Mosaic Design Evolves During Implementation

I make imaginative artwork using a trial-and-error process, and my compositions evolve during implementation.

I study models, but I don’t render from a particular model. I try to capture the archetype, iconic essence.

Inspiration for the Artwork

This is a mosaic I am making of Moses on Mount Sinai, and I am calling this one “Sleeping in the Bosom.”

When I was younger, I would take off into the wild with no gear and rough it and sleep on the ground for two or three days. This would happen on impulse every month or so. I called it “Escaped Convict Camping.”

There would be no plan or agenda or set destination. I would park near a bridge and walk several miles up a creek. The whole idea was to just feel alive, and trying to sleep in a freezing rain makes you feel very alive.

This occasional lunacy was how I stayed semi-sane during engineering school and the corporate world.

Anyway, it was great to have all these impromptu encounters with wildlife and to just sleep on the ground. That is the feeling I was trying to capture with “Sleeping in the Bosom.”

Design Evolution

The following photos are dated and show the evolution of my mosaic.

Note that I am able to make changes casually because I am working on a temporary surface. The temporary surface is clear contact paper taped over the top of my pattern with the sticky side pointed up.

When I am done, I will pick the mosaic up using Mosaic Mounting Tape and transfer it to a bed of glue on the mosaic backer board.


Notice the improvised “star” in the upper right corner of the mosaic in the photo above. I know I want something in the night sky, but I haven’t decided on stars or moons or both. The solitary white tile is a color study for those heavenly bodies, whatever they turn out to be.


The photo above shows how I have added some simple highlighting to the face and hands.


The photo above shows color schemes worked out for the mountainside and the burning bush. I have also rendered Moses’ toes in reference to his feet being bare.


Notice the pure white flowers in the photo of mosaic above. The previous version of the mosaic used a duller off-white color for the flowers, but that off-white didn’t have enough contrast to stand out sufficiently.


In the latest version of the mosaic, I have replaced the yellow moon with a white moon that is more narrow and crisp, closer to a new moon.

I think Moses’ outstretched leg needs more shading.

Progress Video

video: Mosaic Design Evolves During Execution





5 responses to “Mosaic Design Evolves During Implementation”

  1. Kevin Anne Miller Avatar
    Kevin Anne Miller

    I love reading your blog. I especially love that you reveal your thinking process from the beginning to end. It opens me to new ways of thinking about mosaic in general and whatever I’m working on in the moment. And many, many good practical “how to” suggestions.
    Thank you!

  2. Barb Webb Avatar
    Barb Webb

    Loved the story behind this and the evolution of the piece.Thx!

  3. Patrice E Linnett Avatar
    Patrice E Linnett

    I am inspired to try creating a mosaic using these Morjo tiles. They seem to work wonderfully with the scale of this mosaic. What is the approximate size of this piece? Thank you!

    1. Joe Moorman Avatar
      Joe Moorman

      Hi Patrice,

      This mosaic is 13.5 inches by 11 inches. The tiles I am using are 8mm Morjo™ Glass Mosaic Tiles cut in half.

      1. Patrice E Linnett Avatar
        Patrice E Linnett

        I just watched the video of grouting the finished piece. It’s just beautiful!
        Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.