Some of you are probably wondering why there hasn't been any updates on the website for a while? Well, it's because I'm winding down Lead Legion Painting Service. I'll begin studying for a Nursing course at Christ Church University in a few weeks. I've been turning away new orders as a result (and because I'm still behind on existing commissions).
Given that I might not be able to take on any more orders for a while (we'll see how my academic workload goes, once I've had a chance to settle in) there doesn't seem to be any point in advertising for my services. So for the last few weeks I've slowly watched my webpage fall off the front page of google searches for "miniature painting".
If you have an order with me at present, don't worry. You should have already heard from me long since via a personal email from the Lead Legion account. I may not be taking on any more orders for the time being, but I am working steadily on completing all the existing orders I have (not to mention the last minute orders many of you sent me to finish off your armies before I temporarily retire).
I've loved every minute of the last 30 months or so. Living the dream has been wonderful, but as I've said to every perspective commission painter who has contacted me in the last two and half years, it's not a job that will ever make you rich. At least not in terms of cash. Seriously, if money is your only object, painting miniatures for a living is not the way to go about it. (Speaking of which: I haven't forgotten about the gentleman that emailed me for advice on getting started as a commission painter last week. That advice is on the way. It's just a long email, so bear with me while I finish it).
This experience has, however, made me rich in terms of friends met and experiences shared. My clients are universally a wonderfully group of people. I've become friends with many of the over the years and I'm going to miss them all a very great deal. Through my work I've met and spoken with people living on every continent of the world (except Antarctica), and it's been an incredible time.
There have been low points too. Several of my clients have dropped of the radar over the last few years. One of them, I know for certain, passed away and others currently live or work in various war-zones around the world. I have to admit, being ex-military, I worry about them all. And I wish them all the best, wherever they are, and regardless of which war they are caught up in; whose side they are fighting on. Sometimes, as we move our little lead men around the table, it behoves us to think about the real men and women being moved around real war zones, voluntarily or otherwise. I often stop and think of them for a moment or three at quiet points during a game, and wish them all a safe return home.
Most of all though, I've loved the opportunity that this line of work has given me to spend more time with my family. Particularly my wife. For the first four years of our relationship, when I was throwing the same thugs into the same cells day after day, we barely saw one another for weeks at a time. We had days off, family events and even holidays cancelled on a regular basis. Just so that I could sit in a court room for days, just to be send home when the ned in question pled guilty. My wife dreaded the late night and early morning calls from my shift sergeant or the duty inspector. The good calls were just to tell her that I'd be working overtime writing crime reports, taking statements or covering someone on sick leave. The bad ones, as happened roughly once every six months or so, that I was in Accident and Emergency getting treatment for yet another minor injury, needle stick, dog-bite or suspected concussion.
Ironically, now we've come full circle. I'll once again be working shifts and spending a great deal of my time in hospitals. But at least this time, she won't have to worry so much about the phone ringing late at night.
Not unless I've forgotten my keys, anyway.
But don't turn off the lights in the painting studio just yet. I still have orders to finish. More importantly, I love painting, and it's not as though I'm going to spending my own cash on miniatures when I'm a poor student living in poverty!
Watch this space. I may be back.