Sunday, April 29, 2012

Male Warrior With Battleaxe by A Novice Painter

This is the fourth miniature I have painted and is from Dark Sword Miniatures. It is the first male that I have painted and the first figure to have armor.

For those of you who are new to my blog and those of you gamers in hiding that are reading it (I know you're out there) I have learned to paint by instruction from Kris at Wargames and Railroads via email, by cruising around looking at blogs and from the critiques of some very helpful and talented painters and gamers.

I wanted this figure to look like he had just come from battle so I chose to paint the armor looking rough and dirty.  This figure has much more detail than I have done in the past and is the first time I have experienced eye-strain and headaches.  Painting is a bit difficult for me as I have no real vision in my left eye due to an accident and my right eye is a -16.0. Standard contact lens do not go higher than a -12.0 so I paint without lens or glasses with my left eye shut.

I think I showed improvement in painting the cloak this time and I added embellishment to the bottom. Not perfect, but a first effort. I did the hair in black and I think I should have brought the highlights up higher.

I took this photo to show the work on the battleaxe and for a first effort I think I did okay, but the differences in shading as you go along the weapon should have been greater. This shot also shows my failure to give enough highlighting to the hair. Also I think I should have had more silver highlights on the mail on the skirt.

This is a closeup of the face and I'm pretty satisfied with it. I used 4 different shades to build the color from light to dark and provide shading to the area under the cheeks and to highlight the cheekbones, browbones, chin and nose.  I also added a hint of color to the lips.

This shot of the face shows the eyes and again I hand painted them without washes (I don't like washes).

I have to confess something--I do the faces last. I know, I know I'm a heretic and should be burned at the stake, but it works for me.  And I know that the shine is too high on the figure, but I don't have matte varnish and will have to twist the Hubby's arm to let me buy some and to order some gold paint and other colors I want.

I'm just too tired to see all of my mistakes, so I'm going to let you guys point them out to me.  And if there is something I've done that you think is good please point that out as well.

The Hubby had a rough night and I haven't slept since Friday. So as soon as I push publish I'm going to go down like a ton of bricks.  I'll check back in around 7:00 p.m. EST to deal with any comments.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Torn Up And Shaken

Today's post is dedicated to my dear friend Elsie who is going through a difficult time.

As I cruise through the blogosphere I see pain, so much pain, being experienced by people who I do not know and can never know. But I can empathize and post something to show that I have noticed your pain and am thinking of you.

So just for a moment, lay your pain at the feet of these flowers and let it rest there while you gather your courage to face another day.

She Wept

And so she cries
a veil of tears
making watercolors
of the past 
and dreams
of yesterdays that
slipped away.

She's torn up
and shaken
with changing
her mind.

And so softly
she slumbers
and through closed
eyes sees
wasted on the dawn.

                                                                                          O'Leary, Anne 04-27-12

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

And the rest of the line is "how does your garden grow?"  It's getting on towards the end of April and the success of my gardens depend on the amount of work I get done between now and the middle of May.

This is the first Columbine of the season for me and I took this shot while laying flat on my back and shooting upwards. The neighbors are now certain that I am indeed a crazy foreigner.

This is a macro shot of the same flower.  Macro is my favorite way of shooting a flower. And I prefer it  for several reasons. The character of the flower, it's personality if you will, shows up more clearly if you get up close and personal. Also, this is where the "action" is. A plant produces a flower for the purposes of reproduction. This takes an enormous amount of energy and from an evolutionary perspective, reproduction is paramount, hence the value in the expenditure of the energy.

This is a macro of another flower. Can you guess which one?

You were right. It's the common dandelion and it's going about the business of reproducing. Now this is asexual reproduction and is hardly fodder for this blog.

This is a picture of me with a 700 gram Long Evans Hooded rat taken while I was an undergraduate. Now you might be asking yourself "Anne, what does this picture have to do with the pictures of the flowers?"  And I would answer "Everything"  As an undergraduate I studied the effects of sex on inter-male aggression using the resident-intruder paradigm.

And if you're really interested in rat sex just let me know in the comments and I just might do a post about it someday.

I'll be in off an on today as I have to work in my gardens and I'm burning daylight.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Have A Good Time At Salute 2012

It started as a rumble and is turning into into a roar as the date for Salute 2012 approaches. On Saturday, thousands of gamers and miniature painters will assemble at ExCel, London to feed the inner hunger that can only be satisfied by one thing--buying figures, paints, varnishes, bases, and anything else associated with gaming and painting.

For those who don't know, Salute is a convention where vendors from all over the world come to sell their products, where demo games are played and where gamers and painters can meet and come to know each other.  For those of you who don't know what Salute is, just imagine a convention where Gucci, Ferragamo and Prada all came together under one roof and have the best deals of the year.

The excitement on the blogoshphere is palpable and I wish I could go with you guys, but since I can't I thought I'd give you a little advice before Saturday.

Whatever you do, DON'T tell your wife or girlfriend how much you really bought at the convention.

Make sure you come back with some of this in your pocket, because if you don't.....

You won't be doing any of this, for a while.

And what will I be doing while you guys are having the time of your lives at Salute? Well, I'll be mowing the lawn (a thinly veiled attempt to make you all feel guilty).  Have a wonderful time at Salute 2012!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

So You Want To Meet Some Irish Men?

One of the most common things I hear from my fellow female bloggers is that they'd love to date an Irishman.  When I hear this I think to myself "Jesus Christ, are you crazy woman? Don't you know how bloody hard it is to handle one of them?"

In an effort to clarify my point I thought I'd post pictures of my two nephews and tell you why you don't want to date either one of them.

This is me with the youngest of the two.  He's handsome isn't he? The biggest problem with this one is that he knows he's good looking and he knows how to talk sweet to a woman when it pleases him to do it. Now you notice how I said "when it pleases him to do it"  That's right ladies, he knows when to apply the sweetness and when to hold it back and he does that so you'll run after him for more of the sweet.  And when you do this, he knows he's got you hooked and you're doomed.  Why his mothers house is almost always clogged with doomed women and all of them saying "I'm over him, really I am" And I want to just scream at them "Well what are you doing here and why have you been talking about him for the last two hours. It was one date, he's forgotten you, now go on home."

And this is the older of the two. He's cute too isn't he?  Well he has the dreadful power of ignoring a woman until she can't stand it and throws herself at him.  Many an Irishman have this power and once they figure out that they have it, they use it.  It's not like being ignored by men of any other country, it's a mysterious power and near to impossible to resist.  At almost every family gathering this one will bring a girl to the party and spend the whole time ignoring her.  And what does the girl do? Does she get angry and leave like she should. No. The idiot women tag around after him staring up at him as if he's made of gold.  Somehow he's able to walk into a pub, completely ignore all the women and go home with his pick of the litter.

The problem with these two is that their mother spoiled them. And no matter how much we Aunties try to shame them, these boys refuse to change.  Thank God my son is an adopted American because I couldn't stand to raise one of these.  It would be the death of me.

Now I'll be in and out today because as soon as the sun breaches the horizon I'm going out of doors. My lawn is full of crabgrass and I'm pulling the whole damn thing up by hand and replacing it with clover because the damn Japanese Beetles can't live on clover and I hate those beetles.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dark Sword Miniature By A Novice Painter

This is only the third figure I have ever painted and this time I can say I am proud of the results. She is a Female Archer from Dark Sword Miniatures and she was the first and only free swag I've gotten.

The biggest improvement I made was in the highlighting. I was able to be more subtle because I used multiple layers of graduated color until I hit the points that I wanted highlighted.  I did the boots so that they would look dusty and worn and got what I think are effective highlights done.  The cloak, my biggest bugaboo is also much better, more subtle due to finding mid-range colors between the base coat and the highest points. This is also a pretty good shot of the face.

No, the highlights aren't perfect on the back of the cloak, but when compared to the last figure I did, this shows improvement. I was also able to do some dry brushing on the hair to give it highlights and a sense of movement.

The shading on the tunic is better than the last one and while not perfect is pretty good considering that this is only the third figure I've ever painted. You can also see that there are graduated colors and shading on the face. I also gave her blush and lipstick (shut-up, I'm a girl).

On the last miniature you all requested a close-up of the face. The highlighting I did is visible in this shot as are the eyes. I didn't use any washes, but hand painted in the detail on the eyes, using a dark blue.

So all in all, for my third figure, I'm quite proud of her. Now it's up to you to tell me what I can do better next time.

Most of the people that follow this blog do not follow gaming or painting blogs, and are missing out on some fantastic art and some very interesting people.  I've been following The Laughing Ferret for a long time and it's not just because he's a top-notch painter. This guy has a razor sharp wit and is freakishly intelligent. If there's a topic he's not well-versed in, I haven't found it yet.  He's participating in the A-Z challenge and this would be a good time to get to know who this guy is.

You can find all the gamers and painters that I follow in my blogroll. They are all gifted and knowledgeable about the historical era that they work in.  Take a minute and visit a few of them so you can appreciate the level of skill involved in painting figures.

And we all know a blogger's cache is largely dependent on numbers. If you think your blog is getting good numbers cruise around and see the business these guys are doing. They can do more pageviews in a day than most of us do in a week.  This is a vibrant and robust segment of the blogosphere and they are supportive of each others work.

I need help with something. I've got a fully armored knight to paint and I'm looking for a good tutorial on how to paint armor. If any of you know of one, please let me know as I'd appreciate it.

I'll be in and out for the rest of the day because it's nice outside and after painting this figure, I'm going to need to beat my drums into submission.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jesus Christ She's Back

After someone has been gone from blogger for a week, people begin to wonder if you've committed blogocide.  Well I haven't.  I've arisen from the grave and returned to the blogoshpere.

Kinda like Jesus.

My niece took a load of pictures of me and she kept saying "Aunty, now give me a sultry look."  And I would reply "Jaysus, the last time I looked sultry I wound up pregnant. Just edit in the sultry for me."


This is the infamous Leilon dancing with the Easter bunny.  The first thing you'll notice is that she doesn't look a thing like me.  As a matter of fact, she doesn't look like any of us. I used this fact to torture her as a child. "Why you must be adopted Leilon, because you don't look a feckin' thing like the rest of us. I wonder where you came from?"  One day I came home and found myself in loads of trouble that I wasn't expecting. She'd gone into our parents room and upended all the drawers. Our dad found her and asked her what the hell did she think she was doing and Leilon replied "I'm looking for my adoption papers." My dad beat me half way to Sunday that night.

This is her racing the Easter bunny down the drive. Now don't think she didn't get even with me for torturing her, because she did.  On Easter Sunday she told me every time a boy came to pick me up at the house she'd ask, "Are you a virgin?" and "Are you going to marry my sister?"

The Hubby didn't make this trip with me and The Spawn as he was not able. He went to his parents house and will be home this weekend.

I'll be out and about reading blogs today and please be patient with me as I'm going to be trying to catch up with a lot of people and it will probably take me through Thursday to get it all done.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

She's Leaving Home....

And the rest of the line goes....bye, bye.  I'm leaving to go home tomorrow and I'm not sure exactly when I'll be back.  I've left that bit open ended, but certainly no earlier than the April 11th nor later than April 16th.

After listening to the music the Hubby and I recorded early in our relationship I thought about how difficult I made it for him to allow me to catch him. While thinking about that, I composed a verse for the Hubby about the vagaries of dating an Irish woman.

An Irish Woman

Enameled skinned
she sits,
a promise on your bed

And with hands
she cups you there
and breathes you 
into life.

Oooh, but she 
can bite
with sweet delight,
the tables turned,
the upper hand
she wields.

fingers tipped 
in time
she weaves a spell
upon a brow,
worried, wearied, worn.

The taste of mischief
on her lips,
with cunning ways
she plays.

A tongue quick
to dare, to share,
to please, to tease
she dances
out of reach.

                                                                           O'Leary, Anne 04-03-12

I'll be in off and on today to visit blogs and to reply to comments.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Win A Free Laptop Computer

No you can't win a free laptop computer here.  Now here's some other things that just aren't true.

No it doesn't. If you've got a small dick, you're stuck with it, just don't stick me with it.

Well that's a load of malarkey.  That's like saying, "Anything more than a mouthful is just a waste." Are we talking about dicks here?

"I've always wanted an Obama Chia Pet."  You lying bastard. Nobody wants that.  Not even Michelle wants that.

"Oh that's such a cute baby you have there."  Not it's not. It's a feckin' monster is what it is.

JFK is dead.  Wait a minute, I think that ones true. Has anybody seen my gin?

"That outfit looks great on you."  Bloody hell, what kind of drugs are you on?

You can screw an O'Leary and get away with it. No you can't. Up yours Aer Lingus.

No he won't. Jesus Christ, he's James Bond, he's never gonna call you. 

Now aren't ya glad ya clicked on this page? You didn't win a computer, but you learned something. And that's worth more than a feckin' laptop. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

We Are Survivors

We all have songs that have special meaning for us, that mark a period in history, that speaks to our past and present selves.  I am fortunate enough to be married to a songwriter/musician who has penned such songs for me and who I have had the pleasure of recording those songs in a studio with.

Today's song "We Are Survivors" was written for me by the Hubby in 1988 and recorded that same year.  It is a song both sad and uplifting for me because it was written with no foreknowledge of what life would bring our way.  The Hubby has graciously allowed me to post this song today.

I don't feel the need to add verbiage. The song speaks for itself.

Vocals:  B.J. Thompson
Guitar:  The Hubby
Bass:  Scott K.
Drums & Percussion:  Me
Keyboards:  The Hubby
Harmonies:  The Hubby and Me
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