Monday, October 1, 2018

Turning Over A New Leaf....

Color Theories.....

I Find it hard to believe, Dear Readers, that it has been a half a year since I began to make the Lilac Blossoms in earnest! I don't know where the Time has gone, but my one blossom a week program has yielded a cluster of Twenty-five completed blossoms, and the partial one I finished assembling over the weekend. For this blossom I needed to change the assembly strategy a little bit... because it needed to be assembled onto the "tail end" of one of the other blossoms. This is because frequently the lilac blossoms are in pairs at the tip of their branch, and in order for them to attach to the branch correctly, they needed to be on the same stem which will wrap around the branch... I know it sounds confusing, but you will see what I mean. Above you can see my high-tech working "clamp" system, allowing me to glue the florets onto the other end of an already finished blossom! And while I was at this change of process with the lilac blossoms, I realized it would be a good idea to test the plan for how the leaves will be attached to the stems... just to see if that was going to work as I imagined. And also, to spur me to making those leafy branches which will be needed in abundance when the blossoms are done!

So I started a bunch of stems.... 
with the twigs ready for the leaves... 
to see how the production line would work....
I took measurements so I know how long to make the pieces...

And started gluing on the punched heart leaves
 while I was also starting to build the blossom... 
a floret at a time!
And when I was about to start to paint the tiny leaves,
 I realized that Now, before the leaves turn color and fall,
 would be the time to investigate the color of the RL Lilac leaves
 and make sure I was making a good color match!
So I went out to my shrubs and picked a few leaves...

You can see that the size and the color vary a bit... 
one leaf has a much darker blackish pigment in it...
(probably a result of weather conditions....)

And when I put the branch of leaves I had made last spring
 next to the real leaves you can see that
 the color is quite a bit off on my mini ones!
They have too much white mixed into the paint.

So I pulled out my paint and discovered that
 using the chromium oxide green full strength,
 not mixed at all, gave a much better color match!
 That makes things much easier!
And then I needed to see how they would look with the blossoms.....!
Ooohh... I am liking this!

And then I painted the undersides of the leaves in a paler version, 
using the same green with more white added
 (trying for the simple solution)....

Here you can sort of see the comparison with the RL leaf... 
except that the lighting glare is really interfering...
 such is the nature of color... the lighting is so important!
But I wanted the simple version to be good enough, Dear Readers,
 telling myself that  nobody was going to
 ever see the under-sides of these leaves!

So I made myself a sample paint "chip" card,
 so that I would be able to match the colors on future batches of leaves....
The top of the leaf matches beautifully, 
but the underside really needs a whole lot of yellow mixed in....
There was no escaping it.....

That is so much better!
(And really not difficult!)
And has the added bonus of making the "stripe"
 on the top of the leaves for the vein
 look much more subtle and natural than the first version!

So I re-painted them all....

And kept working on the blossom number twenty-six...

Because I really wanted to see how the parts
 would look all assembled together......

Here is the new plan.... 
blossoms will get added to the already made ones.....

And new leafy branches will get made too....
(one stem-worth per week.....)

Sort of like this....
(temporarily twisted around the branch but not glued....)
Because I really need to be able to see how they are adding up... 
in order to know how many are needed....!

And then we really need to test the Springtime shrub
 in place on The Folly Garden.....
to see how it will look.... 
can you imagine...?

One branch per week.....
 times twenty-five ..... 
or Thirty......
Before we even know it 
the lilacs will be in full bloom!!!

Well, Dear Readers, 
I have turned over a New Leaf...
 the New Plan is underway....
In theory I know the colors....
But only Time will tell 
how well it Turns out!


  1. excellent lilac, color and shape!

    1. Thank you Claude! I am trying to get it to look real!

  2. Beautiful! I grew up with Lilac bushes along our backyard fence and on the side of our house and yours look so much like what I remember!

    Your leaves are amazing. I don't have the patience to paint them like you do! I like my colored paper!

    1. Hi Sheila! I grew up with lilacs everywhere too... they are very important to me and I want my mini shrub to last forever! LOL! I worry that the paper alone would fade more than the paint ever will... so I am willing to do it the slow way! :)

  3. I love that your lilacs are so carefully and painstakingly crafted, and am in awe at how you lovingly attach each tiny each petal! Such incredible detail, it's hard to imagine how small each element is! The colors, purples and greens, are wonderful against the Folly's rich exterior! When spring does arrive in Betsy's world, it will have been so worth the long winter's wait!

    1. Thank you Jodi! I am hoping that will be the result! LOL! I just couldn't be happy with a smaller or less realistic bush... these are plants I know very well... and I just need to make them look Right!! So I am plugging away...(it is actually very soothing to make a blossom every week!) :)

  4. Absolutely gorgeous Betsy! I'm so amazed at your commitment. Your plan seems to be the perfect way to commit to getting this project done. I don't think it would be possible to achieve your level of detail otherwise. The leaves are so realistic, all your hard work is going to pay off. I almost think this should be a miniature display in itself, like in one of those glass terrarium displays!

    1. Thank you Kristine! I am hoping the results will be very realistic when I am done.... I am enjoying making a blossom a week... and all the other parts are starting to come together too.... but it is a huge project (for such a small thing! LOL!)

  5. FANTASTIC!!!! the blossoms amid the leafy branches are STUNNING!
    The accuracy of the color of the leaves along with the delicacy of the branch structure is a miniature Work of Art and
    Brilliantly Achieved
    and might I add Betsy, that I can smell their fragrance already!❤️


    1. Thank you Elizabeth for your vote of Confidence!!! (I wish I could smell them...!) But I am really enjoying the way they are starting to come together... It is exciting! (At the pace of a snail...!) LOL!

  6. Hi, Betsy - I love that you bring in real blossoms and leaves and work right from nature to derive the closest possible color matches - and that attention to detail has been rewarded by the beautiful, realistic results. It will be such a treat to see the lilac shrubs in the Folly's garden come spring.

    1. Thank you Marjorie! I have the lilacs in my yard... and I have always tried to paint from the real plants when I can. It makes such a difference to really be able to look closely at the details! I am getting excited about the lilacs now that they are starting to "come together"... even though it will still be months before they are done! :)

  7. Hi Betsy, I do admire your persistence - as well as your talent for observation and execution generally but as I love all plants with fragrance this has been a wonderful project to follow.
    I do hope it will be ready for Spring!
    Regards and thanks for posting.

    1. Thank you Janine! I am Planning on it being ready for Spring (some future spring if not the next one!) LOL! I think I am on schedule and the blossoms are adding up! Thanks for stopping by! :)

  8. It’s looking amazing so far! I am wondering if you just put some leafy branches lower down at the back without blossoms, how noticable it would be that you didn’t have any blossoms down there? I am thinking it could save a little effort if it wasn’t noticible. And it’s not that likely that you’d get blossoms there in real life where there was less light. You are a real trooper Betsy! X

    1. Thanks Shannon! I am definitely planning to have no blossoms down low in the back!! You are right that they would not grow there naturally. I am not sure exactly how many blossoms will be needed... but I am pretty sure that the 50 or 60 I have planned will not look like a lot... the shrub is a large old one and in RL it would probably have hundreds.... But I will just keep going and see where it ends up...! :)

  9. Wow! It's amazing what a perfectionist you are Betsy. Matching the color of the paint to the color of the r/l leaves is fantastic. The top part of your lilac plant already looks beautiful. A time consuming job with beautiful results!
    Hugs, Drora

    1. Thank you Drora! I really want this bush to look as real as possible! I would not want to get the leaves wrong since I am putting so much time into the blossoms! :)

  10. Great job on the leaves - great photos too!

  11. I'm totally confused now… it's your blog's name, layout, text style... but all of a sudden THIS: "But I wanted the simple version to be good enough, Dear Readers,telling myself that nobody was going to ever see the under-sides of these leaves!" HUH??????? What happened to "but I will know it's there"?????? If you should announce in your next post that you plan to never use hinges again I will be in need of therapy… *LOL* Well, this strange sentence may have been totally unexpected to me, but the intense work and love you've put into your lilac leaves was no surprise at all. It will be a lot of work but the last pictures already allow a good vision of how stunning it will look in the end. Oh, and I really like your Hightech equipment… ;O)


    1. Dear Birgit... you have Witnessed a MOMENT of Weakness! :) I was not able to leave it that way, as you have noticed by now... the paint was all done over again and again! :) And if I should ever announce any such thing as giving up Hinges, I will be in need of Therapy! Lots and Lots of Therapy! LOl!!! (But yes, I sometimes have to argue with my less ambitious side...!) So Never Fear.... it is My Blog you are reading! :):)

  12. Well, there are many nooks and crannies in all your dolls houses where there is amazing, accurate detail that the public will never see. The fact that you will know it's there is the point!
    Amazing, those little lilac branches - perhaps your most inspiring work yet. I like the idea of one of your fans that you could concentrate branches in the back with only leaves. Save time? Who cares!
    Much love - miss you,

    1. Dear Mom, the back of the shrubs will be nearly bare.... as any child who has climbed into the shrubs knows..... there are no leaves in the dark parts! And blossoms are only in the top sunny spots! :) Ditto!

  13. Your lilac plant looks amazing! You're a perfectionist.

    1. Thank you Fabiola! I am trying to get them Right! It will take a long time! :)

  14. Wow, the lilacs are amazing. Your attention to detail is incredible!

    1. Thank you Sam! I love details and I love trying to make it look right! :)

  15. Oh how I love your lilac blossoms and leaves. Amazing work!