After I am finished working on the stained glass panels, I am left with buckets and trays of scrap glass that are hard to rework into a new panel. The scrap pieces are large or small and have odd shapes. They are still good and usable. And I felt it would be a damn shame to toss them, a waste of money and time. They have value and a wonderful look.
This has led me to mosaics, painting with glass, a craft and a fine art form. Rather than fuss around with an instruction book or take a craft class, I enrolled into classes at the Chicago Mosaic School, a major center for mosaic arts in the United States. Aside from its professional staff, the school hosts influential, international mosaic artists who teach aspiring artists in special workshops.
First steps are ragged as I am learning the craft but, I believe, promising. Below a sample of the my first attempts at mosaics.
Chicago has been in the grips of an Arctic winter, 20 days, now, the temperature has dipped below zero with wind chills that are too painful to record. To those of us, living in the Chicago area, this is not news, just a frigid reality.
However today, the sunlight playing off the stain glass in my studio tricks me, creating a warm atmosphere. I forget about the cold. But then, I go outside (dog duty, errands, etc.) and the cold reality hits.
The statement, “Black is a Color” was the title for a Matisse exhibit held by the M Maeght Gallery in Paris, 1946. Matiisse’s comments on black and his use of black in his paintings caused me to rethink the way in which I use black in my paintings.
I have primarily used black in my paintings to develop a line into a continuous flowing line, to create a sense of movement and rhythm. The image below, Verse Floating Free, is an example. I never thought of black as a color other than depicting and shaping a line.
With Matisse’s remarks in mind, I began to experiment with black in my figurative series, as a color and an object. First, I did several quick sketches of nudes leaning or reclining into an empty space with no visible means of support.
Then I worked an several washes, filling in the background and began to introduce black as a color and a support for the reclining nude.
The final paintings take shape with the black being a strong color, an object and a support.
I believe that being willing to experiment is essential to the makeup of an artist. If unwilling to experiment, the artist and the art becomes repetitive and flat.