I continue to pick away at my pile of minis in my spare time. I find that approaching each paintingd project as a specific learning opportunity helps me overcome my desire to instantly master this hobby. When I say specific, I mean that with each mini I paint, I select a couple things to really focus on. My most recent completions were the chambermaid and stone golem figurines from the Bones line.
I've actually had the chambermaid sitting partially painted on my desk for probably a year now. I painted her face and was actually satisfied with the eyes for once, but locked up after that. The paint on her skin was a little thick, and so got a bit cakey, and I let her sit for a year while I debated whether to strip the paint and start over, potentially never to get the eyes right again. Finally, I came to my senses and realized that a.) This is most likely a bit part figurine if it ever sees a battle mat and b.) she's an older peasant woman, so her skin is not supposed to be porcelain smooth! I finally got over my paralysis and used her as an opportunity to practice painting white, which is actually more complicated than it might sound. I feel like my efforts were successful in this regard, and her white apron is giving me the confidence to start considering the various tabarded paladins in the unpainted pile.
The stone golem was a great practice piece for two things. 1.) gradients and 2.) glowing eyes. The bouldery muscles offered a great opportunity to work on feathered edge highlighting and enhanced light and shadow effects and I'm really happy with the results. My technique for achieving these effects is starting to solidify around two brush wet blending techniques. I lay down a base color, and then when I highlight, I use one damp brush with paint to apply the highlight, and another damp brush with no paint to feather the edge creating the smooth gradient.
Once I finished these two minis, I set them up in my display case, and was suddenly taken by the incongruous juxtaposition. On their own, they are standard background players for any magical fantasy setting. Together, however, they gain something... they have potential... an anime-like partnership of hulking brute and weathered wisdom. I decided to name them Boulder and Mrs. Dustwick and set them beside each other in the display. Perhaps someday an unsuspecting band of adventurers will stumble upon an unassuming old woman and her decidedly unique helper/security system.