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I enjoy painting exchanges, I really do. In the past the suggestions from peoples' surveys have been fairly straight forward to get my head around. "I GM Pathfinder so monsters are good, but no goblins.", Things like that. Things that fit fairly well with what I normally paint. This is good, and comforting. I go into it thinking, "I can do this, and make it look nice." Low stress. So for this spring's exchange, I was matched up to send to Dontfear, and got his survey. "Paint in a theme: Rhapsody in Blue, however you want to interpret that." Luckily no one was near me when I read this at work, as I'm fairly certain I swore....I had no clue what to do. I went through a few options, like a bard in blue, and the lead character from the The Symphony of Ages series by Elizabeth Haydon. I wasn't keen on those. I went back to work and pondered. I slept on it. The next day I had an idea. I'd always wanted to try monochrome. So I was picturing a 20s/30s era female dancer done in blues. Turns out Reaper's options when it comes to 30's era dancers is fairly limited. But I knew I'd seen something that would work, so I kept searching. Deadlands: Noir held the answer..and more.While looking at the Femme Fatale I noticed Hourgan. It looked like they were made for each other. The arms matched. Perfect! (well, except for the gun....and the cane....and the snake.....). So I ordered them. While I was waiting on the order from Reaper I started getting nervous. What if they didn't actually match up? What if they looked crappy together? What if I mangled them doing the modifications? What if I can't do monochrome....especially in blue, one of my least used colours? Time for a backup plan!! Sadly Reaper's selection of Jazz Bands is, umm, non-existent. Someone get on that, please. So after exhausting my google-fu looking for a miniature Jazz Band, I went to a better source: Ub3r. Within 10 minutes he sent me three different links to Jazz Bands. I went with Bob Murch, as the figs looked awesome AND he's Canadian. Thanks Ub3r!! So, long story....less long....I started on the band first, while still modding the dancers. They were very fun to paint! How often do you get to paint powder blue jackets? For the dancers, I was happy with how the modifications went. They looked pretty good together too. I went through all my blues and decided on my colour range. Three colours. Desert Sky was the middle, Nightmare Black for the dark and a blue white sample that is fairly close to Ghost White (which was at work that day) for the light colour. (I did use a bit of Pure Black to darken a few shadows, but otherwise everything on the dancers piece is done with those colours.). I have to hugely thank Corporea for answering all my questions on monochrome and light sources and shading metals and everything else. She was amazingly helpful and friendly and wonderful! So, in the end the dancers came out ok. But I wanted to finish the band too. So I did both, pushing right up to the deadline to get it done, And here's the results. This project was so far from what I would normally paint, and was such as challenge to do. But I'm extremely happy with how it came out. I learned tons doing it, and pushed my painting more than I think I ever have. The only problem is that my wife REALLY liked it, so I have a feeling I need to paint her something nice sometime soon....