Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kazimierz Pulaski, Savannah 1779 - Adalbertus

Adalbertus was a name that I had never heard of before, but Matt Springer is a name that everyone knows. I have known Matt for many years and have greatly enjoyed watching him become one of the hobby's true grandmaster sculptors. As with many of my friends I had lost touch over the years. So imagine my surprise upon picking up the box for this bust and seeing Matt's name in the really fine print as the sculptor. Naturally I had to have the kit. Once opened I needed to start it straight away. There is a certain proud, majestic quality to the portrait's pose that attracts the artist in me. Every aspect of this kit was a joy to paint. Oil paints were used throughout with gold and silver printer's inks for the metallic bits. W&N Prussian Blue and Indigo were mixed to achieve the blue of the jacket with a touch of Mars Black to further draw out the greyish quality to the cloth. Various tones of Liquitex Deep Cadmium Red were used on the jacket facing. A fine piece of American Revolutionary War and Polish history, this bust is highly recommended.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pegaso Greek Warrior - In Progress Part 2

As promised here is the shield in progress. I have painted the inside of the shield completely in order to attach it to the arm once the figure is ready. The shadow work is a bit washed out in this picture (I am still working on my digital photography skills). Once I see how the shield looks on the figure I will darken the shadows of the bronze work and lighten the highlights. One of the tricks of painting metallics this way is to actually look at the figure complete and at proper angles to ambient room light. This helps me see better what will be required to trick the eye. I also need to work on more details of the shield banner. The front of the shield has had the base color for bronze and the painted field completed. This gives you a good idea of what I start with for bronze compared to the bronze at 80% completion. The checker pattern will also be on the front of the banner and I am going to use a bull motif on the shield. My next posting will probably be pics of the completed bust I am working on. See ya next time.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pegaso Greek Warrior - In Progress

I've never been able to work on one figure at a time. That being the case, along with a bust I'm working on, I started this little gem from Pegaso. The sculpting is excellant and the figure lends itself well to some nice detail painting on the shield. I had just purchased the three Periscopio Publications books on Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis so I was feeling a bit inspired. The figure is probably about half finished at this point, needing a lot of detail work. The groundwork is A+B Putty that has been worked with a Dremel tool. It has gone through about five washes of color, each slowly building the color tone I desire. The shaft of the spear was replaced with actual wood, something I like to do for effect. The armor is in-progress as well. The bronze work lends itself well to the non-metallic techniques described previously. I will show the shield in progress in my next post.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Inspiration - Stephen Dando-Collins Books

I'm an avid reader, always have been. Over the past few years I have been attracted to anything Roman and have found that this series of books written by Stephen Dando-Collins really fills the bill for interesting and thorough studies of Roman history, specifically military history. Each of the first four books focus specifically on one of Rome's famous legions throughout their history while the last is sort of a murder mystery and a study of how the death of Germanicus contributed to the fall of Rome. A stretch, but still gripping reading. If you like Roman military history and like me are always looking for inspirational subject matter as a painter, these might just be the books for you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Roman Gladiator Vignette - In Progress Part 4

Okay so you were probably wondering what was hanging off of the one gladiator's arm. Here are in-progress shots of the shield. I have completed the front covered surface using a blending/stippling effect and have started painting the shield boss using the same mixture described in the previous post. The inside of the shield has been started and will eventually be woodgrain. You can see the shadowed base tone has been applied, over which I will use transparent layers of color to create an appearance of wood. It won't be as visible due to the pose of the figure but some of the effect will still be seen. The edging of the shield will be painted once the shield has been attached to the figure's arm.

Roman Gladiator Vignette - In Progress Part 3

As with my last post, this figure's highlights and shadows have been completed on the flesh. In addition I have begun work on the armor and the clothing. Holbein's Cadmium Maroon was used as the base for the cloth. Work on this will continue once dry. The bronze armor begins with a mixture of Mars Black and Yellow Ochre followed by a wash of Mars Black once dry. The helmet was given light washes of Prussian Blue, Dioxazin Purple and Mars Black (in that order) to give tone and depth to the metal. The same bronze base was used on the eyeguards. For the leather wrist wrap on the shield arm, I used Asphaltum with Titanium White wet-on-wet highlighting, Burnt Umber for the shadows and a Mars Black wash on the lacing to outline the details. Further refining of all these details will continue as the figure progresses. One of the key things to note here for those who follow painters who work in acrylics is that the entire figure is a step by step progression. As I have observed progress from acrylic painters, I have noted that figures get completed section by section. That has always fascinated me as the lengthy drying time involved in oil work necessitates my working on the entire figure as a whole.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Roman Gladiator Vignette - In Progress Part 2

So now you see the ongoing shading of the flesh as well as stronger highlights. Due to the pale flesh the highlights don't stand out as readily in these pics but they are there. As the original flesh work is fully dry my highlights and shadows are laid in in the form of glazes and washes to allow the colors underneath to come through the transparent nature of the thinned oils. Highlights are done with Tit. White and Cad. Yellow Medium as before. NEVER use pure white as this will cause your flesh tones to appear chalky. Shadows are produced using Burnt Umber and Brown Madder Aliz. Sometimes on faces I will mix Aliz. Crimson with the Burnt Umber for the hollows of cheeks and lip shadows as well. This is usually dependant on the scale of the figure being painted. Washes of Burnt Umber and Brown Madder Aliz. were also applied to outline/define clothing edges, leather and begin the process of painting the shaft of his weapon. These same techniques were applied to the other figure in this vignette as well.

Roman Gladiator Vignette - In Progress

So on we go to the next project. These two figures have sat on the shelf for the past six years in primer and now it's time to get started. I wanted to put these two gladiators together as I felt the poses could play well off of each other. The idea was to get some contrast in colors through flesh tones and fabric. You will hopefully note as this progresses a contrast between cool and warm tones, aggressor vs. defender.
First Let's start with the flesh. I paint with oils pretty much exclusively. I mix basic caucasian flesh using Burnt Sienna mixed with a touch of Cad. Red Light and Cad. Yellow Medium (4+1+1 approx. mix) with a slight hint of Yellow Ochre to dull the tone ever so slightly. The fact that no two mixes are exactly the same allows for a variety of flesh tones. I wanted a warm, rich sunbronzed flesh color for the figure with the helmet. For the Retarius I needed a cooler northern Celtic appearance so I added Tit. White to the same flesh mix. These base mixes are applied like a stain to the white basecoats and initial highlighting is done wet-on-wet by adding a mix of Tit. White and Cad. Yellow Medium to the larger highlights and slowly refining those highlights with more white being added to the brighter highlight spots. With oils this can be tricky as a little paint goes a long way. You can only carry this so far until any further work is wasted effort and potentially harmful to the desired effect. The work at this point is allowed to dry completely before going forward. In the next steps we will refine highlights and shadows and begin to paintclothing and armor.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Something New 2 - Pegaso 75mm Roman Officer of the Equites

This figure was started over the winter. As you can tell I really have a thing about Roman subject matter. There has been some debate over the accuracy of this figure as a whole on the MedRom forum and although I agree with their observations I love the figure and couldn't pass up an opportunity to tackle all the little fiddly details. Although I am technically finished with this piece I may still add some decorative details to the cloak's edge as well as playing with the sheen of the leather pteruges and flattening the cloak's finish once I have done the edging (or not). You will note that I didn't use non-metallic paint techniques on this figure's armor. I usually use the metal of the kit with various colored washes for steel and gold printer's inks mixed with oil colors for bronze/brass in this scale or larger. I just like the look better that way on larger scale work.

Something New - Pegaso 54mm Gladiator "Scissors"

So here is my first new figure in ages. I must admit to having started this piece about 6 years ago and then it got put away. Once I started painting again I decided to finish it at the same time that I started the other figure you will see in my next post. What was really new for me was my decision to paint all of the metallic bits using a non-metallic painting process. I had previously attempted this on my Caesar vignette (More on that later) with some limited success. I wanted to create some well worn Bronze armor for this figure and so I started with a Raw Umber and Mars Black mix for the base coat, and more Mars Black in the form of a glaze followed by a wash to add further depth to the shadows. Successively lighter glazes of Yellow Ochre mixed with Mars Black through pure Yel. Och. to Yel. Och with Tit. White for final highlights, brought the color and effect to what you see now. The mail is various gray shades up to pure white. Am I happy? - Yes absolutely. Am I satisfied? - No Never!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

2 Fantasy Pieces

These two figures were my total production over the past few years prior to now. They were fun little experiments painting in a scale I wasn't used to. Both are Games Workshop 40K minis, the first being a Chaos Nurgle Warlord and the second a Battle Sister. As with my larger figures I tried to do more than simply paint a figure and slap it on a base. The Sister's groundwork was actually made from a piece of PVC pipe and various bits of plastic and metal screen. Both are painted in oils.

Coming Back!?

Well after years of being on the sidelines, I've started painting again. I never lost the bug and I've spent years watching what everyone else was producing. I miss the shows and my many friends and after a total production of two figures (both Games Workshop 40K minis) over six years I decided it was time to get a brush back in my hands again. My good friend Bob Collignan invited me to give a seminar at this year's IPMS Noreastcon Regional and so over the winter I started work on a few figures. Over the next few days I will post pics of the first two completed and give a little info on paints used and techniques. I hope someone out there gets something out of this. Jim