Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Lilacs Encore.....

Taking A Closer Look.....

The Lilacs are Finally blooming in my RL garden, Dear Readers, even though they are a looooong way from blooming in my Mini ones! And so while they are putting on their annual show (admittedly very very minor here in my yard) I am taking the opportunity to have a close examination of exactly how all the pieces come together! The blossom on this plant is the only one this year. It was a harsh winter here and many of the plants are showing a sparse bloom, especially when compared with last year which was so abundant! And besides that, this plant was only newly planted here, having endured for several years in a spot it did not like, (it was too wet). I moved it a couple of summers ago, and now it is finally showing some growth! It is a sprout of the plant that was next to my old Home which had been there for almost two hundred years! It has the very pale lilac blossoms. And the second lilac in my garden was here when I moved in, and it too has struggled, and also suffered much damage a couple of years ago in an ice storm. But it too, is surviving. It has a few small and scanty blossoms...

They are the deeper purple that I love so much.... 
and I am trying to copy in my minis.....
(I need to make the unopened buds a redder hue...)

And I am happy to report that I have managed to complete
 one more blossom for a total of seven!
  Plus I have assembled the florets for the eighth one,
 although they are still not painted.

And while I have standardized my method (for the moment)
 to grouping the florets into clusters of four before attaching them to the stem....

I have noticed upon closer inspection that the RL blossoms
 often have many more florets in their bunches.....

As you can see here on that same bush
 a few days before they opened....
And you can also see that there are two blossoms
 sprouted from the tip of the branch, 
while the leaves are sprouted from buds farther down the branch!
Believe me, I was glad to see any blossoms at all on this bush this year!
And while we are taking a closer look at the lilacs, 
I wanted to show you the ones where I work...

I couldn't get very good pictures 
because it was windy with a storm coming...
 poor light and plants in motion....
But it shows the scale of the much older shrubs
which I am modeling my mini versions on.
And these shrubs also have taken a beating over the past few winters.
There are many broken stems and more dead wood than usual.
And here you can see where the new branches
 have sprouted from the old broken stump...

Showing how over the years the shape of these "trunks"
 become quite irregular and have awkward "joints" 
between the stems and the trunks...

And bulky, knotty places along the stems
 that seem to be unexplainable....

Twisted and covered in lichens.....

Irregular, broken, bent....
 certainly not flowing in a smooth continuum from large to small....
And just as surely telling a tale of endurance...!

And so I flatter myself, Dear Readers, that Upon closer Inspection, 
My mini shrubs too can tell a tale of survival.... 
and that my Despairing comment of last week, 
that I would console myself that no-one would be looking
 too closely to see how inaccurate my "joins" were.....
can be revised!
Because the Truth of the matter is that
 I Would know that they were not good enough
 even if no-one ever saw them!

And truly, with only a little more glue and paint work.... 
(a task that was already on the list of things to do!) 
great improvements in the accuracy 
of my mini shrubs can easily be attained!
I am now consoled that they are not so far
 from the originals as I had thought!
(And I hope that now you, Dear Readers,
 can recover from any shock my comment caused!)

Even though they are far far far from done,
 and already hopelessly out of season,
 I am making progress...

The second one has all the branches added now, 
and I even added the glue to the tips of all the branches!

It is now ready for the first layer of painting the branches.....

Here you can sort of see the unpainted one
 with the painted one in the background...

And another shot with the two of them for comparison....
Yes, I have adjusted my expectations of making them identical,
 and am watching the process of growth and change
 that can happen in just one year!
And believe me, 
I am getting a little bit anxious about the Leaves!
I am going to have to start working out the method
 for making them sooner rather than later!

But for now, Dear Readers, 
I will Leave you with a picture of the seventh blossom....
because Upon Closer Inspection I think
In a small way,
 they are pretty close to being perfect!


  1. Oh my your patience and perseverance with these are awe-inspiring.
    Anna x

    1. Thank you Anna! I am trying to inspire myself to keep going ! LOL! I appreciate your comments!

  2. Thank you for sharing pictures of the real life lilacs shrubs nearby your work. Theses shrubs have really endured the elements of the weather and last winter, who can be very tough!! I see that your study of the shrubs helped you alot, that's the reason why I always make a little study on plants/flowers before or whilst making them in miniature ;). Your lilacs blossoms look so beautiful. I can almost smell them, they have such a delicious fragrance.
    You've made great progress in painting/gluing the stems, they look great. May I give you just a little suggestion: maybe you can add a very little bit of very fine sand to the paint, so the bark can get just a bit of rougher surface..? But about painting I don't dare/need to tell you anything, because you're the master in painting :)!
    Despite of the tough winter you've had in your part of the world, I really hope that spring will give you more blossoms to enjoy. I agree that the climat is changing much nowadays: at your place it was very cold, while here, in The Netherlands, we have too hot temperatures for this time of year, it's complete summer here! The wheat is growing fast, just as the corn does and potatoes and all blossoms are almost all bloomed out. It all went so fast that we nearly not enjoyed spring!
    I hope to read more about your lilacs shrubs in the future, I so admire your patience and perseverance, dear Betsy, but the result is worth it!!!
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. Dear Ilona, thank you for your suggestions about the texture! I am looking for some sand I can add... I will try it! I am still just learning how to make plants... it is just like me to be overly-ambitious for a beginner! LOL! I hope you have the patience for this long project too... unless I get distracted... you will be seeing it a lot! :)

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you Claude! I have a long way to go... but I am making progress!

  4. " I Would know that they were not good enough
    even if no-one ever saw them! " That sentence pretty much sums up the entire creative process for me. It is a good thing that artists are so compelled to do their work, or none of us would get to see anything. Those lilacs are AMAZING. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

    1. It is exactly that, Martha, A compulsion.... sometimes annoying but compelling!!! I simply must make what I can see in my imagination.... never knowing where that will lead me... often into very complex places.... I never learn! LOL! Thank you for your supportive comments! I truly appreciate them! :)

  5. Hello Betsy,
    That is exactly why your work is so good, because "good enough" is never good enough. I am happy you realized just how realistic your shrub is, but in the end I know your will be as realistic as any miniaturist can make...you really have a great talent and an amazing gift. I can only imagine how long a process it must be to make the buds, not to mention the leaves, but hang in there, it is going to be magnificent...just the blossoms are already magnificent.
    Big hug

    1. Hi Giac! Unfortunately, I almost never think my work is good enough.... it is a problem with my imagination... I can picture it so much better than I can achieve....! I am always trying to make it closer to what I am dreaming of! Hopefully I will be able to fix my "rough spots" and move on! Thank you for your supportive comments! They mean a lot to me! :)

  6. I think your bushes are going to look wonderful! I grew up with lilac bushes around our house and lining the back of the yard and the color variation can be fantastic.

    1. Hi Sheila! I know what you mean about the different color varieties...there are so many variations even in the same village and the same yard! I do have high hopes for my bushes.... I just need to keep on keeping on! Maybe next Spring they will "bloom" with the season! LOl!

  7. Your concerns about there being less blooms than there were the year before has been a observation and a concern of mine also.
    The weather is playing some weird games around here and would you believe that for the past 6 days the weather has been so hot here that it felt like the middle of summer yet today it's chilly enough to require a buttoned up jacket- such extreme fluctuations!
    In any case, it's a source of constant wonder to me that plants can withstand so much of a weather-beating, or that what looks like dead wood can suddenly surprise us with indications of new life and growth where you've least expected it.
    Your mini lilac blossoms ARE near Perfect Betsy and your dedication towards making your shrubs as detailed and realistic as possible be it leaf, bark, or buds shows the high level of perfectionism with which you are now famous for! :D


    1. Thank you Elizabeth! I am dedicated to trying to make this shrub as realistic as I can.... and I am learning a lot as I go! LOL! Perseverance is required! LOL!
      We are still "behind" in our spring season here... the apple trees have only just finished blooming! But I know that things always change and our memories are faulty... every year is a bit different! I am really glad it is finally done snowing here! LOL! :):)

  8. The blossoms look great Betsy but remember that real life isn’t perfect. On a floret, you will usually have some closed buds and some withered flowers. Some stems will have fewer flowers or smaller clusters. Anyway, you know all that. What I guess I am saying is enjoy the process. Not every stem has to be ‘perfect’. It is all looking amazing anyway but don’t over stress! Enjoy the rest of your week.

    1. Hi Shannon! That is so true that the real ones aren't perfect! I have been watching closely this year! I am planning to do the "ageing" later when I have made all the blooms I think I will need. (Waaaay later! LOL!) And I am finding a rhythm for making the blossoms that I think will allow me to make other things at the same time! At least I hope so! LOL! Thank you so much for your comments!

  9. They ARE perfect. As perfect as anything not actually living can be. What an amazing amount of patience you have - are you really my daughter?
    Silly question...
    Love, Mom

  10. Wow, I admire your commitment to make them as real as possible. Well, let me say that you have achieved that! Your lilac blossoms are as beautiful and the stems and branches are like the real ones.

    1. Hi Alexandra! Thank you for your lovely comments! I plan to add a lot of detail to the shrubs still.... and I still have not figured out the leaves! But I am making progress! :)

  11. Hello, Betsy - I think your lilac blossoms are perfect and perfectly beautiful. I admire your determination to create such realism in the blossoms, branches, and leaves. Even the color of your blossoms reflects that focus on replicating nature, and you're certainly succeeding. I've been trying (!) to make some geraniums for my villa, and those blossoms, too, are very painstaking to make - a SLOW process - so I understand the satisfaction and excitement that you feel with each completed blossom! Your lilac bushes are going to be an amazing accomplishment, no matter how long it takes.

    1. Thank you Marjorie! I am looking forward to seeing your geraniums come into bloom! I am actually starting to feel as though the blooms are not difficult... just time-consuming to make! I have faith that eventually I will achieve my goal! And it really is the fun part, when you get right down to the obsession... figuring out all the details! I still have a lot to "learn" with this project! LOL!

  12. Lilacs galore, indeed! And since your posts about lilacs began, I am noticing them everywhere! There is a house across from our local park - I swear the four in their front yard are forty feet tall and loaded with purple spender! Incredible!
    Their gnarled and knotty nature tells me they are fighting to live and thrive in our harsh world, and yet the very best parts of them are delicate, intricate, vibrant, profuse and rare. There's wisdom in there somewhere...
    My awe of you and the talents you possess are also bolstered! Look at all of those branches! Look at all of those tiny petals! These are going to be ~S~P~E~C~T~A~C~U~L~A~R~!
    And... Your photos look GREAT!

    1. Thank you Jodi! I have a long way to go, but I am on the path! LOL! And the wisdom of Mother Nature is always awe-inspiring.... and when I struggle to make one blossom and the RL world erupts in magnificent hundreds of blossoms at one moment.... Awe doesn't describe it well enough!!! :) And I think if I keep at it long enough... I will come close to my imaginings...! So Onward ho! LOL!

  13. I'm still smiling about your Mom's comment... and I'm so glad you've been able to console yourself now. Thanks to Mother Nature for offering at least enough lilac blossoms and even more story telling lilac shrubs to make you understand that your miniature shrubs are already awesome and very promising - especially the blooming one will be spring in miniature. Around here the lilacs are finally exploding, like in Ilona's region we've had a heatwave during the last days, everything was so fast in bloom... and crazy enough... after a long period of too much rain with the farmers being unable to enter their fields it's now much too dry.


    1. Dear Birgit, I am always consoled by Mother Nature... because if we look closely enough we can always find the kind of details we are looking for! LOL! In this case, the life-damaged shrubs are not far away and bring me encouragement.... and an excuse or two... to make my project easier.... and hey... have a "story" at the same time! How can I beat that! LOL! I am So glad you are always here to lend your "perceptions" to the story! :):):)