Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Horticulus Slimux – Part 5

Horticulus Slimux is finished, and it’s been a hard slog because I‘ve pushed myself hard to refine the textures and transitions to the best of my ability! The experience has been quite intense and I found I could only really work on this mini in short bursts, of an hour or two, at a time. But I think the hard work has paid off and I’m very happy with the finished result!

The decision to focus my paint job on Slimux’s identity, as an ancient gardener, has helped me to keep an overall focus while working on the many small details. I feel it’s also helped me to create the feeling of Slimux being a distinct individual among the masses of Nurgle’s demons. And that is exactly what I wanted to achieve! Of course, no matter how happy I am with Slimux, he is just one element of a bigger model and I now have to start thinking about that dirty great snail and the base in more detail!

The Saturday before last I spent the day at Warhammer Salisbury as ‘artist in residence’! Recent events in Salisbury had, understandably, made things in town a little quieter than usual. However, you can’t keep a good hobbyist down and I enjoyed a full day of hobby related chat and demos. The morning in particular evolved into an extended Q & A and I hope I was able to share the benefit of my many years of painting experience.

A major talking point of the day was ‘How to take your painting to the next level’. What emerged from these discussions was the conclusion that attention to detail is crucial! This works on many levels but, for the purposes of this article, I’ll try to provide a simplified version.

By it’s very nature this hobby is all about detail but there is one VERY important thing to remember.

Don’t ever lose track of the overall scheme. Small details, like eyes, fingernails or jewelry, are important but the thing that holds it all together is the overall scheme. Global lighting, contrast, colour and composition are the things that provide a strong foundation for all the small details.

Attention to detail means paying attention to ALL the many factors that come into play in creating a successful paint scheme. You can’t cut any corners and ‘good enough’ is never good enough! Deep down I think we all know when we’ve not quite done our best and it’s important to pay attention to, and trust, those instincts.

You may well think “that’s easier said than done” and I agree. Taking things to the next level, regardless of you current standard of painting, requires you to commit to investing a lot of time and effort.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Horticulus Slimux – Part 4

Apart from the odd pimple all of Slimux’s flesh tones are all painted. It’s been worth the effort to achieve the finished effect but it’s been a very hard slog. I’ve had to spend a lot of time going back and forth between the various tones and in a few places the paint was beginning to build up. That’s a problem I’ve not encountered for many years.

When paint begins to build up on a mini it can result in a rough grainy surface that detracts from, and spoils, the finished result. It’s the reason I started working with increasingly dilute paint mixes and up until now that has avoided the problem. Avoiding heavy paint build up is by far the best option but if it does occur there are a couple of solutions I fall back on.

The first is to burnish the painted surface and flatten out any lumps and bumps. This needs to be done with a clean smooth surface for example the end of a paintbrush handle or, my favourite, the rounded end of a sculpting tool. This all needs to be done with extreme care as it can damage the painted surface and cause bigger problems than those you are trying to fix. However, when it goes well it can work like a dream!

My second solution is to apply several layers of varnish to the rough area. Each layer needs to dry thoroughly before the next is applied. Once again great care is needed as it’s all too easy to build up a lumpy surface but that may be less distracting than a rough grainy one!

Thankfully a combination of these techniques has fixed Slimux’s flesh and now the surface textures are as I want them!

At the same time as I’ve been painting Slimux I’ve been building Mulch. I now have enough of him put together to be able to start work on a base. This is something I prefer to do as an integrated part of the project in order that the model and the base work together as an overall composition. It’s early days yet, but I’m pleased with how things are coming together.

I’ve a good feeling about this project but it’s increasingly clear that it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to complete Horticulous Slimux and Mulch to the standard I expect from myself. As soon as I started this project I began to suspect that it probably wouldn’t be ready in time for the Golden Demon Classic in May and I’m OK with that!

I feel that over the last couple of years I’ve begun to fall into the habit of chasing deadlines. A deadline is not in itself a bad thing and I’ve always found that competitions are a great way of giving my painting year some structure and goals. But over the last year I’ve felt increasingly that my painting schedule was getting out of control and competition deadlines are a part of the reason.

When I’ve done my best work it’s always been because I’ve taken as long as I needed to do it. It’s time to dig my heels in and reassert my identity as a painter because I refuse to compromise the quality or the experience of my painting. I’m going with the flow and enjoying my painting for it's own sake!