Keeping the hobby healthy

After a year in lockdown, many of us are suffering failing mental health, isolation and general ennui. Painting has provided many of us with something to focus on but it often spins into unhealthy cycles of competition. Instagram has provided a whole world of competition for likes, followers, engagements. It can become a dangerous cycle and this post really highlighted to me the importance of revising my objectives.

So what do I want out of my hobby?

Since I really started working to improve the calibre of my painting, I've been torn in this regard - part of my wants to become a better painter, another part of me has been focused on eroding the rather daunting pile of opportunity I've developed over more than 25 years in the hobby. Generally speaking I've been fairly successful in both areas in the last few years but more recently the quest to conquer that backlog has become rather 'all consuming'. I dedicate blogs to tallying what I've painted, what I've bought, what the difference is.

But what about winning Golden Demon?

Competition painting is widely regarded as the pinnacle of painting, but it's never been something I've particularly loved. I have participated in several major painting competitions in an effort to increase my reputation so I might be able to teach painting, something that I do enjoy enormously. It is always a struggle as I push myself to achieve recognition whilst knowing that 'competition' painting is functionally useless for the vast, vast majority of hobbyists, who want to be able to crank out great looking models, quickly. It's this speed and quality compromise that I've been working so hard at.

So this is all to be a teacher then?

Well I think that was my goal for a long time. It was one of the things I've most loved about working with CK Studios is being able to help other hobbyists learn new skills and get excited to paint again. Since the pandemic, teaching has had to either be put on hold or moved online and sadly I've been unable to make the online option work. It's moved my focus as I took on commissions, painted up some models for charity auctions and generally cranking through a lot of miniatures...

Too many?

Well... possibly. I recently got a new job which has been a huge relief for our finances and I am very much enjoying it, but between that and everything else going on, the hobby just isn't appealing to me for a while. I have enjoyed assembling a load of minis, getting involved in excellent initiatives like #taleof5painters and of course the Lumineth I've been working on for this year's Nova Open raffle, but sitting myself down for the short windows of time I have at the moment to try and crank out models is a real challenge at the moment.

So where do I go from here? Why am I doing this?

Aye, there's the rub. I want painting to be a form of relaxation not a cause of stress. So I plan to finish up my current commitments - the Lumineth and Kharadron Overlords and from there? I think I will continue to paint but I am going to ease up on the pace and the pressure. If I want to take time to do something well - I'll have models for that, if I want to crank through the huge backlog? Well I certainly have models that I am happy to churn through and finish up to a lower standard. I guess we'll just see how it goes.

- Raggy, signing out