DONE

I did it.  I finished before the end of September.  Now it's ready to photograph this weekend, provided I can get that done early this morning, before it starts to rain.

The plastic candles in the chandelier were cut in half to shorten them, set on fire, and a black metal wick inserted while the plastic was melted.  It looks much better.

I added a shade on one side of the porch and made a citronella candle, so the bugs don't pester Sheila when she comes to visit.

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Since I had an abstract oil and a drawn-on canvas that didn't work out for Mr. Neat's easel I put them in the studio, rather than the trash can.  I glued a piece of trim to the wall for a quick shelf, then sat the painting on it to dry.  The unpainted canvas I leaned against the wall behind the bag of sketch pads.

I also tacked some sketches to the wall behind Ms. Messy's easel, per Susan's suggestion.  Two I colored with pencils, since there is a tin of colored pencils with the drawing pad on the table next to her wicker chair.

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the easels are no longer empty

Honestly, I don't know what I was so worked up about.  The unfinished landscape was relaxing and enjoyable.  The abstract was more challenging; I painted a few but nothing worked...then I realized the artist wasn't painting yet, he was still drawing.

I am concerned, though, that the drawing is too....I can't find the right word...compact, small, dense...that there isn't enough white space between the lines, so that viewed from further than a couple of inches away it's going to look like a smear.  Husband agrees with that, he said it looks like a fingerprint. 

Then I thought, maybe that's how it should be seen from further away, then will come into focus, so to speak, when looked at through the window.

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Sigh.  Now that I've loaded photos I have the answer.  I need a new sketch.

Here's a close up, so you don't have to squint...

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I also painted the messy artist's easel and dirtied up her drop cloth.  I didn't want to go overboard on the drop cloth...she's not a slapdash painter, just too busy to be bothered with straightening up.

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You've noticed the sconce is done....

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Boy, was I glad I used matboard strips for the exterior siding, instead of wood strips.  I had to remove a section of three of them to install the wiring and battery concealment contraption.

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Today I have to make a new sketch, glue the remaining items in place, glue the cement blocks together, and fuss with the candles in the chandeliers.  I also have to clean my house, it's a pig sty, and I have guests coming to visit tomorrow morning.


critiques and suggestions

I took the almost finished studio to the office with me on Monday for critiques and suggestions.  I like to get the eyes of non-miniaturists on projects as well; they tend to see it not as a miniature, per se, but as a place.  Shutters and a cupola were suggested, but I had already thought of and decided against those early on.  A roller shade on the side of the porch opposite the chairs is a smart idea I hadn't thought of, and is under consideration.  More than one of my coworkers said I need a light fixture hanging in the porch, and that the studio needs to be lit.  I agreed those to be actionable items I need to address.

Also noted....the red paintbrush on the floor sticking up from the folds of the dropcloth wouldn't be sticking up like that, it would have fallen flat, in between the the folds...so I pulled it out.  And...my trailer fork is a bit long, isn't it?  That can't be changed, but it doesn't look ridiculously long, so it's fine.

Something else I discovered, while picking the piece up off my desk at the end of the day, is that the tacky glue stuck one row of cement blocks to the base, and the other to the bottom of the house, but did not hold the two layers of blocks to each other.  In hindsight, I should have known that, since I had to buy special glue to adhere the stones on the Cedar Kitchen.  I viewed the mishap as fortuitous, since it means I can flip the house upside down again without the base board in the way.

Flip it upside down I did, to install a chandelier in the porch.  I had an antique, pewter, non-electrified, one in my stash, that I got off ebay a while ago.  It's perfect for this space.

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The candles need to be cut down, don't they?  Half that height, do you think?

The pewter is so pliable it bends when I so much as look at it funny, so I used the two holes in the base plate of the hanging rod to nail it into place, instead of gluing it into place.  I figured if I broke it during installation and had to take it down it was better to leave behind two tiny holes than a yucky glue glob.  I used my vise, gently, to straighten the hanging rod before I even started, it was all wiggly looking.

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At this point, the only option I have to light the interior of the studio is to pop a light through the back wall.  I have LEDs in my stash, but I had to make a fixture.  When I sat down at my piled-up filth of a work table the end of the plastic tube I cut off during the bird feeder construction was in view, so I grabbed it, cut a strip of vellum to line it with, and used a paper punch to put a hole in the side to feed the LEDs through.  Easiest sconce ever.  I may dress it up with a metal looking rim on top and bottom, and/or a base plate...haven't decided yet.

I built a wooden box to hang on the exterior of the wall, over the trailer hitch, to house the wires and battery.  So that it looks purposeful, I made a quick louvered vent looking thing to put on it, from a scrap piece of clapboard siding.

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While the paint was drying I measured, marked, and drilled a quarter inch hole in the wall.  There's no going back now.

I still have not started on the paintings.  It's been raining and I haven't been able to get outside to sketch any of the landscapes where I want to take the studio to photograph it.

I know I want a landscape and an abstract, but my mind is blank beyond that.  When I sit down at my easel to paint (which I haven't done in years) I've already had the painting finished in my brain first.  I have not, since I was a student, sat in front of an empty canvas and had to come up with something.  Susan suggested I have Husband and Daughter do some sketches for me.  I know Daughter won't, but Husband might, except Husband is feeling a bit under the weather.  I do, though, have finished pieces they've both done hanging on my walls, so I'll plagiarize those, I think.

Here are two of Husband's...I'm leaning toward reproducing his self portrait...

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The other, if I can't manage a landscape, or run out of time, will be Daughter's study of apples, since I want the paintings on the easels to be in-progress and Daughter never finished this....

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I will most likely, since I have the originals, take them out of their frames to have them copied, shrunk, and printed.  That will be an incredible time saver.  I can, at that point, either lightly paint over them (after sealing them), or use them as is.

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