One of the first things someone tells you as a writer, besides just keep writing, is write what you know. That doesn't always mean writing from your history. For me it meant using my favorite part of the trip: getting to visit the house that Rembrandt von Rijn lived and worked in. It's a museum and, unlike most museums, you can take all the pictures you want. And I did.
I also did something else that I didn't know I could: I bought a paper model of the house. I left it for the month of November while I built my story and relived as much of the house and it's environment as I could, through my characters. Today, though, I got to relax and play. No tape or glue needed. It was also an exercise in memory.
The studio with the stretched canvases and easel. that was where we got a demonstration of how Rembrandt would have ground the pigments to make his paints. It's still done by some painters today. There is a model of the printing press that Rembrandt made his etchings on. There are the box beds that I have loved since I first saw them ages ago. I've got paintings, furniture, people and a dog.
Turns out that I can also people my house with three-dimensional figures. I've got cowboys and indians and was delighted to discover that they are the right scale!.
One of the things I was hoping to find in Europe was a toy theater. The house is not the same thing but it is filling the place the theater would have taken. Still want a theater, though. I might have to just build my own. Watch this space. There is more paper coming.
When I am not drooling over fabric, I am hoarding paper. The delight of a toy theater is that, being paper and a stage, I can build sets and characters for my stories. Think paper dolls meets doll house. I'm sure I have talked about toy theater before and if I haven't, I'm sorry. I'm not just talking about puppet stages (which do count) but whole theaters printed to look like small versions of the real thing, complete with audience and orchestra, sometimes!. Just as the Rembrandt house looks like its original.
Hmmm. there's a thought. Now that I have the house set up, maybe it's time to start making the paper dolls of the people in my story and building sets. I've got some cardboard around here somewhere...