Monday, October 15, 2018

More Rough.....

Than Ready.....

I left you last week, Dear Readers, with the beginnings of my attempt to create a bark-like texture on the Lilac Shrub stems. I was not entirely satisfied with the "texture additive" I had added to the paint. It was very granular and not very thickly applied. I wanted a more linear grain to the surface of these stems and was pondering the addition of sawdust or something that would "read" more like bark. But when I looked at the stick I had used to stir the texture additive into the paint, I noticed it had a much more densely textured finish than the shrub stems had achieved. I thought that maybe I should see whether adding a whole lot more of the additive to the paint, making it thick and syrupy, would then improve the surface texture of the stems. It was worth a try at least!

So I added more texture to the paint and slathered it on!
It definitely is more rough, but  really not ready.
So I was pondering all the ways I might get
 more "linear bark-like texture"
 and was considering things like
 lots of the "glue trick" carefully applied... 
when I remembered that I had some artist's "modeling paste".....
maybe if it was carefully applied over the texture
 it would smooth out some of the texture
 while adding the linear quality I was wanting....

I tested some on a spare piece of
 the twisted paper wire the shrub is made of...
And liked the results!
(I know it is hard to see from just that fragment...)
So I started adding the past to the stems....

One stem at a time.... using a thin coffee stirrer a bit like a spatula.....
applying the paste and carving the lines in it at the same time.

Here you can see it closer..... it is quite a rough texture!
 But it dries a little less thick.... 
and dries relatively quickly, and keeps its flexibility too.

Most of the stems covered.......

All the stems covered.
And waiting to dry.

Meanwhile, I have begun the lilac blossom number twenty-eight!

And it was Also that weekend, Dear Readers, 
when the house plants had to come indoors for the winter...
And the Doll houses had to move to their winter spots 
(on all the extra chairs)...

Because there was frost on the rooftops......

(actually a bit late this year!)
I could no longer deny that the seasons have changed!
Even though I am still dreaming of lilacs in bloom....

Once the modeling past was dry, 
I painted the stems (again!) with the dark gray latex paint.
With the stems a solid color, I could maybe judge
 whether the texture was what I had hoped it would be.

It looks promising.... 
even though it doesn't look as "flaky" as I'd like.
And the color is still needing lots of correction.
So I started mixing the paint to make a "brownish gray"
 like the one I made before... 
only this time rather than artists acrylics, I am using latex house-paint
 (which is much more difficult to mix properly!)
because it is flat and will therefore look dry and flaky...

(once it is dry!)
And I forgot to take any progress pictures....
because I needed to get it painted
 and go test it outside before the light was all gone....

And it was really hard to get a good shot 
(especially with a mosquito trying to bite me.....!)
The color is not quite as good a match as the previous one.... 
Or perhaps it is just the golden evening light...
but there will be many more layers.
There will be spots of lichen and moss... 
there will be lighter striations on the lowest stems....
And darker defining lines too...
There's still a long way to go!

And this is just the first shrub!
I will get lots of practice by the time they all are done!

And blossom twenty-eight is finished!
I have not attached it to the shrub..... 
with all the painting and pasting that is still being done,
 I don't want to risk harming the blossoms... 
so they will wait in the box for now.
And I didn't quite finish the leafy stems.....

Assembled but not yet painted.
So you can see, Dear Readers, 
I have added a whole lot of texture to the stems...
They are much more Rough.... 
but still not quite ready!


  1. Wow! Excellent work. I really like the texture you've gotten!

  2. The texture is fantastic work, Betsy, because I know that it's hard to achieve ;)! I think that this flaky effect will be the hardest thing to achieve, but as I know your great painters, you will sustain until you've found it :).
    The new blossom looks as beautiful as the previous ones, it will take time, but the shrubs will look wonderful if done!
    Hugs, Ilona

  3. Hi Betsy. Your attention to detail is impressive, you really go the extra mile. In my opinion you have replicated very well the real texture, but clearly what do I know? LOL. I think you are right, the colour needs a little more brown probably, but apart from that it looks fantastic to me!

  4. Magnificent work! The texture looks very natural to me. I'm sure the color too will be perfect when you finish experimenting. Every time I look at your lilacs I'm owed. WOW!
    Hugs, Drora

  5. I think you are on to something there with that modeling paste! The texture is marvelous, and in no time you'll find the magic formula to get the color just the way you like it!
    Just when I begin to accept that fall is here to stay, the sun comes out for days! Our high temp today and tomorrow will be 71!!! I'm not complaining - I am going to absorb as much sun and warmth as I can before the gray drizzle sets in.

  6. Using the modeling paste on the tree trunks looks GREAT, Betsy! yet isn't it amazing how solutions seem to come from out of nowhere, Exactly when you need them?! ;D

  7. Great work! The texture is perfect. Your liliac will be amazing.

  8. Your texture looks amazing. Wow so much work I am tired even reading how busy you are :))
    Hugs Maria

  9. Hi, Betsy - The new texture on the lilac stems looks amazingly real - and I think they look very close to ready! Knowing your skill with paints, I'm sure you'll soon discover just the right combination to finish them off perfectly. It's good to know that the blossom box is welcoming new additions regularly - your diligence is admirable!

  10. Oh my… there was one part of your wonderful post that frightened me... we can't deny it, it's that time of the year again… when your dollhouses move to their winter quarters (also known as "the extra chairs formerly offering seat to visitors becoming art showcases after the first frost"). I've not yet arrived into fall and every morning I suspect my calendar to be a dirty, nasty liar. C is really not far away anymore, just a few days more and a certain flutterybeary will mock me mentioning that this year's C-season was opened by my moaning "I have indeed too much Christmas stuff"... *sigh* But don't worry, I do not dare to mention H (Aaaaahhhhrrrrgggghhhhh!!!!!!!) But I must admit that I'm really looking forward to your annual Christmas card because one thing is already pretty clear: It will show wonderful lilacs with amazingly structured and coloured stems, with leaves in stunning realism and the most terrific, impressive and awesome lilacs in bloom. There's an old German Christmas carol called "Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen" which exists in an English version as "Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming". I don't know if you know this song, but I had to think of it... this C we can sing a Betsy version "Lo, how a lilac e’er blooming". ;O) - Wonderful, wonderful work… and not to forget: Welcome to No. 28!


  11. Your lilac stems look perfect. Particularly when you consider that when all is said & done they will hide behind lovely blossoms & leaves. And be very small. I know, you know....
    We had a lovely afternoon yesterday & I went for a walk - now it's clouding up again.
    Love anyway, always,

  12. I love the texture!! I am sure you will find a way to add the flaky. But to me the stems already look spot on!

    1. Oh and thank you! You reminded me to bring my edible begonias indoors. Just in time as the first frost came last night. ;-)

  13. Hello, I went by to say hello, since I've been disconnected from everything for a long time. As always I love your work. That I still think that they are not chapucillas, but great works. A kiss.