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.
When I paint or work with glass, I begin with simple line drawings, known as gesture drawings. These are continuous, fast line drawings, pen never leaving the paper. Whether it is a thought, an expression, a memory or a live study, it is important to express a sense of movement and rhythm. An example of the quick gestures or scribbles, if you like, are the initial drawings that I made of bikers on the bike path in Lincoln Park.They were the initial studies for a new series of paintings that I started over a year ago, called At Play in the City. I am back at work on the series.
The concept of gesture drawing and its importance to creating a piece of art, is best described by Kimon Nicolaides in his book, The Natural Way to Draw. He writes: “You should draw, not what the thing looks like, not even what it is, but what it is doing. Feel how the figure lifts or droops, pushes forward here, pulls back there, pushes out here and drops down easily there.”