Occasionally the blogger medium throws up some interesting questions when others comment. I think it's these points that make our blogs interesting and open up for some healthy debate at times. During my recent bout of insomnia I took the opportunity to review several of my posts and one comment stuck in my mind. Now I am aware that the following may open up a whole can of worms and some will say you should not go there, well that's not me at all. I am not known for my tact,diplomacy or any such feelings, what I am known for is being direct and blunt but to the point! I will point out that this post is entirely about the battle I had inside my own head about the question posed and is not meant to be derogatory to anyone. If you are easily offended then DO NOT READ any further. If you want a trip inside the mind of a fool then read on!!
So what was the comment? well here it is...
"As for the "block paint" debate, well I game to paint, not the other way around! To me gaming is just a fun bonus, but my real interest is in the researching, planning and especially painting aspect of the hobby. So my figures are actually meant as artwork first (although I certainly don't see them as useless!). I love painting, and I love getting better at it with each unit I paint."
Now this caused me to stop and think about my own involvement with the hobby and what painting meant to me on a personal level. Also taking in the wider hobby aspect and its relative importance to me. I like to play games, in fact as this blog will prove I do this regularly on a Thursday evening with a group of friends. So are the games more important than the painting? Is the painting the most important aspect to me and if so why?
So I drew some conclusions and firstly I will deal with the gaming being more important. If I wanted troops quick I could just pay someone else to paint the figures for me, after all the Malaysians and Chinese do a cracking line in sweat shops that can crank figures out at an astonishing rate at an affordable price!! There are also a plethora of UK based painters offering similar services, but this does not tempt me one bit. Why well I have been a regular user of Ebay and have sampled several of these items in the past and they have never remained in my collection for very long, they dont fit in very well.
I also don't consider it to be money well spent when either a) I can do it better, b) I can paint to the same standard for less cost. This has a lot to do with my constant battle to strive for some level of perfection. Within us all is ourselves and even though we try not too, we all make our own judgements based on our own levels of perception. Therefore if you perceive yourself to be less talented than X, you strive to reach that level yourself, gaining the knowledge and skills needed over time, or you accept that you cant reach X and make compromises. In my head I am the former searching for X so compromise is rarely and option.
So this all leads to the matter of time consumption. Yes that's right time, the one factor that affects us all, none of us ever have enough of it, to do everything we want too. So to the time precious, it often means they will pay more for their hobby to be able to play a game. Nothing wrong with that at all and in fact would make life a lot easier at times. I just cant justify that to myself, let alone try to convince the wife that it would be worth it!!
So does this mean that time robs me of opportunities to play more games, possibly but that would only apply if I wanted to spend more of my free time playing games. The fact is my time is taking by painting and research more than my game playing. Yes the periods I can currently play are restricted but that has more to do with the wargames butterfly over the years, than anything else. In other words some of my time has been poorly managed or dare I say it wasted in the past! Yet we are all human and all of us make these mistakes from time to time, that is how we learn.
The most important aspect for me is my desire to paint figures for playing with. So primarily I paint because I enjoy that element more than the playing, I don't pay for anyone to do it because it would deprive me of the main reason for my involvement and total absorption into this hobby and I would never improve my painting skills. Naturally my projects will take longer to complete and armies may take months before they are finished. This is because I too view my figures as miniature pieces of artwork that I can play with. Yes I do play with them when they are done after all that is what toys are for!! and these games are often the source of much fun and relaxation.
Like any artist I like to see the progression of my skills with a brush and don't regard my work as totally rubbish nor do I see it as high quality, but it is my work and I am improving continually, this is some thing that I can draw a sense of pride and achievement from and I am sure that sentiment is shared by many in this hobby, regardless of whether they paint Fantasy, Sci-Fi or Historical figures. But I would have none of this if I did not give it my best shot each and every time.
This leads me to conclude that the painting is more important to me than the playing. Yet, it is not just the painting as I have just alluded to the fact I spend a lot of time doing research. I really do like the wider aspects of the hobby, the fact that I have to research my subjects and source the uniform plates in order to paint the armies expanding my knowledge of different periods in history into the bargain. Reading blogs created by other like minded individuals also enriches the experience greatly, something I get great pleasure from is the passion other bloggers devote to the hobby. Like the eternal circle this drives me forward and keeps me motivated to paint more.
Sorry folks I realise being inside the brain of a thick bugger is not where anyone wants to be but I had to get this out!!