Sunday, 7 October 2007

Different Strokes

We had the pleasure of having Sebastian Archer (Automaton on cmon) stay with us last weekend - which gave us the opportunity to see his miniatures collection up close. I have always been an admirer of his work, ever since he appeared on the scene a couple of years ago - and seeing the miniatures in real life just confirmed that. As is often the case with really good miniatures - photography just doesn't capture the painting with any integrity. It's not until you get to hold them in your hand, that you get to see how good the really are. Sebastian's work is a classic example of this - it looks great in photographs, but truly stunning in real life, in fact it's hard to tell you just how good they are. Just wait until you see the work he did for this years GD UK and the Ravage Open Mix...

While he was here I dug out some of my old work from GW to show him - all of it 12 years + old and some done over 15 years ago. When we'd been talking about the work for a couple of hours, I looked down at my desk and all the miniatures were sitting there next to each other - his work right next to my work. The difference in styles was just astounding - I really wish I'd taken a picture of it... Granted, most of the work I had there was from a different era in miniatures - but even so, it really made me think about different styles of painting. When I came back to miniature painting a few years ago (and by that I mean when I actually started to paint again after an 8+ year hiatus), the hobby had progressed enormously, and painting was going in a totally different direction from when I left it. At first I thought - "I've got to learn to paint like these guys!", but more recently I have realised that would be a mistake. The more I think about it, the more I realise that style is just not me - so why try and force it? One of the things I enjoy the most about this hobby, is that many different ways of painting can co-exist along side each other - no one more valid than another. My approach, and reason for painting, differs fundamentally from some of the new painters. I have always striven to produce precious objects - gem like miniatures that had vibrant deep colours that owed more in foundation to to works of John Blanche, than the gritty realistic subjects many modern miniature painters take their cues from. I still feel the same way now - these are fantasy miniatures and I like to treat them as such - 'realism' has never been high on my agenda. That is in no way meant to denigrate the work of people like Sebastian, and I am constantly in awe of what they produce - I just think it's great there is that variety, and divergence of approach in the same field.

This weekend is the Ravage Open Mix in Paris, and I am really looking forward to seeing some of the work that will be there. Sebastian will be there, as will many of the great French painters - I believe Jeremie Bonamant, Allan C, Jacques-Alexandre Gillios, Julian Casses, Mathieu L, Cyril Abati and David Waeselynck are all going to be there. I just can't wait to be able to see their work close up. Ali and I both have new pieces to take along, and I think I am going to take some older stuff also - they been away in a case for a while, so it's about time they had an airing.

We plan on taking lots of pictures and adding a full report here when we get back - it promises to be a great weekend!


Here is a little comparison between Sebastian's and my work (both of mine are over 12 years old I hasten to add!). Apologies to Sebastian for stealing the images off his website - but like I said, I forgot to take a comparison picture while he was here.


1 comment:

Jeff said...

As they say Mike,your preaching to the Choir!, Nothing drives me more nuts then when people think that one technique or style is better than another when it comes to painting..infact most techniques become fads in my opinion and become copied by everyone. Though if anyone can be accused of being a trend setter its yourself :P but I thats good for the hobby. I think if you ask most painters who have been in the hobby for a while, they will say your one of the people that got them involved in the hobby because once they saw your work they knew they wanted to "paint like Mike" Im as guilty of that as anyone. I remember first meeting you back in 1995 in Nottingham in your office on castle Blvd and you were damn good then. In fact many of the pieces your digging out are back from that time. I'm so glad to see you pick up the brush again and start painting again as I know what your going through. I don't paint as much myself and constantly struggle with trying to define my painting style as I'm always looking at others work and trying to copy it and I think this post of yours has made me realize that I juist need to paint my style and just get on with it:) You were the wise man who told me a couple years back..what does NMM have to do with good painting.. I think these words of wisdom go a long way in this hobby. I think if people quit chasing "fads" and just paint how they want to we will see more and more beautiful work and possible even more new ideas flurish in an ever growing hobby.

Have fun in Paris this weekend, Im dissapointed I can't make it this year but Ill be back soon enough.