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Mosaic Portraiture – Picassiette Style

I have recently been inspired by Gila Rayberg's work and was curious how she creates her whimsical and wonderful portraits like "Side Kick." Gila was gracious enough to share, so here's what I learned about getting inspired, choosing materials and tools:

Getting inspired usually starts with a drawing from a reference photograph. Knowing the person's background can help emulate the emotion and personality of your subject. Start by getting the basics down, such as the shapes, eyes, and then you can work very spontaneously. Another way to become inspired is to go through your pieces and consider what contrasts – where is the lightest and darkest places; and always build on what you've previously created.

When choosing materials, Picassiette has become a favorite material of Gila's because there are so many more opportunities with the different patterns and materials. Then there are the rims and handles in dishes and cups to use as structural elements like noses and eyeglasses. "Let the materials speak" to you. In addition to ordering online, she is given a lot of materials and going to thrift stores and yard sales also yields interesting tesserae.

Some of the tools used are wheeled & tile nippers, a tile saw, a ring saw and some stained glass tools. Gila usually cuts her dishes with her nippers (as opposed to smashing) and when she uses stone, she uses a hammer & hardi. Nippers can allow you to get more precise cuts and those exact areas that have that perfect design you want to use.

Gila Rayberg is as outgoing and friendly as her work is wonderful. I met Gila at Cherie Bosela's "Piece by Piece" Mosaic Exhibition and made a new friend. Like a lot of you, I've followed her work on Facebook but finally meeting the artist was a treat.

In the 15+ years Gila has been a mosaic artist, she has developed her own style. After she joined a group called Julia Kay's Portrait Party, she quickly grew her expertise in drawing and painting that she uses in the portraits she creates. "Drawing has made my mosaics better – I understand more how the face works," she stated.

Gila resides in Pensacola and her website is Gila Mosaics Studio. She also posts her work on Flickr and sells on Esty. So be sure to check out all her wonderful art there as well.



  • The above mosaics are wonderfully done by the artist Gila Rayberg. She’s so talented!

    Lou Ann
  • is the artwork shown above yours? it’s beautiful!


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