08 January 2015

Kurmainz Grenadiers Update #6. . .

Here's where we stand at 10:25pm this evening after another 90 minute painting session.

Some evenings, nothing goes right, and it's best to clean the brushes and quit for the night before one might otherwise like to.  This evening was just such an occasion.  I was all set to paint in the black neckstocks carefully beneath the jaw lines and chins of the figures pictured above.  After about seven or so, it became clear that the ol' painting hand was a bit shaky tonight, and I've now got some touching up to take care of on the faces as the final steps approach before two coats of acrylic gloss.  Grrrr. . .   So, I stopped, snapped a photograph, and here we are.

That said, I think I finally have the white shoulder belts defined enough to look passable at arm's length after fooling with them for three or four evenings.  It is, I think, a combination of the sap green glaze and that the bottom edge of the shoulder belts on this particular RSM95 figure is not defined as cleanly as it might otherwise be.  Typically, I don't have this much trouble painting in this particular detail, but then the facing color is usually much darker, which automatically means that the white shoulder belts jump out at you without much effort.

This time?  Oh, brother!  The initial white coat didn't do it, so I repainted the belts a light gray and then highlighted with more thinned white.  Still no good.  So, last night, it was very sparse and selective sepia tone (a dark brown wash really) lining with my 20-year old sable 001 brush.  This morning, early, when I looked things over as I sipped that first mug of java, the lining itself looked sloppy.  So, this evening, the first order of business was to trim in a final thin coat of white to disguise the shaky brown edges and clean things up a bit.  I think it's finally there now, and I'm calling the darn shoulder belts done.  Whew!

Last of all, before I backed away from the painting table, I managed to apply a very thin oil wash of Grumbacher 'Light English Red' (a reddish-brown actually) to the mounted officer's horse at the far left.  When I've done this in the past over the white gesso basecoat, the horses have come out very red, so this time I got tricky and toned the end result down a bit by applying a tan undercoat to the horse in question a few days ago between other painting tasks.  That little step seems to have settled the color down just a bit, and the horse should make a nice Chestnut or Bright Bay when everything else is completed.  But I haven't determined the trusty steed's final coloring quite yet.  It is less reddish-brown in person than things appear, however, in this evening's photo.

Ok.  Off to bed to read for a while before rising early to see whether preschool is in session tomorrow for the Young Master, or not.  Schools in our neck of the woods have been closed the last two days due to the extreme cold blanketing much of the United States at the moment.  

Strange.  It was much colder for much longer most winters during the five years I lived in Minneapolis-Saint Paul up in Minnesota (in the southern part of the state mind you), and people didn't seem to notice the cold there.  Used to it, I guess, and some of us crazies, it is true, reveled in the winter weather.  We had a three-week cold snap in January-February of 2004 (no one used the term Polar Vortex in those days), for example, where the thermometer rarely rose above 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  Suddenly, one day, the temperatures finally rose to the mid-20s, and there were people were walking around in the sun downtown and on campus at the U of M with their winter coats unzipped, and their hats off!  

I don't know what all of these people in Illinois are complaining about when it's a balmy 3 degrees Fahrenheit as opposed to -35 degrees Fahrenheit BEFORE the windchill is even factored into things.

-- Stokes

3 comments:

Paul Robinson said...

I had the same issue last night - couldn't do a darn thing properly and so gave up painting.
As for the cold - schools close over here too at the first sign of a snow flake in case teachers can't get their car out of the garage or something. Long gone are the days of me going to school in shorts and a foot of snow on the ground. guess we were just a hardier lot back then before central heating and all that.

A.W. KITCHEN said...

I admire the 'porcelain' look you get with your figures . Tony

CelticCurmudgeon said...

My Dear Heinz-Ulrich & Paul,

The decision to close schools is based on the desire to keep our children safe. Many was the time that schools were closed in the arch-diocese because slippery road conditions could lead to accidents, injuries and death.

As a former teacher and administrator in the school system, these decisionss became easier as the science and art of forecasting weather systems became more precise. I remember one day when the schools were closed and nothing was happening but by three PM there was more than a foot of snow on the ground and icy roads.
Would parents rather have safe children at home or possibly injured ones in hospital? Playing roulette with the weather is not a good choice.
Back in the late 1970's the school district in which I worked did not close by the time my wife and I left for work. When we arrived, the only person in the building - other than hordes of children dropped off by their parents - was the assistant principal who informed us that the school was closed and that he needed my wife and I to supervise. we stayed. By the time the last child was picked up there was half a foot of snow on the car. It took us almost three hours to negotiate a half hour drive.
Snow decisions - as well as extreme cold and heat decisions - are made with the best interest of the children first and the grown ups second.
With all the best regards,
Gerardus Magnus
Archbishop Emeritus

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