When I first starting mosaicing I found it very hard to get inspiration and ideas. I remember I was exhibiting at a Gallery in Runnymede and my friend Sue asked where I got my inspiration from and I didn’t really have an answer. I then started to think more seriously about the question and I can now answer Sue ‘mainly from nature – the pattern and colour of leaves and trees, reflections on the sea, patterns on the sand, landscapes and fields’. I am also inspired a lot by other art forms and am heavily influenced by strong colours in everyday life.
I feel I am now at the stage where I can make a competent mosaic piece but would like to hone and fine tune my skills much more. When I take a photo of a landscape or scene, I find it hard to translate that into a mosaic. I can see a range of colours but am not sure how to make a visual mosaic from them. I have now bought Martin Cheek’s book “Fused Glass Mosaics: Master Class Techniques with Martin Cheek” which I hope will help me to progress to a better level of work. Martin explains that it is just right for people at my stage of the mosaic process. Each chapter explains an aspect of mosaicing and then sets you a challenge.
Challenge No.1. was to think about where you get your inspiration – (which in itself was challenging) – hence my above answer to Sue!
Challenge No. 2. was to take a picture from a favourite artist and make your own style and version but using their principles. I picked the work of Rebecca Vincent (see earlier Blog and her picture left) as I love her blocks of colours and effects.
Below is the result. Although it is a very simple piece, it took me more time than any previous mosaic to get perspective, style and colouring right. This is probably the first time I have seriously considered the piece I am working on and planned it properly rather than just starting and plughing on with it.
What do you think. I am now using this ‘block colour’ effect in other pieces and really like the results.
I feel I have learnt a lot already and look forward to tackling the other challenges.
REQUEST: I would love to hear from anyone else that has taken or is taking Martin’s Challenge and hear how they found it.
COMING SOON: A key influence on my mosaic work – Kitty.
Another Artist I met when I visited The Hearth Art Centre and Café in Northumberland was Rebecca Vincent. Her work is stunning and I fell in love with her style as soon as I saw it. She very kindly showed me around her studio where I saw many examples of her beautiful work.
Rebecca studied Fine Art at Oxford and Newcastle Universities before becoming a professional artist specialising in printmaking.
Her etchings and monotypes of the north-east landscape have deep, glowing colours and delicate textures. She uses a wide range of hand printed marks to convey the patterns of fields, hills and hedgerows, resulting in an almost abstract pattern of intersecting shapes.
I love her use of strong, blocky colours and the variety of interesting textures that she uses to produce her distinctive landscape style.
Rebecca’s work is on display at a number of galleries across the UK including The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle. Do visit her website to see her beautiful work.
I hope to go on one of her workshops next year and she has also very kindly given me permission to let me use her style of work as the inspiration for my ‘Martin Cheek Challenge’.
REQUEST: I am still keen to get my work into Galleries so if you know any gallery owners or people who may be able to help, please pass this Blog on to them.
COMING SOON: The Martin Cheek Challenge
Gannett by Aimee Harman
The first mosaic artist I was inspired by was Aimee Harman. Aimee had taught Julia to mosaic so as soon as I got home after making that first tile, I went onto Aimee’s website. I was totally bowled over by her work and the stunning mosaics she makes. Up until then I had a very limited view of mosaics and I was not that keen on them. However, it was seeing Aimee’s mosaics that made me realise what a huge variety, range and style this artwork can have. There was a lovely piece with the caption ‘I made this after mosaicing for 8 weeks’. WOW! Here is one of Aimee’s beautiful textured mosaics, below her ‘Gannett’ commissioned piece. Do go and have a look at Aimee’s website and be prepared to be amazed.
New to this art form, I was very eager but totally lacking in inspiration as that creative muscle had been dormant for a long time. I bought various books that suggested mosaic projects and also showed lovely pictures and different techniques. My first book was ‘Beginner’s Guide to Mosaics’ by Peter Massey and Alison Slater, followed by Rosalind Wates ‘The Mosaic Decorators Sourcebook’ which I bought at her mosaic course and she signed for me. Others have followed: Maggie Howarth’s ‘Pebble Mosaic Handbook’ shows lovely outdoor pebble mosaics – another style of mosaic altogether. Emma Biggs ‘Mosaic Techniques’ does what it says on the label and Robert Fields’ ‘Inspirations’ has gorgeous cat mosaics – one day I hope to achieve that standard of mosaicing – I have a long , long way to go.
Original Guinea Fowl Mosaic by Martin Cheek
Original ‘Corn Fed Chicken’ by Martin Cheek
I also discovered Martin Cheek who has written several books and is one of the most well-known mosaic artists. His ‘journey’ and biography is fascinating and his CV is beyond impressive. His work is lovely and he has a very distinctive style. He manages to create a totally different effect with his mosaics and again, shows different techniques and styles. Do go and visit Martin’s website and have a read of his Blog.
I always knew I was artistic but had never found the right medium. Through mosaics I am slowly starting to find my own style and inspiration. I have tried various techniques and am learning which ones work for me. All the above people mentioned, and many more, have given me inspiration and encouragement through their work and love of mosaic. I continue to learn while being very much ‘the new girl on the mosaic block’.
A ‘thank you’ to all of you following my Blog, I really appreciate your early support and encouragement.
REQUEST: I have a new ‘Mystery Page’ on my website. It is my latest project, but what is it….and why? Please visit and leave a comment if you think you know what it may be.
Coming soon: The Log Cabin Project