Monday, August 5, 2013

Going In Circles....!

Engineering Challenges and a Few Halos....

By now, Dear Readers, I am sure you have realized that the Saints are going to take quite a Long Time before they are finished! I will TRY not to bore you with too many pictures of unfinished paintings.... but at the same time I would like to keep you updated with any Progress that HAS been made! To begin with, above we see the ceiling in place in the Castle Great Hall and now the first row has at least the shadowy under-painting of all its Saints completed. You may wonder why I am working this way.... starting the Next one before the others are even partly done.... and there are actually a couple of reasons why I am doing this. The first is that it is easier to work out the color choices as the paintings develop simultaneously. This way I can make sure there is a harmonious balance of colors rather than discovering by the time I reach the Last Saint that nothing looks right next to the already completed ones! Another good reason is the better use of mixed paint colors when painting more than one figure at a time. I can mix a certain color of shadow for faces and use it on three or four figures before the paint dries out! And the last and maybe most compelling reason is that it is Easier to paint the under-layers and Avoid the careful Tricky parts.... for as long as possible...! So I added the final Saint for this side of the ceiling. He is Saint John the Evangelist.

And since I was painting Some detail on faces.... 
I will show you the more developed Saint Mark.....

I apologize for the blurry and reflection streaked pictures!
The ceiling surface is "ribbed" (the bends in the corrugated cardboard)
which makes painting much more challenging and the lighting almost impossible!
But in the Long run it will provide a layer of detail and texture 
that I hope will add to the realism.
Nevertheless, it makes it hard to avoid the reflections!

On Saint Hedwig I added the altar cloth draped over her arm....
And the Halos of the Virgin and Child Figures she is holding to her breast.
I know, it is really difficult to See these details!
I also added another layer of "gold" to several of the Halos....

Most notably for Mary Magdalene and Saint John with his Eagle. 
So you can see there is still a LONG way to go with the Saints!

Meanwhile, Dear Readers, I have been Wrestling with 
the Engineering of the next floor of the Tree House!
I will show you what I mean....
To begin with, I have closed in the back hallway 
behind the Chinoiserie Bedroom...
Can you even see what I am referring to?

And I have to confess that I threw caution to the Winds... 
and decided to put a Light back there....
Because it made light shine down the stairs 
 and onto the book left in the window halfway down.....
Which I CANNOT get a good picture of, so you will just have to believe me!
And while I was adding lights to places I hadn't intended to put them.... 
I added an Ambient light to the Dressing Room....
And OH! What a Difference it Made!!!!

Why did I think I could go with out Light????
It is just One light added overhead
Before I glued the ceiling in place!

Here you can see the light from above. 
The hallway is at the upper right.

And here is another glimpse of the inside of the Bedroom.... 
with just the Ambient lights!
It turns out that my battery was very run down 
and made the lights very dim!

As for the Engineering Challenge I have been struggling with.... 
that has to do with the NEXT Floor up!
Oh my! Are we ready????
Here is the Tree House as it now stands....
(separated from The Folly so I can build on it...)

And as I have so many times Before....
I started with the Door...!

Making a Circular Window from a large piece of polished glass....
And cutting out the walls to get a rough sense of the space.....

But the Real Challenges are not in the main room....
but behind it with the Spiral Stairs....

There will be a door into the room cut in the panel at the top of the stairs.
The next run of stairs will start just to the left and Spiral up as before....
But I (along with so many of you Dear Readers) 
have been wanting to make a way to 
Open a Door into the side of the Turret.....!
The door would be curved....
But it would need a Sturdy Post to be hinged upon!

And Just HOW to attach the post has been 
Bothering me for a Long Time!!
But I think I have figured it out.....
The post would be a thin strip of plywood....

Which would be attached between the two floors.......

I will probably glue AND Screw the post to both the floors!
It needs to be able to take a lot of twisting without breaking!

When the door is closed it would be the outside of the turret.....

And would swing open to show the Spiral staircase
as it spins up to the Next level...!
But Accomplishing this is
Oh So Much harder than it Sounds!!
I cannot attach the floor until the post is attached to it....
I cannot build all the walls with the Ceiling in place.... 
and I cannot "sandwich" the post between the floors 
without attaching the ceiling...! (Which IS the upper floor!)
I think I am going to be doing a lot of "Temporary"
attaching of pieces with masking tape and clothespins while I figure this out!

Perhaps I Will just go back to painting Halos....

I know I will solve these Engineering Challenges!
But is it any wonder I feel Like I am going in Circles?


  1. I absolutely adore your painting of the Saints! Yes, I agree about the texture from the cardboard.

    1. Thank you Grandmommy! Welcome to my blog! I appreciate comments and am glad you like my Saints!

    2. The ceiling is starting to look fabulous. I love watching your progress with its twists, turns and changes along the way. Best way to work I think. It gives the project a 'life' and we get to watch it evolve.

  2. WOW! It's a lot of work in your Tree House! I love all the lights you add, Betsy! They do give "life" to all the rooms. I know you will figure it out with engineering challenges! Can't wait for it!
    And of course I can't wait to see more of the Saints! I always alwats admire your beautiful paintings!

    1. Thank you, Ewa! (I am just "practicing" with the Saints paintings.... getting myself warmed up to paint the Real Miniatures!!! :)) I am glad you like the progress on the Tree House... I have some challenges with this room! I hope I can make my ideas happen!

  3. Dear Betsy,
    What an amazing paintings!
    I wonder why you didn't choose for a flat ceiling?
    Hugs Dorien

    1. Thank you, Dorien! I am glad you like the Saints! And I'm glad you asked about the ceiling! When it is done it will look like the ceiling is made from wooden beams that were painted... so there will be dark cracks between the beams... and the creases in the cardboard help with that illusion! I need to get the paintings finished before I paint the cracks in the wood. It is a long way from done!

  4. Hello Betsy,
    Never have circles been more productive! The saints are just wonderful and keep on getting better. The finished ceiling will be a real masterpiece...or should I say another masterpiece. The detail you achieve in the faces is wonderful.
    As for the lighting in the Chinoiserie Bedroom, I am so glad you installed just brings all the detail to life and really makes the room incredible. Your wonderful painting can be seen the way it deserves to be. I totally want to some spend a few nights in that room.
    I know your structure will be solid and well put together, when Betsy makes a project, you just know it will be perfection.
    Big hug,

    1. Thank you for the vote of Confidence, Giac!!! I am hoping you are right.... and when the whole Tree is Finished all my "Engineering" tricks actually work!!! But I have to just keep going and hope for the best! I am in way too deep to Quit Now! LOL!!!

  5. I love the saints, too. And the new lights in your tree house. How much taller is the tree house going to be? It's beginning to feel like a New York skyscraper! But the little rooms are amazing, for sure.

    1. Hi Mom! I'm glad you like the Saints! They are really starting to show their characters! As for the Tree House... it will have to get quite a bit taller before it is done.... or it will never resemble a Tree at all!! It doesn't look quite so tall when it is next to The Folly... which is a good thing! I am trying to keep them in proportion to each other!

  6. My dear Bets, I still cannot get over how you are painting only after everything is installed. It is sooooooo much more difficult! I will NEVER EVER be able to do what you do without ending up in the hospital with some kind of injuries only sustained by acrobats! :)

    Lights, oh how beautiful those lights are! If I thought the Chinoiserie room was gorgeous before, with lights, it is now DIVINE! Yes, more lights please, even in hidden corners and tucked away staircase :).

    1. No, No, Sans! You are forgetting that the Ceiling is still removable!! It is only the Walls that I must paint in place! LOL!!! I pull the ceiling out to paint it and put it back to check how it looks! I will have to show you a picture of my "Easel".... it resembles your painting "chair" in your Little Garden Studio Old Man House!
      And as for Lights... I am putting them Everywhere!

  7. Hello from Spain: saints featuring stunning paintings. Great job. Much realism. We keep in touch.

    1. Thank you, Marta! I do love to paint... and Medieval subjects are my Favorites! Thank you for commenting!

  8. I don't think you're going in circles... you're running straight on the road of progress. Perfect things take their time, don't they? Your painting skills are always stunning, your ceiling with the Saints will for sure become a masterpiece. And it was amazing what a difference one single, little light in the dress room made! As always I'm curious to see more, especially how the new room will turn out.

    Birgit (who wants to let you know you're not the only one already thinking and making plans about this year's Christmas greeting cards... I did, too! *grin* What else can you do during a heat wave... *teehee*)

    1. Thank you, Birgit.... for "straightening me out"!!! LOL! The new room is Full of challenges for me... you will see what I mean... if I ever get them solved!!! I have lots of Ideas.... just not sure if I can make them work! But Time will tell!
      As for Christmas cards... I never think I start soon enough... even when it is still Summer! But if I don't Start... well... we can only Imagine how late it would be when I finish!!! LOL!

  9. Hello Betsy,
    Everytime I visit your blog it surprises me again how unique your miniature work is....I don't think I have seen similar creations so far on the internet. Your imagination is rich and your are so inventive. You use creative solutions to the problems you encounter while working on your mini projects. The result is always beautiful.
    Therefore it's such a joy to read and look at you posts. Hugs, Liduina

    1. Thank you So much, Liduina, for your lovely comment! I am really glad you enjoy my projects so much! I do get carried away... the Tree House is very "freeing" that way for me! I have not felt quite so courageous with my other houses that seem to have a "History" they are trying to live within. I find so much of my inspiration from other bloggers and their Amazing creativity! It is what I love so much about blogland.... there are so many incredibly creative people making miniatures and sharing their ideas! Thank you for commenting!

  10. Hello Betsy! I LOVE THE CATHEDRAL CEILING! I looks outstanding and I am now really able to get a sense of the scope of this project. Wow! You are not shy about tackling BIG Projects! Most Impressive, Betsy. When you said " it is So much Harder, than it sounds", I thought "No, it sounds pretty HARD!!!" And yet I know that you will take the bull by the horns and make this truly a One of a Kind Wonder! There is things to do and every 'simple' project requires a lot of prep work, but not everyone wishes to take on a castle and a tree house, not to time not to mention a folly too You are amazing in your scope and diversity of what you have on the go! Your castle ceiling is worth the efforts, it is developing into your vision which is now becoming more visible to me and the lighting that you installed for the dressing room,.... what a difference! Every effort has been hard but so worth it in the end, dear Betsy! So worth it!


  11. Another room for the tree-house, yippee!!! Can't wait to see how you tackle all the difficulties you will encounter! It's always so inspiring to see you solve any problems!
    The saints are already beautiful, they will be stunning when you're done!!!

  12. Betsy,

    I love your saintly paintings and think you must have saintly patience to be able to do them!! The dressing room looks lovely with a little light added, and it's good to see the bedroom again too!

    I'm not sure what to suggest for the curved turret door or how to attach it, what you have looks fine, but sleep on it, I'm sure heavenly inspiration will strike, especially after painting all those halos!!

    Andy xxxx

    1. I can't believe that ceiling with the saints! Awesome, Betsy!
      Best to you,

  13. Your project is beyond incredible! The faces are so good! I have a lot of trouble with faces. Your saints look fabulous! The interior project is so enchanting!

  14. Your painting is excellent and I am fascinated by the tree house. I happen to have been mulling over ideas for one for some considerable time now and it's interesting to see how you are going about this one. Much fancier I think than I was envisaging but you obviously have the skills to do it. I will watch with interest as you progress with this too. Sandie