Monday, February 11, 2019

Retro-Fitting.....




In With The Old And Broken.....

You Might not think it necessary, Dear Readers, but I found myself wanting to add a few more stems to the ancient lilac shrubs. It has always been part of the plan to add "suckers" around the base of the shrubs, but those are some of the last pieces that will be added because they will get in the way of working on the main stems. But in this case I am not talking about suckers, but a couple more of the old twisted and broken stems. It just seemed to me as though the very front of the shrub had too large a gap... where there should be a stem... and it would have to lean out over the path which means that it would probably have broken in a harsh icy winter a year or two ago.... and then the broken end would have sprouted new growth... which would fill the empty spaces just perfectly! So I started to twist together a new old stem. You can see the very beginnings above.


And of course, I had to make one for each of the shrubs....
above are the first two just starting...
And I neglected to take pictures of all four together.

And while I was thinking of old broken stems,
 I also decided to add an old "stump" at the very back of the shrub.
 There was an empty corner where perhaps the original shrub
 was planted a little too close to the foundation, 
a little too tucked under the porch eaves... 
and over the decades the shrub grew farther out
 into the garden and the oldest stem eventually
 became light starved and ceased to thrive.

And here the new old stems have been attached
 onto one of the garden "pods".
Because of the angle of the one in front, 
it is really difficult to get a good picture of both of them.

Can you see them better here?

And then I had to replicate all the steps 
I had taken for the original stems.....
It's a good thing I could look them up on this blog!

First a coat of acrylic paint to "seal" the paper wires... 
acting like a primer.

Then adding the textured paint......
 (It was a good thing I still had this in a jar all mixed up!)

Then adding the modeling paste for texture...
And between each step there was time to wait for things to dry.

And adding the first coats of paint.....
(I was so relieved to find my cups of mixed paint had not dried out yet!)

And then adding the little strips of painted sandpaper for the peeling bark....

And wanting to test the new retro-fitted stems
 in place in The Folly Garden.....
You can see the one in front that leans out over the path,
 but the one in back is hidden in this shot.

And while I was Dreaming of these new old stems Dear Readers, 
I imagined them covered in fungus and lichens....

So I made a few squished blobs of sculpey to look like fungus, I hope....
and started to attach them to the old rotting trunk at the back of the Garden...
I have not completed this step of adding fungus and lichen.... there might be more!

You can sort of see it here....

It is tucked in the back and will hardly be visible
 when the suckers are all added... 
and probably not visible at all in the leafy season..... 
But yes, I will know it is there!

And you can see how the new sprouts
 on the old broken stem that leans out in the front
 will fill the front of the garden with new leafy growth 
without obscuring the path.

Here you can see it from a better angle....
( sorry about the glaring light....) 
As I said earlier, there will be more suckers
 to fill in around the bottoms of the stems.
 And while these additions were certainly not necessary... 
 I do think they add a layer of "history" to the shrub!

I think it is Finally beginning to look like I hoped it would!
And lest you fear I have forgotten the blossoms.... Fear Not!

Here is blossom number Forty-three!

And in the box with the rest of them!

Now All I have to do is complete
 all those retro-fitting steps 
on all four of the shrubs...
Well... and a few more tiny details...
Because those Old broken stems 
have a Story to tell!


Monday, February 4, 2019

More Buds And Blossoms....




Not Very Exciting....

I am Sure you will be getting tired, Dear Readers, of seeing nothing here on this blog but endless lilac blossom updates and the occasional dot of glue, interspersed with a stray paper leaf.... but such has been the Nature of this project! I spent my weekend applying little dots of glue to one of the shrubs, striving to only put the glue where there would really be a bud on a lilac bush! (They are not as random as one would think!) Above you can see the shrub with about half of the branches sporting little white blobs! It actually went a lot faster than I thought it would! (Yes, I had been dreading this task.) Of course, it is difficult to get a good picture of these blobs....

Can you see them here?
 By the time I had finished applying them, 
it was late and dark....

Here you can see them a little better... 
except that the focus is not great....
No I did not count them!
And the following day when they had all dried thoroughly... 
I began to paint them....

I know it is a lousy picture, Dear Readers, 
but about one third of the stems to the right have been painted....
Once the glue has dried, the "buds" become much less visible....
If you poke the picture you might see them.

This step did take several hours...
but even it went faster than I thought it might!

Here they are all painted..... for the first shrub at least!
In case you have forgotten, 
the shrubs are going to be the different seasons....
One with blossoms, One with only leaves
 and two with bare branches...
because winter lasts a long time around here
 and offers a variety of "conditions"!
Only the two bare branches ones will need the buds.

Here it is in The Folly Garden....
And yes, there are still a few details missing....!

But meanwhile I was also completing 
the Blossom number Forty-two
 (I do believe we can only count the finished ones!)

And with the rest in the box......

They are becoming quite a collection!
But I really must get started on the leaves....!
I will need to add them to the shrub branches
 at the same time as the blossoms....
(It is a little hard to tell which to do first!)

So that was my weekend Dear Readers, 
More Buds than Blossoms...
And Not very Exciting...
But Slowly and surely the shrubs are getting Done!

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Buds....




One More Tiny Detail....

This is not a Last Minute idea, Dear Readers, to add the buds to all those little lilac stems, but has been a part of the plan all along! It is just one of those details that can't be added until almost all the other parts have been completed. So I have finally reached that step for my Winter lilac shrubs! I had hoped that my weekend could be spent accomplishing great strides forward with this detail... but it was not to be. There were too many distractions and the weekend disappeared almost before I could blink! At the last moment I decided that I should at least TRY the idea I had for making these buds... to see if it would work the way I hoped it would. So I added buds to only one of the lilac stems, way at the back of the shrub in case they did not go well! This involves the "Glue Trick" which is essentially making a blob of glue where you want a bump... and when it is dried thoroughly, painting it to look like a tiny bud. This is easier said than done! The branches wiggle... the twigs bend..... the entire shrub is unwieldy and it is hard to reach the glue only onto the piece of branch you intend and not all the other branches in the way. This is not going to be a quick little step! But I think it will work! Above you can see the single branch I added buds to.....

Here you can see it again, already painted....
 because the glue bumps alone are really hard to see once they are dried!
It is hard to photograph in a way that you can see the buds clearly....
those brown bumps on the twigs...

Here you can sort of see them with the bush in place by The Folly porch....

Here they are even closer...!

But that is just one of the smaller branches....
This could take a while!
Meanwhile, Dear Readers, 
I made a little more lichen....
 
Because it is surprising how much is needed for Four bushes!

And of course, I completed blossom number Forty-one... 
or is it number Forty-two?
 
 
Whichever one it is, here it is in the box along with the others!

So you see Dear Readers, 
The Buds are starting to be added...
A Not So Tiny little detail!

 

Monday, January 21, 2019

A Little Bit Of Lichen....




I'm Liking It....

First of all, Dear Readers, I want to thank you all for your wonderful comments on my Christmas Card! It did take longer than usual to draw, and it was more complex and detailed than previous ones... and I wrestled with the precise perspective for a long time, but in the end I am happy that I finally drew my work room (formerly the Dining Room) in almost all of it's chaotic detail! I have fallen way behind on reading blogs and commenting and even answering your comments on this blog, but I needed to stay focused on the drawing! Now that Almost all the cards have been sent to their destinations, I can finally try to return to the mini making that I love so much. And because I am on a Mission to get the lilac shrubs finished.... they are the highest priority! You might recall that I was planning to add the finished blossoms to the shrub as I completed them, but then decided I really needed to finish the shrub stems completely before I added the delicate blossoms. I had achieved a bark texture that I was happy with, but there was another detail that I wanted to add before the stems could be declared finished.... and that was lichen! I have never known a Lilac shrub that did not have Lichen! In the above picture you can see the stems of my little lilac shrub.... (picture taken the day before the snow arrived) with the delicate lacy gray-green lichen growing on the bark.

Here is another closer view..... it grows even on the younger stems.

Here is some more..... 
it is a very delicate texture and soft color......
And I was having a hard time deciding how to make it in miniature!
I had decided that maybe I would try to paint some sawdust
 and clump it together in little patches....
when my eyes fell onto the package of 
landscaping supplies sent to me by Birgit....
(Thank you again, Birgit!!!)

And I wondered if I painted this material and clumped it together..... 
would it make a lichen-ish impression?

I mixed up a greenish gray color with my acrylic paints....

And smothered bits of the landscaping material in the paint.....

I "painted" it onto the plastic bag
 so it would be removable when dry... 
and let it dry thoroughly.

The I pulled apart little bits of the dried clumps..... 
and attached them to the lilac shrub stems....
Can you see it there?
 
How about now? Can you see the little clumps?

I have tried to add little bits in likely spots.... 
without overdoing it.....
It is supposed to be a subtle detail!
So far I am Liking how it looks!

And while I have been writing and
 sending out all those Christmas Cards, Dear Readers,
 I have also been sticking to my Blossom-a-week schedule!

Here is Blossom number Forty completed!

And in the Box with the others!
 
Soon, very soon now, 
I really will begin to attach all those blossoms... 
except I have thought of one or two other little details
 that might have to come first.
 
 
But for now, Dear Readers,
 I am adding little bits of Lichen...
And so far I am really Liking it!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Blossoms And The Card.....




A Little Attachment....

Here is Blossom number Thirty-nine, Dear Readers, completed at last! But I must tell you that this is actually Blossom number Forty.... except that the first number Thirty-nine never got completed in the usual way, but got scattered to the World.... and so now this one is called number Thirty-nine... and I will be forever mixed up about which blossom I am working on now! Let me explain....!  You might recall that I showed you the florets for number Thirty-nine all finished but not assembled a couple of weeks ago. Well, as I was working on the Christmas Card Drawing one day, I decided to see whether the florets in RL were the same size as the ones I was drawing on The Card (because you can be sure they were to be included this year no matter what!) so I brought one of the florets up to my drawing to compare.... (Be warned, if you don't want to see The Card yet... stop here!)

I set the unfinished floret on the drawing.... 
and yes, the florets in the drawing were just about the size
 of the RL ones I have been making all year!
Can you see the little floret on the drawing here?

Or maybe you can see it better in this one?
Well, never mind.... I still had a long way to go to finish the card...
But it gave me an idea that wouldn't go away....

Here are the finished florets for Blossom number Thirty-nine....
but I had not had time to assemble them
 while I was working so hard on the card.
 But what if...... I thought.... 
What if I attached a floret to the finished card....???

Days and days later.... 
the idea still would not go away.
 I am testing the color here....
The Card still has days and days of work to do before it is done.

But somehow, Dear Readers,
 the florets refused to come together into one blossom....
 they went into a little dish
 and at great risk to their fragile existence
 they have been attached, one by one,
 to the first forty-eight cards I have sent out!

Can you see it there? 
A single three-dimensional attachment to the drawing?
(I have never done something like this before!)
I have been needing to warn the recipients
 so they will not accidentally brush the little blossom attachment away!
But yes, The Card is finally finished
 and on its way to many on my list,
 and hopefully the little blossoms will stay attached!
Oh, and you wanted to see the whole card?

I had a hard time getting a good picture... 
the printed surface reflects the light......
 but here it is at last!
(8.5x11inches pen and ink and watercolor on arches paper)
You will need to poke the pictures to see the details!
So there went Blossom number Thirty-nine... 
in fragments all around the World....

While Blossom number Forty...
 the new number Thirty-nine
 is waiting in the box with its buddies.
And The Card is going forth
 with  a Little Attachment!