Sunday, July 24, 2011

Painting In The Chapel

Details, Details, Details!

At last, Dear Readers, The Noah paintings are finished! You may recall that I promised I would show you the original versions I used as a models for these two versions of the Noah story. When last you saw these paintings they were nearly complete.... or done enough to fool anyone who had not seen the originals. The version below is the mostly done... all but the DETAILS version.
If you poke the picture it will enlarge it so you can see some of the missing details.....

The upper portion of the painting is copied from one of my all time favorite manuscripts... the Visconti Hours, made in the late fourteenth century for Giangaleazzo Visconti who ruled Milan with a tyrant's fist, but was a patron of the Arts as well. The manuscript is one of the most ornate and original and visually complex of any I have seen. Here below you can see the version I have copied from.... adorning an initial letter "D"... itself only a fraction of the illumination of the page........

For my version I had to invent the portion that extended outside the oval on the bottom edge.... I did my best to just continue what he had started..... but as usual, my version doesn't come close to faithfully reproducing the original! But at least I CAN say that mine is recognizable as a copy!

It took me several days of painting to get all the details I felt were necessary.... the shadows, the spots, the eyes, the feathers, the flowers, the waves, the flooded buildings.... oh, and the trees and the antlers and Noah himself........ the more I look, the more I see to copy.... But I have decided that I have done enough and will call it finished!

And the little painting at the bottom that shows the After the Flood scene... needed as much if not more..... in part because it is smaller so each part stands out more..... Here is the version I used as the model. In its original form it is quite large at 9 x 13 inches..... so MY version at 1.5 x 4.5 is Tiny in comparison! The colors were more muted and the detail less obvious.... but just as difficult to imitate!

Here you can see a close-up of the bottom portion NEARLY completed........

And here's a view of the entire panel.....

In spite of how long it has taken to complete the Noah paintings, that is not the only work I have done on the Chapel. I finally took the ENORMOUS step of fastening the ornate candlesticks to the floor and running the wires out through the walls behind the Altar! I cannot believe it took me so long to get around to that.... but I wanted to countersink a "spike" into the floor that the candlesticks would slide onto for added stability. It seems to be working just the way I wanted!
And if you look closely you will see that I added a gilded fringe to the ends of that beautiful Altar Cloth I got from Sans!

And believe it or not, that is not all I have accomplished! I also started painting more of the Ceiling panels with Heavenly illuminations! I started with the Archangel Michael battling the demons and chasing them from Heaven...... It is not even nearly complete.... but I wanted to show you anyway.......

And the smaller panel over the entrance doorway is showing the Last Judgement....
also a long way from done......

A closer view of some of the details.......

And even Closer!

And MORE......

This is the original manuscript illumination I used as a model for the St. Michael. It is from a twelfth century Missal ... the Stammheim Missal. I had to take considerable liberties with the composition to make it work in a triangular space... so I have moved some of the Angels and Demons around... but I have tried to keep their original shapes and colors. I have a LONG way to go with the DETAILS on this one!

With the ceiling panel removed you can see the beginnings of the drawing below.
I did a freehand copy for this as I was moving so many of the parts around......

And the beginning of adding the colors.......

And more of the base layer of color.... not many DETAILS added yet........

Here you can see the beginning of the Last Judgment painting as well......
Yes I started the next before finishing the first....!

Here below is the Original manuscript version I used for the model....
again, rather loosely copied....

This is from the St. Omer Psalter, an early fourteenth century manuscript from England.

Sorry about the reflection... the page is glossy.... Below is a closer view of the Beginnings of my version. I have had to alter almost everything.... so it is really inspiration more than copy......
And a LONG way to go!

Here you can see how these ceiling panels relate to the wall paintings already in place.....

And closer....

So That's what I've been doing... my FAVORITE thing........
MORE Painting In The Chapel!


  1. Wow! You are so talented! I can't wait to see the finished chapel, it's going to be absolutely breathtaking!

  2. Wow Betsy, just Wow! Your Chapel is a true masterpiece, so worth all the time you are putting in to it.


  3. This is wonderful and beautifully detailed, im looking forward to seeing future updates on this.

  4. Wow, you HAVE been busy! It all looks marvellous and the detailing is spot on.

  5. AMAZING!!!! I am speechless! Fantastic! I do think your versions of Noah Ark are even better than the original ones! I can't wait to see more of the ceiling!

  6. Oh, my God! an amazing job! I like too, to look good, I almost like better, your Noah ... :))
    This is a crazy job, perhaps even Michelangelo would have imagined doing ... great, really great! many compliments!

  7. You are a master , a true miniaturist ! Do you realise that, my dear Betsy? In every sense of the word. How in the world did you crawl into the room under the ceiling to paint and then to paint so magnificently! Someone should do a documentary on your work in progress.

    Betsy, have you ever thought that you would be using a dollhouses as your canvas? How brilliant is that? I have yet to see anyone else does it to the extent that you have and I love every wall, every mural , every painted furniture that you have done.

    I am so darn proud of you.

  8. Wow! The amount of work you are doing is staggering! With a beautiful result. wonderful

  9. Dear Betsy, I can not express my admiration for your work worthy of the medieval miniature painters. Although it is not my style, I love the atmosphere of the chapel and patiently you dedicate to it.
    Mini hugs, Flora

  10. Betsy dear,
    I agree with Sans. Your use of the dolls house as your canvas, for truly beautiful paintings, is unique. Maybe. Anyway, it's staggeringly lovely. How proud of you am I!
    Lots of love,

  11. Betsy, just astounding!

    (By the way, I love the idea of a tyrant patron of the arts, the idea if not the reality)

    You have the patience of a saint, truly, and the eye and hand and heart of a true artist. It has that glow and hush that you find only in real, beautiful chapels. I'm amazed.

  12. What an amazing artwork you have done! Sooo much detail and all freehand, it must have taken you hours?! :o)) I take it you painted the sections and added them to the ceiling after...great idea!!!

    It seems I've been a follower of your blog for a while, but for some reason your updates have not been showing on my Dashboard. :o((

    Michelle xx

  13. Wow...your paintings are so beautiful!!! I love how the Noah paintings turned out! And the ceiling you are working looks so wonderful already!!!
    The chapel will be a true masterpiece!!!!

  14. Thank you Alennka! I appreciate your comment!

  15. Thanks, Victoria! I AM getting rather carried away with it!

  16. Thank you, Miniature Treasures.... I admire YOUR work!

  17. Thanks, Irene! It takes me a long time... but it IS worth it!

  18. Thank you, Ewa! I AM flattered that you think my versions are better.... I spend so much time admiring the originals.... and when I attempt a copy... I feel as though I fall far short of the original artist's work...... so Thank you for the vote of confidence!

  19. Thank you, Caterina! I can only try to copy.... the originals are SO beautiful to my eyes... I am glad you think mine is so good!

  20. Thank you, Dear Sans! Your words of praise are music to an Artist's ears! But I must confess that you think I am doing a harder job than I really am doing.... the ceiling of the chapel is still NOT attached... so I remove it to do the painting.... also on the Noah paintings because I still have not closed in the Monk's cell permanently. But the OTHER paintings ARE all done on the walls in place.... but it is a bit easier because the ceiling is out of the way.... only a little bit of stretching and contorting needed! The ONLY room that was truly (madly) painted the way you are imagining was the Chinoiserie bedroom of the Lovely Old Dollhouse. I had NO choice there! I was not about to unbuild the house!
    So you see, all it requires is patience and a good version to copy from! It is the ORIGINAL work that must be praised so highly. But I will happily accept your praise.... and I maybe should do a little "documentary" on the chapel painting..... find a mini dollhouse film crew..... lights, camera action.... hee hee, I like this idea! Stay tuned for more!

  21. Thank you, Heather! As you know, when you love to do it, it never feels like a lot of work.... I dread completing it... nothing more to paint? What a scary thought!

  22. Thank you, Flora! It is such high praise to hear that I capture the real atmosphere..... that is what makes a successful work!

  23. Thank you, Amy! I am always SO inspired by the Medieval Miniatures.... I am having such FUN making my own versions in this little Chapel... as usual with me.... my project gets more elaborate as I go along..... no telling where I will end up with it! But capturing that Mystical feeling of the Real chapels..... that is what I aim for!

  24. Thank you, Michelle! It takes Hours and hours and HOURS and more hours! But I LOVE painting miniatures.... so it is PURE pleasure for me! As for the method.... the whole ceiling is still removable... so I get to paint it very easily on a table top! The inside walls are all painted in place... but with the ceiling out of the way it is not TOO difficult. But I take a long time and allow myself to take breaks .... sometimes it takes a VERY long time.... I started painting the Chapel a year ago.....

  25. Thank you, Margriet! I Do like the way the Noah paintings turned out..... :) And I have high hopes for the ceiling paintings too.... it is not too difficult when I am copying the originals.... If I was inventing all of it.... I would probably still be working on the first one!

  26. Betsy, Thank you so much for viiting me. I truly appreciate your note as well!!!*grin*

    I am glad that it draw me to come thank you because I am speachless to see YOUR work. WOW! What a master peice. YOU or who ever be blessed with this chapel will always appreciate the work of a true miniaturist , specially in this area of painting that is so very difficult! i am amazed!

  27. ¡Que trabajo más impresionante!!!! Es maravilloso Ö y admirable!!!!!!
    Un abrazo

  28. Thank you, Patricia! The Chapel is in the Castle dollhouse I am building for myself..... so I get to make it just the way I want to! I'm glad you like it! Thanks for stopping by and for commenting! I really like YOUR work!

  29. Thank you, Flor! I am glad you like it! I have a long way to go.... but I love to paint!