Making a Splash: A Portrait of Mighty Louis


Households adore pets and naturally we immortalize our furry friends in art and décor. I have a special love for creating animals in diverse forms of clay, and last fall I had the chance to indulge this passion. My brother in law wanted to surprise my sister with a mosaic pool medallion of their beloved French Bulldog, Louis. The center of the family, this extraordinary, big hearted Frenchie with a macho temperament required a regal portrait.

Nestled in a woodsy grove, teaming with wild turkeys and deer, this contemporary Montauk home has a timeless design with classic lines. In the midst of renovation of their summer home, lead by architect and father Allan Greenberg, I dove into this family project.

While drawing Louis, I came up with a pose that evokes ancient images of emperors. I chose symbolism for every element to express his personality including an infinity and love-knot border depicting how he is woven into the fabric of the family. My brother in law had excellent instincts about the color scheme choosing a graphic black and white palette to perfectly complement the design of the pool and home.

The next steps were for Rob and I to start mosaic making which begins with creating a life-size drawing showing all of the tile shapes and cuts. This drawing is the touchstone for the rest of the process; we cut the clay from it, we reassemble all of the glazed and fired pieces on top of it and refer to it at every turn to keep the bigger vision in mind as we work on the minutia.

The mosaic, while having a noble presence, is balanced with the immediate context and larger natural landscape by the sea. At every stage, this project was enjoyable and especially gratifying to know my family is and will actively enjoy and treasure the portrait for many years to come.



Mighty Louis; Louis and sister



Original sketch; Developing the drawing



Pattern around central form of dog is designed to radiate outwards from him



Life size drawing; Cutting the tiles



Louis' nose just cut from wet clay; Tiles are glazed



Glazed and waiting to go into the kiln; My brother Peter Greenberg, a very talented architect, helped to scale and design this figure eight border.



The "pre-setting" begins!



Nearly finished; Separating the taped sections for shipping



In the spring rain; Installed, seen through the water



As enjoyed in use


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