Let Squares Be Squares (whiterosesart.com)
Let Squares Be Squares by Heather Miller

Title: Let Squares Be Squares
Year: 2015
Size: 12″ x 24″

Let Squares Be Squares was created using painter’s caulk, glass tiles, and acrylic paint on canvas.

The Story

Let Squares Be Squares is a mixed media painting that doesn’t have much of a story to be honest.  Most of its story lies in the acquisition of the tiles.  Oh, and I guess the, um, bout of mental illness that provided the inspiration & title.

I participated in Artomatic @ Jefferson, WV back in 2013.  It was held in a building that used to be home to a tile company.  They still had a storage area at the end of the building.  The owners decided to have a small clearance sale to sell off discounted tiles, samples, and leftovers.  I wandered in one day before one of my shifts.  I wasn’t planning to buy anything because I’d never worked with tile before – and they only took cash or checks.  [Seriously, this was 2013.  I can accept any credit card on my phone and couldn’t even begin to tell you where my actual check book is.]  It was a good thing, in hindsight, that they didn’t take credit cards.  Clearly I ended up buying some of the samples….way too many samples.  I figured that I work with caulk, why not grout?  Right?  Right??

For about 6 months, I had all the samples I bought laying in various areas around my basement.  I finally got around to detaching them from their bases.  I sorted them into neatly organized plastic containers and that’s kind of where they sat for the longest time.  I used a few here & there but largely I was regretting my impulse tile shopping.

When the main Artomatic was announced for 2015, I decided it was time I did something with those tiles.  I sat on the floor of my studio surrounded by blank canvases, canvas boards, and all the little plastic containers of these tiles determined to do something.  I arranged, rearranged, and got increasing frustrated with failed attempt after failed attempt to come up a decent design.

Stick with me here, it gets a bit weird. As I sat there staring with a decent amount of contempt at a set of beautiful blue glass tiles, this voice pops into my head (have I mentioned I’m probably batshit crazy?).  It just said “why can’t you just Let Squares Be Squares dumbass?”  It was one of those moments where I sat there simultaneously contemplating my sanity and thinking that voice was a fucking genius!  I realized I had a narrow rectangular canvas still in my storage room (ok, technically it’s the weirdly shaped bathroom attached to my studio that has more storage than any room in my house).  I grabbed that and came up with the design not long after.

After finding a layout I liked, I had to carefully transfer the pattern to the floor so I could coat the canvas in caulk.  Once applied and smoothed out to my liking, I carefully began transferring the tiles back to the canvas.  After it tried, I carefully painted the canvas white.  The caulk itself is white, but it’s kind of a dull white.  I wanted vibrant, glossy white.  After that dried (yay for the blow dryer in my studio!), I sealed it with a varnish.

Remember 6 paragraphs ago when I said it didn’t have much of a story.  Clearly I lied.  🙂