I always begin with the eyes on any animal or person. Once I am happy with them, I know I will ultimately be happy with the whole mosaic. The eyes can take me hours sometimes, especially if I have to cut tiny pieces such as the little white reflections, which in this mosaic are less than 1/8 of an inch in diameter.
I work with lots of visuals, including many photos of Hamish so I can get his markings and coloring just right; a black and white photo of the primary photo I'm working from to get the values correct; and a line drawing of the mosaic so I can work out the andamento of the glass (how I want to cut it and ultimately flow).
I received a lovely email from Isabelle after she received her mosaic:
Hello Christine, I received the mosaic today in perfect condition. I love it and when the light shines on the eyes they twinkle and make me smile. You have captured Hamish and I will cherish it for ever. I feel him looking back at me and makes the loss easier. Thank you for the book and cards also but most of all bringing my Hamish back to life. Best wishes Isabelle
Thank you, Isabelle, for your trust and faith in me to create this portrait of Hamish for you!