Less than a week ago I blogged about how quickly the foreground was moving along…This Tuesday, Patrick Sweeney, from the Peabody herbarium, came down to look at how I had placed the grasses and he pointed out a problem that I think I didn’t want to see.  He said that the grasses in the foreground were twice the size of the painted grasses and he thought the tie-in was not convincing for this reason.  My talented volunteer, Michael Bobbie was listening and he agreed.  Patrick and Michael suggested that maybe the perspective was from a high dune looking down.   After discussing it further, I decided to try out the high dune effect.  Michael and I pulled the foreground away from the background and I removed all the grasses and the juniper I had installed earlier.  Then we got some blue insulation foam and cut out some contours that looked like they might work as a form for the higher dune.  We put the foam right on top of the old dune, mixed plaster again, dipped sisal into the plaster again, and covered the substructure AGAIN.  By the end of the afternoon we had the plaster painted and covered with sand blending in with last week’s work.

I needed a day on Wednesday to look at it and react to the change.  I decided it was good, so today I began adding grass, but not in the place where it had been.  This time I focused on the painted clump to the left.

New grass

Then right at the end of the day, I decided to get more juniper and install that on the far right hand side.  All of juniper is still in the freezer, so I had to retrieve a piece and bring it up to the diorama.  It is unpainted, but as you may remember from an earlier blog, it has already been sprayed with latex rubber to hold the needles in place.  With a cut here and a drill hole there, I installed the new, dull-looking juniper branch and reinstalled the other branches.  It is easily removed for painting.  I think Alexis, another talented volunteer, is going to have to paint some more juniper!

Newly installed juniper branch.

I think this is looking hopeful.  If I put grass in this area to the right it will be away from the background and closer to the front.  We’ll try that and see if it works visually.  Nothing is sacred.  I will keep changing things until you can hear the warblers sing!!!.

Explore posts in the same categories: Preparing the Foreground

3 Comments on “Changes”

  1. Sean Murtha Says:


    I hate to admit it but I noticed the same problem and never said anything! There were the two distractions (aged 7 and 10) that I brought with me as well as the animated discussion we were having about everything else that I just never found the moment. I like the downhill idea. Did Wilson leave any indication of the distance between the clumps of grass and the picture plane?
    Another question I have never gotten around to asking is, if there is nothing in the foreground but small plants, grass and a few juniper branches, where will all the birds be?


  2. Michael Says:

    Good question about the foreground perches. I am looking into some small woody trees. Of course, they have to be the right species! I am going to blog about the original foreground(what little I know about it) very soon.

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