The 3rd Dimension – So little to say and so much time!!!

Art School Boy
January 20, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I have to admit I never thought of myself as an artist. Eccentric – yes but not to the point of sheer artistry. It’s funny how things flow into each other though and how I ended up taking an interest in painting all the things I’ve cast with mold putty and the like lately. I guess the bland colors of durham water putty yellow and tufstone white aren’t really doing it for me anymore.

As I’ve never taught of myself as an artist I would have never thought I’d get into painting at all. My only memory of painting is messing up royally back when I was really young by having to paint a school project. I just layered on layer after layer and wondered why it took 9 hours to dry. It turns out you had to stick paint in thin layers successively and not just one big glop of a layer. Well no one ever told me :-P. From that point on I’ve never really had a hard on for painting at the very least. It just seemed like a lot of work. Painting miniatures just seems like a lot of anal hard work as you had to be really detail oriented and the like. All in all I had small forays where I thought I could draw or write or paint or do something artsy but they never lasted long. I always seemed to be better with computerized art media than I could ever be with real art. Like real art which takes real x,y,z dimensions on the 3rd dimension – not some sort of abstract mental art or 2d photographic art.

Given I was never into art you’d never find me walking into a Michael’s craft shop or an artist supply shop at the very least. Maybe I’ve gone in there every once in a while for various reasons but they were few and very far between. Like the blind man in an art gallery I just never really could appreciate these stores for what they offered until now. All I ever noticed back then was how attractive women seemed to flock to these craft stores by the dozen. My senses registered the fact but my consciousness didn’t retain it. I always quickly forgot about the whole matter the next day.

Going back to today I’ve started painting the plaster creations I’ve been casting with mold putty, alginate, etc… with Tufstone – a composite fiberglass polyester plaster. Tufstone is the real art boy stuff – not some wussy plaster of paris for kids that chips when you touch it. Oh no – this one’s even cheaper and tougher than durham’s putty as well. This one if mixed thick won’t break if cast into thin pieces. Tufstone does have it’s limits though so don’t expect to be making popsicle sticks with them anytime soon since there’d be enough force leverage on the ends to snap it. Tufstone miniatures for wargaming though will NOT break unless you slam them down with all your might on the floor. Simply dropping them will do absolutely nothing. Even when they do break in the odd ragelog type event in which you hit fling them into a wall only small piece will chip off. Don’t expect the mini to break in half or anything in most cases. This is in contrast to normal plaster of paris which will usually disintegrate into a mass of bits if the same force were applied.

Painting was not as hard as I thought it would be. Basically painting comes down to 2 steps if you are really lazy. The base coat layer and the wash layer. I didn’t even bother with primer as tufstone – being a gypsum derivative – is naturally porous and your point wont flake off due to the porosity. The base coat layer is easy – just do a 3rdgrader-esque brush on of paint all over the figure to give it it’s color. The wash layer is then to add shadows to give the figure depth. Washing is basically making a mixture of paint and water that’s so thin that if you mix it up in a container the paint should act as a liquid does. Act as a liquid does means when you mix it up it doesn’t adhere to the sides of the bowl or anything it just goes back to it’s original fluid form. You just take this watery paint and slather it all over your base coated mini and then brush the high areas. The paint will leave the hills and settle in the valleys. Think of white flight or gentrification if you will. The accumulated paint in the low areas will create shadows so usually this is a dark paint like black or basecoat mixed with black to make it real dark. There you have it – instant paint job! Much less traumatic than painting when you were young (hopefully).

Since I’m done with that I just remembered something else. Was talking with a friend the other night and we figured out if hot chicks aren’t on the slopes skiing/snowboarding they are probably in the craft shop. Notwithstanding if they aren’t in either of the 2 places mentioned above they are probably in the kitchen :-P. (The kitchen jokes are derived from a long line of jokes from our playgroup btw – no sexism intended). This topic really deserves it’s own merit though. Craft shops have real women – like real attractive women but not the whorish kinds you find at the bar or at the ballgame or at the club or at like the places called ‘the real world’ damn you mtv. These are the women who are attractive in their own special unique way. The ones you want to settle down with and plop out 10 kids in a white picket fenced house in the middle of suburbia. If you’re into that kind of stuff that is. If not they’re those women which every man wants to find – something unspoiled by nature and the elements – and by the karma of seeking they never seem to get. Sometimes to find you must let go of seeking. Sometimes to have you must let go of the desire to have it. Lots of things in life are like that for some reason – the good old chinese finger trap. The more you resist the more you get sucked in. If you stand back and just relax though everything comes your way. Like the way I pick my MTG card to see who goes first – the act of picking by not picking. I just let everyone else pick their cards and whatever I get left with is the case I chose. Unfortunately I haven’t won with this technique yet so maybe that means something but you get the point.

All in all then I never thought I’d see myself as the art school boy. The one with all his paints on the table lined by a piece of scrap paper with a rainbow of colors brushed into it. The one with the color theory mixing graph on the far side of the desk and a plastic box with all sorts of paints and brushes. The one with miniatures – some painted – some not all over the room or on top of the radiator heater drying out. The guy who says not a word for 2 and a half hours while he concentrates on painting a drybrushed white fleck on a suit of chainmail. The french bereted stereotypical starving artist with all his friends in berkeley and the endless invitations to galleries and showings. No not me – but I am that man – for now. An odd hybrid of geek and artist. Art school boy.


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