Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mold Lines Advice and Thoughts on Fine Art

So I am in the midst of painting a new figure right now, and every time I go to apply more paint I let out a small little cuss word. The reason being that I have spot two mold lines that are extremely obvious now that the model has paint on it.

Mold lines are the devil. They are weeds of satanic origin that must be plucked from the lively garden that is a new miniature. Wish I had caught these earlier.

The thing is I don't believe the files I own are fine enough. Jarhead at Massive Voodoo recommends a combination of files, fine sand paper and then steal wool. Think I am going to have to take a trip to the hardware store after work today.

But I can't decide whether to continue painting, or remove the mold lines and ruin the work I have done so far. I'll post pictures later tonight.

What would you do?

Also, lately I have been visiting lots of art shows and museums with my wife and baby girl, Lili. Lili isn't too interested in the artwork so much as all the little new things that she can find within reach. But there is inspiration everywhere for me.

It's got me wondering if the world of miniature painting will ever reach acceptance as an artform. Right now I believe that most people would call it a craft...but what takes it to the next level to be considered a fine art? The folks at Massive Voodoo seem to have accomplished this. Their work, Jarhead's and Raffa's, often includes a scenic base that takes as much skill as the miniature itself. I believe their work might be accessible to a wider audience.

So here the army painter meets a fork in the road...Do we continue to be army-painters, forever toiling to create great works of art that only gamers or sci-fi fans can appreciate? Works of a so-called kid's hobby that many look at in puzzlement. Beautiful, sophisticated yet childish in that they are game pieces...

Or do we follow the path that leads to individual pieces of art? Self contained worlds. Models that never once hit the gaming table, yet still and speak to the imaginations of a wider audience. Works of art that produce a reaction in any who view them.

In other words, when does a miniature painter become an artist?


Michael Hogan said...

Honestly, if the mold line is quite obvious it might be better to just get rid of it. You don't want to finish the model and then have to go through the same thinking, but have twice the amount of work that time.

Cobalt Cannon said...

Hi Osh!

What a great question you posed, and one that every art student faces in their education. I can offer what I said to my first painting teacher in college, while working for my graphic design degree. He taught painting on canvas, with oils and acrylics, although I stuck with the oils. ( I picked the oils since it was a classic medium )
I was in a discussion with my painting teach on what makes something an art. I had put a lot of thought into this since I had been drawing and painting both 2d and miniatures my entire life. Art is a very encompassing term applied to so many things we do. Music, War, Visual Representation in either 2d or 3d (Sculpture) , Architecture, and other things humans create. What are the differences between an art, a craft, and human expression? Is your daughter's crayon drawing of a scribble on paper, art? What is that scribble compared to Piccasso's self portrait in pencil? What is the difference between two goons brawling and a ninja eliminating someone in a few seconds after planning it for months, training for their entire life and executing the plan with precision? Or for that matter, terrorists shooting up an embassy, or planting an IED vs U.S. SPec Ops taking out Bin Laden in the fashion then did?

Here's my answer and it makes sense for all things we refer to as "art."

An art is any form of creation that involves a disciplined process for that creation, and allows for and demands the creator's personality to be naturally expressed within the creation.
The creator's "fingerprint" will be able to be noticed in the art created. You can see this in being able to identify a martial art by it's methods, and form. You can tell who the practitioner of the art is by how they move, and tell who their teacher was. You can see this in music when you can identify who is playing a particular instrument by the sound and how the instrument is played. You can identify a Van Gogh by how a painting looks, by colors used, and brush strokes. A handcrafted original piece of furniture vs something from Rowe (yuck). And someone painting a miniature to go on the table and have their army be differentiated from their opponents' vs an army painting in such a way that you must look at each individual piece as it's own amazing work to be admired with personal love put into each brush stroke. It's the difference between coloring in a coloring book and drawing a self portrait of your face from a mirror as well as you possibly can, and stretching your own capabilities in the process, so the end result is better than you ever hoped for.

You are an artist Osh. The level of "yourself" that you put into your painting, and your insatiable desire to constantly make it greater, and grow yourself while doing it, is what makes what you do art. You do it with discipline, practice, and the constant theme that seem to show in your work and posts that, " This one has to be more awesome than the last one I did."

It's a wordy explanation, but I think it's thorough. I hope this answers the universal question for anyone who reads it.

Cobalt Cannon said...

Oh by the way, after I typed that last comment, I clicked over to Remote Presence and saw a photo of a Hac Tao. I knew it was yours Osh before I even saw the rest of the associated post or who wrote it. It has your "finger print" all over it.

If that was painted on an assembly line, nobody would be able to tell if Jun Ha, Lee Fu, or Suk Duk painted it. Who would even care?

Look out for Suk Duk! There are rumors,...

Take care.

Valk said...

You're already an artist

A painter is just as much of an artist as a sculptor.

Tael said...

I had a comment with a lot less finesse than Cobalt, but essentially I agree. I went the 'paint for the shelf' path, didn't like the culture of the folks involved. Actually turned me off GD, even though I placed.

Ultimately, I've come to enjoy effective game painting. Looks great and handles table use. Additionally, my challenge is to achieve more with less effort. So I tend to peruse graphic novels, cartoons even the work of Warcraft artists for 2d painting.

You can learn a lot about effective colour and light placement by studying those styles.

My only concern is not to take the joy out of painting by turning it into an executed discipline.

- Seb.

anucer said...

Hey osh, i would like to thanks you... thank you for what? Well because you gave me a boost to get back into finishing my army, giving it a name and a story. Reading your blog and all that fluff you added around your army and the Tau empire inspired me :P.

Right now i am trying to change my Army scheme since i find it pretty fade (Black was the main color due to a "stealthy" background, and i am no good painter hehe so if you have any good color ideas i am listening).

I am also trying to figure out a good way for costomizing my suits and make sure i could use any loadout anytimes without buying a whole new figure (thinking of magnets here).

Thanks again!

I'll never leave the empire even tough everyone is pissing me off saying how lame and gay the Taus are while they are paying power armored, steroid boosted humans... anyone else having this problem?

Old Shatter Hands said...

Cobalt, Tael,

I love your definition of art. It separates art form kitsch really well. A friend of mine and I were tlaking about art and we were sending each other the most kitschiest pictures we could find on the internet. Yep, no soul. No way you can "see" the artist in their work.

Also extremely flattered that you call me an seems I can check off one of my life's goals, lol.

Constant improvement is something I pretty obsessed with when it comes to miniature painting....although I haven't started painting for the shelf yet, I'm mostly try to produce the best game pieces I can, yet I can see ahead that someday, I'll be making shelf pieces and that's where I want to be...I just enjoy gaming too much at the moment.

The hobby/craft/art of miniature painting is what you make of it. Tael, I love your peices...they all have so much personality and your techniques are super effective that I don't think it matters that you are looking for quicker ways to paint. Your Dungeons set is amazing it that it pretty much incorporates straight-forward painting and amazing conversions. It's almost as if you are creating an entire world, simply by creating the characters in it...they all have elements that hark to their background and thus the world is illustrated. I love it!

Fluff is what I love...but not always GW's version of it...I love creating my own from their characters. You've motivated me to make some more. Tales of Old Shatter Hands...though I think I might have to change his name because OSH is Karl Mai ripoff...Fluff and background is what really makes your army come alive...the gaming experience is much better when you have lively characters on the table...what fluff have you created for your army?

anucer said...

yea i know that you mean by GW's fluff ... i remember this moment in the Tau codex about the Damocless (not sure of the name) golf war. Where the Taus make an ambush to the imperial fleet by the planet and start to ripe em appart. While falling back, one of the space marine ship decided that they wouldn't run away so they charged headlong in the Tau fleet. At this very moment, some timewarp happened and the time stopped for the Tau until their whole fleet was destroyed by this space marine ship, without even fighting back.
that made me sad : (

For the fluff i am not 100% sure so far, but i like the diversity and the cohesion of this army. So i tough about an Airborn Cadre specialised in guerrilla warfare using Kroots and pathfinders.
I am also looking at some Tau Words to create my characters names.

Old Shatter Hands said...


in my opinion, army fluff is best when it is composed of likable characters with personalities and motivations. so I would suggest focusing on that to start with. Do share!

anucer said...

Don't worry, that's what i tough first too :P. I just had to finish and restart my computer fast. Long story short : someone was debugging a program from his computer on my graphic card and fucked the memory thus my screen being unreadable.

i am looking to give a name and personality to one leader of each part of my army, kroots, tanks, broadside, commader, infantrie, etc..

i'll put something together and share it with you, i got ambition so i'll do it! :P

i guess i remember you sometimes struggling against IG, while it's one of the army i don't really fear anymore, the Space Marines are one i do hate alot. So if you wanna share tactics hit me on my google account(i use it to post)! i would be glad.

Cobalt Cannon said...

OSH, and Tael:

You can still be an artist and use your models for gaming. The two are separate things. Both of you are artists and good ones too. If you have an army that you painted to your own liking, and put all your effort into it, then Heck yea, game with it too! You don't have to shelve it.


I think I understand what you are talking about "the culture of the folks involved." There are two types of people that call themselves artists based on my experiences with them. The artistes, and the artists. The artistes are ego driven posers that practice the pursuit to be "special," or get attention. They have taped their identity to artist as if it's a counter-culture, and they have a tendency to be snobs( putting it lightly)
Then there are the artists. These people know to be humble. They do what they do, because they love it. They also although sometimes being competitive with each other, have a humility in knowing that there is always someone better than themselves, and that they always have a lot to improve upon in what they do.

Tael, you are the person who lured me into lurking Advanced Tau Tactica so many years ago. I saw your work while doing a search for info on Tau, and I was hooked. While there I saw OSH's work as well, and I kept going back to ATT, just to see what you both had done next. I am still waiting to see that finished stealth crisis suit that you started. I never saw it with both arms on it, and it completed. The one with the urban paint scheme. Really cool!

I would file those mold lines down too and just re-apply paint over it. It would eat at my nerves if I left my mold lines behind and knew it. I suspect it might bother you as well.
- by the way,.. about your lighting optics on your Hac Tao: Brightest in the center of the light source, darker and more saturated color from the light reflected on surfaces around the light source. I would reduce the area of bright blue on the yellow surfaces, by making a darker blue to green stage in between the bright blue and yellow on the helmet. Then blend that into the yellow of the helmet. Make the tone of green in between your blue and yellow very subtle. And please don't paint Pikachoo on the side of the helmet. HAHAHA or maybe you should,.. hmmm.