I finally had to pack up the paints and return home. That is my involvement with this fantastic project officially at an end. Been a long week – I worked my real job during the day and went to Weta and/or the Museum to paint in the afternoons and evenings. I had a bitch of a cold for most of the week that didn’t help much. My last day was spent like most others – doing last minute painting. I started the day out at a McCafe where I had breakfast and mostly finished the Brig-Gen Johnston figure that we ended up going with. Back at the museum I had barely finished the miniature when the original “lost” Johnston was found with a pile of Turks. Alan and Michael decided to use the new figure and the old Johnston became a field officer. The last thing I worked on was adding pegs to the canvas cover over Johnston’s command dugout that had been sculpted the night before and giving it a coat of paint – the paint was still wet when the VIPs visited. On Friday the Te Papa WWI display was opened. To say it is larger than life is an understatement.
And on Saturday the Great War Exhibition at the Dominion Museum also opened.
The National War Memorial Park was also opened and afterwards we were visited by the assembled dignitaries who got a look at the progress on the diorama. The Governor-General Sir Jerry Mataperae, the Prime Minister and a gaggle of MPs and their hangers-on came through for about fifteen or twenty minutes and had a good look. The PM, John Key, was particularly impressed with the efforts of our volunteer painters. It was nice to see Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barrie again. The last time I saw her was when we worked on the plant stall at a Wellesley College Gala when our sons both attended the school. It was rather funny that there were all these big-wigs in suits visiting and we were all standing around in bare feet or socks.
So, it is goodbye to the most fun I have had from this great hobby in my life. What an experience. Thank you to Rhys Jones and Roly Hermans for getting me involved. I had been in a deep dark depression about the time this project came about and I really think that it may well have saved my life. Depression is in some ways the ultimate ego-trip – you cannot see anything beyond your own issues. In this self-absorbed state I damaged a lot of relationships and did some things that were not particularly clever. This project allowed me to be part of something bigger than myself and it helped put a lot of things in my personal life into perspective. Thanks to to Alan and Michael Perry. Have a safe trip home guys and see you next time you are in New Zealand.
Now it is back to 28mm Napoleonics and Zulu Wars.