Thursday, October 2, 2008


I've wanted to blog for some time now. I guess there's something romantic about writing something no one will ever read-- but who knows? It's never given to know what paths may cross, or what may come of the crossing. Reading one blog was an experience that changed my perspective on life forever. I would provide a link, but she has stopped writing for a while now. It was written by somewhat very much like myself, quite young, happily married, religious, and curious. The only difference was that while I am an American and belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, she was an English Muslim. Her posts were powerful, so full of faith and meaning. She obviously worked very hard to produce them. Insightful and thought provoking, they words inspired me to cherish the spark of truth in everyone.

What I really hope to do with this thing is seek truth and beauty in all of my experience, not just the big important issues. Today, I'll focus on:

Model Painting

On any given day, paper towels dotted with colorful paint, metal files, sculpting medium, bottles, and models in various states of completion litter my coffee table. Every time I put them away, I seem to bring them back out a few minutes later. I have become exceedingly enamored with the art and craft of model painting.

Ostensibly, I paint to play. I'm a huge fan of WARMACHINE, and I like to have a good looking army. Seems to psyche out the competition (usually my husband). But I will admit here that I prefer painting to playing. The reason for my preference, which would be considered heresy by some miniatures gamers, is that I always knew I could game, but I never thought I could paint.

My husband, to whom I will refer as Appolus, introduced me to the hobby while we were still dating. I guess he already knew I played video games, tabletop RPGs, and German board games, so he didn't have to worry that I would find his little painted army "nerdy." Now, you have to realize: my husband is an artist. His models were beautiful, his painting was so skilled that it imparted a feeling of movement and life to the plastic. I was pretty sure I could do it. Yeah, and I was pretty sure that I could write a couple of Pulitzer Prize winning novels, run a triathalon, and learn Sanskrit.

These models are small. They come to you not as fully finished pieces just waiting for a coat of paint, but they arrive on the sprue. That means that all the different parts of your model are disconnected, attached to little poles and wires, covered in detritus from the manufacturing process (called "flash"), and striped with ridges where the model's mold comes together. They need to be clipped, washed, filed, and assembled (a process involving superglue, hand drilling, copper rod, and fixative or "green stuff"). Then they must be primed, painted, based, and laquered. It is a lengthy and laborious task, particularly since it requires so many models to have a working army. And even when you spend hours and hours working, without the right painting technique they still wind up looking like crap. And it's crap you spent significant coin to have the privelege of owning.

But they are so cool. I'll put up some pictures of my favorite models later, but if you want to check out the WARMACHINE website, you'll see what I mean. They are fantastic little figures that I would much rather have in my home than some "Precious Moments" junk. I wanted to create such fascinating works of art, but I didn't believe I could. I didn't, but Appolus did.

And this is where the truth and beauty comes in. I have a fresh (read: inexperienced) perspective on marriage as I've only been married for a year and three months, and I did it young. I believe that husband and wife should be best friends. Marriage can and should last forever. Men and women are equal, with open minds and and a need for learning and growth inherent in each. If this is true, why are so many marriages screwed up? I regularly see examples of marriages that I wouldn't want to spend a day in, much lest eternity. On TV, they always have the guy complaining about the nagging wife (the guy himself is an oaf) and the woman complaining about the oafish husband (the woman herself is a nag). They use eachother, trick eachother, and talk over eachothers' heads. There's jealousy, there's condesention, and there's ingratitude. In real life, I see even worse behavior. So often, people control and manipulate their spouses. They ridicule eachothers' interests. The worst example of that I can think of was a conversation between two husbands I overheard.

Guy 1: I wish my wife did anything fun.
Guy 2: Yeah, totally my wife has no hobbies.
Guy 1: Yeah, me too. All she does is, like, cook and scrapbook and paint and stuff. She doesn't play any sports and she won't go see the game with me.

Umm, since when were cooking and scrapbooking and painting not hobbies? It seems that if people aren't careful, they will consider only their pastimes to be ligitimate interests. Without saying so directly, or even trying to say so, that man is clearly getting across that he thinks his wife is inferior to him in a small way. I really have a hard time imagining what life would be like if Appolus treated me as an inferior, but he has never and would never.

He knew I wanted to give model painting a try. He could have been pedantic, teaching me the "right" way to do everything. He could have been overprotective, buying only the easiest to paint models for me, and never giving me any constructive criticism on my work. He could have been harsh, nitpicking on every little imperfection under the guise of "helping." But here is what he did. He worked hard to get money to buy me my models. He showed me the basics of how to put them together, but left all that difficult (and satifying) work to me. He told me a few basics about painting, and then let me discover all the mysteries of paint mixing and inking and color coordination myself. He would work on his own models alongside me, mostly in silence, but pausing every once in a while to say something like "that's a really smooth basecoat" or "you seem to be getting a hang of edge hilighting." I would ask him occasionally for critiscism, and he would honestly tell me what he thought could be improved, adding always that it was just his opinion. Without his kindness and advice, I could never have perservered. Now, I have a large army completely painted, and I have even won a contest at my local game store. My favorite thing about winning, even better than the prize money, was Appolus' simple praise, "You earned it."

Here is truth: Marriage is about lifting your spouse and taking joy in what they choose to do.


Yehuda said...

Welcome to the blog world. Will you be posting about games often?


sana said...

Anonymous said...

i like it!

phatcatholic said...

Thanks for posting a comment on my blog. Can I ask how you found me?