Back from the con, getting ready for the dvd

I’m back from another lovely Gencon with a Best in Show trophy. Thanks to all the people who came to my classes; as always it was a pleasure to teach you all. This year’s special moment was when I stabbed myself in the eye with my paintbrush. Last year’s special moment was spattering a student with purple paint, and the previous year I shot super glue onto the wall. Never a dull class!

My DVD with Darksword had its first unveiling at the show, and people seemed pretty excited about it. It should be available at the Darksword website (and here) very shortly. I’ve had a chance to watch a little bit, and it turned out well, I’m especially pleased with the quality of the close ups on the minis.

A lot of discomfort went into making those shots possible, so I’m glad it paid off. If you’ve met me, and especially if you attended one of my classes, you’ll know that I wave my arms as I speak, which makes for dreadful footage. To fix this, we built a foam brace for my arm, immobilized it with a wrist brace, and then taped me to the table. To keep my glasses out of the frame, they tied a cord around my ankle and gave it a yank whenever I got myself in the shot.

Each year before Gencon, my house becomes a hub of gaming. Most people are playing Legend of the Five Rings. They are a very dedicated set of gamers and between them have won Gencon a number of times. They have also gotten a card named after me. Link It’s very flattering and quite cool, but this…this is a dubious honor. It opens up conversations about the tactical aspects of including my card in their decks. Things I’ve heard around the house:

“M’rika isn’t very good.”

“At least she’s cheap.”

While everyone else is playing cards, I’m painting minis. Here is the latest batch:

  • Abigale from Coolminiornot – Gencon’s overall Best in Show
  • Renly from Darksword – Darksword’s Best in Show
  • Steampunk Guinea Pig Lady painted for the Darksword collection
  • Steampunk Matron painted for the Darksword collection

Darksword Bonanza

People are getting excited about the Darksword painting DVD, which was just announced on their website, and I’m excited too. 🙂 It’s on track for Gencon, and may even be released a little beforehand. People interested in the DVD can buy them from me, if they like. I’ll donate 20% of sales to Children with Cancer to join forces with Newbold World’s fundraising effort.

Back in the day, Gencon used to provide handlers for the mini painting teachers. They were great, they would tell me when and where to go, brought me clean painting water, and smoothed all the administrative bumps of teaching at Gencon. They’ve done away with handlers, who must have gotten sick of cat-herding. As a result, I very nearly missed the submission deadline for classes this year. Fortunately, I remembered that there was something I ought to be doing, and got my classes in, with minutes to spare.

Another of the things they’ve changed is that my class listings now state, “No Materials Provided” in the description. This is misleading, and I’m vexed at them. On my end of the interface, that button looked like, “Do your students need to bring anything.” To clarify, no one *needs* to bring anything – I bring a large pile of teaching materials and cool stuff. I do encourage people to bring examples of their work, and email questions ahead of time. This lets me tailor my classes to individual interests.

As exciting as the DVD release is, what people are really interested in the adventures of Nom. Never one to disappoint, he keeps on being special. His latest culinary achievement is developing a taste for sunscreen. If you’re wearing any, he’ll follow you around the house squeakily asking to be allowed to lick it off. Silly kitty, you’d think that one trip to the vet to be filled with charcoal and iv’s would be sufficient motivation not to eat toxic things.

I lost track of how long it had been since my last update, so here is a whole pile of Darksword mini pictures: the Undine, who is a hot, wet, Darksword chick, Chet and Bolo, the criminally-minded varmints, the Steampunk Guinea Pig, Augustus the Imperial Maine Coon, and the Westie Viking.


The big news here is pretty obvious – my website looks awesome now. An update was overdue, so I’ve switched to WordPress so that pictures are easier for you to find and for me to post. The setting for my minis is no longer based on freeware and a hexidecimal calculator. I’m pretty stoked.

I needed to get away from the Seattle spring rain for a while, so I was in Las Vegas last weekend. Gambling and statistics seem to be inseparable entities to me, so the purpose of the trip was spectacle and fun. (I did find a quarter in a taxi, which puts me ahead of most folks.) The highlights were hiking in the Redrocks canyon, jumping off of the Stratosphere tower (850 feet up) and seeing Penn and Teller perform.

I had a video camera attached to my wrist when I jumped off the Stratosphere. Unfortunately I did “flying arms” on the way down, so the footage is rubbish. To get the best results, you need to look at the camera on the way down – no chance of that happening.

My newest mini is the Imperial Standard Bearer from Chroniques de la Lune Noire. I wanted his heraldry to be unique, and hey, who doesn’t love the noble nautilus? This set me up for an adventure since his banner originally came with an unremarkable griffin sculpted on. My scalpel made short work of the griffin, but since he’s resin not pewter, the banner looked pretty chewed up.

I learned a valuable lesson: before hacking up your (commission to Mr. G. Martin) minis make sure they weren’t discontinued years ago. It ended well, since I was able to smooth the banner out with a cocktail of shellacs and varnishes.

Back from Genghis Con

Genghis Con was a lot of fun; I really enjoyed hanging out with the artists and meeting the local painters. Thanks to everyone who took my classes. After a successful first attempt, I think I may be brave enough to teach NMM at Gencon this year.

As I mentioned in one of my rare Facebook updates, I had a bit of a skiing crash afterwards while I was enjoying the lovely Colorado slopes. I recovered from that without any painting delays at all.

I painted Ar-Fienel for the contest and she earned a gold medal. The bones on her base are from owl pellets (they were cleaned before I got them) the skull is a lizard skull from eBay with horns sculpted on. I paint dead things!

Recently, I purchased a little fountain for my cats. I fixed the dripping bathtub faucet, so Nom was deprived of his favorite drinking spot. A fountain seemed like a good replacement. Well it turns out that he’s scared of it. If he gets too close, he’ll lie on his belly and scoot backwards until he’s at a safe distance. My elder kitty is pretty happy about his reaction, and is smugly enjoying the fountain.

By Golly it's Time I Updated

Every year after Gencon I get myself into a rather manic state of mind. Seattle summer usually starts about then, and there are generally about three weeks of it left, so I rush around determined to make to most of it. After that, the rain starts in again and I settle into my winter painting routine. Often I’m grumpy about the end of summer, but generally content to focus on miniatures again. By the time that I have gotten something painted, it has been a very long time since I last updated my blog. And hey, I’ve put it off so long, what’s a few more weeks? So here we are five months later…

My big news is that I just finished filming a miniature painting DVD with Darksword. It’s got roughly 12 hours of footage, and I was able to get some nice blends on camera. We had to do some goofy things to make sure that it went well. They tied a cord around my ankle and yanked it whenever my face got into the shot. At one point, I was taped to the table to keep me from gesturing with the miniature – I do tend to wave my hands around when I speak and that kind of footage would make people seasick.

Also, I’ll be going to Genghis Con in February and teaching a couple of classes there. I’m looking forward to seeing the Denver painters again – it’s been too long.

Nom keeps right on growing, and has gotten himself a magnificent ruff. It turns out that his parents both reach full growth at around 4 years old, so he’s got quite a bit of growing to do yet. Sometimes I wonder if that explains his less-than-quick learning. He used to bonk his nose on my ankles whenever he was frustrated with me. Lately he’s learned that that gets a better reaction out of me if he uses his teeth. Perhaps his cat-like instincts are developing, though on the other hand, he recently lost a fight with a towel, and has learned to fear the water dish.

I’ve had some computer troubles. The upside is that I have a new computer. The downside is that I lost a number of emails from very nice people who really deserved responses. To everyone who expected a response from me and didn’t get one – Sorry, I am a terrible slacker with bad backup habits. To everyone who had to wait a really long time for a response, I offer the same apology.

Here are the minis I’ve produced while I was hunkered down and sulking about the end of summer, as well as some done prior to gencon that I hadn’t gotten around to posting:

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