Sunday, June 14, 2015

American Flag Mosaics

I have always wanted to do a series of mosaics based on the US flag. 
I will leave out any interpretation of what the flag means because it means something different to every person who sees it. Personally, I have always liked the flag in folk art. These pieces are just something I had in my head that I wanted to create. So I did. 
All of these are 3D cement on Wediboard attached to old fence boards 
for a rustic, folk art look.

"Old Glory"  22" x 12"

 5.5" x 19.5"

8" x 17"

8" x 22"

"Flag Trio" 30.5" x 8"

11" tall

20" x 6"

21.5" x 8"

Octopus Mosaics

"Red Octopus" 24" x 26"  
3D cement on Wediboard substrate. 
Red and black grout.

"Blue Octopus"   18" x 34" 
3D cement on Wediboard substrate. 

Whale Mosaic

This past winter we were treated to a weekend of whale watching up north of Mendocino. We saw dozens of them as we sat on a beautiful deck right on the cliffs. As a "thank you" I made our hosts this mosaic. "Whale!"  Approx 16" long.  
Glass mosaic on 3D cement substrate.

Mosaics for Gratta Wines Tasting Room at Butchertown Gourmet

My friend, Barbara Gratta, has  been making wine in her garage for over 15 years. Her wines have won medals at wine competitions in San Francisco and New York's Finger Lakes Region. Her latest endeavor has been to  open Butchertown Gourmet in SF's Bayview District. This area of SF is the newest, up and coming neighborhood for artisans and makers. Her partner in this business is Xan DeVoss who, under the business name Fox and Lion Bread, creates excellent breads!! I created these mosaics on old fence boards to hang in the tasting room. Each is approx 8" wide by 18" tall. Learn about Gratta Wines here.

My Latest Mosaics

Lately I have been experimenting with a more abstract style in my mosaics. Or maybe the best description is "Abstract Impressionism". Some of the following pieces were commissions, some were for my own exploration.

House number. 15" diameter. 3D cement substrate.

"Patina" 8" x 30" x 3"  3D cement substrate.

"Rythym" Commission. 16" diameter.  3D cement substrate.

"Undergrowth" 14" x 14"  3d cement substrate.

My Classes at Institute of Mosaic Art in Berkeley

I was asked last year to teach a class in making 3 dimensional wall hanging substrates for mosaic. It's not as complicated as it sounds! I started creating substrates like this for myself a few years ago. I won't go back to flat boards ever again! I taught last October, this past March and will be teaching again this coming October.
As one of my students said: "Life will never be flat again!"
Get more info at Institute of Mosaic Art

Before the class, I cut out several simple shapes for the students.

They learn the techniques of working with thinset and mesh to protect the edges.

Hard at work the second day. Learning about working with cement.

Some finished pieces, ready for mosaic.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ramon Pablo Vidali - Artist of the Castro

This is an ode to an unknown artist who painted history but who seems to be lost to history. I have Googled info about him from every angle and can only find these 3 examples of his work but I'm sure he painted hundreds of canvases. A little back story: I moved to SF in 1979 - young, gay and free at a time when SF was the mecca for people of all stripes wanting to be free. And the Castro district was the hub - the epicenter, the birthplace - of the nationwide gay movement. I would walk around those blocks all the time, to shop, eat, drink or just people-watch. And I would see this artist all the time. He would ALWAYS be out painting on the sidewalks. He would paint street scenes and neighborhood characters. I admit I didnt like his style - the paint was too thin, the bodies too elongated. HAH! Little did I know he was painting a "time" that would soon be gone. He died of AIDS in 1985. I didnt notice his passing and have only begun to wonder about his art lately. He documented an historic time! The Castro doesnt look like that anymore, even though I remember every storefront and scene he painted. San Francisco, sadly, isnt "calling" the young and free anymore - more like the young and aggressively capitalist (but I digress). This artist's name was Ramon Pablo Vidali. He sat on sidewalks and street corners to follow his muse and recorded history. Oh I wish, I wish, I wish I could find his art in a flea market or a Goodwill store. Better yet I wish I had bought just one of his pieces back then! More info here: And if anyone has any info on who this "Uncle Donald" person is, I would love to get in contact with him for more info.