Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chapel Update

Painting In The Chapel

For the past two weeks I have been doing my Favorite thing....... Painting on the walls .... and the ceiling.... this time in the Chapel of the Castle Dollhouse! I have made some good progress so I thought I would share it with you, Dear Readers, even though it is still a LONG way from complete. So bear with me while I explain that there is still MUCH detail missing from these paintings, especially the ceiling which has only just been started. Even so, it adds immensely to the atmosphere and gives a glimpse of what I hope it will feel like when it is all done! Here you can see that overhead above the Altar I have painted God the Father emerging from the heavens and gazing RADIANTLY down on all below! (Yes, I put glittery crystals on his eyes!)

Here is a closer view. You can also see that I have painted the Vault Ribs in the red and gold that I used around the windows. This is a view looking UP at the ceiling. (Remember that you can poke the photos to enlarge them...!)

And to one side, above the entrance doorway I have painted a series of Saints Portraits in roundels over the arch. I know, this view is a little bit too dark.... but it is Night in the Castle!

Ah, that's better.... here the ceiling has been temporarily removed (remember that I have not attached the ceilings to the rooms I am working on...) so the roundels with the portraits are clearly visible.
At the farthest left side is Saint Amand, then Saint Matthew and Saint Mark. I scoured all my Medieval Miniature Books for portraits that would reveal the character of each Saint and I have copied them here, somewhat roughly in most cases.

Here is the portrait of Saint Elizabeth, patroness of Beggars, the Embodiment of Charity, and to her right is Saint Luke the Patron of Artists and Sculptors.... sorry this photo cuts him off....

And to the farthest right is Saint John the Evangelist and then Saint Radegund who gave up a Queens crown to become a Nun and founded an Abbey....... Each of these portraits is about one inch in diameter and painted directly on the wall. The edges need a little tidying up still......

And the Painting I did THIS weekend was a rendition of the Nativity...... copied faithfully from a Miniature in a Psalter from Wurzburg painted around 1240 AD.
Here below you can see the almost completed version I painted on the Chapel wall......

And here you can see the original that I copied from.......

I used the tried and true method of making a tracing of the miniature and then transferring it to the wall by covering the back side of the drawing with graphite pencil and drawing over the original design which transfers the design to the wall beneath. Then I go over the pencil outline with a fine point Permanent India Ink Pen. Here below is the inked drawing on the wall.

Then I paint the various areas with the colors as shown in the original. This is not as easy as it sounds as matching pigments is very challenging. I allowed myself to vary the colors from the original rather than try to match them exactly. This picture shows it partly done....

And this one shows the completed Nativity scene. This Painting is about 4 inches by 5 inches!
I am VERY happy with the results!

Here is a view with the ceiling back in place and the Altar Candles lit........

There is still a long way to go.... but it is some Progress!
Just a Chapel Update


  1. Wow! Impressive, I love the rich colors. This is a true labor of love, your Chapel is just incredible.

    Victoria ❤

  2. Breathtaking! Should we call you Michelangelo? It's not everyday someone gets to paint a chapel ceiling...even if it is a miniature one.

    Amazing job!


  3. Thanks, Victoria! These things always take me longer than I think they will... and become more complex as I go on...... So, yes it is a labor of Love! Good thing I love to paint miniatures!

  4. Thanks, Dale! Welcome to my blog! I imagine this is the only Chapel ceiling I will be painting..... so I plan to make the most of it! I'm glad you like it! Thanks for commenting! :)

  5. I'm gobsmacked!! I've always been fascinated by early church decoration and orthodox icons, and here you've provided a feast of them!! They're so beautiful - what a clever and talented lady you are!!

  6. Love every change you make in the chapel Betsy! It looks more and more real with every change you make there! Fantastic!

  7. Thanks, Glenda! Me Too!.... fascinated, that is! I have been collecting Books of Miniatures.... and the opportunity to render some of them Myself is just irresistible! I am having fun! More to come!

  8. Thanks, Ewa! It is starting to look the way I have imagined! As you know, with your Snape's Room..... it takes a long time to get the foundation done so we can start with the real decorating..... but that is half the fun!

  9. Beautiful!! you created a warm and safe sancutary. I love the glittery crystal eyes (:
    It looks likes an ancient place with a long history..lovely!!
    Did you take the walls out to paint them?

  10. Your chapel is now officially one of my favourite miniature projects in the blogworld, I adore it (and God of course)! You couldn't come and help me out with the ceiling of my chapel?
    I love your choice of colours, especially all the bold red, blue and gold, which is what I think of as typically medieval church painting colours. And your copy of the nativity scene is wonderful, I like that your colours are a little bit stronger than the print version.
    Btw, I love the peacock painting you gave Sans as well, you really are one talented lady!

  11. Thanks, Margot! It is a warm sanctuary! And I like to think it has a LONG history! I have been painting the walls in place.... they are already firmly attached! But the ceiling I can remove to paint.... thankfully!..... and the most difficult part is aligning the places that continue onto the walls so that the image looks continuous! But it is definitely a challenge to paint on the walls where they are!

  12. Hi Helene! Welcome BACK! I'm honored that you think so well of my Chapel! I sure WISH I could come help with your Chapel! The colors are the ones I recall from seeing the Sainte Chappelle in Paris many years ago..... that star studded blue ceiling and the red and gold painted ribs is just unforgettable! Also I am inspired by the Painted interior of the Giotto Chapel in Padua..... which I've never seen in person.... but maybe someday! The richness of the colors is like music to my soul!!! And I just LOVE the opportunity to paint my own versions!
    Thank you for your comments!:)

  13. this really is amazing!! fabulous!

  14. Here I am at last and I see in this box, two of my favourite painters of my palace :):). *waving crazily at Helene and then at Betsy :)

    I have to tell you , Bets, your chapel has to be one of the most impressive/amazing / wonderful/ evocative one I have seen. I can imagine walking into it and going "ahhhhhh" like I do in a life size chapel. I think your painting is brilliant and like Helene, I absolutely love your choice of colours. And then there's that nativity scene you reproduced on the wall. I will be extremely pleased too if I were you.

    I love that you love miniature painting. I saw some really amazing ones in India but they were too expensive for me to buy them . I can imagine if we were there shopping together, you will be able to share so much that you have learnt with me :) .

    You must try and read "My name is Red", Betsy. This book was recommended to me by Helene. It is about a group of miniature artists living in Ottoman Empire. I haven't read a better book since :).

  15. Back on the Internet at last! Better late than never. Love the chapel & all its new decorations; the nativity scene is a faithful copy but I'm a little confused by the mermaid-like draping of the Virgin Mother's clothes. Is that intentional? Or just lack of expertise on the part of the very early artists?
    Your painting is gorgeous, as usual!
    Love, Mom

  16. Thank you, Minnie Kitchen! I really appreciate your comments!

  17. Hi Sans! ~~~~~ Waving right back! I am so glad you feel that way about my Chapel! It is becoming that sort of place for me too.... I peer up at the ceiling and feel surrounded by that vibrant color and the intricate imagery and it just feels .....DIVINE! No other word for it! The colors are SO important to me.... that brilliant and saturated pigment is just so VIBRANT! (As you can see I get excited!)
    As for miniatures, Sans.... they ENCHANT me! There is SO much detail and love and humor and LIFE in every square inch of these tiny gems.... and usually they have been hidden inside books for CENTURIES with only a few ever seeing them! The Modern world is bringing into the open SO many treasures that have been so hidden.... even when I was younger only a fraction of the images were available to the average person!
    If we EVER get the opportunity to travel and view these together we would have a Joyful time together! :)
    I am off to order myself a copy of "My Name Is Red"..... that is a very high recommendation! :)

  18. Hi Mom! I'm glad to see you are back on the internet!
    I have to laugh at your description of Mary as Mermaid-like! It is actually the Primitive style of the painting that has you confused! In the earliest paintings of the Nativity they show Mary Lying in BED when she has just given birth to the baby Jesus.... unlike more modern versions where she shows an un-human amount of Energy and Grace for one who has just given Birth! So her reclining position in front of the manger where the baby lies is a standard image in these older paintings. In this one there is hardly any bed frame showing, but her lower body is carefully draped in blankets, and her feet are splayed as they would look under the blanket! I thought the original artist was quite observant to include that detail! I also chose this particular version because it included a wonderful backdrop of roof-lines of the supposed city of Bethlehem. Much truer to the facts of the story than later more rural interpretations.
    Thank you for your vote of confidence for my abilities! :)

  19. It doesn't seem to be a miniature design at all. It's awesome! Surely needs a lot of hardwork to achieve such great painting.

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