Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Seasonality in Painting Production?


Josiah Stamp once remarked that,

"The government are very keen on amassing statistics. They collect them, add them, raise them to the nth power, take the cube root and prepare wonderful diagrams. But you must never forget that every one of these figures comes in the first instance from the chowky dar (village watchman in India), who just puts down what he damn pleases."

Well! Within my painting logs are amassed years of data none of which follow Stamp's Law.  You see, I only add to the ledger figures actually completed.  As I look over the record, I often wonder if there is any rhyme or reason to my painting output.  Looking at production since 1996 on an adjusted painting points basis (1), not many patterns are discernible at this aggregated level.

Monthly Painting totals by Month and Era 
Generally, it appears that both output and number of eras have increased over time but not much more can be identified.  I typically breakdown these numbers into an annual review offering more detail but what about a seasonal nature to my output?  Anecdotally, my memory tends to latch onto the notion that painting increases during the short daylight hours of winter and slacks off during the long and warm days of summer.  Do these data support that conclusion?  Let us put it to the test.

First, begin by overlaying a trend onto the monthly painting points totals (TOTPOINT). Yep.  In general, painting production has increased over time.  With seemingly periodic crests, perhaps, there is some seasonality within the data?

Monthly Painting Totals with Trend 
Using the 19 years of history and decomposing the time series shows that a definite seasonal pattern does emerge.  What does the graph below suggest?  The analysis suggests that after seeing an increase in production in February, production drops during the spring and summer months with output roughly 50 adjusted painting points below the monthly mean output.  Then in August, I tend to hit the paint desk with vigor only to drop off again in September.  After the September lull, October witnesses another spike in activity that carries on through the remainder of the year. 
Seasonal Patterns in Painting Production
Interesting?  Well, this exercise provides insight into my painting habits and provides reasonable inferences.  The relative spikes in FEB, AUG, and late fall also coincide with my experiences.  Did not realize my habits were so predictable.  I guess at least I am  a creature of habit.

Notice that each month with an increase in activity is followed by a month with decreasing activity.  In statistical terminology, the series exhibits negative serial correlation.  That is, an increase in one month is followed by a decrease in the next month.  This pattern suggests that painting produces fits and spurts where increased productivity in one month leads to, perhaps, burnout in the following month.  Yeah, I have felt that on occasion.  The data suggest it happens every other month!

With the evidence suggesting that I am, indeed, a creature of habit, tomorrow I celebrate Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!

(1) Adjusted Painting Points based on Analog Hobbies points scoring system. Adjusted Paintings Points tend to weight all work appropriate to effort rather than based solely on raw totals of painted figures. 


  1. Impressive analysis, but even more impressive to see the range of figures you collect and paint. Awesome stuff!


    1. Aaron, without an occasional recap (like this), it can be easy to lose track of all of the projects that have or are crossing my painting desk.

  2. Jonathan,

    I would like to wish you and yours a most wonder-filled and joyous Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

    -- Jeff

    PS, I hope that my surprise reached you in time . . . and if not, expect a surprise in the next few days.

    1. Thank you, Jeff!

      I wish the same for you and your family.

      Your package did arrive on time. I am waiting to open it later on Christmas morning. Thank you very much for your thoughtfulness!

      Merry Christmas!

  3. I suspect I'd see a similar result were I bothered to analyse my own efforts. You are to be commended (and perhaps prescribed something!?!) for taking the time to put this together...

  4. May I have similar statistics...Merry Christmas Jonathan...

    1. Merry Christmas, Phil!

      I look forward to another year of entertaining BatReps from you!

  5. The number of periods and scales that you paint and collect is more than a bit intimidating, Jon! My seasonal variations of painting out put would be similar, I think.

    1. A few of those periods are no longer with us but maintain their place in the Painting Log. Sometimes, I am overwhelmed too!

  6. I second Gonsalvo - what an amazing output. Seem 2013 was an all time record breaker, while you had a few quiet years around 2003-2007. Interesting to see how this relatively time consuming hobby correlates with our private life. One good habit that, depending on what Santa put in our stocking, can increase the number of hobby projects for the year to come is Christmas. Hope you're having a good one!

    1. 2013 was the high water mark for output. That year was helped greatly by the start of a couple of new projects and a veritable arms race to field 28mm Reconquista armies. 2014 will not be too bad, though.

      I received a number of wargaming related items this year including two Gift Certificates to one of my favorite vendors: Eureka Miniatures. Books, books, and more books too. So, yes, a very good Christmas including a couple of days spent with friends and family.