want to take a look at Karen’s work because she uses an indirect method with a photograph or painting as cartoon (mosaic pattern), and she lays the tile out on top of that.

    Beginners should be advised that this method requires commitment and artistic skill and isn’t a hack that eliminates either.

  • Grout Study: Mixed-Media Mosaic

    Grout Study: Mixed-Media Mosaic

    Artist Lorie Beercheck emailed me an in-progress photo of the mixed-media mosaic sign plaque she was making as a housewarming gift for her friends new B&B.

    Lorie wanted advice on the grout color.

    I was glad to give it because the mosaic was a mixed-media figurative image and so more likely to impacted by the choice of grout color.

    There were also some special concerns that made good points of discussion.