Monday, August 1, 2016

Painting Bricks and Stone....

Do Not Panic.....!

There is only One Way, Dear Readers, to get all those egg-carton gray bricks to look like "real" bricks and that is by painting them. You can imagine how eager I was to get started with this transformation! To begin with I painted them all with a coat of primer and then with a coat of ordinary latex paint in the same red as the walls of the base. I forgot to take pictures of the bricks with only the primer, and I warn you that the red painted bricks look rather alarming! I was going on the assumption that the red undercoating for the bricks would allow me to save a little on the cost of the acrylic paint used for the final color of the bricks. And once the red paint was applied, there was no turning back!

Yes, I know.... it is rather shockingly red! 
I left the "stone" portions white.... and underpainted them with a tan color 
and then a layer of gray stippled over that....

But it is very difficult to get good pictures of the colors here....

I have started to darken the bricks with a more realistic brick color.....
But it is really hard to see the difference... 
partly because the red is so bright....
and also because the "grout" spaces are still the bright red....!
I kept trying to judge the color I was painting.... 
and it kept looking wrong!

Adding more light just makes it look... More Wrong!
So I placed the Folly on the base 
so I could try to match the brick colors I had already painted on the foundation.....

And on the side wall of the garden too.... 
trying to darken the bricks....
And the sheen of the paint doesn't help either! Too much Red!!!

So I decided to work on the "stone" portions for a while....
Trying to make them look like stone....
And adding age and dirt to the places that would be dirty....

Especially at the base of the door.....

And on the steps......
I spent Hours and Hours painting.....

And darkening bricks.... 
and trying to tell if they were dark enough.....
Because before I could start with the Grout, 
I would need to seal it all with a coat of polyurethane....!
This is so that all that grout won't scrape off all the paint.....
And because I was having a hard time trying to tell if my paint was the right color....
I decided to start doing the grout on the foundation of Hardwick Hall.....
(remember that is where this all started....!)

Because one thing to remember about the grout 
is that adding it makes the color you think you have painted the bricks 
appear to be lighter than before you added the grout.....!
And then I added the grout to The Folly Foundation too...

Here the grout is still wet, so it doesn't make the color look lighter...
Only when it dries it will turn white....

So now I took my courage in my hands, Dear Readers, 
and started to add the grout to the Folly garden walls!

And I have to tell you Dear Readers, I really thought it looked horrible!
I thought the red was Much Too Red! I thought I had completely ruined my bricks!

But I decided there was nothing I could do now except keep going with the grout....
I could always add layers of darker washes of dirt later...
So I kept working on the grout. 
As it dries you have to keep sponging away the excess...
without removing too much from all the cracks.
It is a slow and messy process!

With plenty of opportunities for seeing all the places you didn't paint right.....

And comparing the parts that don't match up right.....
Here you can see where The Folly still is separate from the base....
eventually when it is attached I will have to add a little bit more grout...
(These old foundations always need some "work" after all...)

I consoled myself that eventually most of the bricks would be 
covered with garden "stuff" and dirtied corners and moss between the cracks.
And then I realized that the grout was going to look much too "new" anyway. 
It would need several layers of aging 
to bring it up to the 150 years old it is supposed to be!

At least the "stone" was all looking quite convincing to me!

And I really couldn't judge it correctly until all the grout was dry.

And once again, it was getting late....

I was just going to have to be patient, Dear Readers, 
and let it all dry before I could tell what the bricks looked like.

Of course, taking pictures in the daylight would help...
except we had an uncommonly gloomy and rainy day!

But the grout has all dried.
And the bricks and stone are painted.
And the only thing I can say, Dear Readers,
is "Don't Panic"!
It will surely look better in the morning light!


  1. You do keep us in suspense! I am sure it will look awesome in daylight as I know you can do magic with paint ;-)

    1. Thank you Veronique! The weekends have been gloomy recently, so good light for photography has been harder to find! I am glad you have such faith in my painting! I will need to do quite a bit of "aging" the grout... I had forgotten how new it would look!

  2. You do keep us in suspense! I am sure it will look awesome in daylight as I know you can do magic with paint ;-)

  3. Hello Betsy,
    I think it is already looking fantastic. The grout really killed the brightness of the red and in the pictures it feels like old brickwork that has been repaired from time to time. I can't wait to see what it looks like when all dry. As for the difference between the Folly and the base, it looks like the house was re-bricked and the foundation was older. I think it can work.
    Big hug

    1. Thank you Giac! I had forgotten how much a challenge it is to paint under artificial lighting... it was so wet and gloomy I had to use lamps... so it was difficult to tell the colors! It does look better under daylight... and I will have to muddy up all that clean grout! So there is still hope! LOL! I did want the bricks to look old and worn and mended from time to time!

  4. This post reminds me that my terrace is's been waiting 3 years by now.
    Have you found the address of the fèves shop in the comment to the previous post? Have a nice day, Rosanna

    1. Thank you Rosanna! I got the link! I think it is so funny that you got them over here.... and I thought we didn't have them! :)
      I hope you will work on your terrace soon... the iron work you were making was beautiful and I really would love to see more!!!

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you Fabi!!! I am happy that you like it!

  6. All I can say is your patience and attention to detail are amazing. I think it's going to look just fine when the sun comes out in the morning (hey, you got some rain?)

    1. Thank you Mom! Yes we got a good amount at last! And it does look better in daylight.... Everything looks better in daylight!

  7. It looks exactly as it should in this part of the process. :D Glad you are having fun being messy!

    1. Thank you, Brae, for your encouragement! (It means a lot!) The color does look better in daylight.... and I do still have to "age" that grout.... so there is hope! :)

  8. Wow what a patient person you are :) your brickwork looks amazing and I know that when you have it finished it will be awesome. Fantastic work.
    Hugs Maria

    1. Thank you, Maria! This is a big project... I always forget how time consuming each step is! LOL! I still have to age all that "new" grout! And then I have to add moss... a step I have not done before! So we will see how it turns out....!

  9. Le travail semble déjà très bien, je suis curieux de voir une nouvelle photo "au soleil"
    (ici en Belgique il pleut aussi :-(

    1. Thank you Jean-Claude! It does look better in daylight... but it has been difficult to get good pictures... I leave in the morning before the sun comes in to the room... and in the evening it shines on the wrong side of the house...! We needed the rain here so I was glad even though it was so gloomy!

  10. Hi, Betsy
    You are the most patient of brick workers - and your patience (and amazing skill) have certainly paid off in this case. All the bricks look completely realistic, and the red will be toned down by the grout and the aging that you plan to do. You're creating a magnificent setting for this beautiful house, and I can hardly bear not to be able to see (and touch) it firsthand! I wish you were my neighbor! I'm looking forward to your next post.

    1. Hi Marjorie! Thank you for your faith in my brick making!!! :) I have been planning this brick-work for so long (in my head!) that it is a little scary to be finally doing it! Now I have to make it look the way I had imagined.... not as easy as we think! But each step brings me closer.... and I think I will like it when it is done! And thank heavens for Blogs.... without them I would have no contact with other miniaturists! And this way we get to share all over the world! But would be lovely to be able to see in RL! Who knows... maybe someday!

  11. It's so interesting to see your work in progress. Know the final work is yet to come but this already looks very good.

    1. Thank you Drora! It is certainly reassuring to have helpful bloggers out there who have done these projects before! I would not know even half of what I do if it were not for other miniaturists who share their knowledge and methods! I always hope that what I show is helpful to someone out there!

  12. I can certainly recall the panic which I felt when I was adding the grout to the stone walls of my cottage Betsy, but I not only have Faith in your capabilities but I can easily see that it is turning out BEAUTIFULLY! As an artist, you have a vision and you will know instinctively when it is realized but to me your brick work and the grouting looks FAB!!!! :D

    keep on going you amazing woman! -


    1. Thank you Elizabeth! It is reassuring to know I am not alone in the awful moments when one thinks it is all wrong! But this is how we learn what works and what doesn't! And what to DO when it "Doesn't"!!! :)
      Yes, I have a vision... and as with all art... there are lots of moments when it isn't looking right and you just have to keep on going!!! (Motto for life?!) Plodding along here! LOL! Lots and lots still to do!!! :)

  13. I don't have to wait until the morning because it already looks great now! Here's to the grout!!! It's fascinating how that shocking red (I have to admit some of the first pictures caused a "gulp" around here... *grin*) was changed after you added the grout. I really admire what you've done so far... as usual your use of colors is awesome, your techniques and skills are awesome and your working speed makes my face turn green... ;O)