I was recently commissioned to make a collage of a black lab. Not only is it challenging to attain a likeness with torn pieces of magazine paper, but I had no idea working on such dark subject matter would be so complicated!! I started with my usual range of darkest and lightest areas, planning to fill in the gradients between. But then I realized that the dog is BLACK. There won't be any true white areas. Even highlights won't be white white. I had to redo large areas to darken them, using black and white patterns as highlights rather than mostly white pieces. Redoing those areas meant I had to redo the surrounding areas to get the gradient right. Keep in mind that I'm using salvaged magazines, so I have whatever is in my box. It's not like I can just mix up some new paint. I have to take what I've got and figure out how to make it work. I'm still figuring it out. To attain the likeness, my sketch was done against a grid of 1 in squares which was also overlaid on the photo I was given to work from. As I glue down pieces, my grid is obscured. So when I redo areas, I'm kinda eyeballing it. Anyway, I think last night was a turning point. Check out the in process photos. I'll post again when it's done.
I set all the tiles just as the weather was getting cold. My next-to-last marathon day was spent outside in 40 degrees for over 6 hours. That was a tough one. But the tiles were done! Since I didn't know anything about grouting, I called Alan Shea again to see if he'd give me another lesson. I decided, since I'd been told that grouting is the most important part of a tile job, that I'd hire Alan to do the job and then be his assistant. Alan stopped by with his helper, Willy. Willy ended up doing most of the job, only letting me do very small bits. But I got the idea. The black grout looks fantastic! I'm so pleased with how it came out, and I'd do another project - probably a wall or an indoor project to simplify things a bit. Next step is getting some good photos of the project - once the snow melts! Then I want to send photos to some publications and see what happens.