In an episode I’ve written, I needed a lady in a bathtub to add interest to the miniatures I’ve assembled for the photos. A woman bathing has been a popular subject in art for hundreds if not thousands of years. There are several 28mm miniatures to choose from in varying degrees of nudity. I chose Helen Highwater from Knickleduster’s Scarlet Ladies pack, partly because her nakedness is covered by strategically placed bubbles & because the pack also contained figures of two real-life madams, Fannie Porter & Squirrel Tooth Alice.
A month ago, I fell & broke my arm in two places where the arm attaches to the shoulder. I’ve just received clearance from the doctor to be able to begin painting again. A lady in a bathtub would be an ideal model to start with. In addition, I have some new paints I’m dying to try out, but more about them later.
Preparation & Priming
The first step is to clean the model & remove any flash & mold lines. On this model there was only a small amount of flash on the bottom of the tub and the mold lines were practically invisible.
I primed the model using black gesso. I use gesso to prime all of my figures. I like the coverage much better than anything I’ve ever gotten out of a spray can. I then gave the model a zenithal highlight using Warcolours White, but any white or off-white will work.
Base Colors & Color Selection
Right before my fall, many of the miniature painting YouTube channels began posting episodes on the new Army Painter SpeedPaint paint sets (which still are not available to purchase as I write this). Before this, many of the painters were touting the paints from Kimera and Pro Acryl – paints rich in pigment and strong colors. These videos were having an impact because I’m beginning to run out of my Reaper and Vallejo paints. Then right after my fall, Ninjon posted a video on how the best miniature paints aren’t miniature paints – artist acrylic paint. Jon isn’t the only one to propose this, my favorite Italian artist living in Ireland, Marco Frisoni, not only uses artist’s acrylic but also oil paint.
So, I took the plunge and bought a set of Golden High Flow acrylic paints. These paints are formulated to work in airbrushes, pens and markers. They are almost like inks in thickness. The only downside, if it is a downside, is that you have to mix paints to achieve different colors, in other words, I have to learn to use the color wheel and color theory and not rely so heavily on manufacturers to provide the colors for me.
Kujo Painting has just released a timely video on selecting colors for a miniature using a simple concept – choose a single cool color and a single warm color as the focus. In the case of the lady in a bathtub, I’ve chosen Phthalo Green (a cool color) for the tub and Reaper’s Rosy Skin as the main warm color. In addition, I will also be using a pink for the washcloth and a warm ivory for the inside of the tub.
Shadows & Highlights
The first step in the process of adding shadows and highlights is to apply a wash in areas with a lot of detail. The wash helps to not only define areas to be highlighted, but it also ties the piece together.
The first color to highlight is the tub itself by mixing a small amount of Snowdrift White with the Phthalo Green.
Next is to highlight the skin. You could easily add a little of the Ivory or any off white to the Rosy Skin to get highlight colors, but I have a bottle of the Rosy Highlight, so I used it. Might as well use it rather than letting it dry in the bottle!
I then mixed a small amount of Rosy Highlight with the Punk Rock Pink and highlighted the edge of the washcloth and painted her lips. I decided not to paint the eyes. I’ve come to the point in my painting that if the eyes aren’t sculpted wide open, then it’s not worth the effort to paint them unless the model is an important character.
The last highlight is a small amount of Vallejo Sand Yellow to the hair.
Once the highlights are done, it is time to tidy up any messes or mistakes and then set the model aside to thoroughly dry.
The final touch is to attach the miniature to its base and then seal it with a coat of matte varnish.
This was a fun little miniature to paint after a month of not being able to hold a brush. I like the Golden High Flow Acrylics. The Phthalo Green took a little longer to dry than the other colors, but I really liked the coverage and how easy it was to mix with other paint and how easy it was to make a glaze.
- Liquitex Professional Black Colored Gesso (primer)
- Warcolours White (zenithal highlight)
- Golden High Flow Acrylics Transparent Phthalo Green (bathtub)
- Reaper Master Series Rosy Skin (lady’s bare skin)
- Vallejo Model Color Ivory (inside & rim of bathtub)
- Army Painter Warpaints Necrotic Flesh (bath water)
- Golden High Flow Acrylics Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide (blonde hair)
- Reaper Master Series Snowdrift White (soap bubbles)
- Reaper Master Series Punk Rock Pink (washcloth)
- Vallejo Game Color Umber Wash (applied to lady & inside of tub)
- Reaper Master Series Rosy Highlight (highlight skin)
- Vallejo Model Color Sand Yellow
I don’t have full range of motion in my left arm, yet. I have several weeks of physical therapy ahead of me. I’m not to lift anything with my left hand heavier than my smart phone, but it’s so satisfying to be able to write and paint.
Here’s a quick poll for you – who should I paint next? Fannie Porter who ran a San Antonio brothel frequented by outlaws and lawmen alike, or Squirrel Tooth Alice who operated brothels from El Paso to Dodge City? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time, watch your step and don’t fall!
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Painting a Lady in a Bathtub
A post on how to paint a lady in a bathtub from the Knuckleduster Miniature’s Scarlet Ladies pack.