Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Aidan Hart on How To Make a Mosaic

The English iconographer Aidan Hart has completed a series of wonderful mosaics for St George’s Orthodox Church in Houston, Texas; I have just read this long article in the Orthodox Arts Journal about the project.

Aidan describes the process by which he made the mosaics, right down to creating the tesserae out of glass. He writes with care and attention to detail, and it is beautifully illustrated. The article is so thorough that one wonders if this is going to appear as an additional chapter in his book on the method of egg tempera and wall painting, a book which might already be the best art instruction book that I have read.

Aidan is primarily a painter, and so his success in mosaic demonstrates a point for anyone interested in being an artist. The fundamental skills of art are those aspects other than the mastery of the medium: drawing, and then the use of colour, tone and line, as well as compositional design. Once these have been mastered, they can be applied in any medium.

It is better to learn to be an artist while becoming a master in one medium only, for example egg tempera painting. Once this has been mastered, then applying those skills in a new medium becomes relatively easy. It is a mistake, I believe, to focus on too many media in the training stage, as the learning of each new medium becomes a distraction from focussing on the underlying skills of creativity in visual art.

This is quite an old article (it is dated May 4th) although it’s content is timeless). I became aware of it because it rose to the top of one of the categories in the newly packaged website. Read the full article here.

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