Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Kitty Bunch

I participated in a Facebook game where the first five to respond receive something created by me. I ended up taking nine names. This was back in April and I have just now gotten around to creating these little guys. After I finished making them, I took a photo of them all together and they reminded me of The Brady Bunch, all looking around at each other, so I thought it only appropriate to name them The Kitty Bunch. They are made with stained glass, millefiori, gold wire, and are each 4x6".

And I'm very happy to say that I am back to working on the book! The next design is in progress and I hope to start cutting glass for it very soon!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mosaic Commission Completed

Oh! I'm done with my mosaics for the Central Texas Medical Center! It was a two month project that kept me from working on my book, but I was so happy to do it. It is my first public commission out of state, so I'm very proud of it. The five panels (large one is 24x36" and the four small ones are 18x24") will be hung in the labor and delivery waiting room so they will be super visible and will hopefully bring a sense of calm to the expectant mother and her family and friends. :-) They are made with stained glass, millefiori and vitreous. I am anxious to get back to my book but have one more project to get done first: I participated in a game on Facebook where you create something for the first 5 to respond. Well, I took nine names so I'd better get to it! But after that, THE BOOK!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Okay, where have I been?!!

I unfortunately (or fortunately?) had to put the book aside while I completed a commission for my wonderful (YES! Wonderful!) dentist. Everybody should have a dentist like mine. If you're in the Santa Barbara area, sign up with Sonia Kim and her husband, Calvin Kim, immediately! They have the friendliest, warmest staff as well, and it is a pleasure to go.

So the past few times I've visited her, she has pulled up my web site on the monitor above me and praised the mosaic trees I've done (yes, while she cleans my teeth!). Last visit she asked me to make her two trees, one for herself and one for her in-laws. Here are the results. The one with the white and blue flowers, Sonia's Tree, is 8 1/2 x 16 3/4" and the other one, Spring, is 6 x 11 1/2".

It will be awhile before I get back to the book as I just started working on a large public commission for Central Texas Medical Center! Woo Hoo! Pictures to come soon...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Finished Mosaic #3!

It took me awhile, but I finally decided on which mosaic to use for the framed picture. It had some of the same colors as the rest of the mosaic and isn't so detailed that it distracts from the action on these pages. What's great is I'm keeping the mosaics on mesh until I'm done with all of them and every once in awhile I'll peek at them again and see little things I'd like to change, and I am still able to do it. So I can refine them as I go along! I printed out a photo of "Brown Kitty" and glued it to a piece of clear glass. Then I put a second piece of clear glass over it and "taped" the edges with Deco Tape so that the grout would not seep through later. I did this once before with a wedding invitation and it worked great!

This mosaic took me 70 hours and like the others, is 15x24". It took me 23 days straight, some days I worked only one hour, others I worked 6 or 8 hours, but it all averaged out to about 3 hours a day. Hmm... I think I need to do better than that!

Mosaic #4 is going to be chaaaaaaallenging!! But first, the mosaics for my dentist! I'm actually looking forward to a little break and doing something a little more simple and smaller!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Nearly done with mosaic #3!

I should be finished with it today or tomorrow. Here's a picture of some of the progress. I was going to make a jewelry box next to the vase but decided to go with something personal, which is a bowl that my son painted for me for my birthday when he was five. The characters in the book will closely resemble me and my family, so the items in the house will, too! I will put a picture of one of my older mosaics in the frame above the bowl and vase. Haven't decided yet which one, but when I am close to done, I will know what works best. I want to do that throughout the book - mosaics within a mosaic! Oh, looking at the photo, I think I need to re-work the inside of the bowl...

After this mosaic I will take a break to complete a commission for my dentist (trees). Though I am waiting for a glass order to start them and if it doesn't arrive soon, I guess I'll have to start the fourth mosaic for the book! Oh well.... :-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mosaic #2 is done and onto #3

Mosaic #2 went pretty good! I'm really happy with it. Took me 60 hours exactly (my goal) and only 16 days. I will be done with the book by next May if I keep this up!!

The design for number three was another challenge for me. I had more perspective issues and many other problems with the composition that stretched the designing time out to 18 hours! (compared to 10 or 11 for the other two). I’m working on mesh and will not grout the mosaics until they are all finished so that I can make last minute changes if I need to.

This mosaic features my husband and our cat, Raymi, both of whom had to pose so I could take photos of them and use them as reference! Hopefully I can make the mosaic look enough like Greg – I haven’t done too many mosaics of people yet, and none of them were men. Here’s what I’ve done so far of Raymi.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Update on Mosaic #2

Making some great progress on mosaic #2, pages 3 and 4. What I am loving about these mosaics is the detail, and, of course, the mille! I'm big on detail, and these mosaics will be even more detailed than my usual detail, which is really making them fun to do. I get kinda bored if a mosaic design is uncomplicated (or if I have to make 40 of the same design, aka San Diego trivets, haha). Barb has been researching printing costs (thanks Barb!) and I think I've decided to go hard cover on my book. Yes, it will be a higher price, but I think it will be so worth it!

Can't wait to see this puppy finished!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Got started on second mosaic of book, pages 3-4

I finished Lin's puzzle piece and I haven't heard back yet from the woman with the 2 portraits, so I'm back to working on the book. Yay! (Thanks for the photo, Lin!)

The second drawing took some doing. I had some perspective issues! I'm not the best drawer so I had to redo and redo and redo the drawing. I like my compositions interesting, and for this book there are several pages with a bit of a crooked perspective, I guess you could say. Anyway, I finally got it to where I am happy with it and I think it's going to be really sweet!!

So the first bit I mosaiced today was..... hmmmm.... a cat! (Bet you didn't guess there would be a cat in this story, haha) And who am I modeling her after but our family kitty, Raymi. I've already made two mosaics of her since we adopted her a year ago. What can I say, she's a beautiful cat and a great subject for mosaics!

Here she is! She will figure prominently in the book, so look for more mosaics of her. I'm soooooo excited about this book. On the one hand, I can't wait for it to be done, but on the other, I am really enjoying the process, too, so it will truly be a "labor of love!"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Finished 1st Mosaic of Book!!

Today I finished the first of the mosaics for my children's book - woo hoo! It is 15x24" and will be the first 2 pages of the book. It took me almost 70 hours, which is close to what I estimated, so I'm happy. What surprised me was that I was able to put in mostly 4-7 hour days, despite it being summer and having my son home with me. Although it took exactly 4 weeks, I worked only 18 days of it (due to vacation or simply needing a day off!). Imagine if I were to work completely uninterrupted! I could be done in 7 months! So that's not gonna happen. Moving on...

Here is a teensy peek at the mosaic. I know it isn't much at all, but this particular mosaic gave me little to share because any part of it gives too much away on what the story is about. I promise to share more with the next mosaic!!

Unfortunately I won't get started on it for maybe a month as I have a mosaic puzzle piece to make for Lin Schorr's collaborative jigsaw puzzle mural, as well as a commission I just got yesterday for a cat and a horse. I'm really excited to start the next 2 pages of the book (there will be people in it and that will be my greatest challenge for this project), but I'm happy to still be making money, too. :-)

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Start of My Children's Book!

So.... I've embarked on a project I've wanted to do for nearly twenty years: illustrating a children's book! Before mosaics I painted and thought, one day my paintings will be good enough. Wrong! At least in my eyes. So I kept painting, hoping to get better.

In 2005 I discovered mosaics. After creating mosaics for almost 2 years, I suddenly got the brilliant idea of doing a children's book in mosaics! I was so excited because I had never seen it done before. I went online to see if I could find such a book and who do I find but Barb Keith! Her book, The Girls and Boys of Mother Goose (Brownian Bee Press, 2006), is a collection of nursery rhymes illustrated in stained glass mosaics. Since then, her second book has been published, Mosaic Zoo, An ABC Book (Brownian Bee Press, 2008).

I was so impressed with the book, all of the wonderful details, the different borders, how she did the faces. I wrote her immediately to tell her how much I admired her work, and to order a book, of course. From there, a new friendship began.

So Barb, amazing and talented in so many areas, published the book herself through her own company, Brownian Bee, and offered to publish my book, should I ever get to it! But, I still didn’t have an idea.

Well, about 9 months later in December 2007, I got an idea! I wrote Barb and said, “You should do this!” She wrote back saying, “It’s a great idea. YOU should do this!”

Yes, a year and a half went by before I started. I got distracted with marketing myself in every way possible, which included producing as many new mosaics as possible so I could get my work seen in galleries.

Last month I posted two new works on Flickr: a skunk and a mouse. Among the feedback were many comments telling me how perfect they’d be for a children’s book. Wellllllll, I have to say that lit the spark that made me say, “If I don’t start, it will never happen.” I knew it would take me a year to three years to finish it (depending on other projects that would come up meanwhile) and I like to focus on one thing at a time, so this thought contributed a lot to me delaying this project.
So I want to say a huge thank you to those who posted on Flickr for getting me started on this, as well as Barb, who continues to encourage me and support my ideas. Thank you!

Now, as many of you know, I am a FLICKR ADDICT! And I am a lover of documenting my works in progress. I post almost daily the work I accomplished that day, as well as my thought processes and decision making as I work. Therefore, this book is going to be a huge test in self discipline because I really want the book to be a surprise - soooo I won’t be posting daily WIP photos. :-(

However, I WILL post cropped bits of my mosaics every so often. I simply cannot NOT share! I’m too excited! Plus, I hope by having an audience, it will continue to motivate me to finish the book even sooner. And it will definitely make me blog more frequently.

I can’t share too many details about the book but I will say this:

There will be 15-18 mosaics, each 15x24”
The printed book will be 10x16” when open, so each page will be 10x8”
I’m estimating each mosaic to take about 60 hours
They will be made of stained glass and millefiori (lots of mille!)

And that’s pretty much all I can tell ya! Here's my first photo to share, a teensy part of pages 1-2. I am nearly done with this first mosaic and have spent about 45 hours on it so far. (That is another OCD thing I do – log each and every minute I work on a mosaic. But in the end, I can tell you exactly how long it took me!) So it’s possible I can finish sooner than I am estimating. We’ll see! Stay tuned for more on this exciting adventure of mine ….. :-)

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Fun and Successful Month!

I haven't posted in awhile because I didn't feel I had anything exciting to say or any fabulous new work to post (though I haven't stopped creating stuff!). However, ever since I got back from SAMA, it's been quite the exciting month for me! Here's what's been goin' on!

First, SAMA was awesome! It was my first time going and I intend on making it to each one from here on out! Unfortunately, I had to leave two days early, but the highlight for me was meeting my online friends in person - oh my god, what fabulous people! They were just as I imagined they would be. Fun, funny, sweet, weird, all good stuff! I miss them already! Here's just a few of them. We joked that ours was the kiddie table - all we did was play, laugh, and have a great time!

When I got back from SAMA, I immediately went to work on a new installation. I had about two weeks to get it done so I worked pretty much non-stop! A local church found me online and asked me to create a mosaic for one of their members who had done so much for their church. They wanted the words "Wittman Patio" and live oak leaves, since the church is Live Oak Unitarian. I finished in time to install, but because of rain, didn't get it grouted in time for their Easter services. However, the mosaic was still revealed on Easter and Mr. Wittman and the congregation were very touched. :-)

Next up, publication!! I had submitted a few of my mosaics for a new publication on mosaic techniques about a year ago and completely forgot about it. Not only did one of my mosaics get selected to be in the gallery section of the book, but was one of several mosaics chosen to be on the cover as well! Woop woop! Check me out next to Irina Charny :-)

After I got over that excitement (okay, I'm still not over it) I found out that I made my first gallery sale! While down in San Diego, I took my four cats to Solana Beach to be in a mosaics show at the Trios Gallery with Irina Charny, Luz Mack Durini, Laurie Mika and Carole Choucair Oueijan (how lucky am I?). Just as the show was coming to an end and I was thinking about making a several hours drive to pick up my work, I got an email that somebody bought all four of my cats! These are among my favorite mosaics of mine and so I was very happy that somebody else loved them, too! I was invited to submit more mosaics to this gallery so off I go to create!

Finally, I have just been chosen to be the featured artist for the month of May at Gallery Los Olivos in California.  I just hung up my work and it will be there until June 3. It ended up that I had the perfect amount of work available to fit their wall! Now if I can just create enough for a solo show, that would be awesome! (It sure isn't easy, being as slow as I am, but I'm working on it!)

So....does all of this make up for the lack of posts over the past few months? :-)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tree Trade

I just finished another mosaic entitled Trees For Irit. It is 12x16" and is made with stained glass, vitreous, millefiori, beads, and jasper. It was created as a trade with one of my favorite mosaic artists, Irit Levy.

Now check out the tree that is on its way to me! It is also 12x16" and is titled Chez Christine. I completely adore it! She is so good at using color and her backgrounds are amazing. I only hope to be as good as her some day!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

New Work

My first post! My blog has been sitting empty until I had created a new mosaic. This mosaic, entitled Summertime, was created for a poster/t-shirt competition for our local Summer Solstice celebration here in Santa Barbara, CA.  I only had a week's notice to make it, so it isn't as detailed as I normally do, but sometimes less is more! Especially for printing purposes. But if it doesn't win, I didn't invest too much time so I won't be (too) disappointed. Next year I will get a jump start on it!