As such, I hope you enjoy this flashback onto an early project of mine. While it's not sculpture in a traditional sense, it's projects like this which ignited my imagination and fed my desire to learn and improve, and this project is incredibly close to my heart.
I tended to be even more verbose back in my LiveJournal days, so I've shortened and edited some of the original text below from LiveJournal. This is the second of four blogs about this project, and you can access all available parts at the links below. These are the original images I posted in 2006, so they're also a bit on the small and blurry side, but there will be some nicer ones in the final blog: promise. :)
- Part 1 - Conception to Early Production
- Part 2 - Painting and Refining the Base
- [Coming Soon] Part 3 - Water, Terrain Details, and the Wizard's Abode.
- [Coming Soon] Part 4 - Detailing the Wizard's Abode, Furniture, Props, and Final Details
Scale Model Project: "Wizard's Retreat": Part 2 of 4 - Painting and Refining the Base
At this stage I was wondering if all the countless hours I'd spent on this thing was going to be ruined outright by the paint but I kept on going and painting in loose washes as a video had suggested! At this stage I really disliked that everything appeared so "sloppy," but I was told it was the only way to get all the rocks and such to look "realistic" from a miniatures perspective. I tend to be someone who is very perfectionistic and detail-oriented, so I was struggling to let gravity fill in the nooks and crannies rather than trying to go in and go every minutiae individually.
The lumps were pleasant, but at this stage I was having a lot of trouble imagining it "completed" with grass and all. Somewhere around this point I'd also realized I should pick out what season it was for the diorama, and eventually settled on late Spring.
I really don't know why I wasn't using a tripod for these shots, but my apologies for the blurriness as well.
I was trying not to focus too much attention in any one area, rather: I tried the world the piece as a whole and add different colors and textures all around the piece as I looked at it from different angles rather than just its "hero angle." That is one thing I've slowly been growing used-to as an artist: things usually turn out much better if you work the piece as a whole rather than focusing too much love and attention in a tiny area at the cost of the bigger picture.
In any case, at this point I started to work some of the riverbed as well so it was appropriately colored and textured to fit in with the surrounding areas.
At this point I also first started thinking about debris, so I started gluing that down too. That small tree in the background would be about 30-40 feet tall, so that central one would be simply huge in comparison.
The tone of these old photos is much too red, but I think you get the idea. I remember really liking how broken up and natural the landscape was turning out. In the last photo I was pretending to look out across where the future bridge would be, that would lead down a path under the archway and up stairs encircling the tree. but oh: I was still a ways off from there! :)
And here is where things started to get even more interesting, because this project wasn't simply to be a nature diorama: there had to be a Wizard's Retreat built up atop that large tree!
The white shape on the left is the central base of the second tree which would one day support the outdoor patio area of the home. Inside the secondary supporting tree was a dowel that had been cut and textured. The large platform lying atop it was to be the floor of the tree house which was cut with a band saw and then sanded and stained to try to age it a bit so it would look like it fit in, scale-wise, with what would be the future house. There is actually a miniature man standing by the archway for scale, but he's a bit too large to be truly to scale. He'd be about 7 1/2-8 feet high, but he worked well to give myself a general sense of scale for how the project was progressing.
The floor of the treehouse is pretty high up there. It was to keep it out of the reach of critters and unexpected (and unwelcome) guests. The scenic views probably didn't hurt either. ;)
And we're just getting started! :) Stay tuned for Part 3 of 4!