I gave my notice at my job on Thursday. This past month I often took the time to ask myself what would truly make me happy and, among other things, having more control over my work/life balance and consistent miniature painting was part of it. It's going to be a brand new adventure, but it's time I moved onto bigger & better things with the support of friends & family :)

While things at work have been very stressful, I was recently misdiagnosed and taking medicine that was causing some serious problems. Without going too much into the details, it's been a rough ride over the past 3 years getting to the bottom of my health issues. The good news is, my new doctor has a different theory on what's affecting my hormones and causing my adrenal fatigue. I'm hopeful that my upcoming sleep study will provide some additional insight. Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, I've been slowly starting to paint again after months of the cycle of work, eat, cry, sleep; repeat. Pathetic. I was incredibly bummed when I missed the deadline for the Miniature Monthly Darksword paint contest on Dec 31. I had "Female Ranger with Bow" all planned out and started but after weeks of working late and being emotionally and socially drained, I just couldn't pull it together in the end. I was very disappointed in myself.

Last week, I woke up and realized I'm not a victim. I'm not stuck in my job or my head– if I don't like my situation, I have the power to change it. I would often think, "If I were just [strong/disciplined/creative/healthy] enough, I'd be happy." Admittedly, the recent balacing in my medication has helped me get a grip on the self-loathing in my own head. So I sucked it up and rather than dwell on it, I've decided to finish the Miniature Monthly challenge and giveaway the miniature in a random contest– perhaps with Twitter followers– I'm not sure just yet. I'll keep you posted! Here's what I have so far:

I've also started on one of Reaper's 25th anniversary limited edition miniatures, Lysette, inspired by Erza Scarlet from the anime Fairy Tail. I haven't painted fantasy-red hair before and I figured she'd be perfect for it! I'll use Erza's Robe of Yūen (悠遠の衣 Yūen no Koromo) armor as a guide for my color scheme with purples and pinks. The other arm of the miniature (not yet attached) holds a magic wielder's staff which is consistent with Erza's armor as well :)

Last but not least, I have Reaper's Cleric of Mammon where I've taken some artistic liberties with her clothing and skintone paint choices which differs from her concept art (below right). While the Erza Scarlet-inspired mini above will have a fair skintone, I often challenge myself to experiment with darker shades. I'll be incorporating my examples into a future class at ReaperCon 2018!

Speaking of Reaper, I was in Denton, Texas last week and got to stop by and say hi to the folks at Reaper HQ. They were nice enough to take some time out of their day to visit with me and show me the upcoming projects they're working on. I'm also excited about ReaperCon 2018, which will be held at The Embassy Suites Denton Convention Center. I'm excited about the prospect of attending, this time as a full-fledged instructor, but I'll need to talk it over with my better half, since September 1 is our wedding annivesary. Eep! While I'd love to teach painting classes at ReaperCon again while he plays tabletop games on the other side of the convention area– I admit that it's not the most romantic setting, but I hope he's open to it! Wish me luck :)