Friday, January 15, 2016

2016 Workshop #2 at Chicago International -- April 14, 2016: Creating Atmosphere and Ambiance with Lighting

This workshop will be held from 8am to 2pm on April 14 at the Chicago International show. For registration details, see the Tom Bishop website for more info.

Contact me with any questions in them comments below, email, Facebook, etc.

When it comes to miniatures, nothing provides that spark of warmth and realism like lighting. There is lighting that recreates the effects of real desk lamps and overheads, and that has its place, but in this workshop, we'll focus on techniques that provide ambience, depth, and feeling to a scene, using different colors and intensities of light sources to create a "stage-like" effect: out of sight, but illuminating different parts of a scene into focus. In other words, ambient lighting.

We will use several examples of lit vignettes, both interior and exterior, to illustrate the effects different combinations of lighting can create. We will examine the various aspects of incandescents versus LEDs with their unique textures, colors and other properties.  After going through an overview of different lighting strategies, students are welcome to discuss their own challenges and potential lighting exploration using their own real life examples.

Note: this is not a basic "how to" wiring class--students should have a basic understanding of wiring and power supplies. Think of this class as a "painting with light" type class, where the paint is not the main concern, but the effect it creates.

Fee is $100

2016 Workshop #1 at Chicago International -- April 11, 12, 13, 2016: 1/2 Scale Rustic Building Diorama

This workshop will be held from 8am to 9pm on April 11 through April 13 at the Chicago International show. For registration details, see the Tom Bishop website for more info.

Contact me with any questions in them comments below, emailFacebook, etc.

This workshop will focus on exterior detailing and distressing natural surfaces. I will show you the benefit of taking the time to get minute details right to create aging and weathering so realistic that if you took a picture of the scene you may not know if it is full scale or miniature. This is not "dollhouse" quality, but ultimate realism in small scale. We will use nothing purchased but create, or learn how to create, everything you see in the scene. Using these techniques, you can apply them to your other creations. You will learn advanced aging and weathering concepts, finishes, and colors to bring charm and warmth to a 1/2 scale structure scene.

The scene is compact, measuring only 12”w, 10”d, and 10”h, making it possible to display nearly anywhere. The scene could be Spanish, Southwestern, French, Tuscan, or any other scenario you imagine.  The emphasis here is on exteriors; there will be no "interior" per se, except for lighting giving a glow to the windows, and a small bit seen through the arch of the restaurant.  Over three very long days, we will create the two walls.  

We'll age and weather the timbers above the door and window of the fore wall with all their bumps, indentations, brick/stonework, and age them delicately using different finishes and coatings. Then we will create windows, pane by decrepit pane, with real glass for all openings. We will build an ornate door with a glass inset, age/weather it, and rust the metal doorknob. All of these surfaces will be aged and distressed using different techniques. The walls will be scuffed, marked, faded, chipping, and aged. 

We'll create the awning, suggested signs/lettering, exterior lights (made from paper) and window shudders for the back wall.  We will create a stone/cobble street surface between the two main walls, create roof tiles, and review ideas for a limited "interior" scene within the arch of the restaurant.

Then we will install lighting (LED, either battery or wired, your choice). We will review concepts for additional exterior stone/brick touches on the exterior foreground.  Finally, we will touch on vegetation/plants/foliage ideas for your installation later, using some ingredients you may not have thought of using.

Price is $800. As of January 2016, there are two spots left and the class size is small. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Occurrence at West 71st Street

Murder, revenge, jealousy—some of humanity’s oldest vices. 

One night in June, several events occurred within the walls of these brownstones. This 1/24 scale piece reveals the hours of that night and the motivations of the characters. Views through the various windows show several scenes taking place in this row of aging and converted brownstone apartments, where a 911 call began a tumultuous evening. By the following dawn, the death count was three, with the final one being a suicide.  

Who were the victims? What happened? Who did it? 

These are variables that the viewer has to piece together from the evidence available. The clues are visible through windows, doorways, and around the structure itself. The answer lies within these walls, and within the hearts of men.

--Flora, a young aspiring singer, in love with Christian.
--Christian: hopes to be a professional painter. In love with Flora.
--Santos: a police detective, with a back history and a grudge. 
--Sheldon: Santos’ lieutenant.
--Charlie “The Major” Smith: the building caretaker.
--“Angel”: a man on the run.
--Supporting cast as needed.

Although I've changed the name of this piece from 21st st to 71st, the spirit is the same. Greenwich Village does have some brownstones and I wanted a catchier shorter name, but upper west side is where the scenario takes place.

I started out as my inspiration with a well-known piece of art in western culture. I won't give it away now, since the element of the unknown is the whole motivation for the whodunnit aspect of this piece, but I had to take a deep look at the characters, motivations, and names, as well as bring them up to speed on modern life in NYC.