Concepts in Painting Miniatures

by Alex Castro

“As an artist you fill yourself up with knowledge and beautiful things and then you spill it all out in a creative effort. If you are empty, you create nothing! For the very essence of art is inspiration and exhalation in nature.” This is what my art teacher would often say to me.

In this section, I intend to submit to my reader’s concepts that at first may sound somewhat strange and different, but in my opinion are the foundation of a process that elevates miniature painting from a craft to an art form. These concepts provide the modeler with a solid foundation as well as deepen the understanding of this art form. They make it crystal clear that many of yesterday’s techniques and out-dated paradigms must be replaced with fresh and new ones.

Only by establishing a system of concepts, rules and techniques that work universally can we evolve miniature figure painting from a loved hobby and craft into a serious and true art form. Although the principles that I will outline have no specific order and sound like they are separate, there is in fact a connection between them. I would like my readers to appreciate these concepts as a whole and their relevancy will become apparent.

Throughout my art career, I have observed universal principles that have worked for me in the traditional art form. These principles have been modified and applied to accommodate the unique nature of the miniatures. Case in point, you can’t have an opera tenor singer without years of training and understanding the concepts such as scales, tone and pitch in general!

The painting of miniatures is a mental exercise. This exercise must be carried out with a certain amount of knowledge and energy—with what I call the behind the scene core concepts to understanding the process. This mind set has to occur between the artist and the miniature. Ultimately, the finished miniature is a composite of the modeler’s skills, experience, intellect and talent. If Merlin the Magician was around today, he would probably say that you are endowing the piece with your mental energies and those energies create a sympathetic response from the miniature causing the piece to vibrate and come to life. The more you can impart your intellect, knowledge, research and mental energies, the more life-like and realistic the figure will resonate.

During the course of this book, you will become aware of how these principles contribute to a well-painted figure and how essential they are to creating a realistic one. As you see the development of the work, you will appreciate their contribution. Once again, there is no specific order, but each is important.

My master would often say, “Don’t try to create your art, but give birth to it”.

He believed that the word create implied grafting or adding on, whereas the word birth was an internal experience leading to an external one, like the difference between an inanimate static object and a real-life growing object evolving from within.

On an ending note, these concepts are not necessary to follow the painting examples in this book; however, the techniques by themselves would be superficial.

Written by Alex Castro (c)

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

LUIS CORUJO January 21, 2008 at 5:33 am

hola Alex me encanta tu trabajo,se que tienes un libro de pintura es posible conseguirlo,soy de barcelona,es un gran placermuchisimas gracias un abrazo

LUIS CORUJO January 21, 2008 at 5:38 am

hola Alex me encanta tu trabajo es fascinante se que tienes un libro de pintura,es posible conseguirlo soy de barcelona,es un gran placer,muchisimas gracias y un abrazo

Alex Castro May 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Luis me perdone por la respuesta tardía pero por favor, pedirle que sea mi amigo en Facebook gozaría de contar con usted como un amigo …

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