I LOVE it when people come to me with a conspiratorial glint in their eyes as they task me with surprise presents. I myself is a terrible gift giver and have been known to present an ex with a toilet brush when he moved to a new abode, wrapped in such a way that there was no question as to what it might be. But I do enjoy being the person that people come to for gifting concerns.
This first one is for a sibling and significant other, the former a huge Doctor Who fan. I happened to have a spare Tardis lying around and suggested it being the “first” doll. That worked out brilliantly. Before that I was using the Tardis to store coils of wires so I’m glad it went to a good home.
Later on a Dalek was added and sent separately to the recipient.
The other one was a housewarming present. This is a bit on the nose, but I thought giving someone a house shaped nesting doll set painted to resemble their new house would be kind of fun. The buyer agreed and here it is:
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these exterior/interior homes and I was glad I could squeeze the guest house into it as well!
I didn’t have the intention or the time to make this latest diorama but I’ve long since given up on ignoring the little voices in my head. Snippets of time were carved out so I could work on it a little bit each day. I’ve had some plans to install a chandelier in another diorama project but thought this might be a good place to start.
In the past, whenever I paint “The Shining” sets, I always have a breakdown when it came to the Grady Twins. First of all, they need to be the same size and super tiny in order to fit into the preceding doll. Second of all, the hunt of two identical mini dolls are usually a nightmare. It’s gotten to a point that I had to have them 3D printed. Since they are so little and need to match up with one another, I have to place both between my thumb and index finger and paint them simultaneously, often under the magnifying lamp. It doesn’t take as long as one may think, but in the hour or so of execution I barely take a breath and cannot revert to my usual airy fairy approach to painting. If I misplace one, that’s the end of that.
So when it came time to choose the size of the box to put the Grady Twins in, I went for the biggest one I could find. This is probably the only time I get to paint a fairly large version of them, one at a time! The first part of the project went without a hitch. I actually quite enjoyed painting the girls as I was able to breathe normally whilst doing it. The second part involving getting the rest of the room together was a bit problematic, as I am shockingly absentminded when it comes to measuring things. After several attempts I managed to get all the bits and pieces measured and cut, painted and pressed and mounted. I also wanted the box to look as though it’d been framed and looking for the trims was both tedious and upsetting. Back in the day when I was building these boxes and mini rooms, I would pop down to Pearl Paint on Canal Street in NYC and shoot straight up to the fifth floor, that’s right, often on foot up those rickety stairs without stopping, because I was young and took my healthy lungs for granted. There was a section up there where I could pick and choose all sorts of trims and then go home and proceed to mis-measure and mis-cut all of it. I missed those good old days, with art supplies at my disposal and the ability to mount countless steps without collapsing.
I did manage to find some decent ones online and made sure it’s put in a safe place while I worked on other elements. Naturally, I couldn’t remember where I left it and spent a solid hour looking for it. I had also ordered a mini mitre saw to make precision cuts so the edges would join up. I won’t go into the shipping fees to Australia but let’s just say I’m so glad my mom lives in the US and is kind enough to send me stuff from there so I won’t have to pay through the nose for my supplies.
Naturally, this shipment from my mom got stuck in customs for nearly a month, during which Husband and I obsessively tracked its movements through a myriad apps.
So it was with great relief when it finally arrived and I assembled the box that very night. The light is my favourite element, and best of all, it required no internal wiring!
I took a much needed nap after the photoshoot while waiting for night to descend and snapped this one. It made me seriously consider taking a photography class after this.