Just finished. I’m pleased to share my most recent mosaic artwork with the world. The idea and inspiration for this project came from my yoga practice. As I become more in tune with the flow of yoga, its connection to my art becomes stronger and more apparent.
In readying myself to begin a new artwork, there are several steps I take before adhering anything to a substrate. For this project, I wanted to explore a ‘balance and flow’ concept, so I began by doodling a series of thumbnail sketches that would outline a very basic plan of how the andamento, or flow of lines would take shape. Once I selected the thumbnail that best suited my intention, I drew “placeholder tesserae” on tracing paper that I would use in the mosaic to ensure the finished art looked similar to what I had originally envisioned. Only then did I begin considering materials and colors that would enhance that image. What feeling was I trying to convey and how would I best utilize color, shape, size, texture, orientation and contrast to deliver on the idea of balance and flow?
Choosing the material was fairly easy for me. I had purchased some French antique roofing tiles from Mireille Swinnon last year. They were mostly soft, muted colors, but it was the texture of them that really appealed to me. As one might expect of stone roof tiles, they were hard and somewhat brittle. The challenge was to make something that is inherently hard and rough, look soft and flowing. I felt it was possible, so I forged ahead. Successful or not? You be the judge.
Having a plan in an art project (as well as life, I suppose) allows for flexibility, spontaneity and working intuitively. At least, that is the way it works for me. Although this artwork is abstract, there is a strong portrayal of a human form, especially after I added the oval shaped element, which was not included in the original design. Once I had begun working on the mosaic, it was intuition that persuaded me to include it in the design and I’m happy with that decision.
In this mosaic, I included a few areas in the background that ‘interrupt’ the surrounding, flowing lines. These areas indicate movement or obstacles that sometimes interfere with balance. Decisions about where these were placed in the overall scheme were made intuitively, during the process of working on the piece. Again, I had a plan to include some areas like this, but let the mosaic speak to me about where and how they should be placed.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with the outcome of my latest artwork and feel that my decisions about this project were deliberate and thought out, rather than adjusting due to lack of planning. My process may be completely different from how other artists create, but I find taking these steps help me to avoid time consuming errors. The upshot is that the art matched the image originated in my head.