Thought I'd take a few minutes while I eat my lunch to get this blog caught up. I've finished the glass work on MacKenzie in the Garden with Bees. I also made a grout test - a 10" x 20" mosaic using tiles that represent the color range in this piece. Tonight it will have been sitting log enough for the adhesive to be dry. I will tape off parts of it and do grout color test strips. I think I will want to test blue-gray, light gray, medium gray and black.
On previous mosaics I've often skipped the grout test, but I've devoted enough time, energy and resources into this one I thought I would do it. I'm really bad about just doing things without this kind of prep. Most of the time it works out because I am good at visualizing. Sometimes I wonder if a test of this sort would have made a good piece even better. So with that in mind I'm taking the time (and committing the resources - 161 tiles) to do one.
When I was doing a lot of B&W photography I actually learned that I really liked making test strips for exposure settings. I would cut strips of glossy, matte and pearl finished papers; line them up in the print easel, and do a series of test exposures. It became part of my darkroom ritual - shoot a roll of film, process it; expose a contact sheet, process it, dry it; take it out into normal lighting and select which images to print; cut test strips, expose them, process them, dry them; take them out into normal lighting and finally decide which images and which papers and which exposures; expose images, process them, dry them, take them out into normal lighting and see how well I chose. If not so good, repeat process with other choices. If good, frame photograph (or whatever I was doing with it) and move on.