Saturday, December 24, 2016

Paint Table Saturday: nearly a nasty moment

Well, I know its Christmas Eve and everyone else is banging on about how nice it is to spend time with the family but if you are like me the last thing I want to do is spend time with the family.  After all, you can choose your friends but your are stuck with your family whether you like them or not. So I thought I would shut myself away and do a bit of painting while the Old Bat made a mess in the kitchen making Bread Sauce for tomorrow's Christmas lunch at her sister's in Hampshire.  No one in the Old Bat's immediate family has any idea about cooking (or food, for that matter) but last year her sister's son cooked Christmas lunch and it was immeasurably better than before.  Fortunately, he is on duty again for tomorrow.

My American Civil War project will have to wait for a month as I need to get some more Zulus done for our Isandlwana re-fight organised by Eric the Shed next month and so thought I would do some shading on them today.  These will not be up to my usual (none too high anyway) standards as I just need to get them done.  Anyway, having got the base colour done last week I got the darker shade on today.  Given it was actually quite bright I thought I might keep going and do the lighter shade too.

So, I opened a brand new tin of Humbrol number 34 white and it was completely died up and solid. I have been using Humbrol paints since 1968 and I have never had a dried out one like this.  It was properly sealed too.  This was a disaster, given I was planning to paint quite a bit over the next few days.

There is only one place in the immediate vicinity where I can get Humbrol paint, so it was off to Addlestone Model shop, somewhere I have been going for nearly fifty years, although it is now in its third location.  It was quite busy in there, not surprisingly, as who wouldn't want a Chrirstmas present from Addlestone Model Shop?  

I then had to get diverted to buy more parsnips and wrapping paper but Tesco wasn't as bad as I feared and I was back by three fifteen, although I had lost the painting light, of course.  Still, now I will be able to paint over Christmas after all.

Today's seasonal distraction is by top American pin-up artist Al Moore who, before he worked as an illustrator, played professional American Football for the Chicago Bears.  After studying art in Chicago he set up his own studio, working on advertisements, magazine illustrations and, in WW2, government posters.  This work led to his big break in 1946, when he was hired to replace legendary pin-up artist Alberto Vargas at Esquire magazine.  He painted pin ups right through the late forties and fifties before the ubiquity of photographs in advetrisements and magazines made him switch to portraits.

Today's music is Rimsky-Korsakov's little performed Christmas Eve, which has the best musical evocation of a the beginning of a snowfall there is.  It deserves to be better known but suffers, no doubt, from its seasonality and is too long, at thirty minutes, to be played on the likes of Classic FM.

Ho, ho, ho, to all you Christmas lovers and I will be back after the thing is over with my inevitable reviews of the year.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Paint Table Sunday: Some progress on the ACW

My painting hasn't gone so well the last week or so as I have had to deal with a family bereavement  (which I won't expand upon or it will sound like one of those ghastly, maudlin posts you get on The Miniatures Page) and this has put my work on the back burner too, so I am having to work to catch up in my 'spare time'. I was grateful to be able to get the opportunity to go out and meet the Uber Geek himself, for dinner at the beginning of the month.  I was probably not very sparkling company, given the circumstances, so apologise if I was a bit dull but it did make me feel better in a very trying week.  So thanks for your company and, indeed, dinner!

I tried to get some painting done yesterday but the light was just awful.  I took this picture out of my window at about three pm.  Hopeless!  One good thing it shows is that we have taken down the children's trampoline, at last, which means the garden looks more open once more. 

So, not much progress but some, at least, on my plastic ACW project (the Uber Geek's enthusiasm for ACW was infectious).  This is my first unit, of Texans, with the three companies required by Terence Wise's rules, in different stages (this evening I put the Freshwater Bay sand on the figures on the right, so I can undercoat them tomorrow).  In the background the Union Cavalry have not moved on very much, although the blankets (horse blankets and troopers') on the saddles are now under way and all the colour research is done.

I have a new undercoated unit which is a totally unnecessary, metal add-on and is the fault of a picture caption, appropriately, from Terence Wise's An Introduction to Battle Gaming.  In his Battle of Centerville the cavalry fight as cavalry but that runs contrary to this caption.  It is a line that came back to me as soon as I started my cavalry, even before I looked at the book again.

As a result, I bought two packs of metal Perry dismounted cavalry which I will paint at the same time as the plastic riders.  Now, or course, I am thinking about horse holders!

Although I have been focussing on the ACW figures, Eric the Shed (his awe-inspiring blog has just passed it's fifth birthday and he has a year-end round up, here) is organising a Zulu Wars game next month and I am going to see if I can find some Zulus which I know I have started, to add to the forty I have already painted. You can never have enough Zulus!

Anders Zorn (1860-1920) The Hinds (1908)

Today's wallpaper distraction is one of Swedish painter Anders Zorn's lovely al fresco nudes, which I mentioned last time.  Zorn, a notorious womaniser, would sail the coast of Sweden in the summer with a 'crew' of models who he would get to pose by the water and in the woods along the rocky shore.   This seems like a good way to spend the summer to me, as long as you don't have to eat pickled herring. Prawn cocktail, yes. Herring, no.  

Today's music is one I have played a number of times over the last week.  It is my favourite piece by Brahms and the LP (above) I had, before I got the CD version, was one of the earlier records in my classical collection which I bought shortly after it came out, in 1974.  It's very nostalgic, for a number of reasons, and I have found it very calming over the last stressful week or so.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

John Glenn (July 18th, 1921 – December 8th, 2016)

I just need to note the passing of John Glenn today, at the age of 95; one of the Legatus' childhood heroes.  Although it may seem peculiar to those who know about my attitude to flying today but I really wanted to be an astronaut when I was little.  I followed all the space missions and got every book from the library I could about rockets and space. This was all before the Apollo programme and for me American spaceships were always carried by Atlas rockets, as was Glenn's first American orbital space flight. Later, as I started to grow (nearly six foot by the age of twelve), I realised that I was going to be too tall to be an astronaut (and wasn't American or a pilot or had any ability in science!) but the height thing seemed to be the biggest problem in those days.

We used to get Brooke Bond tea because I loved collecting the cards and albums.  Transport through the Ages, issued in 1966, was the first complete set of cards I collected and had this splendid painting of an Atlas launch on the cover.  Sadly, this set was followed by the tedious Trees of Britain and the ongoing disappointment of getting the Rowan or Mountain Ash card yet again.  Still, just the sight of these pictures takes me back to another world; a world of which John Glenn was an important part.

 John Glenn is launched in Friendship 7 on February 20th 1962