Monday, February 4, 2019

Jewelry With a Mystery History

With almost every waking moment devoted to painting walls this past week, I've had plenty of time to dream up new mosaic pendant designs while pushing a paint roller. Here's one of those ideas brought to life:

"Bejeweled" mosaic pendant     ©2019 Lynn Edwards




This pendant was created in part from a fragment taken from a vintage necklace I discovered in a Virginia Goodwill store. The rather elaborate necklace was broken and was being sold as part of a jewelry odd lot. The fragment I used forms the pendant's central motif. I've surrounded it with glass "pearls" to give it a Victorian look.



What I found quite interesting about it is the mysterious blue stones seen at the top and in the middle of the pendant. They're a beautiful, very unusual shade of blue - really impossible to describe. For a touch of whimsy I topped the large faceted glass "topaz" with a tiny decorative leaf, and gave the design a background of lustrous metallic copper. Set in a silver bezel, it fits right in with the current fashion trend of mixing different metals.

I think of this piece as being "bejeweled," something a queen might wear. Who knows? Perhaps that found necklace was once in the wardrobe of a lady of royal ancestry. It's fun to speculate, even if I'll never know its actual history.

To see more one of a kind pendants, visit my web site, http://www.lynnedwardsart.com.

Text and image ©2019 Lynn Edwards

Monday, January 28, 2019

Falling in Love

Help! I need an assistant..or maybe a long vacation. The past ten days have been madness.In a fit of stupidity I ordered a couple of three door wardrobes to replace a less-than- adequate dresser and a very small armoire. Only after placing the order did I remember that the bedroom they're to go in needed to be repainted before we could set up the wardrobes. Uh oh. So I made a mad dash to the paint store. Ever tried to repaint a bedroom with no way to remove the furniture from it because there's NO ROOM in the rest of the house? I can tell you, it's no fun. I've shoved, pulled and slid more furniture around  this past week than I have in my entire life. But oh, the heavenly new color of the walls has made all the grunting and pulled muscles almost worth it.

It's a Benjamin Moore color called Silver Cloud. The palest whisper of gray with a slightly bluish undertone, it's soft, serene and so calming it makes my blood pressure plummet just looking at it. It makes artwork placed on it look fantastic. It also has made such a difference in the appearance of that room as the light changes throughout the day; the pale green we used to have didn't look drab to me until I started brushing on the Silver Cloud. Suddenly those green walls looked lifeless and tired. They just sucked the life and light right out of the room.

What a treat now to see the bedroom flooded with light at all times of the day. It's so true that the colors around us affect our moods. I never thought I'd care for a room painted gray, but I'm in love with this gray. It's anything but gloomy. Maybe I'll just keep on painting until the whole house is ... whoops, there are too many tasks yet to be finished before I go nuts with the paint. Like setting those wardrobes into place, and filling them with all the clothes, shoes and other stuff we can't live without. Painting the trimwork. Hanging curtains and artwork. Getting rid of stuff. Etc. etc. etc. Silver Cloud.......oh, the possibilities!



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Up with Downsizing!

The Great Mosaic Opus -- a 19x40 inch tabletop with "tiles" made from hand painted heavy watercolor paper -- was finally finished after months of hand painting, cutting, fitting and gluing down what seemed like ten million paper tiles. (See my two previous posts for the actual how-to information.)

Now what? Where should my next creative exploration take me? Contemplating this question, I realized I didn't want to move on to some other medium. I wanted to continue working in mosaics, but I was not up for taking on another project as extensive as the table top.

The answer came when my friend Karen invited me to her house to see some pendants she had made. Mosaic pendants! I took one look at them and was smitten. I've made lots of jewelry, but I had never made anything like these little treasures. Glass tiles in rich hues gleamed, "popping" against the black grout, while an array of carefully placed beads and baubles completed her designs, all set into attractive bezels. I was itching to learn how to make them. When Karen generously offered to teach me her process, I jumped at it.

So my mosaic addiction has now shifted in scale, from large projects to small ones. This has allowed me even more freedom to indulge ... Immersion might describe it more accurately. It has become my obsession. I can't get enough of it.
Here are two pendants I've made recently. You can see others on my web site, www.lynnedwardsart.com





Text, images and pendant designs ©2019 Lynn Edwards

Saturday, December 8, 2018

More Mosaic Madness

It's done! My tabletop mosaic project is finally ready to be varnished! It has taken so much longer than I thought it would to get to this point -- it seems like I've been working on this thing for years. Our kitchen table has been off limits for eating meals for nearly two months. It has been serving as a staging area for the construction of the mosaic. My husband, the chef in our household, deserves a trophy for his patience at losing his kitchen table to an art project that seemingly had no end. Well, honey, you're just hours away from getting it back.

So here's the finished product:

The next step is locating trim that will match or be compatible with the existing trim on the coffee table. I'm pretty sure we can find something that will work. So a trip to one of the big box home improvement stores is on next week's agenda. Meanwhile, multiple coats of clear satin varnish will be applied, which will make this mosaic tabletop pretty much impervious to moisture and other hazards.

If I change my mind about using it on the coffee table for some reason, it can always double as a large piece of art for the area over the fireplace. But given the size of the piece, and the hours and hours and hours it took to create, if I do opt to replace it with a mosaic something else, that "something else" is going to be made with glass or ceramic tiles this time around. It could be made in a lot less time!

Text and image Copyright 2018 Lynn Edwards



Saturday, November 10, 2018

Mosaic Madness

Wow, time sure has flown by since my last post. The knee surgery I had in August was a life altering experience...I didn't recover from it nearly as quickly as I thought I would, and I was in a lot of pain right up until starting physical therapy last week. Hobbling up the slight incline between my house and the studio was too painful to attempt most days. But if I'm not creating something, I go stir crazy. So I looked around for an art project I could do here at the house, and came up with the idea to create a mosaic top for my coffee table. Here's a peek at what is still very much a work in progress:


The mosaic pieces aren't affixed directly to the coffee table; I hedged my bets and used a piece of quarter inch MDF cut to the exact same dimensions of the coffee table top. I figured that if I didn't like the results, or wanted the option of changing out the design, using the MDF would allow me to do so if I skirted the MDF with pieces of trim that would hold it in place over the original table top. The photo above shows the 19x40" piece of MDF laying on our kitchen table, with approximately half of the tiles in place. 

 

They're not your usual mosaic tiles

My mosaic pieces aren't glass or ceramic tiles --- they're made from 300 lb. watercolor paper. Originally I thought I would use glass tiles, but the more I thought about the mess that grouting tiles produces, the less inclined I was to go that route. Ditto for using broken china. Painting my own "tiles" would not generate the sloppy mess that's inevitable when using grout. Instead I could use glue and apply it to the back of each tile with a brush. No muss, no fuss.

Unanticipated consequences

Well, that part proved to be true. But I hadn't reckoned on the incredibly tedious business of having to paint the edges of every single tile after it was cut and before it was glued into place. If I left the edges unpainted, the white of the watercolor paper would show and spoil the effect.

In the photo, note the gold-color tiles laid out on wax paper. They're in the process of having their edges painted. Totaling 90 in all, they will fill in the area encircling the round motif when finished. Then it's on to the next part of the design, then another and another until it's finally done -- which I figure ought to be around this same time next year, at the rate I'm going. (Just kidding.)

The process

You wouldn't think this process would be so time consuming, but it is. Here's why: first you have to paint the watercolor paper, then cut out the individual tiles from it, fitting them into the design you've sketched out on your surface. This can take a fair amount of time in and of itself. Once each tile is the size and shape you want it, you have to paint the edges. Then you must lay all the loose tiles out in your chosen design, outline each individual tile with a fine lead mechanical pencil, and number its position on both the MDF and on the back of the corresponding tile.

After you've laid all the tiles out so that there are no overlaps and have made sure everything is in its proper place, then you apply glue and tweezer each tile into position. A word of caution: if you're hyper-impatient, take up some other activity or you'll go stark raving mad working on a project of this size. The mind numbing tedium of painting and positioning several hundred paper tiles won't do a thing for your disposition. But if you have the patience and willpower to stick with it, you'll have something unique and remarkable in the end. If you want to explore paper mosaics further, obtain a copy of Perfect Paper Mosaics by Susan Seymour. This book was the inspiration for my coffee table top, and is full of great advice and how-to info.

Text and image ©2018 Lynn Edwards

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Time Out!

Why is it so difficult for artists to take an honest-to-goodness day off? I'm not talking about knocking off studio work for an afternoon, but rather not going near the studio for an entire day. Nor am I talking about using said "time off" to catch up on reading art magazines, or updating one's web site portfolio. Nope, I'm referring to treating oneself to an entire day of indolence -- maybe lolling on the sofa watching TV, or parking ourselves in a rocking chair and reading a good novel.

Maybe it's because many of us can't imagine spending an entire day without doing something artsy. That's how I feel, and from what several artist friends tell me, they do too. It might be an activity as simple as making a greeting card with leftover paper scraps and a glue stick. Or idly doodling in the margins of the morning newspaper. The creative impulse never wants to take a vacation, it would seem. Problem is, we need down time just as much as any one else to keep our imagination stoked. A "rest break" usually results in a rush of new ideas to pursue. An overworked mind is not productive, it's just tired. It needs a break as much as our bodies do. That old saying, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," is certainly true. No one will label us slackers if we gift ourselves with a day of doing nothing. Still need validation? Then consider this: even God took the seventh day off!

©2018 Lynn Edwards 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Artist Tip: Super Easy Brush Cleanup

Sometimes we can't always clean our brushes immediately after painting with acrylics. Here's how to make cleanup much easier when you do get around to it: add a small amount of Murphy Oil Soap*to the water you're resting your brushes in. (A teaspoon should do it.) You'll find the paint washes out of the bristles more readily, making cleanup go much faster.

*I'm in no way connected to the makers of this product and receive no compensation from them. They don't even know I exist.  Murphy's happens to be the best brush cleaner I have ever come across, and is indispensable in my studio .