Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Chasing Visions...

More Adventures With Doors and Windows...

I Intended to paint more on the Castle Hall Ceiling, Dear Readers, but then I thought I would just finish the lead outlining for the exterior of the Parlor French doors first so I could see how they would look. And then I wanted to see how the fine black lace would look as curtains on these windows, and realized that I would need to attach these curtain rods and curtains Before I completed the trees in the parlor! And while I was at it, I wanted to see how the added window muntins would look on the outside of the windows, so I started in on the kitchen window first.

Here you can see the muntins have been added to the right hand window, 
and only the cross-pieces on the other two.

And here you can see the window in place with the completed muntins....
I think it adds the right amount of realism for these windows!

And after deciding that I liked the way the black lace curtain looked.... 
I had to take the house apart in order to glue the windows in place....
Because I wanted to add weights to press the windows while gluing.... 
which meant tipping the house on its side....
And adding some good solid books for weight!
And since I had to take the house apart to do this, 
I figured I might as well be doing the upstairs windows at the same time....
So I slowly but surely added the exterior leading 
to all the major windows for the parlor and the bedroom...
(Which used a lot of Time!)
And then glued them in place!

And added the curtain rods...

And propped the trees in place... 
which is when I realized I will need to make some adjustments 
for the curtain on the window at the right in the parlor! 
The trees prevent any access to the curtain rod!
But it sure is looking the way I hoped it would!
(And I never got to the painting at all!)
But that is not what I am Really wanting to tell you about, Dear Readers!
I am sure there are some of you out there who look at this Blog every week and think 
"But What about the Fairy Bears and the little Dreamers? 
Are they Lost? 
Did they ever make it to the Castle let alone the Cloud Palace?"
Well, I want to reassure you that they Did make it to the Castle... 
although the Cloud Palace is still not on their horizon!
Because the Castle is where things get VERY Tricky, Dear Readers.....
I am not sure that you have noticed, 
but Time at the Castle is Very Unreliable!
After All, the Castle has been there for maybe a thousand Years, 
give or take a few....
and in all that Time, there is no telling how many stray Hexes or 
Spells of Protection or Transformation have been cast, 
or gone awry or Lingered to trap the unwary!
If you have followed the Tales on this blog you will have met the Wizard 
who mostly inhabits the Caverns deep below the Castle, 
and Old Meg who almost never is seen leaving her spot by the hearth in the Kitchen, 
and has been there for untold Generations, 
and perhaps you have even encountered a Dragon or two 
if you have ventured into the dungeons!
Or Perhaps you have visited with Henry and Belle 
who seem to be forever awaiting the return 
of their Noble Family, the owners of the Castle, 
or waited Forever for Father Alban to pick up his paintbrushes... 
and complete the murals in the Chapel!
Or perhaps you have been to some of the Parties 
that are always catered by the Gracious Host Ken, 
a fellow who is himself a Timeless Hero!
However it is, I hope you have Noticed 
how Strange and Unpredictable Time is while at the Castle!
Alas, our little Travelers know nothing of this!
They have arrived at the Castle thinking it will be 
just like it was the last time they were here!
But it is Not!
Tiny Bear is the First to notice that it is different. 
He has been here before, but he never came to the Stables at all.
He entered the Main Door in the Guard Room, 
and was surprised to find hungry Owls 
about to go out looking for their supper....

But this time he sees chickens and a large Rooster!
"Eh, ....Maybe we should just go look in the Front Door..." he said.
"There was a helpful fellow there last time I was here..." he added hopefully.

Buttercup heard him and noticed that he looked a little bit worried...
"Here, Little Tiny Bear, you can ride on my shoulders..." she said.
"There's a much better view of things from up there..." she added.

He didn't need to hear the offer twice! 
Before she knew it he had leaped onto her shoulders!
Just in time too, as the Rooster came strutting closer!
"Maybe we should go look in that other door..." said Buttercup...

But it seemed nobody else was listening!

The Little Dreamers remembered being here before.
But last time the Castle was empty. 
This time they could hear voices 
coming through the doors from the Kitchen...
Beth thought they should at least go have a look....
But Amy is not so sure! 
She remembers finding the Wizard 
in the caves beneath the Castle.....
She thinks she could find him there again...
and they could be quickly on their way!

She is Sure she knows where to find the path down the cliffs!
And Marmalade? What does Marmalade do?
She decides to go join Buttercup and Tiny Bear....

Who have just reached the Main Door 
and stepped into the Guard Room.
There was nobody there.
And it didn't look much like Tiny Bear Remembered...
Although he was relieved to see no Owls hovering about!
There was a doorway with some stairs in the corner....
"Let's see where those go..." said Tiny Bear, pointing...
(He was feeling much more Brave from his position on Buttercup's shoulders!)

At the top of the stairs there was a door onto a balcony 
which overlooked the Great Hall...
They had a magnificent view from up there!

And down below there was a whole room full of furniture.....

Old Fashioned furniture!
And dogs. There were several Large dogs!
Meanwhile, Marmalade has hurried after Tiny Bear and Buttercup ....
 But when she reaches the Guard Room, 
even though she is not aware of it, 
it is as though she is entering an entirely different world!
She spots the owls, and hopes that they did not bother Tiny Bear, 
but she was sure Buttercup would keep him safe!
She crosses the room and looks through some large doors into the Great Hall.

She thinks that if she hurries she will catch up with Buttercup!

She crosses a nearly empty Great Hall....
and peeks through another door....
And what she sees nearly takes her Breath away!

It is the most Beautiful place she has Ever seen!
She did not know there were such beautiful paintings anywhere!
She completely forgot about finding the Wizard 
or Buttercup... or even some Tea!
And what of the Little Dreamers....?
Beth has indeed peeked into the Kitchen in the Castle...
She has met Old Meg before, 
so she is not entirely surprised to see her 
sitting in the corner beckoning to her...
"Come here, my Child..." she said.
"Do not worry about them... they cannot see you" she added
as Beth came closer into the room and passed near to Henry and Belle.
"They do not inhabit your Time...."
"It is You who have strayed..." she said.
"And now you must go back! 
You cannot travel the same path as your Friends...
They must find their own way" she declared.
"Your task is to collect your Sister and return to help your Brother...."
"He has need of your help, for his Task is not an easy one!"
Beth could only nod and agree... 
but she had no idea where her Brother Perry was to be found...
And she hadn't realized her Sister Amy was lost!

 But what has become of Amy... you wonder....?

She found her way to the Cliff path easily, Dear Readers,
But it was much more overgrown than she remembered....
and she did not expect to find a strange man instead of the Wizard!

She did not remember meeting Guard Ian before.
"You must go back, Little One..." he was saying.
"This is no place or Time for one such as you to be...."
"The Wizard is not here ... and he Cannot help You...!"

Ah, Dear Readers, I must leave you here for now... 
Yes, On This Cliff...!
Because I have run out of Time!
But I hope you have enjoyed this journey 
through so many Doors  (and Windows)
Chasing Visions.... 
aren't we always just chasing Visions?

(To Be Continued...)

Monday, July 20, 2015

And A Little Bit More Paint....

A Very Very Little Bit.....

The Weekend felt Very Short, Dear Readers, after the fun of a Vacation week and the Trials of returning to work and the Huge list of tasks that is inevitable after time off! So the Tiny Little bit of painting that I have to show you seems almost not worth the showing! But I did add the figures on the third section of the Castle ceiling to the right of the Chimney. Here above you can see them with the under-painting and the black outlines done. It is a series of musicians and dancers, some Sedate and Courtly, and some clearly making Very Merry! After all, this is meant to portray Humanity and its foibles and follies!

And here you can see the first section with the next painting step done....
Oh, you couldn't see a difference?
Well, I have added a layer of "flesh tone" 
to all the hands and faces. 
The details will be added later once the costumes have been painted.

I added "flesh tone" to all the hands and faces... 
but forgot to take pictures of the Feasting Nobles too.

I started to add the green of the landscape background...
Here you can see it with the Saints too for scale reference.
These little figures are each about one and one half inches tall!

Here I have added color to the gowns too.
At this point I am working a little bit on each panel at the same time.
This is so that the overall color arrangement will stay balanced.

Here I have added some color to the Feasters....

And to the Dancers....

And a little more to the Feasters...
This is Such a slow process.....
I am sure to bore you with every step!
And One other thing I worked on, Dear Readers,
was the leaded lines for the Willowcrest windows.
These are made from golfer's lead tape cut into narrow strips 
and adhered to the outside of each window, 
copying the design done in black "lead" on the inside.

It is a very slow and tedious process... 
but it makes the World of difference in how these windows 
look from the outside... which is where they are the most visible!

You can see that I have only done the two panes on the left...

Here I am testing the view of the windows from the outside.....
All of the exterior trim will be painted in the silver color 
and there will be thin muntins added where 
the painted stripes are on the windows.
I stopped after only the one window 
because I really wanted to paint!

But I only got a little bit done Dear Readers...
It is such a slow process....
And was a Very short Weekend!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Paint and More Paint....

Walls, Windows, Ceilings....

I was Home last week on Vacation, Dear Readers, and while I did not get anywhere near as many things done as I had hoped, I did tackle a couple of those "Big" little projects that have been waiting for my Time and Attention! One of those is Painting the egg-carton rocks of the Cloud Palace Tower. This is one of those areas where I have to complete the work on the inside before I can complete the building on the outside... and even the next level up... because it will be too difficult to accomplish once the ceiling is in place! And I made it more difficult for myself (I think) by not painting the walls black before adding the egg-carton rocks. Although I think I would have needed to add black paint to all the crevices anyway even if I had under-painted with black. It is a daunting task to add black paint into all the gaps between  ALL the "rocks" on the Tower!

And once it has been added... it looks terrible!
So then I needed to add the further layers of the gray paints
 to make the black recede into the cracks.

Here it is with just the dark gray layer 
added to make the black almost disappear...
It just looks way too dark!
So I added more layers of the lighter gray.....

And washes of browns.....
And I think it is starting to look like rocks!
But are they the kind of rocks I want?
I am not so sure....
I think they need to be paler....
Somehow more Cloud-like!
This might be challenging!

And as you can Imagine, Dear Readers, 
I was not working on only ONE project!
I had also decided to tackle the problem
 of the Windows for the Willowcrest....

I have decided that I need to abandon the order that 
the Instructions for this kit want you to follow
as far as the windows are concerned. 
They tell you to add them as a LAST step!
I am not sure there is a reason to wait for the last step....
and it would mean you can't weight them down while the glue dries....
So I am planning to add them to the walls right from the start.
Above you can see the pattern I have chosen to paint for the 
"Leaded glass" portion of each window.
I decided that since I want to be able to see into the rooms from the outside, 
the decoration on these windows needed to be minimal.
It is very tricky to paint with this "leaded glass" paint, 
so I added the pattern in sections, 
letting each part dry overnight before adding the next part, 
to prevent smearing the paint.

Here you can see the window temporarily in place 
in the kitchen of the Willowcrest....
just so you can see how the pattern looks.
I still needed to add the color to each window.....
One tiny piece of color at a time!

Here is the kitchen window with the color done....

Of course, the color looks washed out when viewed in place....
but it actually looks pretty good!

And here I am testing the Parlor windows in place...
It was too dark without the sconces on....
I think the colors work really well here.

And the bedroom windows being tested in place....
I have used the same pattern for all the windows, 
but used different colors to suit each room.

Here is a closer view of the bedroom window....

Oh, and Madame Durant wanted to come
 see the progress on her house!
I still need to add the lead golfer's tape to the exterior side 
of each of these windows, Dear Readers.
Another task that will take a long time... 
but needs to be done before the windows are glued in place!
And as if that weren't enough of those "Big" little projects, 
I also continued work on the painted ceiling of the Castle Great Hall!
Do you even remember those Patient Saints?
Some only just barely begun.... 
and others with only a few tiny details still missing. 

Of course, I forget to take a "before" picture... 
not that you would notice the little details I have added anyway!
In the above picture you can see I have painted 
the borders along each side a lovely golden ocher color.
(It is so difficult to get a good focus on this ceiling!)

Here you can see a close-up of the Saints Lucia and Nicholas 
after I had added quite a few details.

And here is Saint Bridget before I had added anything.....

And with the under-painting of the pleats in her robes....

And the color of the pleating 
and the beginnings of the church and the sword.....

And for Saint Matthew, the beginnings 
of the highlights for his robes pleating....

And some details of his book stand and his seat.

But what I really was trying to get to work on, Dear Readers, 
was the painting of the Borders along each side of the ceiling!
They are going to be populated with little images of the daily life of the Ordinary people, 
the Sinners as apposed to the Saints who live so large above!

Here I have started to paint the under-painting of a group of Nobles dining.....

And here I have started a sequence which includes 
a Couple playing chess, some Musicians playing and Dancers dancing, 
and even a pair of Lovers who are enjoying each other in the bushes....!
Of course, these are Far from finished....

I have added the painted black outlines 
and still need to add all the color and details...

And here you can see the outlines added to the Feasters as well.
This is the central panel in the Great Hall... 
right over the Fireplace and where the Lord and Lady will be seated to Dine. 
It will serve as a constant reminder of the Human tendencies to Sin....
Which the Medieval painters so loved to portray
 in the borders and margins of their works!
There will be six panels in all....
So you can see, Dear Readers, I still have a long way to go...
But whether it is on the Ceiling, Windows, or walls....
I have been adding Paint and More paint!
(I do Love to paint!)