While I'm Not Being An Artist / by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

During my mosaic sabbatical, I've been so very busy not being an artist. I hope to have installment #7 in my Before I Was An Artist series out in the next few days. So, what have I been up to?

Still cooking, literally, and so thoroughly enjoying it! How fabulous! How could I have gotten into my mid-late 50s and just be discovering how satisfying it is to be acquiring some kitchen competence? For the last 3+ weeks I have been focusing on vegan dinners because my husband is doing that very long Easter fast; Orthodox Easter is still about 4 weeks away. So I've been pretty much vegan myself, using a bit of dairy and eggs. I'm discovering great vegan substitutes and learning some things. We have not suffered in the least.

I'm enjoying my two grandsons immensely, one 2 and one 4. We had an Easter Egg Hunt here for them on Easter afternoon. Sean, the 4-year-old, and his Mom had decorated 11 hardboiled eggs for the hunt and also brought some of those plastic eggs with a chocolate treat inside each. My daughter and son-in-law hid the eggs around the property—in the woods and garden and yard. I accompanied Sean on the hunt and when we came upon one of the decorated eggs, he would just walk right by and say "Those aren't the kind of eggs I'm looking for." He would only pick up the plastic ones with the candy inside. A no-nonsense kind of fellow!

There is progress on the renovation front! We have finalized our plans and the construction will start any day now. I'm so excited about my new studio, which makes perfect sense for someone who is trying not to be an artist. Well, I'll take some pics as the project progresses. 

Another thing I've been doing while I'm not being an artist is to work on that 6-year-old mosaic that I wrote about some weeks ago (see here). Yes, it is very strange that someone who is on a mosaic sabbatical and not making art would spend time finishing a mosaic. But I've been spending time here and there working on this thing. If you recall, I had to do a sort of reset on it after having somehow wandered away from the original concept. 

To refresh your memory, I've reposted the pics from my earlier post. 

Rough drawing of the 30" x 30" very simple, repeating pattern. It is basically 9 squares, each 9" x 9", with an approx. 1.5" border around the edge. 

Rough drawing of the 30" x 30" very simple, repeating pattern. It is basically 9 squares, each 9" x 9", with an approx. 1.5" border around the edge. 

Original work done on one of the 9" squares, which I concluded was the wrong approach some 6+ years ago.

Original work done on one of the 9" squares, which I concluded was the wrong approach some 6+ years ago.

Back in February, I scraped off the original attempt and repaired the substrate, which you can see in the lower left corner of the image below. Then I spent a few weeks getting things ready for the new direction, repainting the sides of the gold lines, cutting marble, etc. Finally, I started working on it an hour here, a couple of hours there, some days not at all, really trying not to get too absorbed in it.

You can see that I've got quite a reset going on here. I chose a dark background with red for the sides of the lines to boldly exploit the basic concept.

I've got the contrast that I needed for the repeating pattern of gold lines, and the red sides of the lines really stand out when changing viewing perspective. 

I'm leaving a gap, almost 1/8", between all the implied triangles within the 9 squares, creating shadow lines which both connect and separate as they define squares, triangles, and diamond shapes.

It's really a very simple design, isn't it?

I'm getting some great practice using the hammer, cutting the marble into the roughly 1/4" square pieces, although I am using nippers to shape them up and cut the diagonals. Still, my right hand is fine and seems to have recovered from my injury last spring. 

Below are a couple of detail shots on which you can click to zoom. 

It's quite a tedious project and, at this point, not much more than a technical challenge. But, in that sense, it seems a good fit for me at this time. I need to be making something and working with my hands. I think I'll actually get this finished, eventually, probably this year. And I think I'll like it, and I will be happy that I did not give up on it. 

And that's a worthy goal, don't you think? Whatever you're making, and whether or not you're an artist. Just to like what you make and be happy that you made it.