A New Old Lesson / by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Fullness Circa 1999? 60" x 36" | 152 cm x 91 cm. Photo on left is where I left it back in 1999, minus the gold wavy strips for the hair. On right is where it stands now. I'm not sure about the overall shape of the hair and will most certainly be tweaking it. 

Well, I'm feeling brave today, or at least brave enough to post pics of my current challenge. Embarrassment notwithstanding, I will share this project as I go.

I started this piece over 15 years ago. At the time, I wanted to do something big, so I impulsively rushed into what turned out to be a less than half-baked idea. I wanted to work with some stones but had no idea where to get anything but the small, tumbled, polished ones that you see. I had the idea for the moon, the full feminine, and the earthy palette, probably inspired by the small slate tiles that I used in the border. Ceramic trim pieces, in a dark gun metal gray—more of a hematite— make up the border outlines, along with small mother of pearl rectangular beads. 

It did not take long for me to get stuck on it, and then overwhelmed by the fact that I had not figured out several square feet. The hair is where I stopped, lacking the skill and the patience, as well as an idea, of how to handle it. 

Also overlooked was the fact that the cement board needed both hanging hardware and some kind of support structure on the back, as it had too much flimsy in it for it to be stable. So, it was relegated to various storage locations throughout the years. What to do! It was so big that I could not just throw it away—I would have had to cut it up or have it hauled off. I liked the original idea, however, so continued to hang onto it, hoping that someday I would know what to do with it. 

Finally, after moving into my new studio, it was time to make a decision. I decided to finish it and, in the process, treat it like an exercise. I've added both a support frame and hanging hardware, and have the hair mostly under control, but will work on it some more—it's too organized. I did those mountains this past week and enjoyed working on some andamento. They are meant to appear silhouetted and far in the distance, on the other side of what will be a body of water in the lower left corner. 

The photo at right is a bit like what I am going for. I've never attempted a water reflection—neither sun nor moon—so that will be a good exercise.

I'm not sure that the new and the old will marry well and be harmonious and whole. The perspective is not realistic; in fact, none of this is realistic. 


Photo Credit: Naoe Suzuki

Photo Credit: Naoe Suzuki

Then, there is all  - - -  that  - - -  sky. I want to try something in the sky that will be new for me and also challenge me in what I think will be some very beneficial ways.

I've been studying Menossi's Tramonto, on left, for inspiration, with both andamento and the way that he layers the sky.

I've got about four shades of vitreous in a kind of gray-blue, and may work in a bit of sheared smalti for scant clouds. Gee! Not sure I can pull it off, but I will give it a go. 

No, I don't like the apostrophe shape in the moon. It was meant to be a swirl, but I can't say what happened to it. There are other issues as well, too many—too many to change. That's the deal: I won't change what I did in 1999 and I will try to be true to it's beginnings.