Monday, 3 May 2010

Day 153- Dark Lighting The Tribal House

I did not do much mini work since my last post until yesterday that is, when I decided to cram seven days worth of work into this one Sunday.  Needless to say, by the time I finished, I was seriously pooped. T'was not a day of rest for me, neither was it a really satisfying one.

I usually do not post about work in progress because the pictures are really depressing and everything is not quite how they should look. I made an exception today because I would like to  discuss "dark lighting" with anyone who will indulge me.

You see, my tribal house  is to be without electricity , too poor, too remote, not invented yet, being some of the reasons. Inspired by how Ronan-Jim Sevellec used invisible light points to create the right mood for his scenes, all dark, I thought I would try it too with this house.

I bought the Dioder lights from Ikea for about S$75.00. It was slightly more than what I paid for the LEDs in the tent but I thought this price to light up the whole house is not too bad.

These lights are long and tubular, easy to hide and  great in all aspects except that they are white and very bright.

Thank goodness for  Small Stuff Digest , someone suggested that you can paint the cover with yellow glass paint to change the hue of the light.

When it was still too bright, I went one step further and smeared black leading and it worked! The lights dimmed considerably.

This is the before picture of the house. I glued 2 of the smeared-lights against the wall behind the part of  roof parallel to the floor. I think the lights for the ground floor would probably be placed the same way after I figure out how to hide the wires properly. You can see from the picture on top that I have removed the staircase, ready to be bashed and re-positioned.

At this point, the house is not exactly what you will call pretty. Perhaps you can tell, barely, that  on the walls of the 1st room are naive tribal depictions of proud peacocks, once vibrant and colourful.

Now, they are faded and sooted from baskets of coal burning to keep the occupants warm while they work in this room.

Thatched roofs are notoriously bad for braving the elements and the tell tale signs can be seen on the once perfectly turquoise walls in this 2nd  room.

Somehow even the colours on the 3rd wall cannot seem to lift the gloom. Could the dark lighting be too effective? 

I must have been influenced by what I saw when I was in the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum in Innsbruck. There were Gothic and Rococo parlours  on display. These rooms were dark and gloomy and rather scary. Doesn't that lady in black who can be seen only when you enlarge the picture, send chills down your spine? She sure scared my friends, even though they knew she wasn't a ghost.

And in this other gloomy dining room, even the lady of  the house seemed troubled, perhaps planning a difficult dinner seating arrangement for four? 

I do think though that the  floor, dark though they may be, are not tired and worn enough for the house.

I compared them to my almost 80 year old floor and thought my real floor looked older. Perhaps I should scratch those floorboards with my miniature cabinets and dining table and see if that works.

I doubt though that  my Banjarans will allow the gloom to last. Once they move in with their colourful embroideries and personalities, you won't remember these before pictures. Definitely no lady ghost in black allowed....

Hey! Hang on....wait a minute here.... that was no ghost! That was ME! My friends were right, I even scared myself. Can you believe that for a moment there, I did not recognise who that was?


rosanna said...

Is it really you? I couldn't recognize you if you didn't tell. I love the house and how it's turning out. The floor is much better than mine which is barely 5 years old ! I can ruin it a bit for you if you do not mind. Love the walls and the turquoise tint. I love the peacoks although faint and weak.I couldn't live in reality with those cane pillars over my head: too scared of spiders and other bugs.
And I absolutely love the light: you are so clever my dear !!!! absolutely great ! I'll have a look at the local Ikea for those lights.Minihugs Rosanna

Merry Jingle said...

It's fabulous, I love the lighting, the walls, the roof - everything! And I love those dark pictures, they have that kind of athmosphere I wan't for my Poe's house, dark and gloomy.


rosanna said...

PS I spotted the pineapple tarts! have you bribed somebody else this time ? ;o)

Jean Day said...

The lighting works really well. Ronan-Jim Sevellec is a favorite of mine, he really creates a mood, just as you are doing. Hugs, Jean

The Old Maid said...

I love the photos with the only window light through!

Debbie said...

Very clever use of lighting in your house. Thanks for sharing the other photo's as

Sans said...

Rosanna, believe me when I said I didn't recognise myself (the 2nd picture ) :). I was planning to post on my other blog (on Tyrolean folk museum) and not do this one. Going through the photos in Innsbruck, I got a little shock when I saw this picture because I swear I could not remember seeing any woman sitting at the table in these rooms. Then I realise it was me with my hand on my cheek, looking like I was planning dinner :) Faiz and Marg had suggested I posed since I look the most ghostly of the lot of us :). I really thought it was a ghost so I used these pictures for this post instead ..haha :)

You are so sweeeeet to reassure me like this about the walls etc (because you knew I wasn't happy with them, right??) :)

And Rosanna, are you are you cannot live under a thatched roof with creepy crawlies?? O dear, we were planning to live in beach huts in Malaysia. Now , we better book hotels instead !!

Sans said...

Dear Ira, you brought light and cheer to the house (maybe not the light eh? ;) with your comments :). I nearly didn't believe you because your Toscano house is so cheery and white and cosy and happy and blissful! A complete opposite until I saw that you have the uncanny ability to think and move in 2 directions at the same time!! You can plan for both white and dark houses simultaneously!!! I can't even do anything non-Indian You are amazing :) I can't wait to see your Poe's house .

Sans said...

Ro, that picture was taken before Chinese New Year and before we left to meet you. I was wondering if you would spot the tarts and you did! LOL

This box was left for us but I didn't get to eat much of it. I think most of them were gobbled up by Faiz.

Sans said...

Jean, it was love at first sight for me where Sevellec is concerned. There were some who thought his work is actually not as refined or precise but he used lighting a lot to mask and create the mood. I am nowhere near his league.

I tried looking for your mini book on illumination in your stores but could not find it. :( Have you stopped making them?

Sans said...

Those pictures, Ewa were taken by my friend, FaiZ :). I am only the black ghost or the dark patch who hopefully, gave greater contrast to the light streaming in :);) .I love those pictures too :)

Sans said...

Thank you Debbie, you are an angel with those comments :)

rosanna said...

Beach huts ARE good for us !!! if I'll be too much afraid I can always sleep right on the beach sand ;o) I'm not afraid by crabs and fishes :o))
the walls are really good, I cannot see why you were not happy with them. hugs Rosanna

Lize said...

Yikes, like they say in Scooby, the fear is running ripples down my spine... wave after wave...

I wonder if your tribal house too will have an inhabitant from 'another' dimension?

Be careful deary... your creation may keep you awake at night. It has become so real you'll have chains dragged over that floor and ghostly footprints and poltergeists smashing china and in NO time that floor will be 200 years old! Mark my words...

contar said...

siempre es interesante ver el desarrollo de un trabajo desde el principio, y escuchar sus dudas, es como escuchar el interior de mi cabeza.
creo que sera un gran trabajo, y la iluminación le esta quedando muy bien.
un abrazo

Always it is interesting to see the development of a work from the beginning, and listen to his doubts, is like to listen to the interior of my head.
I believe that sera a great work, and the lighting still having to this him very well.
An embrace

Texas Belle said...

This is looking great! I can't believe how much work you've done on it in such a short time. I love, love, love the thatching, and the walls are beautiful. The lighting is wonderful, too - how clever you are to find something suitable at Ikea (I love Ikea, btw; now I shall have an excuse to make another trip there!).

I, too, don't like to put anything up until it's finished, which is why I haven't been posting much lately. I've been working here and there, but can't seem to finish anything to my satisfaction.

Jean Day said...

Hi San, Your comment to me reminded me I hadn't listed that book in my eBay store yet! I have put it up for auction at a lower price today and in the eBay store, it will be on my web site soon too, thanks so looking. Everything you do is always so wonderfully exotic, Hugs, Jean

Sans said...

Rosanna, I am afraid of creepy crawlies! And crabs! I love those beach huts and you know, they are much harder to come by during the peak season than the hotels :) and they do not allow any booking in advance.

About the walls, I was hoping to create murals painted by the artisans staying in the house but they look like wallpaper..hahaha. Anyway, I discovered that if you use the paper mache method of pasting the paper onto the wall, they stick really well and there are no bubbles. Keep wetting the paper with the glue and water mixture until everything sticks. At one point, my floor was a gooey mess! lol

Sans said...

Ooooh, I can't wait, Lize! Many people think I live in a haunted house and claimed they have seen all sorts , women, old, young, crying, laughing and men too! I have never met any..

ooh shucks, I am scaring Rosanna. Don't worry, my dear, if there are ghosts here, it's probably us.

You know, we have joked many times about standing at the gate with my long hair down wearing a white flowy dress with a torch light underneath my face to scare away any intruders.

I think it will be too funny to meet a ghost in miniature. I can just imagine our conversation! Firstly, I will want to ask him how he made those chains look so real. Then I will want to know how to create the effect of flying china and bursting flames...

Lize, I am marking your words, you better make sure he or she comes!

Sans said...

Esa es la gran cosa acerca de compartir a veces, cuando leemos acerca de nuestras experiencias similares y dar a cada estímulo y otras sugerencias o ideas. Todos ustedes son mis caja de resonancia que me han llegado a depender fuertemente. Gracias por estar siempre aquí, y alentando siempre. Un beso

Sans said...

Contar, the Spanish reply was for you :). I was just trying to say the great thing about sharing sometimes is to we read about our similar experiences and give each other encouragement and suggestions or ideas. All of you are my sounding board that I have come to rely heavily. Thanks for always being here and always encouraging. Un beso :)

Sans said...

Belle, you are so reassuring :) and generous :).

Do you mean the thatching on the inside ? I am a little concerned with the one in the middle because it parts in a weird way to reveal the window. I did "thatch" according to the way the roof is built though and should be quite correct architecturally for an "attic" of a tribal house. Then again, the tribal house is usually single storey and round.Ok, I shan't go there again. This is a house for a few family of artisans with slightly diverse background and therefore built differently from a traditional bhunga.

I have also found out that it is very common to thatch your roof with different materials, like in my case :) especially top and bottom, left or right. You find what is available. Some people build a real thatch structure or lean to in 1-3 hours!

Belle, I understand that some Ikeas in other countries actually have miniature Ikea furniture! Mine does not. I go to Ikea to get furnishings for my bathroom :) and they have the best storage boxes. And now, lights for my dollhouse.

I think people are going to flock to read your next post. WE have all missed reading about your wonderful creations. You REALLY REALLY do not need to worry about producing sub standard work. I hope your pet is doing better.

Sans said...

Jean, I have gone on a sort of shopping spree at your store :). I just can't help it. Now some of my havelis will have Victorian books :) Yay!

Meli said...

Sans, do you speak Spanish??? Dont' say yes now!! We've writting in English for a couple of years! LOL..
I love how your trival house looks inside now!!! You really are doing a great work!!!
Warm regards,

Eva said...

I love, love the colours on your walls!!
In fact tle light always come after the darkness...this is something to remember. The same that after a cold and dark winter the spring times arrives...Too much phylosophy not worry, I am fine ;)
Your tribal house looks better with light. I never try to put light and I need to learn, is it difficult? Gosh is something that scares me!!! ;)
Un beso
It is amazing your Spanish!!! Next time that you come to Spain you will need to make a tour for several cities LOL

dora said...

Susan, you do not deprimas, I see that you are running very well. I love your work, and the speed with which you do so, I am depressed slow I'm yo.rdad is that I have been traveling throughout the week, and then I have my work and home, so I could play little thumbnails.
Well I would like to encourage you and tell you my stuff.
What you said, to my I like you are running.
Kisses and hugs Carmen

The Dangerous Mezzo said...

That's a great method of lighting a scene indirectly, Sans. Thanks for the walkthrough.

I so enjoy the work you do -- the layers of history and patina you accummulate on your pieces makes them deeply meaningful in a more than just visual way. Thank you for reminding me that the tiniest details tell a story!

Snowfern said...

ooo i'm so angry i had this nice long comment typed out, and blogger swallowed it :(

anyhow, i was saying how i love this post because it's almost as if you were confiding in us, little secrets, just like when we discover little details where it's not expected, like that design on the wall, hidden in the shadows and soot. :)

it sounded better the first time round. grrr.

Daydreamer said...

Sans , you are amazing! I have never even heard of dark lighting before....and you make it look so easy! I LOVE the dark moody look and I think your tribal house is such an improvement on the victorian kit! The patterned wallpapers are gorgeous and I can't wait to see what else you do with it! Now I am going to have to learn about dark lighting too! Your ideas are always so inspiring. Thank you for sharing even though it is unfinished.

Sans said...

Meli:) Yo no soy un genio. No puedo recoger español tan rápido! LOL. Se trata de Google Translate, cariño. Aunque siempre he tenido curiosidad si se traduce porque la traducción Español Inglés puede ser totalmente incomprensible. Así que traducir del Inglés al español y luego traducir el "traducido" Español a Inglés de nuevo para ver si tiene sentido. ¿Cree usted que trabaja con este comentario? Déjame saber :):).

Y gracias, querida, por tus elogios maravilloso!

Sans said...

Eva, :) , the cycle of life. I agree with you, if there is no darkness, how will one know what is light? Same with sad and happy :).

You forgot I can also type "Catalan" hahaha, thanks to Google Translate.

Eva, I strongly, strongly encourage you to try lighting. Remember how I was so scared at first? I can seriously say now that lighting to me is the easiest part of building a dollhouse. Even easier then making cushions with ribbons which is just a cut and paste job. If you can plug and unplug into a socket, you can do lighting! ABC! And I do not even use the usual dollhouse circuit kind of gadgets because our electrical system is different.

I have read how people use all sorts of lights, even those for Xmas Trees (I am going to try that one day) you know those that you can control so that they do not blink? Just need to hide the wires which is really just a tape and paint job!

A house looks so much more interesting with lights. With the right lighting, a roombox can be elevated into a work of art!

I am a little sick of my tent but I must say every time I switch on the lights for the tent, people invariably go "wow" ..hahaha. That alone is worth the little effort. The best thing is after your 1st "electrifying" job, you get over a fear that need not be there in the 1st place! So let me give you a gentle kick in the buttocks and send you making your 1st lights! Do one for the gorgeous witchy bookshelf.

One day, I want to make a miniature firefly park with lights.

Sans said...

Carmen, gracias. It is hard to be depressed for long when I am blessed with all your kind words :).

A friend of mine told me this :it takes 10000 hours of practise if you want to master something. This means it will take me 10 years if I put in about 3 hours a day :) which is about what I am doing on an average. I am sure if I really become as good in mini as you are at painting, I will quite happily put in my 10,000 hours :).

Carmen, gracias. Es difícil estar deprimido por mucho tiempo cuando estoy bendecido con todas sus amables palabras:).

Un amigo mío me dijo esto: se necesitan 10.000 horas de práctica, si usted quiere dominar algo. Esto significa que me va a llevar 10 años si me pongo en unas 3 horas al día:), que es lo que estoy haciendo en un promedio. Pero si puedo ser tan bueno como tú, Carmen, se encuentran en la pintura, feliz, a mi 10.000 horas:).

Sans said...

Nina, thank you for those heartfelt words. I rarely blushed being super thick skinned but I can feel my face getting a little hot! :)

You know, I was one of those who's a little shy about my dollhouse obsession because well, people would think I never grow up haha (admittedly so, for me)! As I became more devoted to making and building and the extensive research (I can read for days and own numerous books least 3 books on a particular subject just to make a tribal basket), I realised that what kept me going were the stories behind every thing.

Although my scenes are set in a specific time and place, 100% historical accuracy is not my priority because they are built around the stories and of course my dolls.

That's why I am so thrilled that you like them , Nina :).

By the way, the peacock for the wall is from a hand embroidered cotton bedspread made by women in Rajasthan, India. Rajasthan is where this tribal house is supposed to be located :).

Sans said...

Wow Cindy, I think you have just made my simple story sound like poetry. I wish Blogger didn't act up because now I think your previous comment may have elevated my post into an Epic!! *hehe.

I wish the wall design will look more like hand drawn murals though because there is no way my mini folks have wallpaper in the house. So I suspect I am going to do something to the walls and all that "shadow and soot" (love that phrase! thank you!) will be even less obvious.

Sorry I have been using you as an example to all my dearest and nearest-i.e about how your poor hand is making you suffer because of Diablo (you know, it could have been me with Never Winter Nights or My Mini World !)

Sans said...

Betsy! Thank you, thank you :). You are right though, there is no such technique as 'dark lighting". It's probably better termed as "mood" or "ambient" lighting but I coined it for the contrast. Sorry if I had confused you. You must go to the link I provided for Ronan-Jim Sevellec , it will bring you to a fabulous free resource site and online dollhouse magazine. Read the article about him , there is a short description of his lighting technique.

I just remembered you also used Christmas lights to effectively light up your boys' house. I love that house. Now, that one is rich with stories :).

The House of Lisa said...

I like the dark floor!

Sans said...

I like the floor too, Lisa. It's teh part I like best :) although it is not tribal enough yet.

I have read ALL your posts , Lisa and think that you are dong great work. :) You are funny too :)

Liberty Biberty said...

Sorry I haven't stopped by for a while! 4 people and one computer is just not working any more!
The tribal house is looking great, love what you've done to the walls.
Let some kids play with it for a bit and the floors will be nicely scratched.

dale said...

Honey, I'm home! lol ;)

Love the dark lighting, such a fabulous idea and it really makes the scene have mood. I like the peacocks, but the third wall is my fave. :)

There is always so much to read and learn on your blog posts, Sans. It's a commitment coming by as you can not breeze through. You have to look at all the pictures, linger over the words, think and then read all the comments, then sometimes I go back and read your blog again. lol, I've been here for an hour and a half! I'm such a nut.

Love you Sans and your blog. I see another post is waiting for me. :)

Lize is funny!

dale said...

I forgot to ask, what are you going to do around the window?

Sans said...

LOL Mercedes! I will play with it and scratch the floor my me and I-self:). I am too possessive to let anyone else touch it. Except the Rollas of course. I hope you don't start hanging out at internet cafes for a computer :(. LOL but I am glad you are here. Very glad :) Thank you dear!

Sans said...

Dale, you have become such a big part of my "mini post meets" now that if I don't see you here after a while, you know I will go over and bug you till you come :). You are like oxygen, darling, can't do without you for too long.

Truth is I sometimes can't keep up with my own posts lol. I have nodded off halfway writing my own post before, I swear. I keep telling myself, ok, this one, I am just going to put one picture with a title and maybe 2 words like "Go figure" but it never happened. I am thankful that I barely make 5 posts a month now. :)

Comments, on the other hand, are like conversations. Like right now as I am typing a reply to you, I make believe like we are all here, like a show and tell, sipping tequila and yakking non-stop. And then when Lize turns up, its just a laugh a minute :) with the alcohol kicking in and everyone's just suddenly terribly witty and funny :).

I wish I can serve drinks at my blog then I am sure it won't feel like homework :).

Sans said...

O, what windows? *hic

dale said...

Oh, (((Sans))) your comment section is like a conversation because you are so warm and welcoming. :)

I'm sure you could serve virtual drinks, lol.

I try to always come by your blog, I might be late cause I'm distracted with other things, but, there is alway so much to devour in your postings, that it's saved for a special relaxing time.

The window trim... I dunno, I was thinking it needs something, like little mirrors in mosaic or something like your avatar... just thinking.

Sans said...

Dale, I have big big plans for the exterior of the house. What I have shown so far is only 30% of what I want :).

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