Monday, July 29, 2013

More Saintliness

A Little Bit of Grout, A Little Bit of Paint....

Well, Dear Readers, I feel as though I am a "stuck record" (Boy does THAT saying ever Date ME!)... when I say I have very little to show you this week! But I will Dig deep and find something...!
I did manage to add the grout to all those Lovely bricks on the Future (supposed to be Distantly Future...) Conservatory Project! And I added the "glass" roof to the framework....

Which you can hardly see in this picture....
And had to start Fantasizing about the Future Interior Decor....!
But on That I will say no more....!
Because it is supposed to be a long time in the Future project!
 Meanwhile, those Patient Saints Increased their membership....
By One Ghostly underpainting.....

And a few Details on the others. 
But still None of them are Done!

And having received so many flattering comments about the Saints in my last post, 
I thought I would show you the Original Manuscript Illuminations 
I am using as models for my paintings ... 
so that you can see how far I have yet to go!
To begin with I will mention that the "Story" behind my Castle is that it was originally an Abbey that was abandoned and ultimately taken over by a Noble Lord who made it into his Castle. Hence it has a much richer than usual adornment in the Chapel and in the Great Hall as well. I am trying to have the Saints all painted as though it were done in the Twelfth or Thirteenth Century, so the style of the figures would be relatively primitive. I am not being able to find good versions for all of them from such an early period, so I am making "allowances" to stretch historical accuracy. Also, I will mention that it is really difficult to paint in a "style" more "primitive" than your own! 
The Saints I have painted so far are (from the left) St. Elizabeth, St. Amand, St. Hedwig, St.Mark, and the ghostly one is St. Mary Magdalene.
For the Figure of St. Elizabeth I chose a very small decorated initial from a Gradual from the Dominican Convent of Katharinenthal, Lake Constance, from about 1300.

(It is very difficult to photograph glossy pages without the glare....)
You will hardly recognize my painting from the above figures!
To begin with, I turned Elizabeth to face the other direction. 
Then I removed John the Baptist from her lap..... 
and replaced it with the Roses and Lilies inside her cloak... from one of her legends.
My figures have nowhere near the grace of the originals!

And I didn't even do a very good job of replicating the folds of her garments!
I was a Little more precise in copying St. Amand....

This is from the Vie De Saint Amand from Valenciennes 
in the second half of the Twelfth Century.
Even so, it is really difficult to replicate the angular and linear style of the original.

For St. Hedwig I have chosen an absolutely Gorgeous Illumination from the 
Vita Beatae Hedwigis from Silesia, 1353. 
This is later than my theoretical time-frame,
but St. Hedwig was only made a Saint in 1267!
But you can see how much the style of painting had changed 
from that of the earlier paintings.

This one I will not come close to succeeding. 
To begin with, I made her seated. All the Saints are seated.
(So they fit in the Windows!)

Secondly, I have altered the colors of her cloak from the subtle greys to the vivid blue....
I can only attempt the delicacy of her hands and face....
(you can see why it takes me so long... I have to work up the courage to Try!)

As for St. Mark, once again, I am trying to be true to the original.
This is taken from the Odolricus Peccator Gospel Lectionary. 
This is from the Ottonian Empire, early Eleventh Century. 

 You can clearly see the more primitive linear forms.
But I have put his Lion at his feet instead of overhead as in the original.
And I have altered the colors of the ground.

As for the Saint Mary Magdalene, 
I will have to show you the source for her once I have done more than the 
ghostly underpainting!
But I can already tell you that she does not resemble her original very closely!
And there are still so many details to paint.... 
as well as Seven more Saints to Discover....
So that is all I have to show for this week.
 You have the Grout and Paint...
And Maybe a Little More Saintliness!


  1. It was really interesting to see the images on which you are basing your saints. Some beautiful images. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Sharee! I have to admit to being a bit obsessed with the Medieval Miniature Illuminations! I do love having the opportunity to share them!

  2. May I say that your paintings should not resemble the original. They are yours, my dear Betsy. In your very own style , and a style which we all LOVE! I think each and every one of your panels is a work of art. Wonderful, whimsical and every bit how chapel windows in our mini world should look like and more.

    It is as usual a pleasure to read and be shown the manuscripts that you are referencing from but I hope you will retain the very essence of Betsy in all your paintings. :)

    1. Thank you, Sans, for your appreciation! It is sometimes Humbling as an Artist to look at one's own work next to an admired piece.... especially when the intent was to Copy it... and to see how far apart they are! And as usual... I see my own flaws more than I see the success.... it isn't yet successful in MY eyes!!! But I will hold onto your words as a reminder that what I am creating is unique and has a value of its own.... and we will see when it is DONE.... whether I think I have come close to Succeeding in realizing my Dreams....!!! I am glad you like to see the manuscript illuminations... not everybody is as in love with them as I am! :)

  3. I think they do look a lot like original paintings you showed to us Betsy! And it's hard to say it's a little progress - it is a massive progres! So many tiny details to paint! It's a work that need a Patient Artist! Happy we can watch it!:):)

    1. Thank you, Ewa for your kind words! It is true... it is a massive amount of details I need to paint! And I know I will add to them bit by bit and eventually it will look Sort of as I imagine...!!! I am just impatient with myself! I am glad you are patient with ME and enjoy seeing the unfinished pieces over and over again! LOL!

  4. Dear Betsy,
    I love to read that you do search for samples before starting. I'm still impressed by your paintings!!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Greetings Dorien

    1. Thank you, Dorien! I really appreciate your comment!!! I love to share the Medieval pictures too!

  5. Hello Betsy! I am sooo Impressed by your Desire for Details and the Striving for Perfection that is exhibited in your work! There is Always one more layer to add, which makes your work so Unique. You begin Unafraid and Undaunted by the scope and sheer magnitude of what is set before you and you take your time and get it done, bit by bit until it is finished and YOU are satisfied. The attention to the details pays off as shown with these saints. This is BeautifulLY illustrated, Betsy and to have to adjust your natural style to paint "in the manor or" is not easy! Your conservatory is a real beauty, but what has happened to the mouse mansion, the tree house and the folly? Knowing now more of your preferences I guess that You are always happiest with Many different 'irons in the fire', am I right? ( smiles)


    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! I am a "bit by bit" person! "Itty-bitty bit by itty-bitty bit"!!! LOL! I do have a habit of starting projects and then realizing how much MORE they are than I Imagined... like the Tree House for example! (To think I thought I would be done in a few months!!!) The Castle is definitely one where I sort of knew the Scope of what I was starting.... but the Details Always expand even more when I get into the project! Yes, there is always another layer, another detail, another idea of something to add... Finishing is my Challenge!!! The part I need to keep in mind with these Saints is that I am Trying to be a bit primitive and a little cruder than the Illuminations. It is painted on a ceiling after all.... not visible from close up if you are standing in the Great Hall... so they would have exaggerated the blockiness and outlines .... I'm Trying to keep that in mind!!!

  6. Hello Betsy,
    You always do such amazing work. The conservatory, even unfinished, is absolutely wonderful. I love the brick and the colors you chose. It looks so welcoming and grand...I totally need one on the Dewel estate! I cannot wait to see more.
    The saints are just wonderful. I love your figures and very much like your technique. I for one think the draping is lovely and very well done. It has that Betsy touch we all know and love. I hope my painted ceiling will come out that good! Keep up the great work. Your castle has always impressed me and I think this ceiling will just take it to another level. Terrific work!
    Big hug,

    1. Thank you, Giac! Your encouragement is really valued! You are such a fearless builder in your project! I am glad you like the Conservatory! Just you wait to see what I am going to do with it!!! I have Plans!!! As for the Castle ceiling.... it is just the sort of project that I start with the best of intentions and then it just takes me a lot longer than I thought.... and ends up much more detailed than I thought! LOL!!! What was I thinking! But I know it is going to be very Grand when it is done.... even if all my figures look very amateur.... it would still fit the "story" of the Castle! So I will not worry... and I will keep painting... bit by bit!

  7. Conservatory?! Hmmmmm. Where? Oh well, it'll be lovely.
    I'm amazed by the saints. I love the concept that the castle is a remodeled abbey; the romance of the middle ages has me in its clutches, even though I know intellectually it was such a terrible time. Its inhabitants will find peace in your castle. As we all should, in our castles.
    Lots of love,

    1. Hi Mom! (Oh ye of little Faith! LOL!) There is Always more room... especially for something like a Conservatory!!!
      I am glad you like the Saints! Yes, we all should find peace in our Castles! And I get to make the Medieval world any way I want in Miniature Blogland!!! So it's inhabitants... when we get to them.... will have Grand Adventures I am sure!

  8. Beautiful, Betsy! Well done.
    The colours are so vivid and you've reproduced the pictures wonderfully.
    Best wishes
    Simon x

    1. Thank you Simon!!! It's great to see you here again! I hope you are finding Some time for your projects!!! I'm glad you like the Saints!

  9. Beautiful work, Betsy, you always give your work so much details, well done!
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. Thank you, Ilona! Coming from someone who can make ANYTHING in Perfect miniature, I feel that is High praise!!! I am glad you like it!

  10. Once more you took my breath away. That brick work is fantastic and your Saints... this is going to become a masterpiece. It was great to see the paintings that inspired you and I think inspiration is necessary when you want to achieve a special result that shall fit with the story behind the project. But you really should only take this as an inspiration for the style and the details because some Saints will need their special attributes - but go on doing it the Betsy-way! Just trying to copy these into a smaller size would never be enough for your talent and skills.


    1. Thank you, Birgit, for your encouragement!!! I am glad you think it is going to be great when it is done!!! I am hoping so! As for my copying skills... I am trying to remind myself that I am not really "copying" them... because I have to make changes to most of the original figures in one way or another! And they are supposed to be a bit "primitive" and they are painted on a ceiling after all!!! So the fact that they are NOT as detailed as the originals is part of what I am Trying to Do!!! It goes against all my Detail driven instincts to make something Less detailed than the original!!! At any rate it will be fun to see how it turns out in the end! And I'm glad you enjoy seeing the "not yet done" parts!!!

  11. I like your brick wall.
    Greetings, Faby

    1. Thank you, Faby!!! I hope you have a great vacation! Thank you for commenting!

  12. The wall bricks conservatory is very beautiful. I can imagine the hard work for applying the grout between the bricks.
    The painting of Saints is getting fantastic!

  13. Hi Betsy,
    Your progress is great and I am just amazed that you take on so much, there is a lot in each of these paintings and I know how time consuming they can be. You will have them done soon enough, I know its frustrating but your details are what makes your work so special. I still love to look at your chinoiserie bedroom, it's just beautiful.

    ML Fi XX

  14. Just tackling the painting of the saints is an awesome task and you are doing so very well in spite of what you say. Sandie