Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snowed in? Build a temple! (Part 3)

Where I left off -- the temple black primed...but will those smooth surfaces look good once painted?
 As I sat looking at my black-primed temple, I realized I had been in too much of a hurry. I should have found a way to put brick on the sides of the false "second story" so that it better matched the main level. It looked cool, but once I started painting it, I had a feeling that the paper mache sides of the second story would look less than impressive. The best way to salvage the temple, I felt, was to give those sides some texture. I decided to give it a rough, sandstone look. Many of the temples at Bagan in Myanmar had a stone facing that has fallen off after centuries, revealing the brick core. So, the lower level of my temple would be exposed brick, but the upper level would be standstone.

I took white glue and painted all the exposed pieces of paper mache, as well as the entire roof except for the foam block that the paper mache box fit around. This included the tin bells and acrylic rod decorative railings and the mini-stupas on each roof corner. It did not include the Hirst Arts stone pieces or the statues, though. I then poured sand across the surfaces that had been painted with glue, which stuck on nicely, giving it a rough texture.
White glue painted on the smooth surfaces and sand poured over them to add texture
 I let it dry overnight. Then I watered down black acrylic craft paint 50/50 and painted it over the sand. I was really surprised how easily and thoroughly the watered down paint covered it, making it all black again. I had expected to have to fight to get the paint in the nooks and crannies of the sand surface, but the watery paint flowed well over the surface and into every bit of it. I'd been dreading this stage, but it was actually a breeze. In addition, this glue, sand, and paint coating has likely cemented the whole build together. I shouldn't have to worry about pieces popping off again.
A base coat of brown, with two dry brushes of "Raw Sienna" and "Spice Tan" have been applied at this stage
I pulled up my travel website to look at pictures of Bagan, again, to help me choose the colors. I decided to go with a brown base coat that had just a hint of red tone to it. I took a large, flat brush and wet brushed this over fairly thoroughly, but leaving some of the black undercoat showing through. The next day, I did my first dry brush of a Ceramcoat color called "Raw Sienna." It is an orangish-brown color. I followed that up with another Ceramcoat color called "Spice Tan." This is a lighter, more yellowish color, but in the same tone as the Raw Sienna. Finally, I did highlights with "Dunes Biege." The effect on the Hirst Arts stone pieces and the wood trim and columns was slightly different than on the sand, but they don't look jarringly dissimilar.
The final dry brush of "Dunes Beige" lightens the temple up considerably
The one thing I mulling over in my head is whether to do an ink wash over this. Looking at the stone pieces, columns and wood trim, I definitely feel a black ink wash would enhance how it looks. I'm worried that putting it over the sandstone parts will hide some of the layering of the four different colors, though. I'm also afraid it will darken it up too much. I will probably wait to make that decision until after I have done the brick surface, which is next.
A close up of the roof (which comes off of the main temple), and the false second story (which pops off also, held in place by the snug fit of the paper mache box around a piece of foam.
So far, I am very happy with how this temple is turning out. Architecturally, I think it is very sharp looking. I'm hoping once the brick is done it will "tie it all together," looks-wise.

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