Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Optimism....!

Progress Is Progress....Even If Small!

A Week ago, Dear Readers, the ground in my garden was bare and snowdrops were blooming. The clocks had been turned ahead an hour, making the evenings sunny long after returning from work. It was so easy to think that Spring was almost here! But then it turned bitter cold again, and we were reminded very clearly that this is New England and it often snows even in early May.... and as I mentioned in my last post, it was snowing hard and continued all day. We did not get as much as some areas near here, but we did get a heavy 12 inches, and it stayed cold and windy so not much has melted. The above picture is the morning after the storm. And as I had mentioned, I had stayed home from work and I was sewing cushions to soften the blows of life... big and small....

As you can see, I made quite a few more little cushions 
for the attic room of The Lovely Old Dollhouse!
And between drinking many cups of tea, 
I also stitched some more on the Tea cosy....

I completed all the blue threads 
and have begun the cream background.
I find it quite difficult to sew the paler colors 
because it is difficult to tell if the stitch is the cream thread 
or just the white cloth showing.
I even attempted to paint some more on the Castle Hall ceiling, 
but with the winds howling and the poor light of a stormy day, 
I put it off for the weekend instead.

Meanwhile, Dear Readers, I have decided that 
I am making finishing this ceiling a priority!
(I apologize for the blurry photo. It is very difficult 
to get this ceiling photographed clearly!)
As you can see, the painting of
the peasant's labors has only just begun, 
and half the Saints still need to be completed. 
There is still a long way to go before this will be done!
I am leaving it set up on my "easel" and in the way 
so that I will work at it often....
 and hopefully complete it soon!
And I did make Some progress on the weekend....

The individual characters all need to be given their basic colors first....
And since I have drawn from so many diverse 
Medieval Miniatures as my sources... 
I have to adapt the colors somewhat 
in order to make this ceiling balanced.

In these first pictures I have only added the flesh color, 
which blurs the facial features....

And here I have begun to paint the base colors for several of the figures.....
This is so I can get a feel for the overall color balance...
The detail work will be done later.

And then the subtle additions of more ground 
and trees where the stag is leaping...

And ground where the sheep are flocking....

And earth that the oxen are plowing....
And here I am deviating from the originals,
 because the Medieval paintings often lacked 
the "background" that we assume is necessary!

And this is as far as I got, Dear Readers....

Again, I apologize for the blurry pictures!

Still Such a Long way to go!

And the Garden too, still buried in snow... 
after an entire week.... but it Is slowly melting!
And I am sticking with my Spring Optimism, Dear Readers, 
Progress Is Progress, even if it is only little!


  1. Hello Betsy,
    First, happy spring. Fear not, all that is needed are a few warm days and all that white stuff will be gone! The cushions are lovely and the room is so inviting...I swear I would lie down on there right now and take a nap. Finally, every time I see progress on the ceiling it takes my breath away. Your skill always amazes me. It just keeps getting better and better, richer and richer with detail every time. Keep up the good work. It will be a masterpiece.
    Big hug

    1. Hi Giac! Yes the white stuff goes when it gets Warm... that must be the missing part! LOL! I am so glad you do not mind seeing the endless detail updates on the Ceiling project... it takes a long time to do a small amount! I have to keep myself focused... I really want to get this part done now!

  2. Lovely, wintery photo. :) I love that cozy little attic room and your ceiling artwork just looks amazing. :)

    1. Thank you Farrah! I am tired of the snow... but it IS beautiful! I never tire of taking the pictures... it is all the rest that I could do without! LOL! I am glad you like the attic. As for the ceiling, I am trying to get it done... it seems silly to have it take so long!

  3. Dear Betsy,
    It is always a surprise to realize how much time and effort goes into creating miniature scenes. Certainly it is not in proportion to 1/12 scale. I am still at stick-drawing stage and it seems certain at this stage of life I will not progress further.
    I am particularly drawn though to your petit point and would love to try to do it one day.
    At last in Vancouver, BC Canada we have had a couple of warm days 8C yesterday and it was sunny and mild on the weekend. Hope has returned that Spring is on its way.
    Regards Janine

    1. Hi Janine! I am glad to hear Spring is showing up Somewhere! It keeps snowing more here... but that is New England for you! I hope you will try the needlepoint sometime! Start with a small kit and just don't give up! Eventually the methods make sense! LOL!

  4. Hi Betsy. Your tea cozy is looking amazing and well worth the effort. I also think your painted ceiling is amazing. Although you are thinking there is a lot more to paint, if you look back at what you have already done, you will see that you have acheived much and you are on the home strait! Slow and steady wins the race! Fingers crossed for more good weather for you!

    1. Thank you Shannon! Yes, it does help to realize that so much of the ceiling has been done... But I am the one who knows how much more still needs to be done even in the parts that Look "done"! LOL! It is true that it is closer to the finish than It is to the start....! :) I am glad you like the Tea cosy too... at least it has a finite number of stitches! LOL!

  5. Good Evening Betsy!
    I have nothing but Admiration for the work you are doing with your needle and with your paint brush.
    The stylized figures of the peasants and their horses and livestock are depicted as one might see in a Gothic cathedral or stitched into a Medieval tapestry. Your artistic talents never cease to Amaze me but not only that, your patience and dedication to getting everything JUST RIGHT means that no matter how much snow may fall outside, inside Betsy's Daydreams are stroke by stroke and stitch by stitch, coming true! :D


    1. Thank you Elizabeth! I am sure you can Imagine that the Medieval Needlepoint Tapestry is only a few projects away......!!:) I am having fun with the painting... even though it takes so much longer than I Imagine it will! (What is wrong with my Imagination?!) LOL! And the needlepoint is something I have Always Always wanted to get good at! :) I am making progress!! Yippee! Thank you so much for the vote of confidence! :)

  6. Shannon's motivational comment made me smile... because I would like to scream "Please, please... don't you dare to ever finish this ceiling!!! I need to look at more progress!!!" Well, must be because being finished is the part I dislike the most about a project... whether it's mine or yours. But on the other hand I have to admit - your progress was fun to see, the lovely stitching (I guess I've told this a hundred times before but back in the old days when I still used to do a lot of stitching in real size there was nothing worse to me than stitching white on white... *blarg*), even more cozy cushions and of course the developing castle ceiling. All the research you've done shows well in your fantastic paintings, they look as they should look. Oh, and fingers crossed for that dam* cold white stuff to disappear very soon and the return of the spring flowers... may you (or your neighbors?) enjoy the warm spring sun on those red garden chairs very soon!


    1. Dear Birgit, you should know by now, that even if I am Capable of "finishing" a project... it is not the last time you will "see" it! All those endless stories have so many more "chapters" to show.... and Guess where so many of them happen?? LOL!! I am looking forward to having the ceiling "done" so that the pictures I do show will look a little more like the real thing! LOL! (I do get so far ahead of myself...!) But never fear, there are updates and updates and updates still in your future! And then there is the Chapel ceiling and walls too.... and the Lord's council chamber... and the Ladies' Solar.... and ... and....!! :)
      And yes, those lovely red chairs (thank heavens they are plastic and won't need to be repainted) are where I get to sit in the lovely weather! :) (I should remember to post a picture or two of the garden...) :):)

  7. Hello Betsy, you did some great work on the ceiling again...
    I think it will be splendid when finished. And I admire your patience in working on the Tea cosy, but in the end it will be worth all the effort, I already know :-D

    1. Thank you Tessa! It does sometimes seem that the tiniest projects take the longest to finish! I think the tea cosy seems longer because it has two sides... like making two cosys! I love working on the painting too... !

  8. Hi, Betsy - How nice to see more of those lovely little cushions in the attic room. That's such a cozy corner! Your tea cozy is coming along beautifully, but I can understand the difficulty in distinguishing the paler colors on the light cloth. I love the pattern and the varying shades of blue on the cream. The ceiling of saints is stunning, and grows more and more wonderful. I am amazed at the layers of minuscule detail that you've created. I thought that your remark about the lack of background in Medieval paintings was very interesting. In fact, I was so interested that I dreamed last night that I was taking an art history class and was enlightening some other students about that lack in Medieval art. How funny to wake up and remember that dream! I'm always looking forward to seeing more of the beautiful ceiling; I'm glad that you've made it a priority.

    1. Thank you Marjorie! I think your Dream is hilarious! :) But I also think it is wonderful that the stuff we share on these blogs really gives people an added perspective! We all learn so much from each other! :) I meant to mention in the blog the reason for the under-painting in white. It is because most paint is really rather translucent, the under layers show through and give a "cast" to the over layers. If you want your colors to look bright, they need white underneath, otherwise they look "tinted" by the under layer. Sometimes the tinted layer is what you want... but it helps to start from white! I am so glad you are looking forward to more on the ceiling.... there is lots more to come! :)

  9. Hey Betsy,

    This is looking fabulous! Lots of details you put into your work!
    Always fun to see people beeing creative!
    Here the sun is shining, so strange to see so much snow there!
    Take care, and thanks for all your nice and funny comments.

    Greetings Remco

  10. You cant rush progress in little beauties. You are doing the right thing. Taking your time to do perfect work. Love those mini cushions for the attic.