Monday, March 27, 2017

Reorganized Workshop/Office & Museum


As some of you may know, my dear husband Lloyd passed away the beginning of February. I miss him. Looking through the rich body of work he left behind keeps him close and brings me comfort. I've been sorting through his art and art supplies and reorganizing the studio space we shared into one dedicated to my own interests, miniatures and genealogy. Thanks to the unwavering support of dear friend and fellow miniaturist NJ from Missouri, the new workspace is looking good. There's still a lot of sorting and sifting going on behind the scenes, but there is a lovely clean space to get the jobs done.

Two miniatures moved from our storage unit to the studio, so all of my houses are currently under one roof. Marie Laveau's Cottage, the Halloween House and the Christmas House are in other rooms one each in the living room, dining room and bedroom, with the remainder in the studio. (Click on the photos to see a larger version.)

This is the view into the studio from the hallway that leads to the rest of the condo. I love being able to see the Hemmerling print of the baptism from a distance.


The houseboat sits on a table with storage beneath. The houseboat came over from the storage unit. I was pleased to see that after its move from Missouri and a year in storage, the lights went on at the first click of the switch. I like that it is possible to see both sides of the boat, since it was bashed from a 1:12 kit to a 1:24 boat and has rooms opening on both sides. The orchids are perched on the end of the file cabinet in the south-facing window. From my desk chair, I can easily see out of the windows on either side and also out to the "back forty."


The next photo shows the view out the back door, where Lloyd enjoyed growing plants on the little patio space that he dubbed the "back forty" -- forty square feet, that is, not forty acres.  The Beacon Hill is close to the worktable. The skirt on its table hides dollhouse supplies. The quilt shop is beside it. The boxes by the door are on their way to the dumpster; they didn't get the clean-up-for-picture-time message. 

The corner opposite the desk holds the TV and bookshelves. They are the cheap chipboard shelf units that I sprayed dark brown. Cloth "drawers" hold office supplies and other items. To the right is a TV table on a dolly with rollers that supports the pottery shop. To its right is the beginnings of the Greenleaf Pierce/Bohemian Inn that came over from storage. Almost hidden in the bright blur by the window is Lloyd's most recent papiér maché sculpture, one of the Yoruba gods. The ceramic panel mounted on wood that is leaning under the pottery shop is a memorial made by one of Lloyd's former students and signed by several of them. They presented it to me recently. It will hang as soon as I get a sturdy wire attached; it is heavy!


In this long view of the room you can see the mix of artwork on the wall -- some of Lloyd's, some of mine, and a few other artists. The Pierce/Bohemian Inn is also handy to the worktable.


The worktable has a couple of lights, along with a couple of small roller carts that hold often used items. 

Then there is the adjacent storeroom, where most of the behind-the-scenes, yet-to-be-tackled challenges lie. Lloyd was never happier than when "organizing" his notebooks. Each one needs to be vetted for important papers, artwork, photos, and who knows what else. One day at a time, I'm telling myself. 

The new shelf unit below the notebooks holds a dozen tool boxes in addition to my own. They are labeled, but after opening a few, I realized that the label doesn't necessarily identify the contents. More one day at a time activity here. The boxes within the orange box hold more papers and photos, all of which needs to be handled one piece at a time. 

Across from the notebook shelves are some rolling arts and more boxes on shelves. The black bag hold empty boxes, primarily candy boxes, that Lloyd saved because "they are a good size for storing stuff." To tell the truth, I've been mining the bags as I reorganize, but I do believe most of those left will be heading for the dumpster.


The wall between the notebooks and the roll-arounds has some build-in shelves that hold miscellaneous items as well as a set of books that I published years ago, when I organized and ran Rockbridge Publishing Company as a desktop book publisher. The seasonal front door wreaths are also stored here. 

Now that the studio is reorganized, I'm looking forward to getting back to work on minis. The residents of the Beacon Hill and Pierce are all clamoring for attention! 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Beacon Hill Tower Roof (Step 1)


Today I put a second coat of paint on the roof shingles. They look much better and are probably ready for installation. I think I'll hold off on that until I have the four windows built and ready to install so the roof units can be dry fit before gluing.

Meanwhile, the copper foil arrived from Delphi. It's meant for copper-foiled stained glass work, but it's a good weight and adhesive backed, in 12" x 12" squares. Perfect for what I want to do. The first step is to cover the ribs. I cut a pattern and got two of the ribs covered tonight.

The black roof panel will also be copper. I'm going to make a template so I can apply the copper while it is flat on the worktable to avoid creasing. I still have to work out what to use to create the standing seams. I'm leaning toward string glued in place. A little experimentation is in order.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Beacon Hill Roof Trim


The white trim was too bland against the pastel shingle colors, so today I painted it black.  I like it much better. I first tried out a dark hunter green, but that just didn't cut the mustard.


The trim on the tower roof was also painted black. I think it will make a nice contrast to the copper sheathing. Both the shingles and the copper will be aged.

The jury is still out on what color to paint the window frames. The side ribs on the tower will be covered with copper foil, so they weren't repainted. The underside of the eaves will be painted a nice light blue on both the tower and the mansard roofing. 

If you click to enlarge the photo below, the sketchy paint job on the shingles will be obvious. They're not all that obvious in person, but oh, my, what the all-seeing eye of the camera reveals! The shingles are due for a second coat of paint. I'm so glad I haven't glued them in place yet. 

FYI, the wonky color is the result of using a flash for this photo. 



Monday, January 16, 2017

Beacon Hill Shingle Colors


Okay, friends on the Greenleaf Dollhouse Forum are supporting the copper tower top; the copper foil has been ordered. Now I'm wondering how to make the vertical seams, but that can wait until I have the foil to experiment.

The question of the day is what color to paint the shingles. Back in the day, I must have been leaning toward a light sage green for the house, as that's what color the chimney is painted.  I have a set of sample paints I got based on an Olympic paint palette; that green is one of them. Another of the colors is a creamy gray/green. I did a sample section (without priming). I'm thinking now that the larger shingles could be the darker tone, the smaller ones the lighter tone, and the main house siding could also be the lighter tone. The doctor is considering.  [Click to enlarge.]


The shingled panels are not glued. I think the next step is to prime the shingles with gesso and paint them. 

Here are the other colors in the palette. I can see the coral and blues as accent colors when it comes time to do the trims.




Sunday, January 15, 2017

Raising the Roof


Work has begun on the mansard roof of the Beacon Hill. I like the mix of large and small shingles, so I worked out the pattern seen below. I don't recall if the roof pieces were black originally or if I painted them, but black they are. I want to paint the shingles in two similar shades of gray, so a band of subtly contrasting shade will create a band around the upper story. The first piece I did was the bit of roofing that will be tucked behind the tower wall, figuring that any goofs wouldn't be noticeable.


Gluing the shingles was tedious, but not difficult, as they were flat on the work surface. While working on them, the tower cap was staring me in the eye. I don't think I want to use the curved edge bits on the roof pieces (like the ones on the tower cap). When they're fitted into place, I'll use Spackle or caulk of something smaller to smooth the transition at the corners. 

I'm not sure I want to do shingles on the tower cap. I can make templates, so the shingling shouldn't be too difficult, but I wonder how the tower cap would look if it were covered with copper sheeting instead of shingles. I'd cover the curved white bits with copper, and maybe paint the top and bottom edges black. It's something to think about while the glue dries on the shingles.

Suggestions welcome!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

The homeowner visits the Beacon Hill


This is the doctor, a free man of color (FMC), husband to the beautiful Sophia and as yet nameless, visiting his home under construction in the Garden District of New Orleans, a stately Beacon Hill. He is recently back from a trip to France, during which he studied under one of the preeminent surgeons of Paris. He is holding a copy of the plans for the house and wondering where the workers went. 

I happened to catch him standing on the front porch with sunlight from a nearby window providing dramatic lighting. He bears a startling resemblance to my husband's cousin Dave. :) 


Here is the beautiful Sophia, on her way to visit Marie Laveau for some kind of potion or gris gris. We don't know her purpose for sure, but after three years of marriage the couple remains childless, so we can speculate.