MosaicBlues: March 2015 .entry-content { font-size:25px !important; }

Saturday, March 28, 2015

ROBERT LISAC, Mosaic Artist - Interview

Meet the very talented Robert Lisac, Mosaicist from Slovenia...

I am not sure exactly when I first met you Robert Lisac. I remember seeing one of your mosaics on Pinterest. A portrait of King George, the older Australian Aborigene depicted in the movie Australia, also featuring Nicole Kidman.

I found this portrait very powerful, and felt compelled to contact you. We started to exchange through emails and instant messages, and realized we had things in common beside mosaics, Martial Arts, and the practice of several languages being some of them. Today, I would like to ask you a few questions about your Art, and share them with mosaic aficionados of the world !

1 - Robert, you live in Slovenia. You make and teach mosaics there. Your portfolio includes a variety of styles, and I would like to speak about several of them.  I first met you through this King George Portrait. King George is a man who lives in harmony with nature. He does not submit nature to his will, but pulls his resilience from nature. I feel a strong current of Life Energy in your mosaics. Where do you get this strength ?

Frederic, maybe this strength is coming from just trusting my own intuition. I just wanted to make this mosaic portrait, because I just admired the whole story King George represents. OK, I’m really strong in making portraits, but personally I really like the more intuitive process of making mosaics and in this case it was a combination of both aspects, making a mosaic portrait in a very intuitive way. Normally I never make portraits in that way. 

2 - One other amazing project you have been involved with is a monumental mosaic Dragon in Brac. A community project. Can you tell us more about this, how did you get involved with this project, how big is the Dragon, how many people were involved, when will it be complete ? I understand there is a stone circle beside the site of the Dragon, are these prehistoric remains ?

This is for sure one of my most favourite mosaic projects. Actually it is a dragon lady and she is 8 m long. The dragon lady isn’t finished yet. About half of the dragon is covered already with ceramic tiles and at the end of April we have to cover the rest. It is a volunteer project, nobody gets paid for anything and we are just there, because we love to be creative and without an amazing team of enthusiasts who helped me a loooot, this project would still be just an idea.

We built that dragon on Brač island on the Geaviva site ( and the owner of this site is Sabine Engelhardt and it was her idea to make the dragon, because the history of Brač is closely connected to dragons. There is even a dragon cave on the island and you should really visit it, because also the guide who makes the whole tour is really great!

After a few days of making the dragon it turned out, that it had a lot of female energy, so from then on it’s a lady. You can see more pictures of the whole process here :

The stone circle is actually a geomantic structure, because Sabine is practising geomancy and is giving also workshops on this topic. Geomancy is like feng shui, but the approach is more Western orientated and much more practical. Today the stone circle serves as a place for geomancy workshops, dancing workshops, permaculture workshops and of course for meditation.I think, that Sabine created something really great !

I have to say, that also Ilonka Vukaš a croatian mosaic artist, who lives in Germany helped a lot in the second phase to cover the dragon lady with ceramic tiles. You see, it’s a project where everyone is welcome and if anyone is interested to participate in this project to finish the dragon on 25, 26 and 27 of April, you are kindly invited to do so, but please contact Sabine :

3 - For the past year or so, you have become more and more involved in Mikromosaics. I even remember reading a post of yours explaining how you made your own ceramic micro tesserae. This is a fascinating aspect of your work. Not only do you make mosaics, you also make the ceramic you use to make your mosaics ! Can you tell us more about making your own mosaic material ?

I wish I could answer this question in a short way, because there is so much to say about this topic. The main reason why I make a lot of my mosaic materials by myself is that if I want to buy it, it’s just to expensive and very often I don’t even like the materials, because they are not unique and therefore the mosaic is looking like very other mosaic. So, I found out, the more I’m involved in making my own tesserae, the more soul the whole mosaic has. Of course this is my opinion and it has not to be true for other mosaic artists. So I started to experiment with it a lot, I was even pit firing my tesserae and these were experiments, some went wrong, but the result was actually always positive, because I learned a lot. Here are more about pit firing clay tesserae :

4 - Back to the Micromosaics. It is a mosaic form I do not know much about. Many artists around the world make micromosaiks. Can you tell us a little more about this style of mosaic and why you have been attracted to it.

There are several reasons why I like to make micro mosaics at the moment. 

1. With the birth of my daughter a lot of things changed and I found out, if I wanted to stay creative I had to use the small amount of time whenever I could to work a little bit on my mosaics and micro mosaics are perfect to do just that. All you have to do is taking a box out of the drawer and then you can just start. With « normal » mosaics it’s not that easy. 

Timelines, 10 x 10 cm (4 x 4")

2. I’m some kind of minimalist working on a such small level is much closer to a green living philosophy, than big making mosaics from artificial materials.

Windows of opportunities, 10 x 10 cm (4 x 4") - Sold

3. I just love it, although it’s a sadomasochistic process...

5 - You also have experimented with Pebble mosaics. I even remember an interview you made of a great Pebble mosaic artist.  Some of the first Greek mosaics we have are located in Pella, in Macedonia. They were made of tiny pebbles. Do you harvest them yourself on a beach or on a river bank, or do you purchase them ?

As I told before, the more I’m involved in the process of making my own materials, the better the result. So, I avoid buying pebbles, because there are everywhere and this is why I’m not a normal tourist, when I’m somewhere at a river or on a beach with beautiful pebbles. That’s why I’m always looking down instead of looking around ;-).

Let the sun shine on me 10 x 10 cm (4 x 4")

6 - Your work is definitely and vibrantly  modern, and yet, mosaics are one of the earliest form of Art we have from our prehistoric ancestors. When you create one of your mosaics, you repeat the same moves our Roman ancestors were using to create theirs. Is that a part of your inspiration ?

You made a good point here. Yes, of course I like the idea, that mosaic artists were making the same things in their own way as I do today. But for me personally I do more like the crazy paving style, because it’s more dynamic. Can you imagine King George done in a Greek or Roman way ? I can’t, but I do respect these classical styles a lot, because they started the whole thing.

7 - It seems that like me you believe an artist should be involved in teaching art, and helping people realize they too can, and should be creative, I understand you give classes and seminars. Can you tell us more about these ?

Bruce Lee once said : "Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own". This is how I was teaching martial arts and this is how I teach making mosaics. I try to give them what my students need, I try to help them to discover their style right from the beginning, because I believe that mosaics should serve to the people and not the opposite way. That’s why it’s much more important, if they learn to express themselves, the more they will express themselves, the better also the technique will be. My goal is to give workshops also in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and everywhere else where they speak English, because the Slovene market is so small and I enjoy travelling, teaching and of course meeting other mosaic enthusiasts.

8 - Beside the fact that it stands on the beautiful Adriatic sea, I do not know much about your country.  Your main Website is written in Slovenian language. You have sites in English and German on the net. Do you sell lots of your work outside of Slovenia ? Are there Galleries in Europe where people could see your work ? Please give us the links to these places where we can meet you on the net ?

Frederic, you have to come to sLOVEnia, we have beautiful mountains, the sea, caves and tons of cool pebbles ;-) and of course good wine and beer.

Contact Robert Lisac:

My Slovene homepage is :
My German homepage is

  Please feel free to contact me, even if you are not speaking Slovene or German, I know some English as you see and if you have any question or comment, please let me know.

My email address is : .

And of course you can also join my FB fanpages : or .


Frederic, thank you so much for this interview and this great opportunity. 

I am a French Mosaicist established in Alabama, USA. I blog about all things mosaic ! If you enjoyed this interview of Robert be sure that by subscribing to my:

you will learn a lot more about mosaics, ancient and modern, techniques, stories, legends and archaeology...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Carlotta - Part deux

3 weeks ago I posted in Digital Drawing of a Mosaic Portrait about the first stages of the design of an actual mosaic portrait.

From an original picture I designed a coloured and a black and white drawing of my mosaic.

Carlotta - Polarized.

From that picture came a black and white one later to be used to print the actual model.

So far, most of the work had been realized through computer.

As I intend to build this piece in a classical roman style, I added around our young friend a double meander frame.

Carlotta ready to print.

I still had to define the colours for the unglazed ceramic tiles on the colour picture itself.

And on a Chart going with it. These are unglazed ceramic tiles.

And finally also had to define the colours of the glass tiles for the double meanders, which I did based on colours used on various actual Roman mosaics.

Lod (Israel)  - Detail of a panel border.

After all these definition work it was time to decide which actual tiles I would employ. This is going to be my first portrait made of unglazed ceramic only, and I have had to find tesserae of  21 different colours. Having accumulated ceramic tesserae from several trips to Europe, I found in the workshop all that I needed. 

On March 15, I lined up the containers of tesserae around Carlotta's model, on the working table where I will build her ! 

This is the actual support onto which I will build the mosaic itself. I will use the reverse method and you can see it is the mirror image of the original picture...

In a next post I will show you the actual building of this reverse method mosaic. Make sure you receive it in your mailbox : please subscribe to my Mosaicblues Newsletter where I also share with you news about Materials, Techniques and Sources of Inspiration of modern and antique (Specially Greeks and Romans) Mosaic Artists and Patrons !

I am a French Mosaic Artist. I usually live and work with my 2 dogs, 2 cats and 10 chickens in Headland, Alabama, USA but I have a second studio in Saint Valery sur Somme, France. You can see more of my mosaics on my mosaicblues page.

If you would like to discuss or commission a portrait mosaic, or any other type of mosaic, please call me at (334) 798 1639 or drop me an email at

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Mosaics of the Bardo Museum

I have been several times to Tunisia and was always well received by friendly people. 

Yesterday, this country was hit by ignorant murderers sponsored by haters of individual freedom seeking to bring the world back into the dark ages and my heart bleeds with Tunisia, like it did with France 2 month ago.

The Pakistani talibans who shot Malala - a defensor of education for young women - and the terrorists who attacked the Bardo National Museum - a place to preserve and promote a culture dating back way before the Prophet they claim and betray was born - share a common hatred of education, for it is the only safe way to make sure average citizens do not get abused by powerful commercial, political or religious groups.

Today I would simply like to share with you a few of the wonderful mosaics - attesting of the magnificent Culture of ancient Tunisia - displayed at this Bardo Museum.

Ulysses and the Sirens.

Floor Mosaic

Virgil and his muses Clio and Melpomene.

A lion and four millet stems

I am a modern mosaic artist. I admire ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine Arts and my own mosaics are often inspired by the work of ancient masters. You can visit my site at mosaicblues.  If you are interested by my works, or would like to drop me a line please contact me by email at or by phone at (334) 798 1639.

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Surrounding the blood of the 
victims the crowd lays down 
flowers and candles 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Gatto alla Byzantina

Every once in a while, you fall upon a remarkable piece of mosaic. I found that one on Twitter (you can follow me there @fredericlecut)


I am no cat lover - I just have two useless cats at home - but I really thought this one is absolutely gorgeous, I love the style, the colours, the jewellery...

Just plain absolutely amazing.

and then somehow I could not but think I had seen this cat somewhere before... And there she was again Theodora,  the Empress and wife of Emperor Justinian

And I must say, I still love this cat. I think he is fun, beautiful, he really is an homage to the great Empress.

How about you ? Drop me a line, let me know if you like this cat as much as I do ! 

I am a modern mosaic artist. I admire ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine Arts and my mosaics are often inspired by the work of ancient masters. You can visit my site at mosaicblues  If you are interested by my works, (I can make this cat for you!) or would like to drop me a line please contact me by email at or by phone at (334) 798 1639.

You may also want to

in which I keep you informed of my work, techniques, history and archaeology of mosaics.
(no Spam... lucky you !)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spring Mosaic Workshops - Part I

I will be leading 2 Mosaic workshops at the Wiregrass Museum of Art this coming Friday, March 27. The theme of these workshop will be the Solomon Knot, an ancient pattern often met and used in traditional Roman mosaic. 
Aquileia Basilica, Italy.

Classes will be: 
9 am - 11 am : Kids Class: ages 7 to 13 (children must be accompanied by an adult). Class limited to 15 children.
Each kid will realize a 6 x 6" Solomon knot mosaic according to one of the two patterns below (There will be 7 kits of one pattern and 8 of the other pattern)
6 x 6" Solomon knot - Pattern #1
6 x 6" Solomon knot - Pattern #2

1 pm - 4 pm : Teen & Adult Class: ages 14 – adult. 

Class limited to 10 students, Each student will realize a 10 x 10" Solomon knot mosaic according to one of two patterns (There will be 5 kits of each pattern)
10 x 10" Solomon knot - Pattern #1

10 x 10" Solomon knot - Pattern #2

Pieces will be ready for pick up from the Museum on Saturday afternoon.

For Information and Registration, please contact the Wiregrass Museum of Art (334)-794-3871

I am a modern mosaic artist inspired by the Arts of Classical Rome and French and Italian Renaissance. I design and realize my mosaics in Headland, Alabama, and St Valery sur Somme, France. I hope this kind of action can help young people realize they too can be creative and that art is not some far away thing, only accessible in Museums but that they too can be artists and enjoy it.

If you enjoyed this post, please Subscribe to my Newsletter to get the last news about Classes, Materials, Techniques and Sources of Inspiration of modern and antique Mosaic Artists and Patrons !


You can also see more of my work at

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Watercolor translation - Mosaic Collage

One great thing about mosaic, you meet some nice and very creative people. I was contacted early this month by Jenni Mc Guire, who started creating mosaics in 1998. 

Jenni and I work in different ways. When I spend lots of time designing and creating a model before I cut any tessera (see my last post "Digital drawing of a Mosaic Portrait")  Jenni lets the mosaic create itself from the beginning. This is a little bit like a musician sometimes lets the music flow through them. Of course, this only can happen if you have a serious mastery of your instrument. 

Jenni has developed a very interesting mosaic technique that allows just that, she called it "Watercolor Translation".  Her friend Dodie Johnston, a writer and mosaic artist, interviewed Jenni last month about it, to help promote this technique, and Jenni allowed me to be the first to publish it ! 

I will now let you enjoy the
Dodie Johnston’s interview 
with Jenni McGuire

Dodie: I’m curious about this new mosaic technique you developed that you call Watercolor Translation. What can you tell me about it?

Jenni: Watercolor Translation is a blending of multiple art genres – watercolor painting, mosaic, and music. That’s kind of an unlikely hybrid, but one that’s very rich. It’s an abstract technique that focuses on the process, not the outcome, which can be freeing. So often in art, people are focused on the finished product, what something will look like or what kind of statement will be made. Watercolor Translation takes the emphasis off of outcome, and allows the artist to access their own inner landscape. Hopefully , they will enjoy the journey and end up with a beautiful piece in the end, but without the preoccupation about production.

Lacuna, Ceramic and glass

Dodie: How did you come up with this?

Jenni: People often ask me where I get my ideas for my mosaic pieces . Which is kind of an odd question -- where does anybody get their creative ideas?… Maybe they ask because they find my work odd. (laughs) When I thought more about that, I realized there are some influences on my work that aren’t obvious. One of the most powerful is music. I listen to music most of the time while I’m working in my mosaic studio. Not just a boom box radio on in the background, but full, good quality sound, thanks to my husband, Mark, who designed and built these great speakers, EQed the room, and made the sound in the studio an integral part of what happens there. I realized that music influences the very fabric of my art work.
As you know, I play the fiddle and in the contemporary music world there is a tremendous amount of blending and borrowing from various traditions, which creates these amazing hybrids of composition. So bringing the cross-pollinating I’ve experienced in music to my mosaic work was a natural evolution.
I love playing with contrasts—liquid/solid – hard tiles depicting a melting popsicle, straight edges arranged as flowing water, solid made to look squishy, that sort of thing. 

Hot Day - by Jenni Mc Guire

So I played around with a painting technique I learned at Findhorn in Scotland many years ago, primal painting, which involves abstract painting to music. Then set about “translating” that to my familiar world of mosaic. It was fascinating to take the flowing, fluid medium of watercolor, and see what hard, straight-edged tiles could do with it. The results have been fascinating-- quite beautiful, and I’ve even used the method with 3D surfaces.

Dodie: Do you teach this technique in your classes?

Jenni: I’ve taught mostly mosaic sculpture classes, but I’ve been teaching more and more Watercolor Translation workshops too. The facility must have the right audio equipment because full, rich sound is an integral part of the experience. Living with a sound engineer ruined me for being able to hear music on crummy systems. It makes a huge difference! Good sound defines one’s experience much more than most people realize. Noticing this is both a blessing and a curse.

The music in the WT process is deliberately instrumental and non-cognitive. You’re not thinking about the meaning of lyrics, nor associating with anything in particular, you’re just feeling the flow of it. It also touches on different temperaments so different areas of your creative sources are stimulated. It’s very powerful!

Dodie: Can beginners do your workshop, or is it more for experienced artists?

Jenni: Both! I’ve had rank beginners and experienced artists all in the same class. Mosaic in general seems somehow less intimidating than other art mediums. I often have people in classes who’ve experienced what I call “art trauma”. You know, they were at one time told they are not artistic, or internalized that their sister was the artist in the family, or felt if they didn’t paint like Rembrandt right out the gate, they were hopeless. WT sidesteps all that, letting people explore color, then form, in a non-intimidating way. It lets you question your own internal rules, because you’ve removed the focus on all the “shoulds”. For example, when you get to the tiling/translating part, if you come across a bit that you painted yellow, and you don’t feel like putting yellow tiles there, put something else! You get to decide what works best for you. I’m certainly not going to tell you not to put blue there instead, but you get to ponder it. People begin to notice where they restrict themselves, where they can let go more.

Dodie: Do you use any particular materials?

Jenni: I use a mix of ceramic and glass – all kinds of different tesserae - tile, dishes, vitreous, stained glass, smalti. I like to integrate a lot of texture with color. For classes, I provide a great variety of materials, but I also have students bring supplies to share, like a big potluck. That creates a sense of abundance and sharing, and gives everyone that much more to choose from.

Dodie: What kind of feedback have you gotten from students?

Jenni: Really positive feedback, which is great. I love being able to share a process that has meant a lot to me, and love seeing what other people do with it. I’ve had people tell me the experience was quite transformative for them. Some have integrated the method into how they do mosaics in general. Others have found it freeing and everyone finds it just really fun. Most people are pretty satisfied with the outcome and the piece they created. The final “products”, though not a focus of the workshop, are compelling.

Regine's Roadkill Redemption 2013

Dodie: I want to try it!! When can we sign up for a class or a workshop?

Jenni: The next WT workshops I’m teaching are at the SAMA conference in Philadelphia on March 11th and 12th. They’re just one day – enough time to get a taste of the process. A full weekend is preferable, but you can get a lot out of just a day. After that, I’m still working on summer and fall scheduling. 

If people are interested, they can email me, ( and I’ll put them on my mailing list to let them know the next dates and places I’m teaching Watercolor Translation.

You can enjoy Jenni's great mosaics at

Hot Coils by Jenni McGuire

I am a French Mosaic Artist. I live and work with 2 Border Collie Puppies, 2 useless cats and many chickens in Alabama and sometimes I operate a second studio in France. You can see more of my mosaics on my mosaicblues page

If you would like to commission a mosaic, or simply discuss mosaics in general please call me at (334) 798 1639 or drop me an email at

You can also Subscribe to my Newsletter where I share with news about Materials, Techniques and Sources of Inspiration of modern and antique (Specially my beloved Greeks and Romans) Mosaic Artists and Patrons ! 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Digital drawing on a Mosaic Portrait

Before I can actually begin to make the mosaic itself I spend quite some time on the computer and drawing board. (There is also an actual hand drawing part that comes after the computer work). 

But today we will stick to the computer part. The main point of this post is to show you how the order in which you apply effects to a picture is having an impact on your end result.

Even when I make a colour portrait, I build my mosaic on top of a full scale Black and White printed model. There are 2 reasons for that : A colour print would be way too expensive, and I get a better definition in Black and White.

I use graphic softwares at the beginning of the process. Photoshop is too complicated for me, I either use Photo Deluxe, it is a very old ancestor of Photoshop, probably totally obsolete, but I know how to use it; or GIMP, the Linux version, which is to me of easier use than Photoshop. GIMP is also free! 

Here I started from an original picture of another talented young French musician.

I first applied a few filters to adjust colours and sharpness of the image. 

After that, I applied 2 more filters, of various intensities or levels, in a different orders.

The two effects I used were :
  • Colour to Black and White.   B&W
  • Posterization.   P

I used 2 levels of posterization :
  • 6 levels   P6
  • 7 levels   P7

So I ended up with 4 different images :
  • B&W > P6 : Colour > Black and White >  6 levels posterization.
  • B&W > P7 : Colour >  Black and White > 7 levels posterization.
  • P6 > B&W : Colour > 6 levels posterization >  Black and White.
  • P7 > B&W : Colour > 7 levels posterization >  Black and White.

Colour > Black and White

Colour > Black and White >  6 levels posterization.

B&W > P6

 Colour >  Black and White > 7 levels posterization.

B&W > P7

Colour > 6 levels Posterization : 


Colour > 6 levels Posterization > Black and White.

P6 > B&W

 Colour > 7 levels Posterization.


  Colour > 7 levels Posterization > Black and White.

P7 > B&W

I basically end up with 4 different Black and White images. 

I decided to use the images at 6 posterization levels.  The colour image to define the colours of my tiles, and the black and white one to actually draw the model.

More on this charming young lady and the progression of this project later !

I am a French Mosaic Artist. I live and work with my 2 dogs, 2 cats and many chickens in Alabama and have a second studio in France. You can see more of my mosaics on my mosaicblues page
If you would like to discuss or commission a portrait mosaic, or any other type of mosaic, please call me at (334) 798 1639 or drop me an email at

You can also Subscribe to my Newsletter where I share with you the last news about Materials, Techniques and Sources of Inspiration of modern and antique (Specially Greeks and Romans) Mosaic Artists and Patrons !