Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Little More In The Chapel

Stained Glass Window - Take Two

Just a quick reminder, Dear Readers, there are two days left until the drawing for my giveaway! Just leave a comment on the previous post and I will include you in the drawings!

Meanwhile, I have not been idle! But the project I have been working on is not an easy one! The windows for my Castle dollhouse must each be fitted individually to the openings I cut in the walls of the Castle. They are all arched openings.... as was the norm in early Castles because they represented the strongest way of spanning an opening in the stone walls. There are no kits for arched windows that I know of.... and if there were, they would not fit the individual window openings I made.... my skills with the saw being a little on the amateur side... the saw cuts are NOT precisely even! So I have compensated by developing a custom window frame method that requires a lot of patient sanding to fit the openings exactly. I use basswood boards about 1/8th inch thick and cut out the window frame from a carefully made tracing of the opening. I cut two of these, and keep track of which side faces in and which faces out.... because they will only fit exactly one way! Then I sand and carve and adjust until they do fit snugly in the opening. They are spaced about one eighth inch apart.... which is the dimension of the glass pane that will be sandwiched between them! It is getting easier with each window I make.... but it is a little daunting to think of all the windows I have to go.....
Here you can see the frame cut to fit the chapel window,
and with the carved "stone" pillar details added but not yet painted........

Here is a closer view, with the painted "stone" pillars that will be attached at each side when it is done. I apologize for the poor lighting of some of these pictures...... The weather has been VERY dark and gloomy and it makes it hard to light things properly!

This is a view from the outside, clearly showing the irregular nature of the arched opening I had to fit the frame to......
And another gloomy one of the interior showing the "faux stone" painting on the window frame.

Here I have started the process of painting the "stained" glass window itself. I place the glass over a detailed drawing of the images, spaced exactly as the window openings are spaced, being sure the glass pane is centered so it will fit correctly in the opening. Then I draw the outlines with the stained glass paint "leading" outliner. It is difficult to make the stuff flow in a smooth and precise way.... but I think it would be harder to try to make the outlines with the real lead strips some people have used on their windows. Anyway, having started with one method, I will continue to use it for the duration of this project... afraid that too many different methods would look very odd! I have chosen to portray Saint Peter in the left window, and Saint Paul in the right window..... I'm calling it the Peter Paul window........

Then I begin the coloring process...... it is always hard to know when to STOP adding color!!

I wanted the sense that some of the glass was not colored.... perhaps there was not enough money to buy colored glass to make the whole window with colors... and having some clear panes lets in a little more light..... so I have left their robes mostly clear glass......

Ahhhh! Here we see the window in place and lit from outside......
This is the view from inside the Great Hall looking into the Chapel................

Come a little closer! (Yes, the moody dark shots are deliberate...!)

And closer still....... can you imagine you are walking into the Chapel....?

And you can walk right up to look closely at the Peter Paul window..............!

And because the completion of the Peter Paul window made it so OBVIOUS that the next wall panel to paint MUST be the one over the door to the Monk's Cell... I have made progress on that too! The story I am portraying is the Noah and the Flood.... a decision I had made at the beginning when I laid out which story would be on which wall. And so it has seemed a little EERIE that I am painting it at a time that we are experiencing RAIN ..... Day after Day after DAY, with no end in sight! And large areas of our country have been experiencing Historic Flooding! Fortunately, my part of the world has just been WET and GLOOMY but NOT flooded! And as I write this we have actually had two days in a row with NO RAIN and only scattered showers in the area! So I am not building an ARK.... but I am painting one....... !
I find it interesting to note that while this story is commonly portrayed in recent times.... it is very hard to find versions painted in the Medieval Manuscripts I own! I found only three versions in all of my books..... So I have taken two of them to paint on my Castle Chapel walls. One shows the animals being loaded into the Ark, and the other shows them returning to dry land. The styles of the two originals are vastly different... but I am copying them both together anyway.
Here you can see the beginning of the painting process.......

And here you can see the mostly completed paintings.......

There is still a HUGE amount of detail work to go before they are done... particularly on the bottom painting where they return to land........ When I am done, then I will show them with the originals I have copied from so you can see how different they end up.....
Here is another view of the nearly done painting in place... I apologize for the poor photo......

This is a slightly better view showing BOTH the new window and the newly painted wall.....

And a view of the whole chapel as it is now........ I wish the lighting were better.....

But, that's what I've been doing lately.......
Just A Little More In The Chapel


  1. I love your windows! You are really good with the leading, I have had no success with liquid leading (Gallery Glass).
    Your Noah's Are painting is amazing, so much detail and the bright colors are beautiful. The Chapel is just Awesome!!!

    I know what you mean about the rain, we have had so many solid days of rain I lost count :(


  2. What a lovely little chapel--so sweet! :-)

  3. really pretty I love all the painting stunning work.

  4. Beautiful stained glass windows! I agree with Victoria, your leading is very good, it can't have been easy to get the lines that thin! I have a selfdesigned stained glass window in our livingroom, but I left it to a professional to do the actual work. And I love the Noah's ark paintings, you must possess a great deal of patience with all those tiny details!
    I'm really enjoying following the progress of your wonderful chapel!

  5. The only job description is a masterpiece!
    The result is worthy of a Carthusian monaco (proverbial patience) and I must say that I find absolutely fantastic atmosphere in the chapel, a great sense of meditation and devotion. It seems to smell of candles burning silent ...
    Mini hugs, Flora

  6. I am in love with your talents Betsy! Love the paintings and these stained glass windows make me saying "aaahhhh" all the time I see them:) Fantastic!
    Hope the flood won't make any disasters in your country and the rain and showers will be gone for long soon. Keep my fingers crossed:)

  7. OMG!!!!! I have to come back again to read everything properly but I really love what you have done with the windows. And that series you are painting...they are plain magic! I love every stroke, every colour , every detail. You can decorate the walls of my palace anytime..teehee ;)