Sunday, 31 January 2021

Sculpture Gallery


Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well in these crazy time. I have been away for a long time, but I have been trying very hard to create a new normal. I took 2 months off work and during that time I would fall to pieces the minute I was not doing something, so I spent a lot of time working on my miniatures while trying to make sense of everything...still having a hard time with that one. Today, I present to you one of the rooms I was able to create, The sculpture gallery.

This space was difficult to plan out. It measure 39" x 12" and 18"high and opens to the banquet hall. At the back of the room is a staircase I had to work around. I decided to create a sculpture gallery. The idea of the room came from the sculpture gallery at Chatsworth house, but the design was inspired by Chatsworth's Painted Hall.

I started by building each wall on illustration board. I built out sections using leftover lumber I had on hand and illustration board. Since the room is quite long I felt it needed architectural elements to break it up and make it interesting. The back wall has a window, and the side walls each have 2 cut-outs that are the same size as the window. I was not sure what to do with them, but I am a sucker for symmetry.

I decided to make the walls and floor look like stone. After the structural elements were glued in I covered it all in 3 coats of gesso, then sponged on 2 paint colors, scribed the lines to create the stone,  then washed everything with a 1 to 10 mix of water and burnt umber paint which I wiped off after about 3 minutes with paper towels. I then sealed everything with a mat spray and let it dry.

I On the north side I decided to install a mural. I order a poster of Apollo and the muses that was just the right size and scale. I glued it into place then painted over every shape with modge-podge so the light reflected would make it look like paint, not a flat mat poster.

I installed the walls, floor and illustration board ceiling using books, weights, clamps...anything I could find that fit and would not damage the finishes I made.

When everything was glued in place, I installed the cornice around the room and the ceiling medallions.


The ceiling medallions were centered between the cut-outs on the wall, so I decided to put mirrors in to reflect the light. I spray painted 1/16 in basewood strips gold and purchased 1"mirror squares. I glued them onto graph paper first, then glued them in the cut-outs and covered the gaps with trim, also spray painted gold.

I cut-out a large section in the center of the ceiling for a lantern, another idea inspired by Chatsworth's sculpture gallery.

The sides of the lantern are just illustration board backed with wood, and the top is 1/4 mdf I had lying around. I just need to fill the window openings with Plexiglas and then cover the exterior with illustration board to make it clean.

I used a simple cornice and a frieze to make the lantern more interesting. 

I plan on adding a third Minuet chandelier in the middle of the lantern eventually. The lantern is kept in place with wood stoppers I glued on the outside of the ceiling so it can be removed for access or if I ever need to put this section of the manor upside down for cleaning or repairs.

I had several sculptures I wanted to use, mostly souvenirs from our trips which I had painted to look like stone, but I decided to make pedestals for each one. I made them, once again, out of illustration board and leftover wood to make them solid. I used joint compound to fill the gaps and wood grain...a lot of sanding. I painted on the marble effect and then waxed on the sculptures.

One sculpture that is special is the Townley Greyhounds Karl Blindheim made for me. Faux-marbling them was a task, but I really love them.

One thing that was important to me was to make something in honour of Vigo. I contacted Sue Cook and sent her 3 pictures of my monkey baby, and she made a magnificent profile plaque for me. I glued it onto one of her over mantels and built a base for the memorial using leftover door cases I had. I spent a whole day faux marbling it until it was just right. I cannot thank Sue enough...the likeness still brings me to tears and it warms my heart that that he is always going to be part of my manor. Miniatures is my art and this was the only way I could honour him.

And that is it for the Sculpture gallery. Here are a few pictures, both filled and empty, of the room. 

Here is a quick look at the manor today. I am still not sure how it got to this size! Next time I will present the Banquet hall.

I cannot thank you all for your kindness through the loss of my sweet Vigo. I apologize for not answering those who took the time to send me private emails. I started trying to answer them, but  I could not do it. I have lost the person I loved most in my life, and the person who loved me the most. Doctors and nurses tried so hard to help him, but after his death they confirmed he had Primary HLH. My poor baby did not have a chance.  Jo and I went back to work early in January. I love my job and the people I work with, but every day Jo and I realize life is going on even without him, and that just hurts so, so badly. One day at a time.

A big hug to you all my friends.


P.S. I am on Facebook and Instagram, but as long as Blogger is up you can count on my being here posting and following your amazing work.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Thank you!

 Hello my friends,

Thank you so much for all your prayers and best wishes for Vigo. He put up a formidable fight, but his sickness was also a strong enemy. Vigo died peacefully in our arms on October 24th. 

This summer, when we had all the time in the world

Today, our last hours

Monday, 12 October 2020

Asking for help

 Hello my dearest friends,

I hope you are all doing well during these crazy times. I have been away far too long but 2020 has not been a kind year. I have not worked on my miniatures, so this is not a mini related post. Over the years your good wishes and prayers have helped me get through some tough times, so I thought I would turn to you all again.

Last November Jo was diagnosed with cancer. He was operated in January and has made a complete recovery. A week later, just before the end of my parental leave, my employer of 12 years informed me that my position was eliminated. It was a blessing in disguise because I could take care of Vigo. All this I could deal with.

 In August, Vigo started to get sick. He has been in the hospital since September 30th. They are treating him for many things because they still have not found what is making him sick. Yesterday they took us aside and told us that he is in decline and that there is a real chance he will die. If there was ever a time a parent would beg for prayers and good wishes this is it!

I never in my life could have imagined being this scared, and I never fully understood just how much I love him. I don't know how to deal, but I hope all the love and friendship you have shown me over the years will help my little monkey baby fight and get over this.


Friday, 15 November 2019

Goodbye gallery, hello parlor!

Hello my dearest friends,

I hope you are all doing well. How I have missed your blogs and commenting on your work, but fatherhood is most wonderfully time consuming. I get about 30 minutes of miniature time a week which is why I have not posted for a while, but I did manage to finish a remodel of the gallery.

 Originally this was an art gallery at the top of the stairs:

Since I am planning a sculpture gallery next to the banquet hall and the décor of the room was exactly the same as the Tudor hall and the entrance, I figured I could use the space in a more interesting way. I am happy to present the parlor:

I started by ripping up the old décor and built a dividing wall to separate the staircase landing from the front of the room. I then worked on the ceiling:

 It is made up of 2 pieces of single ply illustration board. The bottom layer is to cover up imperfections from the wallpaper I pulled off, and the top one (first picture) has a cutout to accommodate the plaster details from Sue Cook.

In the second picture you see all the plaster details and some basewood moldings before it was painted. When it was installed and the wallpaper on the walls was up, I finished it with a leaf pattern cornice, also from Sue.

 The chandelier is from the Getzans. Next I got to work on the floor.

The old floor was not to my liking. the larger squares had a thicker glue underneath so after they were ironed into place they stood out from the border strips. also, you can see at the bottom of the picture that one square was put in with the grain in the wrong directiona nd it stood out like a sore thumb. I was afraid to tackle a new floor because I would have taken months with Vigo to take care of, but just as I was about to leave the old one in I remembered I kept the old floor I had made for the winter parlor whish was demolished to make room for the banquet hall. It was big enough so I cut it to size and glued it down.

I never had time to take pictures, so here is a mock-up of the walls renovation.

1- I covered the walls in single ply illustration board
2- I painted that green
3- I applied the wallpaper from Alison Davies with regular wallpaper paste
4- I added a single ply illustration board paneling strip, pre-painted
5- I added chair rail, baseboards and squares in the panels, all pre painted.

Here is what the finished walls looked like.

 I was able to save the Jim Coates fireplace and painted a new marble slab to use as a hearth.

I am glad I saved the fireplace because it is one of Jo's favorite pieces.

And this is what the finished room looks like, as well as an empty room shot.

 I really love the way Sue's Doric columns frame the staircase behind the room.

Vigo news

Vigo is doing fantastic. He is in terrific health and aside from teething does not have a care in the world.

He was baptised in August and was a perfect gentleman...

 ...he started eating solid food at 6 months which was hilarious. when we put him in his high chair he giggles and gets really excited. He loves to eat...

..and the force was with him for Halloween:

 And that is all for now my friends. I miss your blogs terribly and look forward to having more time to get back to blog world...eventually. Right now Vigo is my world and I am loving every exhausting moment.

I wish you all the best and since my decorations and Christmas trees are up, I wish you all a very happy holiday season.

Big hugs,

P.S. please ignore any spelling mistakes. My mom is leaving so my leisure time is over, no time for proof reading.