Sunday, 2 March 2008
Its a flat world after all
Time to move on from painting, I think, before some of my gentle readers do themselves a mischief. But before I do I would like to round up a few of the ideas that have presented over the last week.
First off if anyone thinks the purpose of these posts has been to tell people how they should be doing it, I have missed the mark. I am telling you how I do it, I am quite prepared to believe that you can do it better. All that I really would like to see is a broadening of the discussion, so that the average painter no longer has to feel it necessary to apologise for what they produce. In which spirit thanks to Glynis and Gary who say that are using Red Oxide undercoat from the garage to provide a surface that gives depth and lustre to acrylics. I have a tin somewhere and will definitely try this as an undercoat for horses.
As you can see from the pictures I put up in my last post the effects gained from the different paint and ink finishes varies, some good some, some not so. However what is becoming clear is that there a real variance between what works on the table and what works in a photograph. Murdock gives a good illustration of the way inks can glow in a photo:
I found that the Austrians finished in white undercoat and ink wash look very odd on the post but fine in real life, while the rather scruffy Old Glory Prussian looks far better than he does on the table. Black undercoating really is essential for a figure that is to be photographed under bright light.
This got me thinking, the three shade system has been around for many years, it is virtually identical to the way the old masters of the 30mm flat used to paint their figures. Because they were two dimensional all the folds and shadows had to be painted in, and a palette of saturated colour gave life to the little slips of metal. Of course all this ended when the round figure came in, when you handed it around or looked at it on the table you could see the way the light made shadows and highlights, subtle effects and colours could be appreciated by the eye.
But a photo is a flat image, it is dead and cannot show the way light reflects and moves. Is this the driving force that has changed painting styles and altered figure design? Simply the wish to make the figure look good on the printed page. Why not, how many of us see these pieces in the flesh? The image is everything whether advertising a new range of figures or simply making an eye catching illustration.
Has the hobby moved so much that image is more important than the reality of a game in ones back room or the local club?
Sorry about the quality of the illustrations, can you believe I simply couldn't find a really good shot of a single flat?
And now enough of painting, back to Flanders.