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Monday, May 20, 2013

Painting Seriously

When I set out to do something, I endeavor to do it to the best of my abilities. There is no happiness, or satisfaction to be found for me in complacency. It goes against my nature and it is something I will make no attempt to change.  The people in my real life are not surprised then to see me working so hard to improve as a painter.


Because I do not game, there are many conversations that I cannot participate in. And sadly, the painters in the Fantasy genre are not a friendly lot.  They are competitive and they do not share the same level of camaraderie that the painters in the historical genre do.  .I visit many forums and have observed this in some detail over a period of months.

In order to improve as a painter, I must have my work critically analyzed. Thankfully I have a friend who is eminently qualified and who is willing to take his time to help me develop as a painter.  Kris has been there for me from the beginning. He gave me my first set of paints and held my hand via email as I took my first tentative steps as a painter.

He is still there for me today. Telling me what I've done right, and more importantly telling me what I can do better. For example here is a short excerpt from one of his critiques (I have his okay to post this).

So now here are the things you can work on. It looks like you are still tending to drybrush your highlights so its time to work on your blending skills a bit. Some of your transitions are still a bit abrupt and the drybrushing tends to leave behind granular dried paint which we need to smooth out. There are a number of  different methods to do this. 

And then he goes on to tell me where I can find tutorials to learn the techniques I need.

Yes, I may act a wee bit silly here on blogger at times, but I take my painting seriously and hopefully, with a little help from my friend, I will continue to improve over time.

Now with all that said, I have one more post in me and then I will be taking a hiatus from blogger in order to focus on painting. 

Well folks, it's Monday and the start of a new week and the flowers are in full bloom.  So take a little time to notice the natural world around you and be inspired by it. I know I will.


68 comments:

  1. Honest insight into the many layers that make up our Anne!

    Lovely!

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    1. Thank you Paul. I'm like an onion, peel me and all you find is more smelly layers!

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  2. Thanks for posting this, Anne. I hadn't thought there might in general be differences between painters of historical figures and painters of fantasy miniatures, but now that you have mentioned it, I think that you are right. I've painted both, although at the moment it's mostly historicals because I also game, and that happens to be what I have been gaming for a while now. Maybe when the kids are a bit older I'll get back to the fantasy figures, although that will depend on whether or not they have any interest!

    Keep on going...
    Paul

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    1. If there is a sense of community out there, I haven't seen it on the forums. But I do see it on the historical boards and here on blogger. You guys have this supportive system that doesn't involve posturing and egos. I only post on two forums but I do visit others to learn. No way I'd post on them though.

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  3. "Yes, I may act a wee bit silly here on blogger at times, but I take my painting seriously and hopefully, with a little help from my friend, I will continue to improve over time."

    No you don't. And it's always great to try improving your skills.
    Should be worth it methinks.

    Cheers

    Seb

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    1. Thank you, but I see myself as a silly nilly and often worry that people don't like me because of it.

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  4. Technically there isn' t so much difference in painting a fantasy or a historical miniature ;-)

    Blending is a method that you always have to use with oil colours. With the acrylics you need to prepare a "wet palette".
    However the technic is the same...patience and blend, patience and blend, patience and blend...

    By the way, you can use a mix :-)

    Marzio.

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    1. Yes, the techniques are the same. It's the people that are different. Such snobs and really they shoot themselves in the foot by isolating themselves. No one will comment on them and no one will visit their pages because they are so arrogant. Not all, but way to many of them.

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  5. Great post Anne a nice insight into the mind set of fantasy gamers

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    1. Now the gamers are nice to one another and they interact well. I just can't participate in those conversations as I don't game. I'm merely a painter and some people think you are nothing if you don't game.

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  6. Painting skills are different, and to learn its not wrong to vissit different forums.
    I am not a gamer as well ( don't understand it, stupid me) but have learned a lot and still do from everybody.
    Thats why I also want gamers on my dutch mini event FIGZ, to get ideas, to talk about special tricks.
    I did join Bennos forum and learned a lot there, even when I do more 28mm what is not allowed there.
    Even got a airbrush more than a year, but never tried to use is cause I don't know how.
    So Anne, keep experimenting and also learn from the gamers! I know I do.
    What I have seen here on your blog looks wonderfule to me, and make me wish I could do it like you!
    And fantasy isn't my thing, I realy enjoy wathing it all!


    Keep up the good spirit here!

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    1. It's the gamers here on blogger that I rely on for a sense of community and most of them are historical gamers. Such an accepting and wonderful bunch of people. I'm glad to have them as if I was posting only with Fantasy painters, it would be a lonely existence.

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  7. I haven't much noted a difference between the genre of fantasy, historical, or Scifi. I do have an eclectic bunch of people and blogs I follow. If they seem the "wrong" sort, then I'll "meh" and depart the forum( or shop). Minis and gaming are fun stress reliever activities for me.
    I do enough eyeball thumping at my job that confrontation of physical or verbal is not desired.
    A friendly game, pleasant conversation while painting, or constructive criticsim/ coaching in either is fine.
    Power gamers and trolls need not apply! I haven't noticed that activity here in your establishment!
    The staff is efficient and discreet! ;)

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    1. It's just the pure painters that don't interact much. The gamers are a nice bunch but don't seem as outgoing as the historical people. Now I'm talking mainly about forums here where I can focus just on my genre. The forums really are more of a place to learn and not so much to meet people. Except sculptors, they are a really nice bunch of people.

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  8. Anne, it's clear to us that you do take your painting very seriously. It's great that you've managed to hook up with a great mentor in Kris.

    I'm slightly surprised that you've not had much help from the fantasy painters. Maybe that's because the ones who are helpful don't tend to hang out on the forums? Admittedly, my exposure to fantasy painters has mostly been from YouTube videos (Les Burley, Ichiban and a couple of others). Brovatar (Den of Imaginations) is one of the few fantasy/SF painters I've really seen on the blogosphere.

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    1. Those guys are on blogger and they are on forums. They do not interact with others though. It almost is quite sad as I've seen some very high end elite painters attempt to sell quality work from their blogs at very cheap prices. However they don't sell because no one knows they have blogs. They absolutely will not lower themselves to speaking to others and they only follow other elite painters. I won't buy from them, not even for a fiver.

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  9. As Popeye the sailor man says, "I yam what I yam because I am Popeye the sailor man!". You be Anne, and be all the Anne you can be. You've set some admirable and attainable goals, I say, keep on keeping on Anne. Enjoy the journey!

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    1. I don't think I can change my nature, even when it works against me. I've tried and it wears me out, so I gave up.

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  10. It's good you take this stuff seriously. You don't sound silly, you sound passionate because you love what you do. It's a shame the nerds aren't so nice but they are nerds. I've seen my nerdish brethren and they can be very unfriendly indeed. Which is odd because we're usually portrayed as being just awkward but lovably cute.

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    1. There is what I call the "playground phenomena" out there in nerd land. Many of us were picked on in school and it left some scars. Some people then become the "playground bully" when they find themselves in a group of like minded nerds. It's a dominance behavior displayed by people with low self-esteem and really I just wish they'd get therapy and stop it.

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  11. We all strive for excellence I suppose its in our natures. Wargaming is a mixed bag, some paint, some play some collect. Some fall into all three. Personally I like the painting and collecting part.

    Its great that you have help though and it helps you grow as a painter. I research and try new techniques all the time but can get frustrated when it doesn't turn out the way I expected and I can't understand why.

    Keep it up Anne your painting has got better and better since I've been following so what you are doing is working very well!

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    1. It does help a lot having Kris there to fine tune my work. I'll look at a piece and know something is still missing, but won't know what it is. He's been judging painting competitions for years and has taught a few well known painters so he can spot it in an instant. He's part of a really nice group of people who are very talented and famous as well. That bunch of people seem to be different from the ones I bump into on forums.

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    2. Forums always seem to attract trolls there are some nice places though.

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  12. Heyho, I can completely understand you. I am a gamer and (a rather bad) painter and I always stand drooling before the stuff pro painters deliver. But I also want to zmprove my painting skills and always try to give my best while painting.

    Just keep doing what makes you happy is the key I think. So do what you like most and don't care too much what people you don't know say.

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    1. There's only been a few people who have been rude to me and I stomp on them right away as I won't tolerate abuse. Which is why I've got my wager going. I'm going to prove a point and I'm going to prove it in a very big way.

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  13. The best thing you can be is yourself in whatever form it takes. I will be honest I take pride in being the best painter I can be, not that it makes me a good painter by many peoples standards but I am good enough for me in the here and now.

    My only criticism of your work is that it is a bit bright and colourful for my tastes. But that is your style and part of you so I would not change it to suit anyone else. If you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no one especially yourself. Trust me I have been down that path it's self destructive.

    The only painting advice I can give is to paint because you enjoy it and everything else will follow.

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    1. I do love bright colours. I love them in flowers and in the world around me. Now when I post my Knuckleduster you won't see that as there are historical guidelines I must follow.

      I do love it, especially the fantasy as I can escape from my reality and retreat into my own mind. My mind is a busy and happy place when I am left alone to do the things I enjoy.

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  14. I think there is a difference between wargamers and a model painter, when you wargame you are looking for a quick turnaround because you sometimes need hundreds of the buggers so you go with a quicker method even though you know you should spend longer, I try to spend longer on some things but time is the key, you paint so much better than most of us girl and it's a delight to see it unfold!

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    1. That's true and the wargamer I think can be the more fun and interesting person to talk to. I think that may be due to the fact that you are used to "playing" as people and haven't lost your sense of fun. Painters can be horribly competitive and not in a good way. There are exceptions to that rule of course and I'm glad I've found some of them.

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  15. Great post Anne .
    Painting is like music more we play more plays, better, so we must paint and more are painted more it improves, every work we always want to do better, and you can get there ;)
    Greetings

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    1. It is very much like playing my drums. The more I practice, the better I get and then the more I fall in love with it. Painters are like drummers, tough on one another.

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  16. For another viewpoint speaking as a painting service mercenary, improvements in quality have to be weighed carefully over reduction in quantity. People are only willing to pay just so much (and usually not much at all, really) for any given job, and if I can't produce sufficient volume of output I will literally starve to death. Real artistry falls a very distant second to producing decent tabletop quality models in large quantities, and improving my speed is always a principle concern.

    Of course, if I'm fast enough, I can get far enough ahead on the commission queue to spend some time on my own projects. That's where I can relax and spend some time to enjoy myself. Half the time the figs wind up on ebay anyway, but at least it was a good time painting them.

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    1. When you own a painting service I know you have to be fast and that some orders are for table top quality. I do think you guys are not paid what you are worth though. I look at what a tattoo artist can earn in an hour and compare that with what a painter can earn in an hour and I'm appalled. Seriously, the kids will pay $125.00 for a piece of art that can be done in one hour. The world is crazy.

      I don't see myself having a painting service though. I would like to sell just enough to be able to finance the hobby a bit.

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  17. cool...its great to have those that can give us the quality feedback we need to improve for sure..your dedication def shows in the improvements you have made over time...

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    1. As a writer you know the necessity of honest criticism. It's how we learn.

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  18. When I needed positive, candid and helpful feedback and criticism, the coolminiornot forums were always helpful. There are some world class painters there who are willing to be extremely helpful. (It may be different now, as I haven't been there in a couple years, but when I frequented it was always that way.)

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    1. I do lurk there a lot as I can learn a great deal from looking at the painting. There are some mind blowing pieces out there. I have noticed a good bit of sniping going on though and when sniping comes from people who are really talented, it is ugly. I've never posted there and don't intend to, but only because it's based on competition and the acquisition of "points" and ranking. It drives the quality of the brushwork very high though and is wonderful for that.

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  19. Sad that you are excluded because you don't game. But glad you found someone who was willing to help.
    Hope you have an awesome Monday!

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    1. It is much harder not being a gamer. I find the community here and on the Lounge in TMP with the "bad boys". They are a rowdy and fun bunch and they are quite nice to me there.

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  20. A hiatus!?! You just got done telling us how hard working you are just to tell us that you're quitting for a while? (The previous is meant to be read in a sarcastic tone, though the writer of the previous acknowledges that sarcasm does not come through in print and apologizes for any transgression.)
    Good for you trying to be the best there is at painting. Good luck.

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    1. I know your being sarcastic Pickle. I'll just be spending less time here, but working hard at painting. Also the weather is better and my flowers need tending.

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  21. Great post Anne, when I started to paint I SUCKED. I now consider myself at table quality or just above, some people seem to think I am overly critical about my work but I am like you I expect more and nothing less. I feel if I get to the point that I feel I am good, then I will falter in progressing as a painter.

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  22. Feedback is good most times, never knew there was suck a competitive nature behind it.

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  23. which of your flowers are in full bloom, dear? I have irises and roses blooming currently and even peonies.

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    1. My roses just opened and all my irises are open now. My tall phlox just bloomed and my garden phlox is just opening up. So colourful, it's like a Disney movie.

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  24. I don't understand the competition. It's like with writing. As a writer, I want the world to be full of good books, and not just my own. I'd rather help my fellow authors than try to stuff them down to the bottom (while I scramble to the top - like that's ever worked).

    I'm glad to hear you've gotten yourself a good mentor. It's hard to find someone who can give you feedback without being too abrasive and without being "too nice." Again, like with that whole writing thing. So I can relate. :)

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  25. Having someone to critically look at your work is a great thing to have! Congrats on finding someone to do just that so early in your painting before bad habits form ( cause they will! ). Great comments from him also, and the best part.. great on you to WANT to improve, and try new techniques! Looking forward to future models from you!

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  26. It's an excellent goal and having a mentor is key. I think of my son and his musical pursuits. His music teachers/mentors give him honest feedback and direction to leverage his hours of practice. I want to improve as a painter as well. So, I'll look over your shoulder on this blog, if it's ok.

    And I think your bright colors are perfect, Anne.

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  27. Good people doing good deeds in all sorts of places! Glad you have someone to guide you and he must be doing something right because we see improvements in your skills with every painting!

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  28. That's cool that you seek critiques the same way we writers do for our stories. You gotta get constructive feedback to improve. I act silly on my blog a lot too, but get into a real discussion with me about writing and I'm dead serious about it.

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  29. You taking a hiatus just means we will get more awesome sculpture pictures later on, so I go forth and hiatus!

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    1. minus the I...dunno my brain seems to be broken lately

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  30. Another thoughtful and intelligent post, Dr. O'Leary although I for one have had absolutely no doubt as to the seriousness of your intentions. It has been a real boost to see you make the all important connections with the painting, but it is also clear that you have a fundamental understanding of colour and such a wonderful imagination that the meteoric rise in skill and style should not be a surprise. It goes without saying if there is anything that I might be able to help you with, you need only ask.

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    1. Thank you so much Michael. I'm going to post a scenic piece I built and I could definitely use your input on that. Your sense of composition on these things is perfect.

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  31. Another hiatus you say, you take those every other day lol geez can't multi task, such a shame haha never new it was such a cutthroat way with them on display. But figures it would be, and help is sure grand when found across the land.

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    1. Yeah, I'm good for a few weeks and then I need to get away from the bustle of online life. Also need time to paint these silly little figures!

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  32. Anne:
    Your beautiful work in such a short period of time shows your talent as well as the mentoring you received from a good friend. Keep it up and always a pleasure to see your art. Best, Dean

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  33. Anne I love the bit about appreciating the nature that's in bloom right now. I know that you do it every year and hope that you enjoy it. Don't be so bothered about painting as well and feeling bad when people criticise you. It's a hobby, something that's supposed to be enjoyed and you're really good at it, is it worth being bothered about people's criticism? It's not a life or death thing, it's painting, silly to say the least.

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  34. I'll just echo what Jay said, "Enjoy the journey." Your painting skills have improved over the last year and I don't doubt will continue to do so. And remember, there's always a few assholes in every group.

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  35. I find that bother surprising and not surprising (about the fantasy painters).

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  36. For some reason, just because of how they sound I'd expect it all to be different. But then I guess many war gamers probably paint to be able to game.

    I always love a good critique. Whether I'm on my way to something or after I've already established myself. It just feels good to know how to improve.

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  37. Miniature painters can be a funny lot especially the fantasy and sci fi brigade, but there are a lot of good painters out there who are more than willing to help and share. The lovely thing it that you never stop learning too and thats why I love this hobby. I think that for a painter who has only been painting a short while your techniques and skills have come on by leaps and bounds, your colour matching and composition, which is the hard part of mini painting, you excel at, a natural gift there. The other techniques you learn and only get better at with time, but the natural artistic flare you have comes through. If you ever need help just shout Anne

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  38. It's so important to have a mentor in any endeavor, isn't it? Bravo to Kris for so generously helping to train the up-and-coming!

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  39. Kris seems like a pretty cool dude. I think you are well on your way to being a serious painter. Don't let the knobs get you down, and remember to keep your sense of humor, which is awesome!

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  40. ye gods what a lot of comments... took me a while to get down to the comment thing to post my own... what was this post about again?

    just being silly.

    great stuff Anne its always great to have someone there to guide you along! your painting is certainly of a high standard that is both beautiful and realistic. certainly your skills are far superior to many of us who have been painting for many years more.

    great post and don't worry about not being a gamer, the community may be friendlier but its clearly not as talented. well maybe, perhaps some of those people who are cruel have an over inflated opinion of themselves.

    anyway you have a great friend there.

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  41. Glad you found a good helper. What I love about the OSR gamers is they are super helpful and for the most part, support each other - which is super duper groovy.

    And I am LOVING the flowers.

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  42. Good post Anne!

    Lots of trolls out there,keep at it and enjoy it,life is too short.

    Guy

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  43. Youre doing some real nice work Anne...Try not to get too serious because then it becomes a job...have fun with it...just my 2 cents

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