I'm on the Birds of Texas group on Facebook. This photo, which I have cropped on the left and added lines, was taken by a gentleman named Ed Ferrin in Galveston, Texas. I love herons. We get them around here but I haven't taken any picture as lovely as this. I wanted to see whether I could possibly create a two-part mosaic with a top panel and a bottom panel (the reflection).
Based on what I've learned from previous mosaics, I am doing the real heron in opaque glass and everything else will be transparent stained glass. I spent a lot of time cutting up tesserae and sorting them into little containers. I have every color and shape I may need, though I am sure I will need to cut more before I'm even finished with the first part.
I like making my mosaic on mirrors. It provides a simple, solid background that reflects light. But unlike clear glass, I cannot just put my pattern underneath the glass. However, I still have overhead markers leftover from teaching so I made a grid and sketched out the heron.
I tried to follow the direction of the feathers in placing the tesserae, but I couldn't do it every time. The different shades of grey of the wing, back and upper legs are all from the same piece of stained glass.
The only translucent glass on the heron is in front of the eye. I just didn't have an opaque yellow-white glass. That bit is from the same sheet of glass that provided the lower part of its bill.
I basically was able to get the variety of colors I needed and am satisfied with how the heron itself turned out. But in many ways, that was the easy part. The water... the water is more free because I am not trying to be just like the original photo, but that means it can also go wrong and ruin the piece. But I began....
Admittedly I am trying to take color cues from the photo. The water is more green glass on the right with highlights of grey and blue, while on the left it is more grey with highlights of green and blue.
I took my project outside to get better light; you can see the colors better here. Sometimes I think you can see that I am making wave patterns, but other times it looks messy to me. The larger of the two yellow sections on the left will probably be removed. I think it's too much. My intention will be working in more blue as it moves up, with some yellow highlights, but I think the yellow will need to be used sparingly.
I am concerned that there isn't enough color contrast and the heron will be washed out like my painted bunting. However, I am hoping that if I hang my mosaic where there is good light, the contrast between transparent and opaque will be enough. I want that sparkling, coruscating effect that is difficult to capture in a photo. But maybe... maybe this glass will do it.
And yes, I have thought of not totally filling in the mirror. I could do that. And I probably will make some like that in the future. It would certainly be easier and faster. Not to mention potentially profitable. I can tell you that filling in this whole mirror is slow and tedious. Well, maybe not truly tedious because I do find it relaxing. But I'm betting I have at least a couple more weeks minimum to finish filling this in.
I am going to grout. I walk past the blue flower mosaic every day and like the look of the grouted yellow/gold glass. Maybe one day I will play with resin. But for now, I want to feel connected to my Roman/Greek ancestors. (I am half Greek; I feel half Pompeian, but I'm not sure that counts.)
Stay tuned for the finished project.