Roofing and the joy of faux finishes

Hello, all. It’s been a while. Things have been kind of crazy, y’know, the way they get. Anyway, I have been extremely busy with work and planning and organizing and birding and politics and preparing for gardening, and through it all, I have been shingling the dollhouse roof.

I’m going for the look of slate, and I hope you’ll think I got close. It’s been some fun on the Google, first looking up what slate generally looks like, then how to fake it with paint, then what slate roofs in particular look like, then how to build a slate roof, and from there deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of roofing, skylights and all that sort of jazz.

The following images show some of what I came up with. I painted more manila folders with a small-scale slate effect and others with a copper effect, because slate or other stone tile roofs will often have metal flashing and gutters at their seams, and those will sometimes be made of copper, according to my admittedly superficial research. I went more for look than structural accuracy. In my defense, my neighbor, who is a roofer, says this is pretty much correct. I find it relaxing and fun to cover sheets of paper with faux paint effects. I’m not sure what that says about me as a person, but it would suck if I didn’t enjoy it, as I need to do a lot of it.

These photos are couple of weeks old, and more progress has been made since they were taken. The work is going quickly at this point, which makes it hard to take a break for blog updates. It is about time I began work on the characters who will play out their drama in this house, as well as the furnishings and props, too.

By the way, the blog’s new background photo is a shot I took of a tree on my street, against a wet, gray sky, the bare branches just getting knobby with their first buds. Springtime in New England!

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Mystery House has a color at last

It’s yellow for Spring time!

These past weeks I’ve been working very hard on the dollhouse for my mystery graphic novel project. There were a couple of setbacks since January. I decided the acetate windows would not work for photography, so I had to cut them out and replace the mullion bars with toothpicks. Next, I realized the second floor is too dark to see into if the back roof/gable panel is in place, so I dithered for some time about how to fix that problem. But finally, all that was done, and today I put color on the exterior walls.

As you see, I went with a sunny yellow, which will be complemented by colors on the gingerbread ornaments still to come. Next, I will tile the roof, for which I painted card stock to look like slate. You can see a hint of that, dry-fitted with tape, in one of the photos.

As with most labor-intensive projects, it’s amazing how suddenly real progress can appear, and after months of slogging, the thing looks like it will soon be finished. It’s quite energizing.

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Birds of Somerville and dollhouse progress

It’s been a crazy several weeks, with a strained knee, two bouts of the flu, a blizzard followed by record warmth in February, and a nor’easter to usher in March like a lion, so I haven’t had time to put together a blog post until now. But progress has been made, and a new hobby has emerged.

On the dollhouse, the clapboard siding is finished at last, and I am working now on replacing the acetate in the windows with small wood frames. I found it difficult to focus a camera through the acetate, and in any event, I just didn’t like it all that much.

And the new hobby – wildlife-spotting around scenic urban Somerville. My at-home feeders serve a resident flock of about 15 resident European house sparrows, two pairs of house finches, one lingering junco, a mated pair of northern cardinals, several mourning doves, two blue jays, and the ubiquitous feral pigeons and gray squirrels. Meanwhile, near where I work my day job, I’ve also noticed a welcome return of water fowl to the Mystic estuary, where year-round herring gulls and summer-resident Canada geese have been joined by a pair each of red-breasted mergansers and mallard ducks, and some red-throated loons appear from time to time. This past month, I decided to break out the camera.

The Dollhouse

 

The Birds on the Estuary

 

 

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House of Mystery, playing with light

I continue to work on the dollhouse for my mystery project. Yesterday, I took a break to play with the light in my studio as it illuminated the rooms under construction.

I’m excited about this project and determined to finish this house over the next several weeks. I will also soon start work on the characters who will act out the drama to be set in the house.

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House of mystery progress update – putting up the siding on the Orchid dollhouse

Construction continues on my New England beach house project, using the Orchid dollhouse as the starting point. Ironically, while putting up clapboard siding, one manila strip at a time, I find myself cursing the noise of the workmen putting up clapboard siding, one wooden strip at a time, on the house across the street. Life / Art. I’m pleased with the effect of the paper clapboarding. You can also see a little of the interior and the kitchen cabinetry. This cozy-modern cottage will be the setting of a story about trying to get away from it all, as a graphic novel illustrated with collaged photos. Stay tuned for further updates.

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Journal sketch, Daedalus, and last season’s mums

I found these little chrysanthemum flowers floating loose in my journal from last October. They looked like suns to me, so I made this collage sketch, with another of my collection of fortune cookie messages, musing on the dangers of ideas, as in the Greek myth.

Daedalus's Promising Idea

Daedalus’s Promising Idea, collage with pressed mums

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First art of 2018, journal and mushrooms

I heard somewhere once, many years ago, that at a certain latitude, if the sky is clear and you look due north at an unobstructed horizon, at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s night, you will see Sirius, Orion’s dog, at its apogee, with winter’s Orion setting to the west of it, and his mortal enemy, spring’s Scorpio rising to the east of it, and the two constellations will be equidistant above the Earth. So the story of Orion the Hunter, lover of Artemis, killed by the poisoned sting of Hera’s scorpion, marks the passage of winter and the new year.

I don’t know if this is true, but I think it should be, and already, the sun is setting a little later, haven’t you noticed?

This little journal collage is my first artwork of 2018. I’m calling it The Future of Orion, inspired by this video from the European Space Agency: Youtube Link.

The little snippet of text is my New Year’s dinner fortune cookie message. “Your fate is in no one else but you, in no hands but yours.”

Plus, I made some little crumpled-paper mushrooms – my first attempts – out of napkins. Super ephemeral, but I rather like them. I’ll play with these a bit more.

Happy New Year!

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Christmas Day, and the weather comes to visit

Christmas is past. The new year is coming. It was just me and My Sainted Mother at home, keeping it simple, and the New England weather putting on show. Here are some photos of the view from my studio this morning and this afternoon, the moon and the trees, and our little, living, potted yule tree by the kitchen window.

Happy holidays, everyone!

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Fast away the old year passes

What a hectic fall/winter its been since Brickbottom Open Studios and Thanksgiving. I will have to get caught up with what I’ve been up to — new ideas, photo safaris around my town, experiments with my new camera. In the meantime, here are a few shots of my worktable leading up to Yule. I was inspired by the amazing, rococo work of French artist, Laetitia Mieral. Check her out at her website, Merveilles en Papier.

I can’t really carry off full-on rococo. I love it. It’s gorgeous. I adore everything 18th century, but I’m possibly more Georgian than Baroque, more built-in cabinets than putti-painted ceilings. Still, enchanted by Laetitia’s work, I experimented with some paper bows, and some more modern-style baubles, to deck the halls for Christmas. Still learning.

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Post-event, post-holiday, now to refresh the studio for winter

Had a wild weekend at Brickbottom Open Studios this year. I met so many wonderful people, and I hope I’ll see many of them again here on my website as they keep track of my projects going into 2018. From there, I ran straight into a small, intimate, family Thanksgiving, and now the long weekend to clean the studio and start my projects for the winter. I’m looking forward to finishing the dollhouse, described in previous posts, and experimenting further with two projects that emerged during Open Studios prep.

Emerald Cities began as an experiment in flat-pack art and photographical miniatures, the Blood Red Roses are the result of wandering down a path when a planned project didn’t quite work out, and the Anatomical Studies are old friends who came to play after a long time.

In honor of Thanksgiving, I want to thank my new friend, K, for hosting my work in her space during Open Studios, my fellow Brickbottom Artists for being brilliant and supportive, and My Sainted Mother for taking up the slack while I was so busy and for letting me make the pumpkin pie this year as it ended up my best one yet. 😉

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