Today, we'll shift from photographs of selected Christmas markets in German-speaking Europe and limit ourselves to old-fashioned Santa Clauses/ Father Christmases/ Saint Nikolauses for the next several days. Here's an old postcard, featuring the Big Man, in blue robes of all things. I'm not sure I've ever seen a representation of him in that color before.
Turned the light out at about midnight last night, absolutely worn out, and drifted happily to sleep in short order. At about 4:30, some noise on the street woke me, and an hour later, still wide awake, I finally gave up the ghost, tiptoed downstairs, reheated some left-over coffee from after supper yesterday evening, and stole down here to Zum Stollenkeller. Rats! It is so difficult to sleep late on the weekends these days because Young Master Paul is still waking at around 8am. Not only does he need breakfast and some supervision, which the Grand Duchess and I alternately share depending on the day, but he has not yet learned the concept of keeping his voice down and playing quietly. So, continued sleep is difficult to say the least. Afternoon naps -- for yours truly mind you -- are a possibility, but the Young Master's room is next to ours, and if he decides he is not going to sleep during HIS afternoon quiet time, again, sleep proves difficult for someone in the next room. So, here I sit at the computer at 6:01am on a Saturday morning. Grrrrr. . . Ok, gumpy, early morning rant over.
Meanwhile, down here in Zum Stollenkeller, I spent a happy couple of hours yesterday evening working on those next five figures after supper and kitchen clean-up duty while the Grand Duchess took care of a few things up in her office. Before opening any bottles, tubes, or tins of paint, I attached a standard to the flagpole of the standard-bearer after sketching a design on both sides very lightly in pencil and cutting it out with a hobby knife and metal ruler. Next, it was time to apply the usual wash of green to the figures' bases, fleshtone to faces and hands, followed by painting the hats and shoes/gaiters black. I then quit for the night and joined the Grand Duchess for a mug of hot chocolate upstairs before bed. Later today, I'll attend to the two-part process of painting the redcoats: Humbrol orange enamel with a glaze of Winsor-Newton griffin Alkyd oil over top. Then it' onto things like brown hair and so forth. We have a small party here tonight, so the afternoon will likely see me doing some things upstairs to assist the Grand Duchess in preparation for the evening festivities, so any more time with the brush will need to wait until tomorrow some time.
Oh, on another painterly note, I had a question yesterday on how I approach blacklining. It's done under bright light with a Leow-Cornell #001 sable round that I have had for 10+ years and thinned Citadel (ex-Games Workshop) paint. Plus a lot of breath-holding. . . along with a few touch-ups and the odd choice word or two uttered under my breath. Some evenings, it goes more smoothly than others. Sometimes, my hand shakes, I make a few mistakes, and decide to stop for the evening since going on would be frustrating and leave even more mistakes with the brush to fix later. It's a classic approach I've tried to adopt, though I suppose to blackline in a truly old school way, I would need to use India ink. Next time!
Changing gears a bit, we had our first snow of the winter season here at Stollen Central yesterday morning, actually sometime during the night between Thursday-Friday. Just a dusting, but everything looked so pretty early yesterday morning when I came downstairs to the kitchen to fix the coffee, set the breakfast table and prepare Young Master Paul's breakfast. It was as though a baker had sprinkled the neighborhood with confectionary sugar overnight. Sadly, most of the snow had evaporated or blown away by early afternoon, but it lent a seasonal air to the daily proceedings of late here in he Grand Duchy of Stollen, and there is always the promise of sizable snowfall at some point later on, which still manages to excite me. You know, those perpetual daydreams of cross-country skiing around the neighborhood before the streets have been cleared, something that has actually happened a few times over the last several years since I joined the Grand Duchess here in Central Illinois in December 2004. Has it really been seven years already since I left Minneapolis, Minnesota? Wow, that just doesn't seem possible.
One version of Luebeck's coat of arms that I stumbled onto online. Reproducing it freehand on both sides of a 25-30mm standard should be a relatively straightforward process.
Finally, before I bring this rambling entry for today to a close and make a pot of fresh coffee -- or possibly return to bed and maybe a bit more sleep -- the design I plan for the standard carried by the Luebecker Musketeers is based on the illustration above, which I found online. . . one of the many different versions of Luebeck's coat of arms. I like the eagle, of course, and the yellow background along with the red and white shield, so. . . this will be the rather simple, but no less eye-catching standard carried by my red-coated Luebecker musketeers.