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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Custom Mosaic Models

Have you ever been tempted to give a try at mosaic art but felt overwhelmed by the apparent complexity of the task ? 

Martelina and tagliolo, traditional tools of mosaic artists for 2500 years.
Martelina and tagliolo, traditional tools of mosaic artists for 2500 years.

I created in 2015 a new and easy to implement mosaic technique. I named it “Opus Pixellatum”.


Opus Pixellatum is the perfect introductory technique to mosaic art. Because at the beginning this technique only uses square tiles of the same dimensions, disposed in horizontal and vertical lines, no cuts are needed. You simply have to glue your tiles on a model, fill the gap between them, and voila, your mosaic is complete.

How does this work ?

You send me a picture of what you would like to represent in mosaic. 

Cheetah cub used as model for Opus Pixellatum glass mosaic portrait
Cheetah cub from Serengeti Desert.

From your picture, I create a model. This model looks like a spreadsheet. 

Cheetah cub mosaic portrait  - laminated model on the bench in Alabama studio.
The laminated model on the bench

It is composed of many little squares with numbers in it.

COrner of laminated mosaic model showing the numbered squares.
The lower left corner of the model of Cheetah cub mosaic .

Each number corresponds to a specific tile color. I also provide the quantities you’ll need of each tile. 

Cheetah Cub Mosaic tiles

Tile reference Number of tiles

1 100
26 250
27 300
29 100
32 100
42 1400
43 200
44 860
46 454
47 200
49 300
62 1206
65 100
66 1089
69 450
95 100
96 150
104 250
108 100
109 286

The references are those of the 8 mm glass tiles from Mosaicartsupply in Atlanta, GA.

You can order the tiles from Mosaic Art Supply or I can order them for you.

If you wish to use different tiles, I can design a model based on your own colors.

Once you have your model and tiles, you can go to work.

Lay your model on your working bench and start gluing your tiles on it. You can use any water soluble glue such as Elmer’s glue.

Cheetah cub mosaic, first day work in porgress
Cheetah cub mosaic on its first day.

On this particular Cheetah mosaic, I was working in reverse method, gluing my tiles upside down on top of my laminated model.

To work in direct method, you will set a piece of fiberglass mesh on top of your laminated model and glue your tiles on this mesh. 

mosaic portrait realized during mosaic seminar in Atlanta, Georgia, April 2017.
Amy's eyes mosaic portrait. half the tiles laid on mesh.

After a while, your mosaic is ready to mount on a rigid frame.

Cheetah cub mosaic portrait, all tiles laid. Ready to be glued on its support.
Cheetah cub mosaic, all tiles laid.

If you worked reverse method as I did this Cheetah mosaic, you will glue the support on top of it. 

Cheetah cub mosaic complete glued on backing board support, ready to flip.
Cheetah cub mosaic with its support glued on its top.

If you worked direct method, you will simply lift  the mesh from the laminated model and glue it on top of its support. 

Daniel's eyes mosaic portrait just glued on its backing board support. Mosaic Seminar Atlanta, Georgia, April 2017.
Daniel's eyes mosaic has just been glued onto its support.

Once your mosaic is set on its support – a few hours in direct method, 48 hours in reverse method – you can grout and finish it.

The author beside Cheetah cub mosaic at the Mosaic art studio, Headland, Alabama, May 2017
The Author beside the completed Cheetah cub mosaic portrait.

Cheetah Cub above was realized in colors, whereas Amy's eyes below were built in Grayscale. 

Actual podel and her mosaic portrait, Mosaic seminar, Atlanta, Georgia, April 2017.
The model and the mosaic !

From a same model, many, many variations are possible. You can change the palette of colors from Gray scale to Sepia, Blue scale, or inverted Gray scale. You can also chose to realize parts of the mosaic in regular Opus Tessellatum – the classical Roman or Greek Technique. 

Opus Pixellatum is an amazingly versatile technique. It starts as “mosaic by number” and later allows you an infinity of variations. The great beauty of this technique is that it allows a total beginner to realize a very beautiful first piece ! 

Students of the April 2017 Mosaic Fiesta Seminar in Atlanta, GA.

In a next article I’ll share with you some amazing mosaics made by some of my students and clients. 

If you would like to create your own mosaic based on your own picture or design, please contact me at (334) 798 1639 or

I am a French Mosaic Artist.
in 1992, Alabama became my home
My Art is about inspiring people.

You can also subscribe to my  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Completing Carola Quinta - the last cuts.

I am presently completing Carola Quinta, the fifth of my Opus Pixellatum series of Carole's eyes. I only have 3 to 4 % of the tiles left to lay, but they will take about 10 % of the total laying time.
I have used in this piece the 3 Opus Pixellatum and Tesselatum and Sextile techniques. Tessellatum is perfect for the curvy vines growing on top of the background layer. The bottom boulders (I harvested on the parking lot of the riding trail ...) qualify as Sextile.

Opus tesselatum, pixellatum and sectle in the same mosaic piece.
Green boulders at the bottom right corner.

Because of these irregular and spiral shapes, I have to cut some of my small square tesserae to fit the curves. This accounts for the extra time spent in the completing stage of this piece which should be available in August after I come back from visiting some Romans sites in France next month.  

I am a French mosaicist.
In 1992 I made Alabama his home.
  My Art is about inspiring People.

You can contact me either 
by phone at (334) 798 1639 or by email at 
You can also subscribe to my

The famous Marcel Gottlieb coccinelle

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Mosaic Chicks - Back-up Sound Artists.

Today I'd like to introduce my Mosaic Chicks...

You may not have heard about them, but you very likely heard them, they are my back-up sound assistants. They live behind my Alabama Studio... 

DrumRoll introduction to the MosaicBlues Chicks Video

Here come the amazing ...


You heard them in the background of many videos, they live in 3 pens behind the studio, further back a wide open field planted with mulberry trees extends to a small creek.

Every day, I open one of the pens so the mighty chicks can go forage for bugs and seeds, they do a pretty good job at cleaning up everything.

I was raised in a French village close to the coast. There were cows in the pasture across the road, and vegetable gardens behind ! We all raised chickens and rabbits for the eggs and meat. I can't bring myself to kill an animal anymore, but I sure enjoy the eggs !

As for my Mosaic Work, I plan to grout 3 opus Pixellatum pieces this coming week end (2 Carolas and a Cheetah Cub), and am presently working on my Carola Quinta, an experiment in Mosaic Transparency... I'll tell you later about that ! 

first layer of tiles of an experimental mosaic portrait of a beautiful woman's eyes. Trying to convey transparency with mosaic.
Carola Quinta, first layer laid.

I am a French mosaicist.
In 1992 I made Alabama his home.
  My Art is about inspiring People.

You can contact me either 
by phone at (334) 798 1639 or by email at 
You can also subscribe to my

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cheetah Cub - An experiment in Mosaic Art

Yesterday I unveiled my first colored designed Opus Pixellatum Mosaic. 

For the past 18 month, I have been creating patterns for my mosaics and other people's mosaics from a 7 tones grayscale palette.

mosaic art portrait of a female Yezidi fighting back ISIS to liberate their land from the barbaric ISIS who enslaved her sisters.
Mosaic portrait of a Yezidi female fighter.

I have also been researching a way to create patterns from wider palettes.

original picture of cheetah cub model for experimental opus pixellatum mosaic
Original picture of the Cheetah Cub

Cheetah Cub is my first experiment of this type. I designed the model based on the 64 colors of Mosaic Art Supply recycled glass Elementile line.

The Artist and the Mosaic just revealed in Headland, Alabama.
TA DA ! Cheetah Mosaic just revealed.

Although I still need to cleanup the glue, grout and frame the piece - I will keep posting on this process for I now have a secret weapon to clean up this pesky glue ! - I wanted to give you a peak at the beauty of this dramatic technique.

In this short video I am sharing the moment I flip the mosaic built upside down in reverse method how I spray it to reveal the brightness of the tiles. 

Would you like to create your own mosaic from one of your pictures ? 

I will create the model for you, with a list of references and quantities of tiles 
you'll need to build it.

You can contact me by email at 
or by phone at (334) 798 1639.

I am a French mosaic artist established in Alabama. In 2015 I created a new dramatic mosaic technique. 
I named it Opus Pixellatum.
I am now sharing it with
fellow mosaicists.

 You can subscribe to my   

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

How to Mosaic Art : Principles of Opus Pixellatum

This a first post of a series dedicated to my Opus Pixellatum Technique © and the many variations it allows. 

join us in our investigation and experimentation of a new mosaic art technique
Investigating Mosaic Art's Opus Pixellatum

This first post describes the original, basic Opus Pixellatum technique as I designed it, and how I came to realize its dramatic potential. I will systematically address the wealth of phenomenal variations allowed by this technique, one at a time, in my next posts on the subject. 

I originally developed Opus Pixellatum in 2015 to be able to quickly realize a set of big mosaics. Cutting the tiles is a very time consuming activity. I had found with Mosaic Art Supply a reliable source of great quality square glass tiles and I wanted to figure out a way to work exclusively with their tiles, without having to cut them.

It took lots of thinking and experiments. I finally came up with a powerful technique that cut by half the time needed to lay a mosaic. 

Basically Opus Pixellatum is a way to do mosaics using a model that pixellizes an original drawing or picture, just like a digital image is pixellized as a great number of cells aligned on horizontal rows and vertical columns. My goal here is not to explain the process that creates a pixellized model from an original graphic document, but to explain how one builds a mosaic from this model. 

From a picture like this one : 

Original eyes picture used to design mosaic self-portrait model
I designed a model after this original picture of Daniel's eyes

I design a model like this : 

Mosaic Art Self Portrait Model of Eyes Opus Pixellatum
Blank model of Daniel's Eyes

The principle is easy : Each number printed on the model corresponds to a color of a grayscale palette. 

Glass mosaic tiles Seven gray shade palette
7 colors - Grayscale.

If one would lay the tiles in the order of the numbers we would have the following progression : 

Black glass tiles laid on mosaic art model.
Black Tiles are laid

Dark Gray glass tiles laid on mosaic art model
Dark Grays are laid, can you guess ?

three colors laid eyes self-portrait mosaic art image appearing
2 nuances of Gray, now you surely see it...

four colors glass moaic tiles make distinct image
4 colors : Black and 3 Grays, there we are.

five colors glass mosaic tiles laid eyes selfportrait detailed image
5 colors laid.

complete mosaic art eyes self-portrait black white seven shades gray
A perfect 7 colors image.

Practically, you lay all colors at the same time and in order to keep a small grouting gap between the tiles  it is better to first mount every other tiles. 

Laying every other tiles allows more precise positionning

When I first started to use Opus Pixellatum, I was pleased of how fast it was to build a really good looking mosaic. One day I decided to wait until I had fully completed laying half the tiles before I’d start laying the next other ones. And here is what I saw...

Mosaic portrait of a young Yezidi refugee is part of a series to raise funds
Half the tiles are laid on this portrait of a Yezidi refugee.

On this portrait of a young Yezidi refugee only half the tiles had been laid.... Our brains can intuit what the whole picture is... That is flabbergasting  ! 

Want to learn more about mosaic art sign for my newsletter.
I found the key to some really cool mosaic art !

I did not know yet where I was going with that, but I sure intended to seriously investigate this unexpected occurrence !

Here are what Daniel's eyes would look like with half the tiles laid : 

I'll design a custom mosaic pattern of your eyes in Opus Pixellatum
Only half the tiles have been laid on this mosaic portrait

Key to the unlocking of Opus Pixellatum's potential is not so much the fact that it works with half the tiles laid, but that it does with half the tiles NOT laid, and that their spots can be used for something else !

The next posts of this Opus Pixellatum series will explore this. I will systematically explore the subject and will expose each variation in a dedicated post.  

In the meantime, enjoy Daniel's and his mosaic's smiles !

i will design a custom mosaic portrait of your loved one for you to build it.
A very happy Daniel shows off his mosaic self portrait.

I am a French mosaic artist  established in Alabama. In 2015 I created a new mosaic technique. I named  it Opus Pixellatum. When I realized this technique allowed for much more than I was expecting I decided to share it with fellow mosaicists.
If you'd like me to create a model of a custom mosaic pattern from one of your picture for you to build it, please contact me by email at 
or by phone at (334) 798 1639 
 You can also subscribe to my   

Monday, April 10, 2017

3 ways to improve your Mosaic Art Models

In March 2017, during our first Mosaic Art Fiesta I introduced Opus Pixellatum to a group of confirmed mosaic artists. They had traveled from all over the USA to the Mosaic Art Supply warehouse in Decatur, Georgia.

In Opus Pixellatum you build your Mosaic exclusively with square tiles of the same dimensions. There is no cutting. The tiles are arranged on pattern of rows and columns in the same manner as the pixels of a digital photography. 

We create custom mosaic models from your picture.
Model of a Yezidi Warrior mosaic eyes portrait.

2 weeks ahead of the seminar the participants had sent me pictures of their faces and I created a model so they could build a mosaic portrait of their eyes during the seminar.

An Opus Pixellatum model looks like a spreadsheet. Each cell bears a number corresponding to a color of a tile to be glued on that spot. Although this sounds a lot like “Mosaic by Number”,  I came to realize through my experimentation with this method during the past 18 month that Opus Pixellatum allows for many dramatic variations.

You can create a mosaic portrait of your eyes, we create the model for you.
Blue Carole, Mosaic Eyes Portrait being built.

With Opus Pixellatum the Mosaic artist can unleash her creativity in ways a more classical Opus Tesselatum approach does not allow. This will be the object of future posts.

While I was generating the models, I realized that the quality of the original picture has a great influence on the final result.

For this seminar, we were working with a grayscale palette composed of 7 nuances : Black, White, and 5 nuances of Gray.

From your picture we create a mosaic art model
Grayscale palette, 8mm elementile tiles from Mosaic Art Supply

I have realized many mosaics with this very accurate palette.

we will create a model or a mosaic portrait of your own eyes from your picture.
Yezidi 37, Opus Pixellatum mosaic portrait of a Yezidi Warrior

So you want your well balanced original to actually display a wide array of grayscale. If the contrast is too high, you might end up with only 2 or 3 nuances of gray. This is acceptable on a smaller mosaic but a bigger piece will look much better with the 5 nuances of gray.

When you create your model, the first operation is to turn the picture from Color to Black and White. Often named “Desaturation” this operation can be performed in many different ways, with different results as you can see here.

Quality of original picture conditions the aesthetic of your custom mosaic model
Original photography & 3 types of desaturation.

A black and white picture cannot be desaturated because it already is. You can alter it in different ways, but you wont have the same array of choices you have when you desaturate yourself. 

Advice # 1 : Start from a color picture.

In order to show all the nuances of your grayscale palette in a balanced way, your original picture should not be too contrasted. It is very easy to boost the contrast of a picture but it is more difficult to decrease it without losing accuracy of the features.

Advice # 2 : Shoot your picture outdoors when the sun is low on the horizon (morning or evening).  An overcast day is perfect. Alternatively, ask a professional photographer to do this for you in a studio.

Format :
The best format to create a model is PNG. Most cameras shoot JPG (or JPEG) pictures. JPG files do not take much storage space but every time you modify a JPG picture, you lose some of its quality. So before you work on the picture first save it as a PNG file. Alternatively if you send me a picture to create a model, please send me the original picture – even a JPG - without editing it.

Advice #3 : Use PNG files

Basically, to get the best possible quality for your model :
  • Shoot your picture outdoor in the morning, evening or with an overcast sky.
  • Send me your original color picture without cropping or editing it. 
  • Send it as a PNG file

From your colored photography we design a custom mosaic model you.
2 different mosaic eyes realized in Atlanta last March

Mosaic sometimes can be intimidating. Opus Pixellatum is the easy door into this wonderful world. It allows beginners to build beautiful first mosaics from the beginning, and confirmed artist to unleash their creativity in amazing ways. If you would like to build a mosaic from your own picture, I'll build for you a kit including a model and the quantities and references of the tiles to order from Mosaic Art Supply in Atlanta, GA.
I am a French mosaic artist  established in Alabama. In 2015 I created a new mosaic technique. I named  it Opus Pixellatum. When I realized this technique allowed for much more than I was expecting I decided to share it with confirmed mosaicists.
If you'd like me to create a model of a custom mosaic pattern from one of your picture, please contact me by email at 
or by phone at (334) 798 1639 
You can also subscribe to my   Mosaic Newsletter