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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mosaics AND Cats

The letters P A T for my friend Pat's party are all glued. An interesting thing to notice. When the dichroic glass is in the sun - second picture on left - the colors are green but when taken in the shade they are yellow. And it took many tries to get pictures of P A T because Biscotti wanted to be petted. Now I'll grout them with charcoal grout, maybe add even more sparkles and they'll be ready to go.

The lower right picture is Prancer with my almost finished Frolicking Sea Creatures. I still have to do a little color work on the grout.

You can probably tell these two cats are related. They are brothers about two years old. I've had them since I adopted them from a neighbor.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mosaic Studio Progress Update

I wrote about getting the studio organized back in March, but I realize I haven't sent any updates since then. I've made good progress, and here are some pictures.

Now that the weather is nice, it is very enjoyable to work out here. I'm going to have to think about installing some sort of heat source because it gets pretty cold (40s°) in the winter. OK, that may not seem cold to those of you living in snow country, but it's cold for us here in Santa Barbara. 

But now the sun comes through the skylights and the big windows and I find myself hanging out there more and more. I also spend a lot of time working on my mosaics in the garden.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cat Adventures

Prancer has decided that my nice cloth gazebo in the back yard would make a perfect place to watch the birds go by at their level. So he scoots up one of the "legs" making the gazebo sway and buck but finally reaches nirvana.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Frolicking Sea Creatures

I'm not sure if I've made dolphins or whales. Maybe a combination of the two. That's called artistic license! Or more like I'm not that good at depicting a particular item.

Another trick I learned when doing mosaics is that if you squint at the piece, it will come into focus much more and you can see what it might look like later. And even better, take a picture of it. The last picture I took definitely looks more like sea creatures.

And Prancer is keeping me company. That is the boys' favorite perch during the night when the raccoons are out in the garden, turning over dirt and rocks looking for snails.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mosaic art on rocks

There is a strange phenomenon that happens when you start doing mosaics. Everything you see is a potential substrate! I have a lot of rocks in my garden and a lot of birds, so I decided to put one of my favorite Scrub Jays, Blue, on a rock!

Blue was my pet for several years. He would take peanuts out of my hand (or anyone else's hand for that matter), sit on my head or shoulder and hop into the kitchen looking for peanuts. I could always wow my friends with his antics. I haven't seen him for two years now so I made this mosaic to keep him in the garden with me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Letter "P"

Today I began working on the word "PAT" for a friend who is being honored next month at the Westchester Begonia Show and Sale in Westchester, CA. Pat is always the one who does the decorating for the show, and she has a flair for color and style. She also likes bright, sparkly things! So I am making the letters "P", "A" and "T" for her with Van Gogh glass, mirror glass and dichroic glass in pinks and purples. I'm throwing in a few green pieces also.

Here are pictures of the "P" before grouting. I was tempted to throw in some glitter glass but held myself back.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A day in the garden with Dan Bifano

Mosaic Studio
Sparkly Tortoise
Dan Bifano - Master Rosarian
Mushrooms in the garden
Yesterday I had a crowd of 30 people here for the Rudolf Ziesenhenne Begonia Branch meeting. The day was overcast but my sparkly mosaic pieces looked great in the garden. And we were fortunate to have Master Rosarian Dan Bifano speak to us about roses. Oprah calls him "Dan the Rose Man" and you can read more about him here:

As an aside, I never know how Blogger is going to place my pictures in my blog entries once they are posted. I position them one way and then Blogger moves them around however it feels about them at the moment.
Mosaic letters in the studio

Friday, June 17, 2011

Flower mosaic grouted with glitter grout

Well, it's hard to see in the picture, but the grout has glitter in it. The Institute of Mosaic Art has packets of grout glitter in all different colors. I was like a kid in a candy store. On this piece I combined two of the pink shades. When you have made your final swipe at the grout and it's still wet, you press in the glitter. And voila! you have a beautiful sparkly mosaic!

I use the grouting method where after you've fill in the spaces with grout, you sprinkle dry grout over the piece and let it sit for a while. Then I take newspaper and clean off the glass. There is no extra water to mess up everything or to make tunnels in the grout. And even with this "dry" way of grouting, it was wet enough to push glitter into the grout. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mosaics with Erin Rogers

Jennifer and I attended a weekend workshop at the Institute of Mosaic Art in Oakland, CA.

Here is our wonderful teacher Erin Rogers watching us work on our practice pieces. She gave us a wealth of information on cutting shapes with different glass-cutting tools, ideas for pictures and patterns in our mosaic pieces and hands-on help and advice about our 11" x 11" pieces. We had "homework" Sat. night to come up with a design and then we had all day Sunday to work on our pieces.

This was my drawing of the piece I hoped to make.

Original design
Almost completed. Lots of flowers!
And here is the almost completed finished product.

Jennifer and Julie with almost finished pieces

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sparkly Mushrooms

I haven't yet reached my goal of mosaicing all these ceramic mushrooms! It's harder than I thought it would be. I still have two mushrooms to go, and I'm running out of color combinations with the glitter tiles. An interesting thing is that the mushrooms seem out of focus because of the glitter on the tiles. I took two rounds of pictures just to be sure.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mushrooms in the garden

Here is another whimsical garden item given to me by the same friend who gave me the turtle. I like the teal-like color but it just doesn't stand out in the garden so (as if you didn't already know) I'm going to add some sparkly tiles to it.

And today it's too hot in the garden for me (75°) so I'm going to see if I can cover every mushroom this afternoon. A goal!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Platter is grouted

Platter grouted with gray

Where did the fish go? Now it looks like orange and yellow blobs circling the drain! I liked it better when the red of the platter showed through!

But I still think it will make a nice tray to hold fruit or hang on the wall.
Platter ungrouted

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Santa Barbara's First Thursday

Rodger Dawson and Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider

Santa Barbara's First Thursday was a big success! First I visited the office of our new mayor, Helen Schneider, where my dear friend and neighbor, Rodger Dawson, has one of his amazing photographs displayed. This is a photo of the front of City Hall that he has manipulated in Photoshop with a technique I've never seen done so well. His photos actually look like the most realistic paintings ever. I am super impressed with his work. Stop down at the mayor's office to see his work in person.

"Raj Mahal" and Julie at Gallery Ten-Twenty-Nine

And here I am at Gallery Ten-Twenty-Nine with my colorful mirrored mosaic "Raj Majal." Rodger's wife Gwen walked up State Street with me to see my mosaics. I must admit it is quite a thrill having my work on display.

Gallery Ten-Twenty-Nine can be reached from the parking lot behind, or by walking through Aldo's restaurant. The Artists of Step One have their very diverse artwork displayed there. Stop by and take a look!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sparkly Turtle

I'm beginning to see a pattern in my mosaic pieces. I like sparkly, shiny things. My friend and neighbor gave me this turtle many years ago, and he has been sitting in the garden ever since. But with his subdued colors, he wasn't very visible. So I decided to spice him up a bit.

I'm only halfway done, but I definitely like the bright, glittery look. He will now sparkle in the sunlight in the garden!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Biscotti on the Roof

Well, I know the title of this blog is Mosaic Adventures, but its secondary title is Kitty Adventures. So here is a picture of Biscotti waiting up on the roof for a squirrel who likes to run down the big tree. Many years ago I had this "landing" installed under the eaves so the cats would have a place to lounge. It's very popular with cats and birds alike...perhaps not the best idea for the birds.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Epiphyllums in the Garden

Wow! Epiphyllums put on such a show. Of all the ones I have, these are my favorite. The flowers are 9" across and a beautiful mix of pinks.

It's very easy to grow these epiphytic cacti species. They get by with very little water. In the wild they grow on trunks of trees or crevices in rocks. They can draw moisture from the air and they have very small roots. In nature, some epiphyllums have aerial roots that climb up the trees and anchor the plant.

The flowers can last from one day to several days, and they usually continue blooming with new flowers opening for several weeks.

Platter with a school of orange and yellow fish!

Can you tell there are fish on this platter? I bought this bowl a long, long time ago, and every time I looked it, I wanted to do something with it. Then I saw a design in a mosaic book that I thought could work.

I will try to grout it today, and I hope it becomes a little clearer that there are fish circling.