Saturday, January 27, 2007

"The joint's a lonely place after lights out and lock-up"- H.I. McDonough, Raising Arizona

Got a little cold I'm fighting off and I'm quite tired from back to back out of town trips. Both were interesting in their own way. One was a Scouting trip to the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. The boys had a great time and earned their Aviation Merit Badge. I learned a new respect for aviators. It's a terribly difficult skill, requiring skill, intelligence and perseverance. Fellow miniaturist Kim Jones ins the curator there. If you find yourself in Tulsa, give it a visit. You won't be disappointed. The other trip was work related. The Federal Bureau of Prisons North Central region held its biannual Crisis Management Training at the facility in Marion Illinois. For a number of years I've been involved with SORT, the Bureau of Prison's version of SWAT. For the last three years, I've been involved in training SORT Operators in tactical skills. For this most recent version of CMT I was assigned to the firing range to provide training in advanced weapons handling. The diagram shows an example of my room for the last few days. Here's an ARTICLE that explains it pretty well without getting me in trouble with the management. Hope you find it interesting. The training week certainly was.

Workbench update; As I've been gone there is little to report. I did manage to stop by the Hussar today and pick up the latest HM. I progressed ever so slightly on the 1st SSF fellows and expect to get at them in earnest in the coming days. More pics will follow.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Icy grip

Well, we've had quite the adventure lately. An ice storm, the worst in memory, came through last weekend. Another winter storm is in progress right now. I've never seen the like of ruined trees. It's as if a large lawn mower came in about 15 feet high and trimmed things down. I have also see several large trees uprooted due to the weight of ice on upper branches. My son and I helped one of my workmates remove trees from their long driveway. At one point 90% of the folks in our county were without power, including us. We were lucky and got our power back within 24 hours. Others are still without a week later. I'm told as many as 50% are still without power. Generators are flying off the shelf. My good friend and fellow figurista, Anders and his girlfriend were without for a few days and came to stay with us. Hopefully, we'll see a break in the weather and folks will get power back soon.

Workbench update; I've finished the groundwork for the ECW Cavalier. I still have to construct and paint the scabard, then attach the figure. I will then add some pastels to tie everything together. I have also progressed a bit on the 1st SSF figures. I'm experimenting with a new(to me) oil painting technique. I apply the undercoat as usual, then I add the midtone in oils. That is allowed to dry for 24 hours. Then I go back and add the shadows and blend. Then the highlights are added and blended. I call it wet-on-damp. Enough blending occurs with the damp/dry midtone that it allows a smooth transition without the worry of muddying the tones. It's experimantal and the jury's out on how well I like it.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

January update

Workbench update; I finished up the ECW figure. There are stil the pistols to add, but I may leave them off. I am planning on doing the figure with a horse at some point in the future. For now he will occupy a base with gabions as if standing near a breached fortification. I have begun painting the uniforms on the 1st SSF fellows. Completing the diorama for AMFS is becoming increasingly less likely. I've pushed through before to make a show and was sorry. I'll just have to see if lightning strikes. I expect to have a three or four pieces anyway.

I wish to improve my photography skills. My biggest problem is when I'm ready to take photos of my work, I'm in somewhat of a hurry. A photo setup is large and somewhat intrusive in my small workspace. I'll work on it in the coming year. Something else I wish to work on is my blending technique. In oil painting, blending makes or breaks the piece. I asked for advice in Timelines, and got some good advice. It's all about improving from figure to figure, to me anyway. If you do what you've always done, expect what you've always gotten.