Every Artist is an Art Critic

Every Artist is an Art Critic and the worst kind!   Self Critical. Seriously now-Are you even going to try to argue with yourself in defense when the evidence is so clearly stacked against you in your favor? 
When you paint you see every mistake. When you sculpt you see every dimension out of place. when you draw you use your eraser more than your pencil. You agonize over the market, what people like, trendy colors and being sooo very different. Which turns out isn’t very different at all.
Researching, experimenting, and creating in every new medium like a mad scientist that rivals Dr Jekyll on any day of the week.  Artists view everything visually and they create an overabundant amount of uncontainable creative energy usually vomited on unsuspecting viewers. Calm down- you will get there – ART is the process not a destination because seriously you will never arrive – slow down – what you cannot do to day you will do tomorrow.  Art is bigger than any one person could ever imagine , become or see.  Enjoy your art because trust me tomorrow you will look at it with a critical eye and think wow  —oh thank goodness I am not painting like that anymore and then in a year from now your ART CRITIC will rise again to say WOW  I am so relieved I am better than last year – —-. And so it goes with every passing year you will succeed one step at a time.

The purpose of creativity is to connect with your audience not compete with your peers—

Here is a tip for the overly anxious self critical artist– Sit down have a coffee and bask in your success while drinking cappuccino’s with your friends talk about things you know absolutely nothing about. It works.
Trust me I know – there are lots of pictures on here I am seriously considering attacking with the delete button. So if you check out my blog in a week– No surprise if the pictures are gone. You will understand why. I am an artist –its just the curse.

Here is a picture that describes my artists Journey perfectly 😉 by George Takeibrilliant! 

How to make a sketchbook – VERY inspirational video

I am really inspired by this ladies work – I absolutely have to share -check it out! Her website and youtube videos – creative! inspirational and artistic! Sketchbooks are very important to an artists development and if you do not have one I highly recommend building your own as it personalizes your work and inspires you to draw!

sketchbook project campaignGet yours before April an excellent way to improve your skills as an artist.


FOr more see TrAnsIEnt ArT by Lauren Nash


Art Tile – Concept to completion

Since the beginning of the year I have had an obsession with creating tile – artistic, creative, elegant, colorful and distinctly different from anything currently available. From my research I have noticed 3 major areas are lacking in today’s tile –  { figurative, large Accent tiles& expressive}. Accent tiles used to be decorative centre pieces in bathrooms and kitchens, with relief ,texture and figures. Sculptural Artwork has been replaced with basic patterns, shapes and colors.
Pistrucci Artworks main goal is to produce a wide variety of bas relief accent tiles from contemporary to figurative offering distinctive flair with color and texture. Jeremy Hileman took the concept Pikaso Kichen and created an expressive colorful line of tile for the contemporary kitchen. Here is the results of our next tile line titled ‘ Pikaso Kichen’.

To view the catalog go here: art-tile-catalog-pikaso-kichen

First the concept drawings were designed and a rought draft completed [see below] :


Then the sculpting of the relief tiles:

 Glaze tests

Old world stain

& more glaze tests….



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Art Tile Launched ——->

Pistrucci Artworks has just launched the first of many lines of relief tile for the retail market. Our first retailer is Oak Bay Broadloom in Victoria BC Canada.  Before we placed our tile we checked the stores for their service and found Oak Bay Broadloom. Pistrucci Artworks wanted to know that when their customers go to a tile store they will be getting excellent service. The staff at the tile stores below are extremely friendly, helpful, with expertise and knowledge that spans their longterm business experience.

 To view the catalog :

URL    https://pistrucciartworks.wordpress.com/catalog-pistrucci-art-tile-swan-lake/

Colors Available in translucent: Swan white & Sage green , Cafe, Lily pad, Aqua mist and Lake blue.[see catalog for details]

Here is a sample of ‘Swan Lake’

Swan lake

Swan Lake

Distributor Contact Information:For answers to specific questions, Pricing, to schedule in-home consultation, or to  make an appointment to visit showroom,
please contact:  A local distributor or  Sales: Bettina@pistrucciartworks.com or ph.  250-588-8784

      Oak Bay Broadloom & Fine Floors Ltd.
1990 Oak Bay Avenue
Victoria, B.C.,
Canada V8R 1E2
 (corner of Oak Bay Ave. and Foul Bay)

Phone: (250) 592-7672 Fax:       (250) 592-7602      
Email Address: 

Website:    http://www.oakbaybroadloom.com/

Cornerstone Tile
3061 Barons Road
Nanaimo, BC V9T 3Y6
Ph. 250. 756.9996
Fax. 250.756.7772

Website: www.cornerstone-tile.ca

MasterCraft Flooring Canada
2727 James St.
Duncan, BC V9L 2Y1
Duncan:   Ph. 250.748.9977
Nanaimo: Ph. 250.245.0046
fax: 250.748.1525

Website:  www.mastercraftflooring.ca
Contact Interior Designer Hennie Wagner
email: master02@telus.net

If you are a retailer interested in carrying our handbuilt Porcelain Tile please contact:
Jeremy Hileman email: pistrucciartworks@gmail.com  for distributor information.

Making a Mold for a cold cast bronze

I just recently completed my Alto Relief sculpture  ‘ Moonlight Sonata’ 30″x 20″ and have decided to mold it for a cold cast bronze. Here is the steps, pictures and reference information I used for this process. I researched on the smooth- on website for similar sculptures to determine from the wide range of products they sell and decided on the best product for my Alto relief. I am going to use brush on 40 as I do not have a vacuum pump and many of the products they sell require one during the process.  The molding products you decide to use is determined by the size, material of your original (is it clay, concret wood etc) and what medium your final copy will be cast ( casting resin, concrete, metal, cold cast bronze?).

http://www.smooth-on.com  Has technical information – excellent videos and step by step processes. Also a tech line available to answer questions. I found the advice and support EXCELLENT!
smooth- on technical support phone # (800)762-0744 or at (610)252-5800 or contact them directly on their website and use a digital form for questions.   http://www.smooth-on.com/p100/Product-Technical-Information/pages.html

continue reading or watch the youtube video Here:

Step by step ( using a different product list but the process is the same)
Materials list:

Brushes (disposable one use)
containers (graduated for easy measurement)
papertowels (cleanup)
Spray on shellac or super seal from smooth-on
Universal mold release
Smooth-on Brush on 40
Box of disposable rubber gloves
disposable stir sticks ( I used paint sticks but advised to use metal)
Thickener Cab-o-sil (mix with brush on 40 for undercuts 3rd layer)
So strong pigment ( color pigment every other layer to determine proper coverage of layers)
Safety Mask:

Step one:
Complete a final review of your sculpture for any necessary changes – once you start you cannot stop until the process is completed. According to the technical product information once the layers have cured completely you cannot add further layers as adhesion will be difficult. You will be adding layers onto ‘tacky’ rubber layers with a 45 minute interval between each layer.
Prepare the Model:
Ensure it is secure onto the surface  (glue with a glue gun)
(my model was leather hard clay stuck to a plastic sheet)
Spray the model with spray shellac

Let this coating of sealant (used to cover any porous areas)  dry thoroughly and ensure you have covered all the undercuts and small spaces.
Once the model is dry to the touch (about 30minutes +)  Spray on a light mist of universal mold release. Lightly cover the entire sculpture with a brush to ensure the mold release has covered the entire sculpture. Otherwise you run the risk of the rubber not lifting clean off of the model once the mold has been finished.
Let this dry for about 5 minutes and then mist another layer of the universal mold release over the entire model.
Let this completely dry for about 15-20 minutes.

Step 2:
Mix thoroughly equal parts A and Part B of the brush on 40 to cover your mold. I was surprised that the amount I actually required was much less than I expected. Consequently I mixed and used more than I needed -I put on a heavy layer and had excessive air bubbles. I had to remove this layer and then do a thinner layer repeating the process. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO DO A THIN LAYER FOR THE FIRST LAYER OF RUBBER.

 [  IF you notice in the above picture there is a TIMER – IMPORTANT remember you only have a working time of 20minutes to apply the layers – thin is better than thick – apply and mix in smaller batches if necessary or  more than one person applying the layers helps as well.  My husband and I worked on this together to get the first layer applied within the time frame.  ]

LET THE FIRST LAYER SET UP (GEL ) for 45 minutes PRIOR to next application of the brush on rubber. Test the rubber by touching lightly with rubber gloves the mold should be tacky and release from your finger – if not it is NOT ready for another application.
Third step:
Apply another layer of brush on 40 (mixing equal parts A and B) add pigment [this will assist you in ensuring complete coverage of layers)

IF you are doing a relief you will want to add ‘Keys ‘ to the mold by spraying a ice cube tray with the mold release and filling with the brush on 40 mixture and letting it set up. Release from the tray and place after the third layer around the mold.
Step four: Undercuts and adding keys –
Mix equal parts A & B and add cab- O- sill till the mixture is like a bread dough
Apply to undercuts and under the mold keys from the ice cube trays.


After first layer:

After keys have been added and undercut thickener:

Picture below –After last 2 layers of Brush on 40 (NO thickener added to last 2 layers)BETWEEN LAYERS LET SET FOR 45 MINUTES – MUST BE TACKY (TEST)BEFORE ADDING ANOTHER LAYER .

LET THIS CURE (SET /DRY) FULLY FOR 16HRS BEFORE MAKING THE MOTHER MOLD. The rubber mold should be approximately 3/8″ thick.
Making the rigid support or ‘mother mold’:

I have completed to this point and my model is in the curing stage the following is excerpted from the smooth- on website temporarily and will be replaced with my own personal pictures when I complete the following steps:

Using a sharp razor knife, cut excess silicone from the outer edge of the mold. Create straight edges and square off all corners.

Spray the rubber mold and surrounding surface with Ease Release® 200 to separate the support shell from the mold. In some cases, Smooth-On’s Sonite® Wax may be necessary to release surrounding surfaces from the support shell.

Creating the rigid support shell: Smooth-On’s Plasti-Paste® is a trowelable urethane resin designed to be used for support shells. It is mixed 1 Part A (liquid) to 2 Parts B (paste).

Combine 1A:2B and mix thoroughly.

Apply Plasti-Paste® over cured Mold Max® Stroke®.

Cover the entire mold with Plasti-Paste®. Important: Plasti-Paste® has a working time of 8-10 minutes. Do not mix more material than can be applied in this amount of time.

Mix and apply more Plasti-Paste® as needed. Be sure to apply material beyond the edge of the silicone mold.

Apply at least 3/8” (1 cm) thickness, making sure rubber mold is thoroughly covered. Large molds may require added thickness for support shell stability.

Wooden blocks are attached to the support shell with additional Plasti-Paste®. These blocks will help level the mold during casting and allow for easier handling.

Once all Plasti-Paste® has fully cured (approximately 90 minutes), carefully remove the support shell from wall.

Edges of the support shell can be sharp. Sand Plasti-Paste® to make handling safer and easier.

Seat the rubber mold into the support shell. The mold keys added in the previous step will make aligning the mold with the shell very easy.

Making a cold cast bronze video:

Alto Relief – Moonlight Sonata

Here is my recent work & my attempt at Alto Relief – Sonata 30″ x 20″ sculpted with a porcelain clay – still in progress. Current photos and more updates to come. I will be cold cast bronzing this piece so will show the process for cold cast bronzing. Most people do not realize that Alto Relief is a rare form of sculpture and one of the most difficult art forms to master and to my knowledge it is not taught in any of the fine art schools. Low relief is also more difficult followed by 3d , painting and drawing as you do not have to alter the axis for any of the elements. I believe Low relief is taught in the last year of most fine art schools after students have learned painting, drawing, and 3d. I advise every artist I know to work in all of the art forms from low relief – high relief – painting – drawing and 3d. Each builds on the strengths of the others. It is a synergistic relationship. Artists that work in all the mediums in the past became great and I believe it is because they did all of the art forms rather than just focusing in one area – Take Michealangelo for example he sculpted and painted throughout his life and I am thoroughly convinced that this was the key to his success. So I plod on ….. My Alto Relief…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How to build and Sculpt a Custom Architectural Ceramic Fireplace Surround

left side figure- finished and painted

left side figure- finished and painted

Siempre Sonador
siempre Sonador
After second firing ready for high fire
After second firing ready for high fire

I recently completed a custom architectural ceramic fireplace surround ( title “SIEMPRE SONADOR”. Above is a picture of it prior to installation.
I will be giving a basic description of the process here in this blog.
First I met with the clients to determine their personal style and get an overview of the project and its layout. This is an important step as it is necessary for the 2 parties to decide if they can work together.  I really love old architecture and figurative movement and use it whenever possible and I was happy that my ideas for the fireplace went well in the home and space.

Fireplace surround

The fireplace would be built for an old 1900’s period style home and would be the center of attention in the dining room area.  The family is the owners of the Elk lake bed and Breakfast in Victoria BC  Canada and take an immense amount of pride in their home and business.

I did an initial drawing of my concept and ideas, as well as a materials list and quote.  From my drawings I set out to sculpt the parts of the fireplace that would take the longest and would need to be ‘repeated’ or molded for consistency in the design.

Sculpted figure for right side on canvas
Sculpted figure for right side of fireplace

I sculpted relief on gessoed canvas out of paperclay let dry and painted on the rubber molding compound. I let it dry between thin layers building up over several days to a week depending on how thick I wanted my moldFor some of the relief tile I used the upholstery on the back of the chairs to match the design elements.

Upholstery design from dining room chairs
Upholstery design from dining room chairs
Completed sculpture design from upholstery
Completed sculpture design from upholstery

Once I had completed the basic designs I needed a reoccuring theme within the design itself. I chose the iris for its meaning and beauty.

Plus I needed added dimension for a more sculptural and aesthetic appeal. I knew The focal point would be the keystone tile which would be an  original one of a kind sculpted figurative relief to match the left and right figures. Here are pictures of the sculpting of the keystone and iris’s.

sculpting figurative tile
sculpting figurative tile
Right side original sculpture before molding

Right side original sculpture before molding

Sculpted keystone tile drying
Sculpted keystone tile drying

The sculptures were placed on a sheet of drywall and left to dry  – the corners were weighted and dried slowly by covering with plastic.

Fireplace tiles cut to size allowing for clay shrinkage and set to dry on drywall
Fireplace tiles cut to size allowing for clay shrinkage and set to dry on drywallAfter second firing ready for high fire

The clay is a porcelain body and slow drying was necessary to avoid cracking or warping. Cracks that did appear were immediately filled with a mixture of the clay body, toilet paper and water (paperclay). Once the fireplace was bone dry it was bisque fired to cone 018, After it is cooled down and removed from the kiln it was submerged in water to test for cracks which were filled with the paperclay mixture.The fireplace was sanded and dried again. It was refired again to cone 018.

Here is a picture of the unpainted fireplace. Once the fireplace was dried again and sanded it was high fired to cone 4 we had to choose a color. After tooooo toooo many glaze tests the customers finally settled on a bronze patina highlighted with dark brown umber and cobalt green accents. Here is a picture of my signature on the back of the iris tile.

Pistrucci signature on back of iris
Pistrucci signature on back of iris

Picture of completed fireplace: click on picture to enlarge  and (+ or – for larger detail)