For my monthly painting log I use, for no fathomable reason, whole weeks; so if a week finishes half way through I keep counting until the next Sunday. So my "February" ended on Sunday giving me sixteen figures in total. As I managed twelve for January this gives me twenty-eight for the first two months of the year. Not too impressive when put against the dozens of figures people are churning out for the painting challenge that many seem to have signed up for at present. Still, it's much better than the same time last year when I had only completed six figures. In fact, given I only painted ninety-eight figures in the whole of 2012 then twenty-eight is a good start! Last year I managed nineteen in March so I need to get a move on! I am going to try to aim for the simple target of getting at least one figure done every month as last year I had two months when I didn't finish anything at all.
John Hanning Speke (1827-1864) by James Watney Wilson
I decided to take advantage of the rare sunshine today and moved along another five Argonauts, started Bilbo Baggins (not going well) as well as finding enough figures for my next Darkest Africa campaign unit. Speaking of which; it's odd what can get me digging out something from the lead pile but I was watching Top Gear last night which was all on location in that classic Victorian explorer's part of Africa around Lake Victoria. The mention of Livingstone, Burton and Speke got me rummaging in some of my file boxes as I knew I had based the Foundry Speke figure a year or so ago. After looking in eight boxes I eventually found him, although he had just been based not undercoated yet. Still, this didn't take long and the sun was actually warm enough to dry him pretty quickly. I thought I would just paint his skin base tone but then I just started the shading too. Then I started on his shirt. Soon (well, after a couple of hours) he was finished. The Copplestone sculpted figure is of Speke in his later quest for the Nile days (rather than his 1855 encounter with the Somalis -which is the period of the Foundry Burton, oddly) wearing a rather distinctive outfit he designed himself. I based the colour scheme on a famous painting of him by James Watney Wilson (based on a photograph taken by the famous London photographers: Southwell Brothers) which is now in the Royal Geographical Society. I have had to guess the colour of the hat, which appears in an engraving of him with James Grant. I was baffled as to how to render the white crisscross pattern on his waistcoat and shirt so just resorted to some impressionistic drybrushing. It works acceptably from a distance.
Anyway, a positive start to March!