I tried to be disciplined this year and keep track of how many miniatures I painted over the course of 2017. After just completing the reckoning, I find the grand total is 220 miniatures. This result astounded me because I thought my powers were ebbing. My eyes are not as strong as they were (I think I've mentioned before that I'm now using reading glasses when I paint), and my ability to concentrate on painting for long, unbroken periods is much decreased. I used to be able to do a three hour session standing on my head, but now if I do a solid 75 minutes at a time I'm happy with myself.
I'm also in a perpetual feud with my brushes, with 2017 being an especially acrimonious year. Do any of you other painters out there have a love/hate relationship with your brushes? I use Winsor & Newton's Miniature Series 7, which are not cheap and can only be found in one nearby store (and even then they are only in stock about 1/3 of the time). When I break out a new brush, there's at least a 50% chance that within a couple hours I'll find that it's just got the wrong personality for me, and I will unceremoniously dump it. I'm neurotically fussy about the tip -- it has to have the breadth to hold a large quantity of paint, a fine point to execute detail, and a plump midsection so that it can deliver a solid line when I exert an added lick of pressure.
And even if I do find the right brush, I start to abuse it. For instance, I often mix paint with the brush, smooshing the bristles. Any experienced painter will say this is a big no-no. But I do it anyway. Who has time to fiddle around with toothpicks every time your need to blend colours on the fly? And so as my brushes wear and age, their ability to apply paint gets more and more eccentric. And I grow resentful. This all got especially bad in 2017, when I clung for much too long to my old, mistreated brushes rather than going through the rigmarole of breaking in new ones. I despised those scraggly wrecks, but wouldn't let them go. It's like the old poem by Catullus: I love and I hate. Why do I bother, you ask? I'm not sure. But I feel it and I'm tortured.
Well, in the autumn I finally got new brushes, threw most of them away after a couple hours and kept the best of a bad lot. And I still hate 'em, the limp bastards. It's all pathetic and dysfunctional. And yet, together, my brushes and I still managed to pump out 220 miniatures.
So what did I paint in 2017? Here's the detailed breakdown:
31 Star Wars Imperial Assault miniatures from Jabba's Realm (Fantasy Flight Games)
2 Desert Skiffs for Star Wars Imperial Assault
1 Cthulhu investigator (Copplestone Castings)
42 Zombies (Gripping Beast, sculpted by Bob Naismith)
16 Zombies for Black Plague (Cool Mini or Not)
20 Zombie Wolves for Black Plague Wulfsburg (Cool Mini or Not)
4 Zombie Abominations for Black Plague (Cool Mini or Not)
18 Oldhammer Monks/Clerics for Vengeance of the Lichemaster (Citadel)
5 Oldhammer Villagers (Citadel)
4 Oldhammer Orc Warriors (Citadel)
10 Oldhammer Mutant Goblins (Citadel)
8 Oldhammer Citadel Goblins (Citadel)
10 Oldhammer Undead Cavalry (Citadel)
3 Oldhammer Skaven heroes (Citadel)
1 Oldhammer Wyvern with Rider (Citadel)
1 Oldhammer Giant (Citadel)
1 Oldhammer Ringwraith on Foot (Citadel)
10 Oldhammer Hobhounds (Citadel)
5 Characters models for Fallout (Fantasy Flight Games)
3 Cthuloid Horrors for Mansions of Madness (Fantasy Flight Games)
25 Orcs from Harboth's Black Mountain Boys (Citadel)
Although this may sound like a lot, my tally involves a lot of quick line-painting, like the zombies, the Black Mountain Boys and the hobounds. The figures I'm most proud of, I think, are the character models for Vengeance of the Lichemaster. I am also extremely happy that I finally got around to painting the Chaos Mutant Goblins from the 1980's. I've had them primed for years and could never find the right time to paint them. Now their spirits can no longer accuse me of neglect.
So what about your? How many miniatures did you paint in 2017? Are you happy with your output? Do you loathe your brushes?
Happy New Year!