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.