Category: Art Review

  • 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

  • Floor Inset Mosaic Medallions

    Floor Inset Mosaic Medallions

    Artist Catherine Augustus recently installed some mosaic medallion insets in the floor of St Clare of Assisi Catholic Church on Daniel Island, South Carolina, and you might want to take a look.

    These mosaics were a volunteer project for the artist and her team of parishioners. They learned on the job and had to dance around some technical mistakes, but the results are great.

  • Masterpiece Miniature Mosaic Series

    Masterpiece Miniature Mosaic Series

    In centuries past, crafts people worked in guilds, with a guild for each craft: shoemakers, gold smiths, etc. To join a guild, a person had to apprentice themselves to a member of the guild for years and work themselves up from repetitive physical work in the studio to more and more advanced tasks over time.

    Eventually the apprentice would be competent in all the skills and tasks required for practicing the craft. At that point, the apprentice would submit to the guild what was called a masterpiece, which was an ornate and difficult piece of work that demonstrated that the apprentice had mastered the craft.

    Well, if I were a master mosaicist instead of a jack of all trades, I would declare Lisa Sunshine‘s Alphabet Mosaic Miniatures series a masterpiece of glass mosaic merely in the execution.

  • 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.

  • Mosaic Art Opening

    Mosaic Art Opening

    Artist Dorothy Stucki is having an opening reception for a show of her recent work, which includes some mosaics.

    The show is called “Angelic Presence,” and the opening is Sunday April 16th, 2023, from 4 to 7pm.

    Dorothy is a Mosaic Art Supply alum and a talented artist. She works in a variety of visual mediums including mixed-media drawing, painting, and mosaic.

  • Mixed-Media Mosaic with Ceramic Relief Sculpture

    Mixed-Media Mosaic with Ceramic Relief Sculpture

    Artist Aly Winningham of Terra Firma Studios has some great mixed-media mosaic artwork. These wall-relief mosaics are a balanced mix of custom ceramic sculptural elements, found objects, and elements of conventional tesserae.

    I love mixed-media mosaic, and I love to make it myself, but the problem is that you have to spend time at yard sales when you would rather be in the studio making stuff.

    Finding odd items for mixed-media mosaics can become an end in itself for this reason:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Mosaic Virtuosity: Stained Glass Paintings

    Mosaic Virtuosity: Stained Glass Paintings

    Artist Lisa Sunshine’s stained-glass mosaics are tiny 4-inch iconic images intended for use in an illustrated alphabet series.

    I’m not sure whether these images are Sunshine’s own compositions or if she is using an existing illustrated series as a model, but either way the mosaics are virtuoso stuff.

    Sunshine’s mosaics are “impressionistic paintings” rendered in stained glass, they are miniatures, and they make the rest of us look like amateurs.

    TIP: Most people wouldn’t enjoy working in this small size and would prefer a 10″ or 12″ backer, especially if the mosaic contains multiple figures.

  • Using Floor Tiles as Backers for Outdoor Mosaic Plaques

    Using Floor Tiles as Backers for Outdoor Mosaic Plaques

    Concrete stepping stones should be used as the bases for outdoor mosaics that will be walked on, and the stepping stones and thinset mortar that you would need to make those are available at most any building material store.

    But what if you want to make small mosaic signs and mosaic plaques for your garden or porch?

    Large porcelain floor tiles make great bases for these outdoor mosaics.

    Ever since I started publishing updates on my mosaic door project that uses bamboo coasters for the bases of the small mosaics, I have been hoping that someone would email me an outdoor project that used “large” porcelain floor tiles as bases.

    By “large” I mean anything 4 inches or larger.

    Artist Cathy Reisfelt delivered.

  • “Crazy Good Art”

    “Crazy Good Art”

    Sometimes I feel like a thoughtless child when I catch myself using expressions that show a lack of sensitivity for people suffering.

    Other times I feel like the expression in question has some insight or specitivity when used in certain contexts, no matter how overused or unfortunate the term might be in general.

    “Crazy good” might be a callous expression, but “crazy good art” has some references beyond the association of genius and mental illness and suffering and the classic heart-breaking examples like Van Gogh.

    I think there is some artist-to-artist meaning communicated in the phrase, and it is a reference to the “post-project blues” and the level of commitment required to make the piece in question. It is a high compliment expressed crudely for emphasis.