A Handcrafted Mausoleum and Graveyard

The first Monday of the new year demands something special, and thanks to Avalus we have it. Behold the wonderful mausoleum and graveyard to accompany his Wizard Manse and Observatory.

No town frozen by magic and populated with the undead is complete without a graveyard. So here is my interpretation. I tried making it creepy but also quite peaceful compared to the other buildings that are in ruins.

Again mostly cardboard, with a wooden base, a leftover from furniture. The tombs are just — stuff I had around. I wanted to avoid any real life imagery for the headstones, so I used several established fantasy designs. The fence is pieces of foam and some cocktail sticks a flatmate bought years ago and never used.

Sneaky bit: The mausoleum is removable. Actually, for storage purposes but it might be used for some reveal in a game with a gamemaster.

Also, one work in progress shot. Making these kinds of roofs is actually really satisfying. Just cardboard strips cut with some irregularity and then bend and warped a bit und finally glued to a roof substrate. Just handling the house to take the photos makes me want to make another small house just to have an excuse to build another roof. :D

So let’s take 2020 to the grave!

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

The Wizard’s Manse and Observatory

I have something wonderfully whimsical to share from Avalus,

A wizard manson with an observatory:

All made from cardboard, leftover foamboard and a few bits of fly netting and translucent paper for the windows. I did not make many photos of the building process.

It was really fun to craft models again and over the next month or so I created a handful of different buildings.

When I was younger I was a regular tabletop wargamer. Over the years, the gaming fell away, but the crafting and painting of miniatures and terrain pieces stayed, if somewhat periodically. In the first week of the lockdown, some stuff in my flat broke and I had to order replacements over the internet (something I do not like to do). And then, when I had a few boxes and other carton pieces, ready to be thrown away, inspiration struck.

I am not sure yet, what I will now do with them, as I don’t really play more than once a year. Probably gift them to my gaming friends.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.


The Art of…


Water Lilies by Claude Monet. Photo courtesy of Discover Walks Blog/Matthieu

I’m supposed to be in Paris. Today. I should be there right now. It’s been the plan for 5 years to go to Paris in September of 2020. It’s the year a friend retires (she has) and the year I turn 60 (I will soon), and we were going to celebrate both milestones in Paris. We’ve read every guide book twice or thrice and have well-organized lists of what we want to see, do, and eat. We’ve talked endlessly about the trip, and the promise of it has helped us both through some difficult days. Covid doesn’t care about any of that, though, and so we had to cancel our plans.

This Water Lilies mural by Monet is one of 8 panels that grace 2 rooms at the Musee de L’Orangerie and I was very much looking forward to seeing it in person. Instead, I took a virtual tour today which only increased my desire to actually go there. The tour is nice though, and if you’re interested you can take it yourself. The link for the musuem will take you directly to it. The link for the photo has a nice walking tour if you’re looking for a bit more of Paris.

What Remains After

Because I have so many links about art saved (>200), I’m trying to group them by themes. Today’s theme is abandoned spaces, and although the title seems a bit dark, it’s not a commentary on current events in the world. 

What remains after we are gone? After the life industrial has faded and transformed into its modern, shiny, robotic cousin? (Well, that’s how the moving pictures show it…)

The end of everything? The slow decay of silent things, with no one to witness their passing? The carcasses of once-great buildings, now uncertain in their unstable uselessness and sharp aura of danger? There is potential in these abandoned and lost spaces – but a melancholy potential, the complete opposite of new beginnings, a potential that is meaningless and only full of the possibilities of what could have been, what never was, what never will be. A lot of never will be.

From THE END OF EVERYTHING, by Jan Erik Waider.

Still, what it can be is a whole lot of art.

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More Barcelona

It seems that Giliell’s photos of Barcelona have inspired Opus to share a few pictures of his own.

I was struck by the Sagrada Familia pictures and dove back into my picture files. These are from long before I purchased my first ‘real’ camera, but the nighttime shots of Casa Batlio are still among my favorites. If you need one for the front page I’d suggest Casa Batlio 2, but I’m biased: too much time with this as a child:

Reptiles and Amphibians Familiar American Species

Casa Batlio 2 ©Opus, all rights reserved

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Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 16

It’s time to put away your worries for a while and take a walk with Ice Swimmer. Today we’re going up.

Chapter 16 – Top and Around

Odd Spruce Revisited ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The spruce is odd because it has an even number of crowns. The deciduous trees behind the spruce are hiding the wetland.

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Surrounded by Rocks: An Exploration Series, Chapter 6

It’s time for the next chapter by Nightjar and today we’re looking up to see the vast landscape around us.

Chapter 6 – East Hill: The Views


I’m always searching for rocks, fossils, flowers and insects, and often I have to remind myself to look up at the views. But let’s look up from the ground now. The first thing we see are some windmills in ruins. There are several here and they were made with limestone, of course.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

Looking down south we can see the vineyards in their full autumn display and some green fields. The round trees in the foreground and among the vineyards are olive trees. There are still many people here that produce wine and olive oil for their own consumption and to share with family. My family’s vineyard is a little bit more to the right and not shown in the photo.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

On the foothill there is the village’s soccer field. A match was about to start!

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

Let’s look west now. Those houses are the northern part of the village and in the background we can see the West Hill. It looks very different in terms of vegetation density, doesn’t it? Can you guess what those trees are?

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

In the next chapter we will explore the West Hill and see this one from the other side!

Thanks, Nightjar.

A Little Snow

Well, actually a lot of snow. These breathtaking photos are from DavidinOz.

…here are some photos from when I lived in New Zealand. They are from Tekapo in McKenzie Country on the South Island.

1 & 3 are the Church of the Good Shepherd exterior, while No 2 is the view through the window behind the altar. How could anyone listen to a sermon with that view? I am sure they must have drawn a curtain. The last 3 are taken from the top of Mount John, site of an observatory. The sky at Tekapo is so clear it is now listed as a world heritage area to protect it from light pollution.

It is a magical place, one I was pleased to see in all seasons.

Tekapo 1. ©David Brindley, all rights reserved

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Bauska – Part 2

As promised, a quick visit to the old castle in Bauska! Basically it’s a small uneven field of stones surrounded by red brick walls. Its piece de resistance? The old tower still stands and has been fortified for climbing.

Now back in the day (the ’90s), they used the old ruin for an outdoor nighttime performance of Hamlet, and actors were placed on the crumbling walls, making entrances and exits in dramatic lighting (mostly open fire, what can I say) and apparently the show was really something else. Would love to have seen that, alas – I am left only with my imagination, as today’s many, many safety standards would prohibit even the attempt of something similar (and thank goodness for those standards).

Anyway, here’s the soundtrack, and enjoy the bricks!

A peek back to the ‘new’ castle. Watch out, there might be intruders approaching!
©rq, all rights reserved.

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