Day 3 of 5 Art Challenge

This is Day #3 of a 5 Day Art Challenge in which I have been asked to post 3 works of my own art.  These are older pieces.

This first piece was my interpretation of Calder’s Fish Mobile.  It was very difficult to make and the photo isn’t good…but this is the best I can do.  It was made of found beach glass, recycled jewelry, heavy-gauge wire and thin, silver wire.  The tail was painted yellow, but it’s difficult to see in the photo.


This next piece is a commissioned mixed media painting of a Jizo (sort of the Buddhist patron saint of travelers and pets) (but not exactly).  This one has gold leaf, acrylic paint and various imported papers and jewels on a wood panel.  Many of the details are etched into the wood using a wood burning tool.


This tutu mosaic is called, “Tutu Degas”.  I collaged images onto the substrate and silver leaf and stamping, then covered the piece with clear glass with iridescent glass and millefiori trim.  The piece is lying on one of my mosaic tables (background) which is not a part of this piece.  I sold this at an exhibit in California a few years ago.


Ready to Grout!

I finished sticking the tesserae onto my mosaic guitar last night. It is now ready for grout.  I am still contemplating colors.  Thinking of either doing a multi-colored, bright grout or charcoal gray.  Will have to think about it for awile….but I think I’ll probably go with the dark gray.

The front:


And the back:

pregrout guitar back

After the piece is grouted, I will be listing it on Etsy.  Will post a notice here.


One of the reasons we went for our walk together yesterday, was because I have been having difficulty coming up with a design for my Doctors Without Borders mosaic.  With only 5 weeks left in which to complete it, I have been looking for inspiration everywhere.  With all of the flowers and butterflies and beautiful things that I saw yesterday, I believe I have come up with the perfect design:


I enjoy the fact that this design is built on a circle rather than a more traditional butterfly shape.  I like it that it has straight lines mixed with curved ones.  This lends a sense of grace to the overall design.  Yes, I think this, or some variation of this, will be my design.  John has promised to cut a piece of Wedi-backer board for me today or tomorrow so I can get the design laid down and get started.  My glass cutting skills are a little rusty, but I plan to make most of this piece from glass.  Haven’t decided on a background yet….maybe smalti….maybe tile.  Will have to wait and see how it goes. I want to make this large enough for the wings to go outside of the borders of the piece so that it only shows a portion of the butterfly.

In other news, I have decided to paint the kitchen.   I painted it a deep, dusty blue a few years ago, which looks great with the white cabinets, but  have been longing for something lighter and brighter, so am going to lighten it back up to white and put in a smoky gray/green glass back splash.  I have a lot of company coming this summer, so need to hop to it.  I want to do some kind of mosaic work over the stove….but we shall see…..

I love having all of these projects, and it feels great to complete each one.

Doctors Without Borders Auction ….again

lv john

My husband is leaving this morning for the Theater Communications Group convention in San Diego.  This is a huge deal for John, who has been working diligently on his 4th play , and who has many irons in the fire in terms of networking and production. I am feeling anxious, as his heart has been giving him problems lately.  His coloring is bad.  He is short of breath, and I’m worried…but far be it from me to ask him to refrain from doing what he loves to do.  I’m happy that he is happy.    He leaves with high hopes, while I have full confidence that he will come home with either a deal, or firm leads toward a production deal.  The reviews of his work have been quite promising, thus far….so we’ll see….

kim butterfly

So, apart from cleaning our home from top to bottom in preparation for the arrival of a guest,  I was thinking that I should plan to get down to my studio and start to work on some of the guitar installation that I want to do.  However, when my friend, Kim Larson, posted the  picture (above) of the beautiful mosaic that she created for the 2014 Doctors Without Borders auction, I felt a wee twang of …I don’t know….something…over having been left out this year.  I wrote to Lin Schorr, the woman that coordinates the event and asked, “Has my past work not been up to par?”  Why wasn’t I asked to participate this year?


I have been so busy, and this is the first extended break from school that I’ve had since I started my masters program. I have literally been working from 10-18 hours a day on some days.  Really working HARD, between work and school.  Now that I have a break,   I really want a constructive project that I can sink my teeth into.  She wrote back to tell me that, of course, I wasn’t left out!  I AM on the list and my piece is due on August 1!  So now I’m in panic mode.  As soon as I get back from driving John to the airport, I shall begin to design something.  These pieces are small…only 10″ x 10″ and this year, we can do whatever we want…so I might do a 3-d object, or I might just stick with a flat piece.  We’ll see.  I am very happy about the prospect of again creating something that will benefit others in a charity auction.   This is how I roll.  When I experience something stressful, as I am experiencing at this time in my life for a number of reasons, the best way to handle it is to do something for someone else.  Since Kim did a butterfly, I don’t think I’ll make one of my own butterflies.  (below)  Mine pale in comparison….not that it is a competition, but I think I should come up with a different design.

flutterbyFor those that aren’t familiar, Doctors Without Borders delivers independent emergency medical care to victims of armed conflict.  They administer relief in the aftermath of natural or man-made disasters and they fight deadly epidemics in over 70 countries around the world.  Whenever I start to become self-absorbed over some problem that is occurring in my life, I consider those who have it much worse than I do…and I reach out to help.  It is a humbling experience, something that makes me feel proud.

Lin Schorr has coordinated a large group of international artists that create and donate our work that will be shown at the Northville Art House, 215 W. Cody in Northville, Mi.  from November 7 – December 6.  There is also an online auction at where our pieces will be auctioned off during the last two weeks of the exhibit.

I am so proud to be a part of this project and to have been a part of other projects that Lin has put together for charity.  I find that when I am going through stressful times (as I am right now), doing something for someone less fortunate always gets me back on track.

So now…it’s off to the airport….then back to the drawing board!  I’ll have to come up with something cool and unique this year.  I’m ready.



Mosaic Guitar Tutorial – Part 4


René Best guitarist

A note before we begin.  This is part 4 of a mosaic guitar tutorial.   You need to search for the other 3 parts.  Sorry, but the way WordPress is set up, I’m going to have to do some adjusting once this is all over.  My plan is to carefully edit these tutorials and to put them in order and upload them to my art website….so what you are seeing in this blog is a very rough draft of the final product.  When we left off, we had sanded and sealed the guitar, marked it up with a design idea, and now, we’re ready to stick some glass!

The ‘Ol Glue Trick


In order to achieve a nice, smooth, professional-looking edge, one should mosaic the sides of the guitar first. It is so tempting to want to get to the fun part….namely, the front and back, but no.

I discovered this trick awhile ago, and it works very well for sticking tesserae to curvaceous surfaces.  I use Weldbond glue, and it can be a little runny.  Couple that with gravity and one’s tile and slip and slide around.    I simply squeeze a portion of glue into a container and allow it to be exposed to the air for about 20 minutes before working with it.  This will cause it to be more tacky.  Butter the actual guitar with the glue and stick the tiles into it rather than butter the back of each tile.  You will have a little time to work with it to make adjustments.  Just butter a small area at a time.

I have chosen to use 3/4″ mirror tiles for the sides.  You can buy these pre-cut or cut them yourself, whatever you’re more comfortable with, and by no means, do you have to use perfect shapes.  You can stick random shapes, use glass, tile…whatever you want.  I’m going to be using all kinds of things on this guitar, but for the sides, I’m going to use mirror tile just for the reflective qualities and the look that I want to achieve in the end.  You can use tile, metal….whatever you want.

 guitar close side

Every once in awhile, I’ll stick either a textured mirror tile or a colored tile in to break the monotony of the surface.  This really does add interest after the piece has been grouted.  I do not care for perfectly aligned rows and perfect tiles.  A machine can do that.    I use wheeled nippers to cut the tiles into the sizes that work best.

guitar2 wheeled nippers

Simply continue to cover the sides all around, working up to the neck of the guitar.


guitar3 view of side from front

Next time, we will talk about the fretboard and the back of the guitar’s neck.


last guitar picture