A Difficult Parting

Over the years, I’ve sold a nice number of my mosaics and had a few very rewarding commissions. This degree of success is remarkable when considering the fact that I am generally terrible at promoting my work, to the point of being negligent. A generous dose of introversion augmented by some kind of insecurity inhibits my self-promotional ability.

I’ve pondered this lack of whatever-it-is for years and have sometimes concluded that I just don’t believe in myself/my work. I suppose that could be a factor. However, I really like my own creations. Sure, there have been a few flops, and those do not see the light of day under the internet spotlight. Otherwise, I make things that I enjoy and consider beautiful or meaningful—things that I want around me and that I enjoy seeing every day.

So, I believe in my work for myself, but the bridge to trying to convince anyone else that they should give my work a look—much less like it—is just a bridge too far. Sure, I’ll share new work on Facebook, and I have a website, but I can’t bring myself to actively promote my work. I’m envious of some of my fellow mosaic artists who have that whatever-it-is that keeps them sharing their work, new and old, on a regular if not daily basis. They deserve the exposure and income that result from such efforts.

Clearly, if I needed to be making a living, I would never survive by making art as I would probably crumble under the pressure of trying to promote myself. I am very fortunate to be able to explore making mosaics without the pressure of having to make money off them. Still, sharing my work and trying to sell it is important to me, if for no other reason than to pay for materials. I don’t think I’ve ever sold anything over my fine art site, but I have had some success with sales resulting from exhibitions, and I am so very grateful for that.

Storyteller (2018) 10" x 7" | 25cm x 18cm, without frame. Stones, marble, petrified shell, smalti, mosaic gold.

Finally, I get to the heart of what this post was about when I started it. Over the summer, I had a few pieces in the Traditions Kept & Broken exhibition in Bandon, OR, and I was so happy to have sold them all!

One, in particular, would never have been for sale except for the fact that I knew the person who wanted to purchase it. I don’t think I could have sold that piece to anyone else and it was a difficult parting for me.

Storyteller, at right, is that mosaic. You can read more about this piece here, which explains my difficulty in parting with it.

I find it such an honor when someone likes my work enough to want to have it in their home and spend their money on it, and I am very humbled by it.

Still, don’t you find that some works are difficult to part with?

Sold x 2

A retired geologist has purchased this pair of mosaics from my In the Woods series after seeing them in the 5th Annual Mosaic Show in Bandon, OR. I hope they bring her pleasure for many, many years!

Meandering (2014) 12" x 12" | 30 cm x 30 cm. Stone, porcelain, glass, mosaic gold.

Trespassing (2014) 12" x 12" | 30 cm x 30 cm. Stone, porcelain, glass, mosaic gold.

Exhibition: Traditions Kept & Broken

Tracy Hodson has once again curated an impressive mosaic exhibition for the Bandon Library Art Gallery. This annual exhibition continues to attract a diverse representation of contemporary mosaic art. Through thoughtful essays and sensitive curation, Tracy offers a deep and informative perspective on mosaic art, which enriches the exhibition experience for all who are fortunate enough to view it.

Please enjoy this year’s essay and a photo tour of the exhibition here.

Sold x 4

Rhythms: July (2008) 8” x 8” | 20cm x 20cm. Sodalite, granite, smalti, piastrina, shell, lapis, glass, Swarovski crystals.

Rhythms: October (2008) 8” x 8” | 20cm x 20cm. Marble, travertine, onyx, porcelain, vitreous, carnelian, chrysoprase, piastrina, other glass, seed beads.

I was very happy to have sold a few mosaics at the Bandon Library’s 4th Annual Mosaic Show in June, in Bandon, OR. The two pieces, above from my Rhythms series found new homes, as well as the two minis below.

These were two of six little mosaics I did as part of the 2008 MAO Monthly Challenge. Their titles reflect the theme of the challenge.

Memoryware 3” x 2” | 8cm x 5cm. Broken Spode, costume jewelry, glass beads.

Architecture 3” x 2” | 8cm x 5cm. Onyx, hematite, shell, glass, Swarovski crystals.

Homage To Kilauea: Andamento

Someone wanted to know why I thought the andamento for my recent mosaic, Homage To Kilauea, was so difficult. I must clarify that just because it was difficult for me does not mean that it would be for everyone. I doubt that someone like Giulio Menossi, who has truly mastered a very refined andamento in his stunning portraiture work, would have been as challenged on this piece as I was. This kind of refined andamento requires, I believe, a whole lotta practice.

Looking back over my years of mosaic experience, I feel like I have only dabbled in this kind of andamento. Without years of experience doing this kind of thing, I find it is vital to draw out the andamento, piece by piece. I did not do that with this mosaic because, when I started it, I was just playing around. As I progressed on the work, my innate sense of seriousness and challenge led me to take the andamento more seriously than I had initially intended. 

So, what was so difficult about it for me? Three things:

  1. The spaces, which I'll call channels, around the large shale pieces and the small stones are very narrow. That's a quarter in the pic on the right, which is about the size of a euro. (It's cloudy today so the image at right is on the dark side—apologies.) The channels primarily range about 3/8" wide to about 1 1/4" at the widest, not counting the lower right area where the blue flares out to the edge.
  2. The average size of the smalti pieces is quite small, the majority being between 1/8" and 1/4". 
  3. It is just very tricky to express flow around sharp curves and into and out of areas of varying size—small to large/large to small—and where the flow goes in all directions.

With such small spaces in which to work, I felt like a more refined andamento would best express the flow that I wanted. My study with Menossi doing portraiture is the most refined andamento I have ever worked with, and the most difficult. Expressing the contours of the face, flowing in and out of the shadows and angles and fullness and hollows of a face, using andamento as well as color and shading, is a demanding technical skill.

I worked with this kind of refined andamento on a recent work, Storyteller, but to a much lesser degree than I attempted here. After completing this work, I've decided to do another work incorporating this kind of andamento. I'll blog about it as I go, starting with my next post in the next few days. The piece will be similar to this one and will present the same andamento challenges. Let's see how I do.