A Golden Age? Huh?

A short while ago Neil101 asked something in the comments field of my opening post. I'd not had chance to get round to replying before now due to work:
Hey Fulgrim , i wanted to talk to you about your theories of where you think this golden age of mini painting is heading, ? I look around and i see that model making and painting as a hobby is by far a lot more conservative than many other creative fields. By conservative i would clarify that a certain style of painting has emerged over the years , taking heavy metals purist clean lines as the only way to paint , or rather the correct way to paint. Now i agree that the stunning accomplishments of these artist are to be lauded , but i struggle my self to find my own style within this uber clean world . My style being a very loose almost dirty and unfinished look , reminiscent of an blanche painting without the originality ;-)

whilst i agree that i think the painting has reached its zenith, i also doubt that the community as a whole would accept the more more daring work that is out their without thinking it is sub standard because it is different. Its heartening to see work around that espouses these ideals though, as this is where the true genius of creative originality lays.

I guess by its nature miniature painting is a subset of either historical gaming or sci ci / fantasy gaming, And any digression from these canonical ideas will take the genre into new territory and anything new is always shunned for a while.

For me a really creative army or miniature would combine elements of skill along with a new idea as a frame work to house it in. As much as we all enjoy the fantastic art work, Gw minis and the fantastic gothic settings they espouse ,i doubt any real creativity can emerge whilst still remaining under their IP banner. Its for this reason i have set up a blog also away from dakka dakka and the overtly stifling influence gw can have on creativity , of course i will still enjoy creating works within the established settings of gw and enjoying the familiarity that the viewers will have when i create such pieces, i cant help thinking its time to shake things up a bit , and embrace new ideas and fresh perspectives . maybe even a little humour.

I hadn't thought that I was familiar with Neil's painting until I was browsing through Dakka's 'Pimp my Wizard' and came across his Bene Gesserit Herald of Slaanesh. A few weeks earlier I'd been extolling the virtues of it to some of my friends, I think it's amazing, and I really recommend that you go and have a look at it if you're not familiar with it. 

I agree with him, really, the world of model making is incredibly conservative - partly due to it's typical subjects - and almost dictatorial in it's position of how to go about doing things. However, you can easily fall into a number of traps, too, if you choose a different path: that you 'can't' paint, so you've chosen an easier style, or that you're setting yourself in opposition to (and therefore dismissing) the 'correct' way to paint - at the moment I'm not really looking to do any of these things, and as Neil says, the achievements of the 'eavy metal/crystal brush/CMON painters is to be lauded, but it shouldn't be regarded as  the law. 

What I perceive to be occurring, though, is this emergence of a new way of doing things - or at the very least, a questioning of an established order - and this is being expressed from a number of different quarters: Migsula, Steve Buddle, Pär Nordlund, Neil101 himself and the guys at Spiky Rat Pack have all, in their own individual ways, been speculating on how to paint miniatures. Migs is the most vocal of these proponents with his referencing of the work of Goodbrush (http://www.goodbrush.com/) as an analogy for the way that miniature painting could develop; Steve Buddle mentioned recently the idea of 'bringing dirty back' to miniature painting, and painting miniatures within an hour; and Neil and Pär are both using an interesting style of painting which is very fluid and 'washy', almost like a watercolour impression in miniature form - take a look at Pä's brilliant Harlequin Masquerade blog on Warseer to see what I mean; and just last week Spiky Rat Pack mentioned being more adventurous in their painting techniques after seeing John Blanche's recent Inquisitorial miniatures. 

Ah yes, the man himself. It's no accident that all of these painters reference JB (alongside Jakob Nielsen) as an over-riding influence on their hobby, and JB's way of miniature painting lies at the heart of these developments. However, the various different painters aren't simply pastiching JB's style (not that it would really be possible to do that as it's so extraordinary), and all of the above have very different ways of painting - but they're all doing (or starting to do) something different, and something very interesting is emergent. These techniques, contrary to what some may think, take an accomplished degree of talent to utilise - there's no sloppy 'easy way out' being sought for here, just another way. 

It's these exploratory techniques that I'm characterising as a golden age: this is probably premature, and I think that rather there's an emergent or immanent golden age. Painting was radicalised at the beginning of the 20th century by people trying similar things on canvas, and I'd be interested to see how these developments proceed at the beginning of this century in the world of miniature painting (not that these two things are necessarily directly comparable, but perhaps nevertheless analogous): it's this that I'm trying to give voice to, in a haphazard, sometimes clumsy, way in this blog. 


  1. Wow, didn't even know my Harlequinade was being noticed here as well.

    Always great to mutually inspire and get inspired by others.


  2. Being honest, I hadn't noticed them until I saw your Inquisition army on BoLS and then reposted that here. I think they're flagged up in the BoLS article.

    The way that you've chosen to paint them is great - in photos it looks like a white undercoat with lots of pastel wash on top - they almost look like watercolour impressions of miniatures, kind of ethereal - but it's so accomplished, they're awesome. I like the occasional instances, like on the blood brides where they're blood splattered down the side of the face, where that style completely changes and interrupts the white/wash look. Brilliant stuff.