08 December 2012

Nutcrackers, Curtains, and the Zen of Figure Painting...

Of course, one cannot ignore nutcrackers when talking about things associated with the approach of the Christmas season, and thus today's seasonal graphics.  

Another productive couple of hours spent in Zum Stollenkeller last night after the Young Master's bedtime.  The Grand Duchess joined several girlfriends for drinks to celebrate a close friend's promotion to full professor, so I had the evening to myself.  And guess what I did?  Yep, I hung curtains!

Ok, ok.  Quiet in the ranks.  Settle down.  When you've collected yourselves and stopped laughing, I'll continue.  Better?  Good.  

As I was trying to say, I finally got around to putting up inexpensive curtain rods and hanging sheer curtains here in Zum Stollenkeller, which brightens the room considerably.  Long-time visitors to the GD of S blog will know, of course, that when the Grand Duchess and I purchased and moved into Stollen Central in the spring of 2008, I graciously offered to take the basement for my office/wargaming space, allowing the Grand Duchess to have the extra bedroom on the second floor for her office.  When I joined her here in Central Illinois during late 2004, the Grand Duchess made space for me in her apartment and let me have the spare bedroom -- aka 'The Purple Room' -- at the time for office and hobby space, so one good turn deserves another. 

This second nutcracker in a sentry house is especially nice.

Now, the current Stollenkeller is semi-finished with cheap paneling and carpeting, so it has always been reasonably pleasant.  But, the window treatments have always left a little to be desired.  So, given the recent shifting of the wargaming table from the large central room and the associated removal of that crummy wall a few weeks back, it seemed like a good idea to brighten things up.  And hey, I already had the curtain panels folded up in a moving box anyway (left over from my old grad student digs in Madison and Minneapolis).

Long story short, Zum Stollenkeller is now an even more pleasant place to while away the hours painting figures, setting up the gaming table once again for Neu Sittangbad, or, yes, reading and grading final student papers next week (sigh).  And all of this is a really round about way of saying that I followed up my home-making yesterday evening with 90 minutes, give or take, of painting table time, touching up men and horses with appropriate oil alkyd colors, and thoroughly enjoying the slow pace at which these figures are coming together before moving on to those smaller details like facing colors, waistcoats, breeches, lace, etc.  

And finally, as a bow to my one-time intention of becoming a professor of Scandinavian languages and literature, a viking nutcracker.  This is how lots of people in Minnesota look after a long winter.  Really.

Sure, modern hobby acrylics speed up the painting process somewhat, but it seems that occasionally we might miss out on something in the rush to get figures painted and on the table as fast as humanly possible.  A hobby should, after all, be a way of slowing down and escaping the pressures of modern life for a few hours a week.  Painting figures and wargaming with them should not simply be one more of those things we must squeeze in to the schedules and calendars many of us maintain on our I-phones.  

My sage advice for today then, Grasshoppers, is this.  Slow down and enjoy the painting and anticipation of completing that current batch of figures, regardless of your preferred medium.  Ahhh.  There now, see?  All becomes much clearer when you slow down, take the time to breathe, and concentrate on the task at hand.  There are many pleasurable facets of the wargaming hobby besides just the games themselves, and painting your figures is one of them.

In other news, watch for a photograph or two of the new improved Zum Stollenkeller later on! 

A Short While Later. . . 

Here's the original half of Zum Stollenkeller, the part where all of the work and painting get done.  Finally managed to hang my diplomas at left after 4.5 years in the house!  Hmmm. . .   Maybe the Grand Duchess has a point about me dragging my feet when it comes to certain household tasks?

And here is the new half of the room, made more readily accessible by removing that wall a few weeks back.  I finally managed to hang my military print reproductions.  'Centerfolds' culled from Military Modelling in the mid-1980s no less!  The framed postcards, just visible at the upper right-hand side of the photo, were purchased during a visit Mom and I made to the National Army Museum in the Chelsea section of London, when I visited her and Step-Dad for Christmas and New Year's in 1988-89.  Funny the stuff you cart around with with you for years until there is a place to hang or display it.

Finally s shot of the cat-proof dog gates, to keep those feline hellions Gunnlaug and Onyx out of Zum Stollenkeller.  You would not believe how they cry and hurl their bodies against these gates in an attempt to break in and sit in my lap.  Sadly, the cats have been banished from my office, which is too bad because it is cozy to have kitties curled up in one's lap, but even I have my limits.  You can also see the poor state of the dropped ceiling tiles, another poor installation job done by the last occupants of the house that needs attention.


Danjou's Hand said...

A great reminder about slowing down and enjoying the figure painting process - one I definitely needed.

Merry Christmas!

tidders said...

Lovely nutcrackers

It is also my pleasure to nominate you for the Liebster blog award.


-- Allan

Anonymous said...

One of my wargaming joys is the house to myself on a Sunday with Test Match Cricket on the radio and some lovely Calpe Prussians or Minden Prussians to paint. Pure heaven.

Fitz-Badger said...

Stollenkellar looks great. Too bad about the felines, but sometimes you have to put your foot down.
My painting is slow enough I don't need anything to slow me down! ha ha
(but seriously... one of the reasons my painting is slow is because I enjoy painting and take my time. I also spend time trying to get the "right" combination of colors and/or fixing errors. I also have some figures that I have tried a few times to get looking the way I want, but I end up taking them back to the basecoat stage because I get some major bits that are just unsalvageable.)


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