Thursday, October 15, 2009

Shading Grout in a Mosaic

A couple weeks ago I finished a project that was quite a while in the making. (Click "bird" in the label cloud <== to see other WIP posts on this mosaic.)

A portrait of a fearless Egret who visited breakfast diners while we were on vacation two years ago- titled "Curious Neighbor".

He is pretty big, 13.5" x 27", at least for me since I often work with small pieces. So many decisions went into the making of this piece but for this post I'm focusing on my grout decisions- and some how to. (To share the info and so I remember myself :)

Sometimes grout can be used to add contrast to a section to bring the eye to that area but for this piece I decided to use the grout to further blend the colors. It also then added to the soft, calm, natural feeling I was going for.

(Though I did include one area of high grout contrast in the mosaiced pot. The egret is directly from my own photograph but the background is a compilation from other photos. The pot was included as a bit of 'man-made', along with the deck, in an otherwise very natural setting. So I added grout contrast here to contrast with the soft grout of the natural areas.)

For the rest of the mosaic I chose grout colors to blend the areas. And for the egret himself I used white, warm grey and a blend of half white and half warm grey. Blending the grout kept the softness of the shading on the bird feathers.

For the sand area I also used a graduated series of grouts from canvas through a light mocha- and I photographed the steps! :

First, have plenty of masking tape on hand!

The bird has already been grouted and the tape keeps the bird's grout nice and clean. The geranium plant leaves were grouted in mallard green so they need to be covered as well. I use small bits of tape and very carefully cover just the existing grout so I don't end up with gaps in the joint with the new color.

Click on any picture to see a large version.

Small plastic cups and Popsicle sticks are wonderful for mixing small batches of grout. The left cup is straight 'canvas' color and the right cup is 1/4 canvas 3/4 mocha. The center four cups are graduated amounts of the two colors. Add water slowly when mixing so too much water is not added.

Kind of like playing in the mud!
I started with the canvas color and put that on the lightest sand area then worked my way down. Where I changed color I 'smooshed' the two colors around a bit to further blend as I worked it into the grout spaces. Around the flowers I used a slightly deeper color for more contrast. I actually did not use the darkest blend after all.

In this last picture, much cleanup later, the grout is not fully dried and the variations show a bit more.


"Curious Neighbor" is in my personal collection. 
A print is available on my page at Fine Art America:

All available mosaic art:

I create original design silver jewelry too!!


Christine Burgess said...

Wow! You have put a lot of work into that cute little guy. I love the shading and think it makes a world of difference.

Linda Smith said...

Thank you Chris!

Paladina said...

Tremendous work! Very much it was pleasant. Thanks for given pleasure

Jeffz said...

Wow!! never that before, thanks for sharing! I need to play with multicolor grouting more, brilliant!

cconz said...

Wow!! What a beautiful work of art!! I remember Clicking on to your blog when you 1st started this project. Congrats on a job well done.