Arcane Paintworks

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2013 was a hell of an emotional ride, but attending Meg Maples’ class at my local games store, Huzzah Hobbies, was a perfect ending to the year.  I’ve been lucky enough that this is my second time taking on of Meg’s classes and each time I walk away knowing more than I did when I sat down.  Sadly, I forgot to bring my camera and so I don’t have as many pictures as my buddy Plarzoid, but I’ll steal a few of his pics and tell you a bit more about my experience in the class and some afterthoughts.

On Day one of the class, after we had cleaned our models, Meg took us outside and showed us how to prime our models.  I realize it sounds a bit silly, but the majority of us overprime our models (myself included) when using spray primer as we’ve been taught to hit every nook and cranny and to have a nice solid coating.  Basically you need (at least with white primer, I didn’t ask about black – but I imagine the principle’s the same) only enough primer to cover the model, your model will look gray instead of white, as shown here with Plarzoid’s model:
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Yes, its hard to believe its really white primer.  Meg covers this more in the blog on her website: http://arcanepaintworks.blogspot.com/2013/11/varnish-lacquer-dullcote-and-chips-oh-my.html

Then we hit the meat and potatoes of what most folks were there to learn, two brush blending.  I’m really not going to go in depth here as its been covered in other websites and videos.  We started our two brush blending adventure with the cloaks and from what I recall, everyone’s cloaks turned out great for the most part.  I spent way too much time on mine and had to catch up on other parts, but I was amazed with how it turned out.  So amazed that she’s sitting on my painting desk right now staring at me, harassing me to finish her base.  Here’s a finished shot of the back of the cloak:

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One of the main criticisms of my models is my lack of contrast and not pushing the highlights enough.  I’ve always been afraid to push the highlights too much for fear that the model with just look too strange or the paint will start to look chalky.  But Meg then blew my mind (yes, I know, doesn’t take much, but bear with me) and showed us all something that’s in the painting section of the Khador army book, that if your highlights are too bright or start to look chalky, to take your base color (or mid tone, depending) and glaze over the area to slightly darken the highlights and/or remove chalkiness and help blend them back into the base color and smooth the transitions as well.

I was able to apply this to most of the rest of the model as well, to varying degrees of success.  As you can see the highlight in her hair is a bit too bright and the blends on her skin as seen here on the front of the model, could be a lot smoother.

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Then Meg covered eyes (Oh. The. Horror!) which was easily the most painful part of painting the model.  I’m really looking forward to Plarzoid’s tutorial on eyes as I still need a lot of help, although the eyes on my model turned out okay, but nothing as amazing as Meg’s or Plarzoid’s.  And then skin, gems, hair and fur and I think she may have pulled folks for a sidebar after someone’s question regarding metallics.

The best aftereffect of class was that I really feel reinvigorated regarding my painting.   I’m positive that Meg’s teaching, spending the weekend just painting, and sitting and talking with the other fellow painters and my friends, really all helped to make me feel refreshed and rejuvenated.  All too often its easy to get bogged down in the day to day minutiae of living our lives, which (for me at least) eats away at our time to paintpaint. Painting armies can make painting seem more like a chore or not worth the effort of setting up, sitting down to paint (not always uninterrupted painting either), and then cleaning up and putting things away.   While I don’t normally go with New Year’s resolutions, I am going to try to attend some painting get togethers or paint with Plarzoid or one of my other friends sometimes as a way to help keep myself refreshed.

Just to show you folks at home how invigorated I really feel, I finished the Tau Crisis Suit (including the scratch built base), worked on these bases and stared touching up and finally moving forward on some Retribution of Scryah models.  I apologize in advance for my less than ideal picture taking – I just don’t seem to have the knack for it:

Tau Crisis Suit-2 Tau Crisis Suit-3 Tau Crisis Suit-6

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What do you folks think?  What other things do you do to try to help keep yourself motivated or refreshed?

The weekend before Christmas I had the pleasure of taking another painting class from former Privateer Press studio painter Meg Maples. She has recently gone back into freelance painting under her own studio, Arcane Paintworks, and has a whirlwind schedule of international classes scheduled for 2014. Luckily, she has family here in Northern Virginia, so when she comes home for the holidays, she occasionally schedules a class.

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Two years ago, Meg visited the area and hosted a class in which I learned 2-brush blending, and stole lots of great color recipes for various textures and colors.  This year, I was able to show my mastery of 2-brush blending, and pick Meg’s brain on things like painting eyes, flesh, hair & fur and freehand painting.  The class was two 8-hour sessions, and with about 12-15 people in the class, there’s plenty of one-on-one time where Meg helps you out individually.

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