Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Going to pot...

I made some rustic pots using terracotta clay - very simple, imperfect, but with a bit of watercolour weathering and some plants, they look the part...

Just right for my salmon pink geraniums... I need a windowsill-full but for now,  one pot will do!  It is for my kitchen, which is slowly taking shape...

... with a little help from Elizabeth at Studio E Miniatures who did a swap with me - and made me some of the chives that I had admired so much in her garden - they are perfection, ever so delicate, and with a lovely butterfly, and an even tinier beetle on a leaf!  Elizabeth is a master craftsman, and has an excellent eye for detail!

The problem with making mini pots and plants is that it is very addicitive... 

Which is just as well, as I want to fill my kitchen with salmon pink geraniums... but can you guess why?


Friday, February 6, 2015

In Praise of Watercolours

I think watercolours are underrated in the miniatures world, which is a shame, as they can produce the most realistic effects in miniature.  I use them for my paintings, but also for all the stonework, which you know is a lot at Daviot House!

I finished the back wall of the garden and made a small fountain.  The lion head is from Sue Cook, and the plain white plaster takes watercolour really well.  The staining on the wall is also watercolour, and the stonework pillars.

Here is a close up.  The different layers of murky paint really pick out every single detail of the weathered stone, and I painted on moss and lichen using greens and ochres.

The stonework is made out of DAS clay and then weathered using an old toothbrush.  I think it is the most realistic way of recreating stone in miniature, primarily because of all the many layers of different colours that make up the stone and the weathering effects.

It has all gone a bit turret-crazy at Daviot House - here is my latest addition (still without roof) made out of cardboard tubing and, of course, DAS clay.  You can just about make out the ball finial at the base which mirrors those on top of the wall.

I needed to finish of the corner fireplace for the bedroom, and thought it would be a good way to show you how I use watercolours.

I have two watercolour paint sets - just the basic ones, one for 'clean' painting, like portraits, and the other for 'mucky' painting - the stonework.  I don't generally need any other colours than provided, except one, lamp black.  The paints last a VERY long time, so even though they seem more pricey than acrylic, they aren't really.  I like Windsor and Newton.

I am an official paintbrush killer, so I never spend much on my paintbrushes, I just pick them up as small and as cheaply as possible.  Here I used a nice wedge and a tiny detail brush.

I am painting the back of the fireplace.  I have already made the stonework by cutting out rectangles of DAS clay (very thin), gluing them to the base (I do believe this is the carboard from a cereal packet - use what you have!), and then attacking the lot with an old toothbrush.  I didn't do to much weathering, because, of course, the fireplace is inside rather than out, and the main problem of heat on stone is cracking, rather than wearing away.

Use different gungey washes of colour, here a bit of red and ochre is added to mimic he original stone colour ( I like to think a nice creamy sandstone).

And keep going - start to add more grey - this is a fireplace after all!

Check that the colours are not too wildly different between the fireplace surround and the fireback

And now add the lampblack with a dry brush, to imitate soot - fireplaces are really dirty when they are in use!  If you don't have lamp black, you can use charcoal, or even BBQ coal if you have any

Better... I used a little water to blend in the black

I used the fine detail brush to pick out the old carving in the fireplace, and I just realised that Daviot House is going to be FOUR HUNDRED YEARS OLD this year!  Something tells me a giveaway is in the pipeline!

Better get on with finishing off the panelling...