Studio Merlonghi
Where passion and paint meet


Diorama Building: The Lone Fisherman Steps 1 - 8


When I saw my first bottle of Cholula hot sauce, I was sold. The funny part was, I wasn't sold on the hot sauce. What grabbed me was the beautiful wooden top. Not only did it allow the bottle to stand out from all the other fierce Scoville competitors, but it triggered my artist's eye.


I imagined a scene, as I stood there in the Ralph's 'cultural food' aisle, first wondering why 'cultural foods' didn't describe everything in the store, and second envisioning a scene playing out across its small surface.






There once was a Japanese magistrate, tired of the politics of man, who's heart longed for the treasure and simplicity of nature. Naturally one day, he hung up his ceremonial kimono, to trade it in for a bamboo fishing pole and coarse straw and wood sandals. Years pass, and this man has grown to become son to the river, brothers with the fish, and brother and sister to the sky.


This is a diorama of him, the lone fisherman, sitting on the riverbank, giving thanks beneath a cherry blossom tree.


Step I:

So I needed reference images. Both of the illustration in my mind, and of people who have done a similar thing.


Step 2:

Taking my pin vice, I drilled a small hole in the top of the wooden ball. This would be where I place my tree.


Step 3:

Glue the tree in place.


Step 4:

Now I needed to create the riverbed. I had to be careful to leave enough room for my figure, and a small amount of bank. I placed the ball into a vice so that when I sanded it, it wouldn't fly out of my hand.


Step 5:

Using a simple rotary tool and a small sanding bit, I created a deep cut into the wooden ball to indicate the riverbed.


Step 6:

Carefully I measured my depth with a piece of tape aligned with the top of the bank, to see how much 'exposed water' I would have. The goal was that when I pour my 'water' it should be a deep enough cut so that it looks like a cutaway that a viewer of the piece can see 'into'.


Step 7:

The plastic tree armature I bought was simply too... plastic. I was going to sculpt over the plastic to make it look like an actual cherry blossom tree. Before doing so, I needed to cut into the plastic of the tree with a knife to create a rough surface for the greenstuff to adhere to.


Step 8:

To be continued...

Bryan Merlonghi