Another Brick In The Wall, Building a Scenic Base, by Mary Profitt

PRELUDE Another Brick

Another Brick In The Wall was Mary gentle’s Gold winning entry at Crystal Brush in 2015. I have known the works of Mary Profitt pretty much dating back to when I started my Facebook profile for my painting, as it turns out we both started our painting lives the same year! I have been wanting a little article from her for some time and with Crystal Brush approaching, it seemed the perfect moment to get her to contribute. So here we are:


Listening dreamily to Pink Floyd one morning while driving the kiddos to school, inspiration slapped me back to reality when I realised just how little time I had to come up with an entry for Adepticon’s Crystal Brush competition. (I’m sure some others were feeling this sting as you read this.) So, a brick wall it was and Another Brick was born! 

Next, I needed a figure and a scene quick! I decided to go with the Crimson Mother from Dark Age (sculpted by the incredible Patrick Masson) but I was still unsure as to what atmosphere to place her in. Imagining her in a Gothic setting would be a safe bet so I set off building a wall with an arched window. The sculpt seemed to evoke some magical powers as though she had the ability to move objects with her mind so I felt the piece needed to convey this as well. So what follows are the process photographs and steps I took to build the scenic base using the materials I had on hand. 

Another Brick

funny that this eclectic bunch of materials can be used to make a scene

First I gathered materials for the foundation; a 1.5 inch square block of wood with a corner section chiselled away and sealed, some cork, a piece of aluminium foil, a scrap of aluminium tube, an old rusty nut (scavenged from a parking lot) and a bit of ProCreate putty. Yup, totally looks like this will become a base (lol). 

Next I arranged the nut to appear as an old drainage pipe with the foil taking up the void covered by a thin piece of ProCreate. Added some tiny gravel and a few clock gears to add interest. 


Next I sketched out a wall shape with an arched window onto .080” section of Plasticard and cut and whittled it out carefully using a Exacto knife and files. 

To create the brick wall I used Secret Weapon bricks and using super glue gel attached each one to the Plasticard, as accurately as possible, leaving a small space between each one. These bricks are great and easily shaped with Exacto knife and files. When I say shaped, I mean you want to rough up their outline and make each look as different from the next and to create as realistic an effect as possible in scale. I also placed pins (paper clips) into the bottom of the wall section leaving the pins long enough to reach through the various layers into the wooden plinth. 

I wanted to add some water effects to the base coming out of the old pipe that is exposed. To prep the wooden base that I sealed prior I covered it with a very thin layer of ProCreate to ensure a non-porous surface for the water effects to be poured. You can also see in this picture the holes for the wall to be attached into the wood to insure its strength. 

Another Brick was beginning to take shape, next I sketched a design for tile onto .020” section of Plasticard to be placed on top of the cork. To continue the search for realism, the mortar between the bricks, was created using joint compound (gypsum) making sure to wipe off the surface of the bricks with a soft damp cloth. I added some scrap wire to the edge of broken wall to serve as rebar and cut up Plasticard to make the tiles appear loose as though they were being pulled up by her sorcery. 

Another Brick

front and back views showing subtle details that complete the ambience

I added a few Secret Weapon bricks to the debris around the broken wall to continue the narrative and harmonise the wall and floor sections. Thinking ahead I decided to leave the top section separate from the plinth for ease of priming and to allow easy access for the addition of the water effects to the scenic base. 


After applying a black primer using one of my larger paint brushes, I painted the base to look like goo under the water and carefully prepared the base to pour a tiny pool of water effects. The blue masking tape was coated with Vaseline to serve as an agent to facilitate release from the base when required. 

To add texture and rubble to the tile floor some playground sand was sprinkled over a covering of white glue, you can add some water to the glue, this makes it less thick and as such allows the sand to settle closer to the contours of the base and details. Adding a bit more texture to the lower areas to tie each section together. Now this section is off to be primed and ready for paint. 

Here are a couple of WIP shots of the Crimson Mother in her shading phase I did with brush on primer. I often take the time to carefully establish the light and shadows of a piece in this way and find the colour steps flow much easier. This method is similar to the Grisaille technique that Masters use and is seen in figure painting more and more often.
Another Brick

this shows how i block in my various grey tones as a base that will strengthen the depth of my colours and indicate interaction between light and shade

You can see the final result below, I was fortunate enough to win my first Crystal Brush where she received gold in the Dark Age Manufacturer Award category in 2015! I hope this little tutorial contained some helpful information and a bit of insight into my thought process. Thanks for your interest in reading this and thanks to Jay to invite me to contribute something to this site which grows and grows and is becoming a wonderful resource for painters of ALL abilities. Happy hobbying everyone! 


We’re more than rats in a cage!

Mary ProfitP.S. you can see more of my work and articles here: