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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Camping Out

Next time I tell you I'm planning a project that involves making something look like stone, please remind me about the mess involved first!  I don't know how you go about painting a stone effect, but my method involves getting paint on everything in the room.  Creating a suitably sandstone-eske effect involved countless layers of washes and dry brushing until I was happy with the colours.  Then all I had to do was get the colours off me!

With the stone painting finished, I could attach the backboard with it's sunset scene.  Even if I say it myself, the backdrop looked truely incredible in place behind the sandstone foreground so naturally the very next thing I did was to start blocking it off completely from view.

The Dig Site is out in the desert, too far to commute to the nearest luxury hotel every day (my preferred method of archeology) so the workers have a small camp on site.  The tent frame is made from bamboo skewers cut to length and tied together with string.  A dab of glue re-enforces the joints.  The ground the tent rests on is clay over polystyrene and thus soft enough that the tent frame was secured in place by pushing the supporting skewers into the ground.  I made a cover for the frame out of a cotton fabric and glued it in place over the frame.  I made a simple camp bed for inside the tent by stretching a piece of fabric between two balsa wood poles.  A short piece of balsa at the end of each pole act as legs.  Over this I threw a linen sheet and pillow and a woollen blanket.

In front of the tent is the firepit.  A ring of stones surround the fire made of red and black seed beads.  Skewer offcuts from the tent were tied together to create a tripod from which will hang a cooking pot.  Like the tent this is held in place by driving the tips into the ground.  A pair of stools were made by cutting toothpicks in half, tieing three halves together with string and glueing a triangular pice of fabric on the top.

Today, we are used to seeing Egyptian carvings in bare stone, but originally they would all have been brightly painted.  So I added touches of coloured paint to the wall carvings and rubbed it off again to create the effect of remanants of ancient paint clinging to the stone.

Beyond the wall lies the "inside" area.  The idea is that this space has been sealed for thousands of years and is untouched by the passage of time.  That is why I am not happy with the columns I made.  I painted them this week in the hope they would look better in colour and they do . . . but they are still obviously crooked with bulges in strange places.  Still, if I get more clay and try again from scratch, there is no reason to believe I'll do any better.  To use them or not to use them  . . . . .?  The pilars will flank a false doorway opening onto a corridor.  I've painted the false corridor on a piece of card and by the time everything is in place I think it will blend in well enough.  On the left of the photo above you can see a piece of the wallpaper I'm using on the walls.  Yep, I've decided to cheat and am using "Egyptienne" paper from Jackson's Miniatures.  I'll show you more of it next week when I've installed it all properly.

If you haven't entered the giveaway yet, don't forget it closes on 30th April and you'll find the link at the top of the page.


  1. Love your work Alennka...all your canvas work is great and works well!

  2. What an adventure that would be, camping out in the desert and finding lost treasures. Everything you have made looks so good, love the tent, bed and little stool.

  3. How fun! Going camping is on my bucket list!

  4. Original scene. I like your camping.
    Bye Faby

  5. Una escena fantastica y muy poriginal.
    Yo hice una escena de camping y disfrute muchisimo.
    besitos ascension

  6. I love your Egyptian carvings. Very good.

  7. I really like the faded paint details on your carved doors, Alennka! And the scenery looks great attached to the back of the scene! I haven't done any "landscapes" yet.... but I'm going to try my hand at a Garden soon!
    If you don't like your columns...could you use the cardboard tubes in paper towel rolls? Maybe cover them in a thin layer of clay or paper mache... or just paper and paint? Don't feel you have to stick with something you aren't happy with... I always find starting again is a way to learn a better technique!