Category Archives: Art Review

Reviews of modern mosaic art.

jingo-pet-name-mosaic

Pet Memorial Name Plaques

For people wanting to make a portrait of their furry friend, I wrote an article on pet memorial mosaics using April Costigan’s work as illustrations of what is possible in terms of capturing likeness. The problem is that for many people, the task of rendering a realistic portrait of their pet is beyond their current skill level.

Fortunately, it is possible to make a pet memorial mosaic without the pet’s portrait and still make it personalized and specific to that pet. For example, instead of attempting an image of your pet, consider spelling their name in mosaic and making the surrounding area significant in terms of colors and found objects. More on that later.

Artist Jill Gatwood emailed us some pictures of some pet memorial name plaques that she has made, and they are good examples of the visual interest that can be created in the background with patterns of contrasting colors. I wanted to show these off because I think people who aren’t confident in their ability to draw will be inspired to make their own versions. Continue reading

four-seasons-garden-path-mosaic

Four Elements Garden Mosaic

“Amateur” artist Tobin recently completed his Four Elements garden mosaic, and it is amazing for several reasons, the least of which is the fact that it was created over a span of six years with the artist getting up at 5 am to spend 45 minutes on it before leaving for his day job in corporate project management.

Here’s what I find impressive about Tobin’s mosaic:

Mosaic Swallowtail Butterfly

Mosaic Swallowtail Butterfly. Note the uniformity of the grout gap in the background, which is as impressive as the detail in the butterfly.

  • Each figure is well executed with a level of detail and precision that is remarkable. An experienced artist following a digitally generated pattern couldn’t do much better if at all. Continue reading
Detail Fish Shower Mosaic by artist Jen Vollmer

Figurative Mosaic Composition Integrated With Shower Tiling

Artist Jen Vollmer recently completed a shower mosaic which features fish and flowing water executed in the same colors as the surrounding mosaic tiling. Jen says that in retrospect, she wishes she would have used a darker grey grout and blue/green glass tiles instead of the light blue, which would have increased the contrast.

I’m partial to intense colors and strong contrast, and those are required for an image to be eye-catching, but what struck me about Jen’s mosaic was that it is subtle in a professional way, integrated with the existing tile work and intentionally calculated to not stand out too strongly.

It was almost as if a client had commissioned the work and said, “Make the design figurative and naturalistic and have its own flowing andamento, but make it also integrate visually with the grids of tile that it runs through, and do that as seamlessly as possible.” Continue reading

Madre de Guadalupe Contemporary Mosaic

Strong Color Contrast in Heazlewood Mosaics

Artist Megan Heazlewood makes strong use of contrasting colors in her iconic mosaics, and I think her work is inspiring for that reason.

Egyptian Musicians

Egyptian Musicians Contemporary Mosaic

Egyptian Musicians Contemporary Mosaic by Artist Megan Heazlewood

There are several contrasting color pairs in Megan’s mosaic of ancient Egyptian musicians: the teal and pink of the lotus flowers, the blue and gold, the white robes and the different skin tones, the blues and greens versus the burnt orange.

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Kitchen Backsplash Mosaic Detail

Kitchen Backsplash Mosaics Using Original Designs

If you search Google Images for “kitchen backsplash mosaics,” you can see some good work, but you will also see way too many photos of beige and gray tile work that really doesn’t help too much in the way of inspiration, especially if you are wanting to make an original figurative mosaic or use colors other than the monotonous earth tones that dominate the coverings industry.

Artist Heather Speers emailed me some photos of her recent kitchen backsplash mosaic, and it is a solid example of how figurative mosaics rendered in brighter colors can work for this location. Continue reading

Rebecca Stoops Bathroom Floor Mosaic

Re-Imagining Classic Geometric Mosaic Designs

One of the things I always notice in cities like New York or San Francisco are the older buildings that still have entrance ways and bathrooms with mosaics made from whole porcelain tile. These mosaics are very simple in design, sometimes merely a border around plain tile, or maybe a simple repeating geometric pattern. If there are objects or figures, they are simple stylized abstract motifs almost like those seen in Persian carpets.

Rebecca Stoops recently emailed us some photos of her bathroom mosaic project, and the design could be described as a re-imaging of those classic geometric designs, only executed in intense colors of vitreous glass tile instead of porcelain.

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The Power Of Black in Mosaic Design

I have written many times about black grout and why I recommend it for making tile colors look more intense, but I don’t think I have ever taken the time to talk about using black tile for the same reason.

Artist Carol Jasin recently emailed me some photos of her work, and she makes great use of black tile to make a her mosaics look more colorful and more substantial. Continue reading

Unicorn Mosaic Laurie Gilson Detail

Using Ceramic Figurines In Mosaic Art

Why break up ceramic figurines to use the pieces in mosaic artwork when you can use the whole figurine? Artist Laurie Gilson emailed me some photos of her recent work, and they are great examples of how you can use ceramic figurines in your mosaics and still use standard elements such as tile arranged in rows. Continue reading

Entranceway Floor Mosaic by Ana Bonnin

Porch and Entranceway Mosaics

Ana Bonnin emailed us some pictures of her recent entranceway mosaic, and I wanted to share these with our readers. Ana’s pictures also made me remember that I needed to summarize what I know about best practices for making porch mosaics last longer.

Ana’s mosaic is the family emblem that she and her husband designed to represent the parents (symbolized by oak leaves) protecting their seed. My favorite photo includes the doodlebug in question, with a disguise added digitally by Mommy. Continue reading

Dog Mosaic Lawn Sculpture by artist Marilyn Keating

Mosaic Lawn Sculptures

Artist Marilyn Keating has some mosaic lawn sculptures of animals that are very much worth seeing, especially if you are considering making some yourself. Rather than trying to make her animals as naturalistic as possible, Marilyn wisely chose to make her animals stylized and whimsical, almost like three-dimensional cartoons come to life.

I used the word “wisely” because this style of art is more enjoyable to make and to see. We live in an age of mass production and machine precision, and so exact replicas of life often look artificial and devoid of humanity and art. On the other hand, Marilyn’s creatures are exuberant and “real” in a way that “serious” reproductions of real life aren’t.

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