Wednesday 10 December 2014

Palm Sunday Diorama Finished

I fitted the frame, borders and glass cover over the diorama and placed it in my sitting room, lit at night.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Palm Sunday Diorama 8

Following a short holiday, I went back to work on this diorama. Without realising it, I have almost completed it without taking photos of work in progress.

After the main temple and Antonia fortress building shapes were elevated, I added small cutouts to represent other buildings in the background. Small cutouts were also used to represent the walls curving behind the temple gate, most of which are obscured by the trees.

The final painting was carried out, first on the sky. The hills and groundwork were painted a lighter yellow ochre and the buildings were painted, including more buildings in the background.

The figures were staged and then added to the scene. When I framed the scene, I noticed that it was too low and I inserted a thick cardboard underneath to increase the height.

 I divided the crowd scene into two sections to make it interesting. On the right, there is a Sunday market scene outside the walls. Roman guards are posted all around to keep the peace. On the left, there is a group gathered around the procession when Jesus enters with his disciples. 

 Close up of the market section. The Roman centurion on duty is perplexed by the excitement of the crowd rushing off to see the procession. Notice the impasto effect of painting which suggests crumbling brick walls.

 Close-up of the procession. Jesus and his disciples are greeted by crowds waving palm leaves.

 Close-up of the upper gate and background. An enthusiastic follower has climbed up on the walls to show his support. Some of the cutouts and painted buildings can be seen to make a transition into the distance. I used an impressionist style to suggest the buildings.

I painted in some clouds to make the scene more dramatic and to cover up the shadow of the over-painted hill in the background.

When I tested the lights, the LED was too dim for such a bright sunny day and I substituted this with a fluorescent light.

Highlights were added to the trees. Green was added to suggest olive trees in the painting as well. More prominent shading was added to the figures to blend them into the scene. 

Monday 1 December 2014

Macau Museum Dioramas 3

These were the rest of the dioramas.

This piece was are probably the best of the dioramas with great looking buildings,backgrounds and ships. The figures were also better modelled and the scene was well-composed.A port scene with simple perspectives.

 A close up.

 Another close-up.

 Another close-up.

 Another table-top display, with background painting on two sides. Great paintng but marred by the obvious vertical edge.

 Final diorama showing wedding scene. A wedding scene seems to be "de-rigeur" for any Chinese display on culture or costumes.




I hope you enjoyed these pictures. I posted them here as they were dioramas and fitted in with my thematic goal of dioramic pursuits.

Macau Museum dioramas 2

These next three dioramaswere tabletop displays. They were about waist high and covered with thick glass walls. They may be viewed from all round.

These were more architectural in concept, focusing on the buildings and there were no perspectives. As dioramas, they were mildly interesting but not captivating to me. The buildings were well made, and very neat - (too neat).

 This diorama showed a government building.  The figures were added to give a size context to the building.

Another view of the building. The figures were just standing around.

 The figures appeared to be a mix of commissioned and commercial (K&C?) pieces repainted in a matt finish. Coolies, working class and the lady in a rickshaw suggested a broad time period, from the Qing period.

 Female servants. There was too much wasted space or insufficient figures.

 A Qing Dynasty official procession

Close-up of the figures. Manchu officials. These figures appeared too stumpy.

 A diorama which showed gunpowder manufacturing within a factory compound. The well-painted flat painted background was only done for one side.

A close-up of part of the diorama.

Hong Kong and Macau Museum dioramas

I just came back from a short holiday to HK and Macau. I visited a couple of museums, one in HK and the other in Macau. The HK museum has a very interesting temporary exhibition of artefacts loaned from the Russian Summer Palace in St Petersburg. Really impressive works of art. Past exhibitions from this museum really looked interesting. There was a substantial bookshop too but the books were just too hefty to cart back.

Then there is the Macau museum. This was located within the old Portuguese fortress on top of a hill and it was very well-done. Besides various ongoing exhibitions which include recent archaeological digs from the Bronze age onwards, there were some nice dioramas for which photography was allowed. These were a mixture of tabletop and shadowbox dioramas. All showed scenes taken from Macau's past. I will show each in chronological order.

The first diorama shows Macau around the Bronze age. Nicely painted background but the background was not curved upwards from the horizon. Similarly the top of the background was flat. Thus the perspective was marred by these perpendicular edges. 
The scene was also generic, not much going on except sitting around breaking stones? I think that more could be done to improve the transition from foreground to midground.

This diorama was more interesting, showing the development of a fishing community. The background painting and the buildings were very well made. the sea was resin poured over the base, quite nicely done.

This  showed the Portuguese making their first foray into Macau. The Chinese officials wore Ming costumes so the period appeared about right. The scene was marred by rather awkward perspectives. It was not helped by the perpendicular horizon edge either. The fully 3-dimensional ships looked rather distorted in the background.
I think that those figures should have been doing something and interacting, rather than stand around and stare at each other.

Monday 17 November 2014

Palm Sunday Diorama 7

I undercoated the building structures. I also added a door to the Eastern Gate entrance.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Palm Sunday Diorama 6

I overpainted the sky with a lighter blue.

After studying the composition, I've decided that the Temple was too low and raised its height and the accompanying Antonia Tower by about 3 cm overall. This was an imposing structure and I wanted it to fill the space. New cardboard cutouts were used to create these buildings.

Sunday 9 November 2014

Palm Sunday Diorama 5

I raised the horizon and painted the hills with acrylics. Also darkened the shaded walls.

The hills have been overpainted with yellow ochre in oils. The rest of the painting will be done with oils.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Palm Sunday Diorama 4

I dusted off the figures for this diorama and continued to highlight the painting here and there.

Monday 3 November 2014

Palm Sunday Diorama 3

Following the completion of the Marianne North diorama, I have taken out this unfinished piece to work on it now.

The building sections had been base painted. I will be making more use of the background, by raising the horizontal line, by elevating the hills in the background to accommodate a sprawling city. This will also create more groundwork to populate the foreground.

That is the Eastern gate of Jerusalem, double door, with the temple and the Antonia tower in the background.

Sunday 26 October 2014

M North 9 Finished

I've finally finished this piece. I added more foliage to the foreground, and darkened the areas around each ape to create more contrast.

The glass casing was carefully cleaned. The edges of the diorama were trimmed to fit neatly within the case. Previously, I had tried to wedge in cardboard strips along the entire box frame but this only served to distort the box, as it was made out of thin plywood. This time, when I fitted the frame over the box, I added stout cardboard strips only to the corners to wedge the box firmly against the inside of the frame. The box was very securely fixed to the frame, and there was no further need to add a layer of masking tape along the sides. The frame was fitted with hooks and wire and is now nicely displayed on my wall.

Here are a couple of pics showing the unlit diorama in a lit room.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

M North 8

I have been spending so much time on my other activities, so have not posted for some time. I finally made some headway with this scene.

I fitted the usual LED light, not as bright as a fluorescent light, as this is supposed to be a moonlight scene.

As the lit-up scene is a little dark in the foreground, I have since painted in more foliage into the scene, and have further highlighted the apes, to brighten it up.

 Taken in the day - sorry about the fuzzy pic

 Scene lit up, taken in a darken room. The lights can be seen through the cardboard frame. I have since pasted a layer of dark paper behind the frame.

Close up of the lit-up scene

Sunday 13 July 2014

M North 7

Some putty was added to smooth the transition of the background pieces to the foreground. This was painted in black with acrylics. Further cutouts, brass-etch foliage and twigs were also added to the background pieces to aid in visual transition.

M North 6 Painting and Attaching The Apes

I finally painted the apes. These were then placed against the diorama for composition. Once I was satisfied with their positions, I removed the bases and glued the apes to the diorama.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

M North 5

The background was painted over in oils. The mountain was pasted onto thick cardboard pieces and fixed to the background. Some of the foliage scenery pieces were also fixed in place. I checked the composition against the picture frame. I am now working on the apes and more foliage pieces.