Monday, July 23, 2018

Painting .....

Castle Doors Continued....

The Castle, Dear Readers, is my first Scratch built Dollhouse, and as such it has the advantages that come with being designed by an optimistic Dreamer, and also the disadvantages of being designed by an optimistic Dreamer! To begin with, it is large.... because Castles Are large by definition... and because I didn't want to be disappointed later if I "pared down" my real estate! And it is built by hand with only the barest minimum of "real" tools, and using the most readily available materials. Because my original childhood experience of dollhouses is based on The Lovely Old Dollhouse, which was built by my grandfather from plywood.... it seemed only natural that my first real attempt would also be made of plywood. The business of making raw plywood appear to be ancient stone did not seem an obstacle at all! Miracles could be accomplished with paint! This was before I had any experience of egg-carton rock or paperclay surfaces... let alone any idea at all about sculpey and other modern mediums. This was the Dark Ages! I forged forward with gusto, and you can read about my early construction in the early posts of this blog.... because the Castle was begun only two months before I started this blog. As many of you long time readers know.... I have not stuck to only one project... and have jumped again and again to newer ones, all the while learning many new techniques and materials. And here I am now, back at the Castle attempting to bring its construction forward at least a little bit! Which brings me back to the topic of this post...paint!

The castle doors that I am adding (at long last) to the fronts
 of the mostly completed lower rooms needed to be painted. 
And as most of you know, this always takes longer than you think it will...
 sanding.... primer coat... both sides! .... drying between coats... 
sanding again.... first coat of color.... both sides .... 
and then finally me recalling that the interior side of each door needed 
to be made to look like rocks.... like the rest of the interior of the castle!

Believe me, Dear Readers, I have often debated with myself 
as to whether I should apply some sort of "three dimensional" faux  rock 
to the interior surfaces of the Castle..... (like egg-cartons) 
and I have abandoned the idea as impractical at his point, 
given the size of the project and that 
half the Castle rooms are already "done"
 with only the painted illusion of rock.
So I am once again painting the "rock" walls ...
 in this case the inside of the front opening walls... 
hoping that the "illusion" holds up well enough on close inspection.
Above you can see the beginnings of the process on the stable doors.
The minimum number of tones needed to create the illusion of depth is three...
 one for the ground color, one for the shadows and one for the highlights.
It also relies on a "direction" for the source of the light.... 
which in this case is not really applicable as 
the "light" will come from different directions at different times.
So I compromised and assume a "direct front" light source. 
This diminishes shadows, so I resorted to two basic shades of gray 
and the white of the grout for the highlight color.
 Of course, the gray paint needed to dry before I could add any highlights.

And the kitchen doors too... with just the "rock" shapes roughed in....
trying to be realistic about structure.... 
although I have identified several places where my rocks
 are not placed right and in RL the Castle would fall down!
(This comes from planning window openings
 without taking into consideration rock courses....)
These are just the first layers of paint.... 
there will be more details of "rock texture" added at a later date....!
And then I add the "grout" lines.....

Just a line of white paint down the middle of the dark lines... 
creating the illusion of grout in a crevice... (I hope!)

Boring and tedious ... but not difficult.
 Here are the two halves of the door side by side to show the difference...

And both with the grout added..... 
it defines the rocks in a way that only two shades doesn't accomplish!
(Even when the "rocks" lack texture or variety.)

And the kitchen doors with the grout.....

And the dungeon doors too....!
And then Finally, Dear Readers, are we ready for the Hinges?
The stable doors are attached....!
And the first of the Kitchen doors....

And with the door open....

And the other door too!

And both open......
And the bigger picture.... 
all the lower rooms have their doors attached!

Shall we turn the lights on...?

And open the doors....?

Yes, the inside of the Pantry doors have not yet been made "rock"....!

And the unfinished Great Hall Ceiling still beckons......
And maybe I am getting a little closer to being ready to finish it too!
Painting of a different sort altogether!

And lest you think I have forgotten Dear Readers,
I also completed the eighteenth lilac blossom!
Count them if you like!
But I have to confess, Dear Readers,
 the more I make... the more I think I will need to make...!
This is a Loooong way from done.... like the Castle....
Painting on the doors and walls will take a long time...
But I will continue!


  1. I think the stones are wonderful! Perfect and timeless for the character of this delightfully detailed and artfully styled castle!

    1. Thank you Jodi! It is awkward to try to make the "same" style you were painting years ago.... it somehow never looks the same as before! I am hoping it won't be noticeable because it is the insides of the doors. We will see! I still have to add more layers of detail at some point... !:)

  2. Another beautiful Daydreamer building, it looks great and has interesting rooms to explore :-). And the lilac blossoms... 18 already, I remember when you had only a few, you made a lot of progress! How many do you need?

    1. Hi Millicent and Friends! I am glad you like the Castle! It is a long way from done. As for the lilac blossoms, I think I need fifty or sixty.... my shrub is a big old one and it is amazing how small it makes the blossoms look! But I am about a third of the way there! :)

  3. I have been trying to leave a comment and every time I came back you have a new entry!! That only means that you keep busy with all your wonderful projects. When I started this hobby I learned about the egg carton and then I put it on practice on my 2nd project. I have to say that I nearly gave up. It´s a great technique but such hard work. Anyway, your painted stones are as wonderful as any other technique and I think for this castle it looks just perfect. Great job.

    1. Hi Alexandra! I gave up on the idea of egg carton stones... because I still have not even finished adding them to the tower of the Cloud Palace which is much much smaller! LOL! I am reconciling myself to the original idea of just using paint. It is certainly easier! :)

  4. nice job of painting! good idea, the result harmonizes well with the whole

  5. I love this project, it is so unique! The stonework is amazing, the white grout lines really do give it dimension.
    And a big welcome to lilac blossom 18.

    1. Hi Veronique! The Castle has always been a favorite of mine... I am hoping to make some good progress on the structure.... it is long overdue! :)

  6. I would never have guessed just looking at the final photos that your rock was simply paint. It looks amazing.

    1. Hi Sheila! I am so glad the "illusion" is working! I keep thinking that I should try adding some texture to the paint to get a rougher surface. I still might experiment with doing that... although any changes would require a lot of work in the already painted rooms. I am really glad you like my painting!

  7. Hello, Betsy - You've done a simply wonderful job of painting the stones on the Castle doors. I agree with your decision to continue with the same technique that you started with to make the stones. And how realistic they look! The lines of white paint edged with the dark paint do add depth to the crevices between stones. It's always so amazing (and informative) to watch your artistic talent transform one thing into another, as you've transformed those flat wooden doors into beautiful stonework. The lighting in the Castle is impressive - perfectly Castle-like! I'm glad to see that 18th lilac blossom; your steady progressive on those blossoms is also impressive. Nice work!

    1. Hi Marjorie! I am glad you like my painted rocks illusion! It is always difficult to really "see" what they look like when I have been working on them... and I end up compromising ... knowing that too much finicky adjusting doesn't always improve the illusion. I try to think of it as a Theater set backdrop.... nobody will look closely at the details and they really are just to set a mood! As for the lighting... I worked very hard on those back in 2011! I still might make some improvements to the flames... and I need to add all the lights to the upper rooms.... so I have my work cut out for me! LOL!

  8. Replies
    1. Thank you Elizabeth! (I am trying not to obsess!) :)

  9. Très beau travail de peinture (comme toujours avec vous Betsy;-) j'aime les photos où l'on voit l'ensemble des pièces du château, on se rend mieux compte de leurs bravo pour le lilas!

    1. Thank you Jean-Claude! It is a big Castle! (I have ambitious Dreams! LOL!)

  10. I always read your posts with delight and amazement you make even painting interesting exciting and Fun :)) Love the doors wonderful job.
    Hugs Maria

    1. Thank you Maria! I am really glad you enjoy my posts! I do try to enliven even a boring paint job! LOL!

  11. Yessss… let there be rock(s)!!! I remember I had a post title like this long ago *grin* Your stonework is impressive… as always when you come together with your brushes something magical is happening. Your eye for any detail, your vision (keeping the light fall in mind... wow!) and your painting skills are outstanding. And according to me it was a good decision to keep up with the rock painting, just look how awesome the Great Hall is with its stonework. You made me smile with your comment about the Dark Ages, I bet we all know / had them and it's so nice to develop, learn new stuff and get inspired by the work of others. So thanks for the inspiration… and of course for another post with hinges! Hooray! Oh, and not to forget: Hello No. 18! ;O)


    1. Dear Birgit... your "rocks" at least are three dimensional! I am tempted again and again to try to add some texture to the paint... we will see. I have a lot to learn still, and since the Castle was my "beginner dollhouse" it has a lot of weaknesses! But it also has some strengths... like the tile floor and the painted ceilings.... if I ever get them finished... but that just makes me want to make the walls worthy of them.... so I go around in circles undecided. For now, I am working on extending the structure and getting the base coats of paint started... and I am also re-learning how BIG a project this is! LOL! And of course, we have many "hinges days" still to come... and blossoms too! I am so glad you are enjoying the progress! :):)

  12. Skill and patience, that's you!
    I'm here for a brief comment - the castle will be a tour de force!

    1. Hi Mom! It will indeed! I am being reminded how big it is! LOL!

  13. Great work on the painting. The lilac blossom is amazing.

    1. Thank you Fabiola! I am glad you like it! :)

  14. Stoning the insides of the doors just had to be done - it just looks amazing (I know, I've used that word before!) but it's so impressive. You should be well pleased with yourself.