” Diary of a Dummy Board” – Feeling Rather Flat

I have explained that the dummy board is a flat painting done in the realistic style known as trompe l’oeil, which means deceiving the eye.

In order to make it seem as if the object is really before you in three dimensions, we have to look carefully at the way the light falls and how the shadows create the illusion of ’roundness’.

This morning I searched for a good picture of an antique rocking horse, of the right kind with bold enough shadows and good enough detail, to create a three dimensional look to Julie’s miniature dummy board. It would be nice if we could just use the picture that she has on her blog but, of course it is in black and white.

Julie's ideal rocking horse.

However, we can use the shape of it because it’s a good one. I think you can see that it won’t be easy to cut out however- but we shall come to that later. The horse is slightly turned towards us so that we can see the back left and right rockers and the little girl’s body is in half profile which is very good ( and historically correct too) for a dummy board. They are often portrayed slightly turned away from us.

So we shall combine two pictures. Julie’s original for shape and form and the one I found today, for detail. I lifted Julie’s photo and took it through a programme on my computer which allows me to darken the detail to make it easier to copy. Then I fiddled with it until it was the size that Julie wants it to be when finished, 4 inches. It was then just a matter of printing it and I also turned the tiny pictures of the coloured horse the right way round on my computer, in order to facilitate painting.

The Horse's mouth!

A lovely horse by Classic Rocking Horses U.K.

What else did I do today ?

Isn’t it the case, in any artistic project one might undertake,that there are always jobs of preparation to do, usually long winded and boring, before any fun can be had? My boring bit, apart from the computing that is ;0} was the painting with oil primer of a piece of basswood, the raw material for my dummy boards. This is the sort of wood you often find dollshouse furniture made of – it’s soft and easy to cut, close grained and light and will sand well, once primed. Sikkens Onol is about the best…smelly but good stuff. Both sides of the wood have to be painted. If only one side is done the dummy board will warp and we don’t want that!

THE piece of primed basswood

When dry it will be sanded smooth. Then we can get to the fun bit. We shall begin to draw.

Lightbox- a really useful tool.

I have a lightbox…a wonderful invention. This is a flat box with a semi opaque window back lit by a daylight bulb. When an original art work, like Julie’s photo is placed on it, the detail can be traced though onto tracing paper. This allows an exact copy of the shape and (if you are so inclined to draw it in ) the features. Before I had one of these, I was often to be found peering through a window with a piece of paper pushed up against the pane- the sun light shining behind it, tracing the shape. The neighbours must have thought I was mad as a hatter!

Much patience is now required – (and I always feel rather if you’ll forgive the pun … flat when we get to this stage – I want to be painting it NOW! ) because the primer needs to dry thoroughly before the wood can be sanded smooth.

The drawing of the outside shape has been made, taken from the photo and it will be transferred to the primed wood. All the boring stuff has been done. Soon, we can get to the fun bit. We can begin to draw in oils onto the board, and put on the first coat of colour.

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2 Responses to “” Diary of a Dummy Board” – Feeling Rather Flat”

  1. julie Says:

    I am so excited to be able to watch the progress of my rocking horse dummy board Sue !
    So much planning, but I know this is what makes your work so special,
    julie :0)

  2. Debbie Says:

    Looking forward to watching the process of Julie’s Dummy Board.

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