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Returning to the Hobby


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I have posted this elsewhere on the web, but thought that I would share here as it might help with motivating others.  To start with a bit of background:


2019 saw a lot of changes in my life.  After living away from my home for nearly a year for work, I was promoted and able to move back home.  It took a while to unpack, and as we neared the finish line, my wife and I learned that we would become a family of 3 in March of 2020.  Once again, the house was thrown into chaos as the house was rearranged.  My new job kept me busy with travel, and I spent a lot of time on the road.  This fall, I was finally able to undergo a much needed but often delayed surgery.  During the recovery, we had new windows installed.  This forced me to pack up my painting desk as it was located under a window. And It almost stayed packed up for good.
Since I started painting, I have never had a year as unproductive as 2019.  How many models did I complete? 6.  Everything going on in my life made it difficult to find the time or energy.  Painting is what I do to relax, and I have found it beneficial to my mental health.  I feel so much better after spending time painting.  The fact that I could not find the time to paint and had to pack up my set up for a 2nd time that year was frustrating, and I found myself rage quitting the hobby.  I packed everything up and had no intention of painting for the foreseeable future. 
So what changed?  While visiting over Christmas Break, my nephew asked if he could come over and paint with me.  He is 13 years old, and for the most part, other family members have forced their interests on him.  When he was 8, he took an interest in painting after seeing my work on several models.  I have given him models from time to time and have tried to encourage his enthusiasm, but as he has gotten older, he no longer paints.  But this year he wanted to, and we had a great time.  And I decided that I need to get back into the habit of painting.
My Nephew's work:
So I have re-stablished my painting table.  I found all of the projects that I started over the past year, but did not finish and packed away.  The goal of this project is to re-establish my painting habits and complete the plethora of unfinished figures.  


I started last night by picking out two of the miniatures that I thought would be good starting pieces.  Reaper Miniatures Hill Troll (02421) and Brother Hammond (44007).  I started the Hill Troll while painting with my Nephew, and I like how it is turning out so far.  The metal is close to done, and everything else is a rough base coat.  I have just put a basecoat on Brother Hammond as I did not have time to do much more than that.  It is not much, but it is a start, and that is all that matters.


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Even though I am enthused to get back into the painting grove, my progress seems to be the opposite. (I keep promising that one day the house will be baby ready and there will be time to paint.)  I did find some time this weekend to sling a little bit of paint.  I started on back on the Hill Troll.  I enjoy the character of this figure, but it was clear that I was going to warm in my color scheme.  The warm tones of the leather and the orange skin was too much.  So I switched to a normal flesh tone.



The photo does not do it justice.  Mr. Troll is still looking warm.  Here comes the mistake.  I had completely forgotten that the next step in my leather process would cool it down as I added the shade.  Instead, I tried to add a bluish shade to my flesh.  When the first brush filled with wash touched the leg, I knew that I had made a mistake.  I tried to use a clean brush to wipe it off before it dried and watched as the paint stripped all the way down to the primer.  
I don't like to give up on models.  I want to think that there is always a way to save a project. But this setback was putting a severe damper on the painting mojo.  I need a break and a fresh start. Mister Hill Troll needed a bath in some Simple Green to wash the stink of lousy painting off.  I will get him in round two. 
Instead of stopping, I grabbed a pair of orcs (77019) from the mass of unfinished miniatures.  I had started one with Grey Liner and the other Reaper Sepia Liner before they had been put on the shelf.  They each got a quick drybrush of Reaper Dragon White. Orc skin for their skin, and  skeleton key for the metals with a bit of  old bronze for a bit of character. 
Not much, but it is a start.  You may be wondering where Brother Hammond went.  Well, the traveling monk made his way to my office.  Since I am not finding a lot of time to work on stuff at home, and I have an hour for lunch, I thought that I might be able to use that time to get a little work done.  I started by using some Vallejo Red Leather on the book he is carrying. 
Looking at Brother Hammond, I noticed a couple of things.  First,  I missed a spot on his robes.  So a bit more skeleton bone to the rescue.  I also used a bit of Christmas Wreath green and black wash (I only brought so many colors with me to the office, and this was the best I had for darkening the color) to color his sleeves. 
Look between the cross and his satchel, and you can see the missed spot. 
Second, I was not a fan of how dark his hood was as I used what should have been my shadow color as a base color.  Not a problem.  A quick coat of olive green to the rescue.
Yep.  That looks better.  Next came some cursed gold for the cross and buckles.  Some skeleton bone, red leather, and adon prairie were used to add texture to the leather and the walking stick.  I also used a bit of skeleton bone to highlight the rope.  I know that it looks a bit harsh, but I plan on darkening it with the wash and some glazes. 
Now it is wash time.  I used a black wash for the sleeves and cloak and sepia wash for everything else.  Both washes are from the Army Painter line.  I like how things turned out. 
And that was all I was able to get done in my time.  I am happy with how Brother Hammond is turning out.  There is still work to do, but I like the dirty look of a monk who spends a lot of time traveling.  More to come. 
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On 1/14/2020 at 6:07 PM, Jellyranger69 said:

Wicked work. Welcome back!

Thanks.  It feels good to be painting again. 


On 1/15/2020 at 3:29 AM, Glitterwolf said:

Glad to see you painting again!

Hope you have fun with it, take the time you need.


It looks good so far and you're nephew has a talent as well.

Very cool that his interest got you back into the hobby.

Thank you.  I am having fun with it.  He was so excited about painting that night.  His enthusiasm was contagious and I am thankful for that getting me motivated to paint.


On 1/15/2020 at 7:07 PM, Standifer said:

Glad to hear that you are able to paint again. Everything is looking good so far!

Thanks.  There are a few things that I will have to fix, but overall I am happy with the progress.


While I have not posted in awhile, work continued on the wandering monk.  I started by working on highlighting the skin.  As I stated, I knew that I was going to make some mistakes.  I always do.  Sometimes my greatest successes are from fixing my errors.  I did not thin my flesh color (Reaper Caucasian flesh) enough.  It was too stark of a change, and I was pretty far along before I realized it.  To solve this, I thinned the same color down to a glaze consistency.  I applied slight glazes that would create a mid-tone and brighten the highlights. It turned out pretty well.  I also noticed a spot on his face where the wash pooled at the side of his nose.  So I fixed that while I was at it.


You can see the pool of wash on the side of his nose.

Pool fixed.
The skin is finished.
Speaking of wash, there was a lot of pooling at the bottom of his robes.  And while in most of the places it is not too terrible, there are a few places where the pooling is not in the depression of the robe, but rather where my highlight should be.  Attempts were made to fix it, things got worse.  I felt that a quick start over was needed.  So I reapplied the base coat to the lower part of the robes and attempted a second wash.
The second attempt did not turn out better.  I tried to use less of the wash, but it separated in places and left some textures behind.
Confession time.  I hate painting folds in clothing.  There I  said it.  I hear other painters talk about how they love beautiful prominent folds that will allow for sweet blends.  Getting smooth blends has always been a struggle for me.  It is tied to another thing that I struggle with, and that is mixing colors to match.  I can take notes, but it is a rare occurrence that I can mix a matching color. (You will see this later in this post.)
For this reason, I try to focus on completing a color during a session. So during one lunch break, I spent the whole hour attempting to fix the robes.  I started by reapplying the yellowed bone that I have been using as the base for my robes. (I misidentified it as skeleton bone in an earlier post.)  It was a bit stark, and I liked the warm yellow that was created from the wash.  I created several different mixes between sepia liner and yellowed bone and began applying layers. I then glazed the sepia wash over to try and smooth out the blends.
I would end up doing a similar process on his sleeves.  I did not get any photos as I was focused on trying to get it done in one lunch break.  After the main robe was finished, I then needed to tackle the green hood.  It had the same wash issue that I had on the main robe.  I wanted to get some more progress done before spending another hour on trying to blend.  So I tackled the dark green sleeves.  I spend a lot of time watching tutorials, reading other painters WIP posts.  One thing that I have never quite understood was the concept of highlighting to white.  To me, it just doesn't seem right. 
To show what I mean.  I took a   quick photo of the hoodie I was wearing.  You can see where the light is hitting the higher ridges.  Sure it is a lighter color, but it is nowhere near the white of the stripe.  For the dark sleeves, I used a Reaper Christmas Wreath to highlight the sleeves.  I think that it turned out pretty well.  I also spent some time highlighting the book that he is carrying.
It was now time to work on his hood.  I did not take photos as once again; I was working fast.  I ran out of time before I could glaze the layers together.
At this point, I felt like there was not enough left to do that it would keep busy for a full lunch break.  So the wandering monk is now on his way home for finishing touches.  Speaking of home, I was able to get a little bit more work done on the two orcs.  I finished base coating them.  Once again, I added slight differences to each of them.
I know that it looks like I missed the wood on their shield.  It is actually Reaper Ancient Bark.  I wanted to experiment with a different looking wood then the basic brown.  I am going for a weathered wood look.  Here is my reference photo.
With both of them, base coated, I gave one a wash using a wash of Secret Weapon Miniatures soft body black and one with Reaper's sepia wash.  I had not tried the reaper washes before and I wanted to get a feel for them and what better to experiment with than a bog-standard orc. 
With Brother Hammond making his way back home.  I needed a new office miniature.  I grabbed Reaper Miniatures Captain Barnabus Frost.  Previously I had textured the leather, base coated and washed the skin.  
I did not take a lot of photos.  As I got a bit carried away enjoying painting.  I started by using Reaper corporal shadow as the base for his coat.  It is a dark blue that will look black when next to brighter colors.  I then used some P3 Brown Ink with a drop of corporal shadow to shade all of the leather.  I then used some Reaper Succubus Kiss for his pants and the trim of the jacket.
Next, I added some brilliant red to the trim of the jacket, and I mixed up some light gray for the inner coat.  It is a good start and I am happy so far with how he is turning out.  More to come. 
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I found a bit of time to finish Brother Hammond.  So he is finished and sealed.  I also finished Reaper's Thorondil of Kragmar (02301).  The only thing left on him was to finish hair and paint his eyes.  He was a victim of bad timing as I had to move before he was finished.  Glad to have these two done.  The links go to their posts in Show Off. I have continued base coating Captain Frost.  I am a bit stuck on what color to make his hair.  




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Painting continues.  I was able to finish Pirate Captain Frost and he is up in Show off.  While I am still finding time to paint, the arrival of my son has cut down on my free time to update this post with my progress.  I don't know if I will be able to do well detailed wips for awhile, but I will post stuff in show off as I finish them. 

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