Kong Fu & Kong's WIP thoughts - February

by Roman aka jar


some of you - the readers of Massive Voodoo - might know that MV started as a kind of diary for me. About work, about life and everything else. Posts with the label "Kong Fu" is where I find space to speak about personal stuff that is on my mind, heart and soul. It's been a while since the last serious Kong Fu and it helped me in the past to get rid of things that occoupied my mind. I think it is time to speak up now. I was wandering in the dark long enough and I feel the light telling me slowly the way to a better direction. That is why I'll write that Kong Fu.
Why? Let's find out.

These thoughts are just mine, Roman's. They are very personal. Don't joke on them.
No other MV member is speaking with these words right here. Just me. THIS is definatly too long to read and I am not sure if anyone will do until the end. There is no summary in the end as you have to find reason for yourself to read it and maybe find your own summary in the end.

Something is fighting inside  me since a little while. 

Small annoying demons without a face pulling on my beard and bringing mind pain since a little while. I am exhausted. Why? Because I had a great and creative miniature painting year 2014.
Because I wrote so many blogposts in 2014 concerning the great success of last years "MV's year of the painter", other blogposts, 5th year celebration of Massive Voodoo and many more things concerning the blog, had great painting classes with great students in 2014. Somehow 2014 felt like a year with many goals achieved, earned because of hard work. Day by day, but I also learned to find more space for myself, for my free time. I even lost weight by a diet and discipline and training. I am not able to travel to every contest outthere, I did go to to some and enjoyed them and learned to spent my free weekends away from my miniature work. 2014 felt like riding the waves.

2014 was a great year, but 2015 started somehow totally different. Why?

After the Monte San Savino Show 2014 I felt that my power is not endless. In retroperspective I was at a turning point after the show. My creative energies were emptied. I felt like a wanderer in a desert with no flowers there. I still put the rare energies I could find into bringing daily updates to the jungle blog, finishing the year of the painter with grace and painting some models, doing a cool class in the netherlands with great students, but my way of painting changed. Why?

I missed the flow I have during the projects I love to paint. Miniature painting is my daily work, but last year it did not feel like work. I was so enthusastic, powerful and strong and everything felt easy and great. Best work I ever had, but 2015 did not let me start my engine properly. 2014 was like working with colours without thinking about how to apply this or that colour or how to achieve the perfect blending while painting a miniature project. I had some nice blendings - simply a colour transition from A to Z - here and there, but never focused on achiving them. I just did paint.  

This word is making miniature painters sick from the inside all around the globe. If you do not achieve a proper blending your miniatures are not worthy - somehow this crawled in my mind and I tried to paint clean and sober in the end of 2014. I had no fun at all. I felt like I lost my spirit.

Then Christmas time arrived and I said to myself: "Roman, you just need some time off from work! Why not do some holidays until new year!" Yeah, great idea, but I fell into a deep hole and for the first time ever in my life I am able to say I felt the meaning of the word "depression". I had no idea what was happening to me. I know about my ups and downs from the past, but a little rest and looking inside myself always helped me to get up again after some time of battery recharging.
But this time was different: I was scared of life, future, the actual moment, losing my comfort zone, which I actually did not have during these days. I felt really bad and had no idea why. After some talks with friends I got the tip out of my family to check my Vitamin D3 level at a doctor. This could be a reason for feeling so unable to handle fear or problems I was facing. So I did. Why? Because it just felt good to have any idea to a solution on what is going on.

Doctor's blood check brought the result. My Vitamin D3 level was so ridicilous low. I took my medicine and felt better straight away. Able to handle problems, get a grip on things I wanted to know and wanted to change. So far, so good. To those of you who do not know about Vitamin D3: It is a Vitamin you gain mainly from being in the sun and somehow I forgot about that in the second half of 2014. It ain't all about Vitamin D3, do not get me wrong here, but pushing that level up helped me to get back on track at least during daily life and helped me to work on other issues.

Ok, having solved some issues for myself meanwhile I was still struggling to find my creativity back and still am. Where has my muse gone? I am interested in finding some new music for myself but do nothing for it. Inside something is screaming for a change, but there is no direction available, at least that is how it seems. I am not interested in miniature news at all. Way too many miniatures on the market and my drawers are still packed with stuff I once thought to be interested in painting them up. No I am not. Not right now. Instead of riding the waves I felt like dying on my surfboard surrounded by sharks and well I gained weight again because of the lack of healthy discipline in the final months of 2014.

Time to find myself again, eh?

Time to look inside myself and find out what I am struggling with. Why I do not feel the creative freedom I seek?

Facebook is making me ill or mad or whatever you might call that. No offence at all. I mean on the one hand the quick connection to all your friends and fellow painters on facebook is great, but on the other hand it takes way too much time to see it all if you have over 1700+ facebook friends. I can not handle it. When I open up facebook for me it feels like somebody is pressing the toilet flush and holding the button. Way too much information rushing by. Hard to get a hold on something and if you want to check back with something you saw a moment before you get lost in the simple size of it. I am not able to answer all my facebook mails anymore. I try to tell everybody that they should contact me via mail as I am much more precise and accourate there. Facebook. I open it up to link a blogpost of MV to it, then I check other people's updates and flush ... my mind is occoupied with that idea, this colour scheme, that cool project, that advertisment, this super-sale, this great information, this blabla here, this comment there, this thumbs up, this wtf and more and more and more and more. Just too much. I think even if my brain says "No, do not take this information in too deep" I am a person who takes stuff I see during my trip in the facebook-world longer as expected inside myself, without knowing it. It distracts me subconsciously. I am feeling bad if I am not able to respond like others or thumb up here and there. Subconsciously it is there and it is driving me mad. I have to put in some distance between the health of my soul/brain and facebook. Still, no offence to anyone. I mean, some might understand what I mean with my talk about facebook, because they feel the same. This might be a reason I can work on. Doing less facebook or using it with more discipline, more focus. Deja vú.

Expectations others might have on me after this beautiful year of 2014, with so many output on the Massive Voodoo blog, with so many miniatures painted. It feels I am not able to live up to these expectations if I am always confronted by them. Expectations I put on myself because I think others have them on me. About quality, about style, about colour, about much more. I have to get rid of that.

Well, I wasn't able to spent much time in the studio with painting miniatures. If the muse is just not there every colour turns grey and the time in the studio I felt my heart aching. Why? I have no idea. So I spent some time at home. Working on Emails, writing on a book, solving issues, pushing other things forward, but not my painting. When I was painting I was painting like a robot. I mean for me it is like riding a bycicle. Painting everyday since several years leads you to that point, but I felt like a robot, my soul was not there. I was unhappy with every brushstroke I've done. Not that anyone else could see that, but I could. There was no soul in it. Just a robot. My brushes went dry. Sharks ate my muse and pooped her out all over the oceans. She seemed lost. 

My painting felt empty for me in those months. My main focus seemed to be on trying to achieve nice blendings and I was losing the way I used to paint. The fun in throwing colours on a canvas.

Then we had the very cool painting class with Alfonso Giraldes. A fellow painter who told me once again what painting truely means. Having fun. Not about thinking too much in terms of quality of a paintjob, as every paintjob done with joy, heart and fun will turn out beautiful. My eyes start to see the beauty of every day colours again. I can not express how thankful I am to him to tell this truth to me while I was wandering in the dark.

On the other hand Alfonso also messed up my way of painting on the safe side. His brutal way of throwing colour is awesome and reminds me a lot of what I am doing when I am in the middle of painting without thinking, but I do not want to paint exactly like Alfonso, so I am not trying to redo what he does. I am taking his input to let it influance my output. When I am in the middle of painting with just my soul guiding the brush. I am confused now. My paintwork is confused now and I enjoy it. I am able to learn about myself once again, to find out with fresh energies what painting and colours mean for me and how I want to transport them on my canvas, let it be in drawings, in paintings, or on miniatures. All canvas, all together.

Well, where does all this talk lead me?
I have no idea. What I know is that I have to paint to find my direction. That is why I am more often in the studio, at my painting table with brush in hand. To find my soul again. Eliminating the high pressure I put on myself by the high expections others might wait for from my side. Failing. Painting. Learning. Having fun. Enjoy. I am on this road and I start to enjoy it once again.

One thing I feel at the moment is that I am not able to do many photos for articles on the blog to explain something I do as I do not know myself. I studying my painting for myself and I can not tell you what I do. Just an example: I tried to take a photo of how I start with this particular skintone:

Well, easy job, eh? Usually I would start to tell you: I did start with painting the shadows of the skin with the colour A, then used the colour B in that mix and then went for the highlights to achieve blabla... well, this first photo was the only photo I took because I was painting without thinking. I just did and the result was just a self study for me and used for some mad progress explanations during a private coaching to mainly explain that there is nothing you can do wrong when you paint. I hope you learned that lesson, Jens? :D

The result looked like this and I had no expextations on quality or blendings or whatsoever. I just wanted to paint and enjoyed it, but I have no idea on how to find the energies nor the right words to explain the readers of MV - you - what I exactly did there:

I was just painting and it felt good. I wasn't painting like that since a while and I am out of training I'd say because of the lack of painting in the past months. Training on how to move the brush, training to feel the right colour to use here and there and so on.

I am just painting at the moment. Throwing the colour that I want to the place I want it to be. This is rough work and I like my rough work more at the moment instead of millions of minutes invested in a clean blended area. Another Roman bust and well, I can not read any Ancient Roman history novels anymore. I am feed up by them. I read so many in 2014 and it was fine, but I am totally going away from reading historical novels at the moment. Finding different books, unusual books with topics I never did read before is what I am seeking at the moment. I need a change and that change needs is conquering its space.

I recently finished Dschingis Cow. A very old conversion work I started several years ago and I finishded it. There are no final photos yet and I am in no hurry to make them, but what I want to explain is with the following photo how I just decided to repaint the overall athmosphere once again and then push forward. On the left you can see a photo of the latest progress, on the right a photo close to the finishing moment. I just said to myself: Finish him, even I see thousand of spots which are not finished in my eyes. It's about expectations that kept me from finishing him. I mean the sculpting work I did back then is no joy to paint at all. It looks cool, but it lacks in concept to find painting joy. So why fight to paint him up in high end quality I thought to myself, just finish him with joy and keep going on to another miniature. I am not saying sorry about the photo quality, but well they are done with the mobile camera. Weird photos. Better ones will follow later on.

I also work on two comissions at the moment. One restauration of a broken figure and the other goal I have is to finish the project of the "Chimera". This is a WIP photo, before I worked on it in front of Alfonso's class. Before the colour storm and right now it looks cool for me but I am looking forward to throw some more colours on that base.

So, really now Roman - where does this blabla lead to?
I am finding my way back to painting and I am confused. I stop keep trying to fullfil expectations I expect others have of me. I am not able to repeat the year of the painter that 2014 has been. I am not able to write so many articles right now. I have to write less on the blog at the moment as I am in urgent need to find myself in my painting or I am going mad and therefore I have to paddle on my surfboard to find my wave to surf on. I have to panic those sharks to get rid of them and collect all that swimming poo. Maybe I can combine the last two.

Happy Painting to you all!

Inner Life

by Massive Voodoo

by Davide Rapazzini and Lucia Bulgheroni. (2014)


by Massive Voodoo

The Miniature friends of Alfa Model Club present the EUROMA Show in Rome, Italy again this year. A show with a big tradition, organised by a club of miniature friends with a long history. You can find more information about the show on their webpage.

Massive Voodoo is also there, but not in person.
We sponsored one signed MV Figure-Art Artbooks as a special prize.

If you are around Rome these days, check in!

Review: Private Coaching with Andreas

by Massive Voodoo

Good Morning Jungle Painters,

in the end of 2014 we had another private coaching with Andreas.
We already knew Andreas from the painting class in Erlangen, Germany.
He wrote to us up front the coaching to plan on his personal goal for this coaching session and we did meet up in our studio in Augsburg to dive deep into his topic to push him forward in his personal miniature painter level.

Well, Andreas took his time to write some words about the two day coaching, but you know sometimes life is busy and there is no need to apologize. Thank you for your words, Andreas we also enjoyed the great two days with you.

"Hello Junglereaders, 
I have to apologize for the late review, big sry guys! I attended to the private coaching in Dec 14 and now I finally finished the mini and took some pictures. It was important to me to show you these photos So, let's talk about the coaching. 

First to say, it was amazing to see the guys again after the beginner class in Erlangen in 2013. Since then I had the private coaching in my mind, tried to practice with some minis by my own at home and then I was very excited that I got the last spot in 2014 for private lessons. Like a self made pre-Christmas gift I arrived Tuesday in the morning cause I got only about two hours to drive to Augsburg from my hometown and was a bit early. Roman arrived at the studio at the same time and so we took a nice breakfast break and talked about my minis I brought with me as a reference to my "state of knowledge". Easy beginning.

Andreas' Miniatures ...

... and a cool gift he brought for the jungle.

My personal goal for the class was to improve painting metallics and maybe go for advanced light situations if there is enough time. In the conversation Roman and Raffa found out that the metallics are quite ok but I had a problem way earlier in my projects. It's about planing my minis and planing color areas.

Well yes, I haven't planed areas before... on no mini so far. I was painting minis just by intuition and doing color by color which lead me sometimes to good results or to dead-end roads without an idea to go further and then I lost my joy with it. This happened fortunately not that often but sometimes. 

Second issue was that I started my minis to colorful. With this in mind, we couldn't use the mini I took as a WIP to finish during the coaching. Options were to prime it again or to do an new one and we choose to do the tribe Chief. Roman haven't painted him before, too. At first sight we thought it threw us back in the timeline but it was perfect to get an idea about the planing aspect. First time in my painting live Roman "forced" (sorry for this word) me to make a sketch of the mini... Well not one of my strong abilities.

Does he look forced?

I have to say, it gave me so much! Thanks mate to push me out of the comfort zone After that we startet airbrushing. I have a bit of knowledge about airbrushing so this step was relatively easy. Little side note: Roman wanted to see my progress and Raffa told him that he "hears" from my spraying style that it is ok, all of us laught really hard ;)

Generally speaking the chemistry and atmosphere in these two days was perfect, I had the feeling despite we met the second time ever we are on the same wavelength and know us for much longer time! Really good jokes, nice chats and easy listening to good music everybody enjoyed while painting as mad Thanks guys for this!!! 

But back to topic: After airbrushing the skin we started to bring the base colors with the brush to the different materials like the leather strap and the helmet. After this step we did the eyes and started with the shadows and the highlights. Highlights shadows shadows highlight... Like Roman tells in every step by step at the end of day one after 12h of intense painting and learning we left the studio and I went to the hotel. 
Unfortunately there are two hotels in Augsburg with the same name and I (how should it else be) took the wrong one so I had to go another 15 mins by car straight trough the city at 11 pm.

Early starts

In the morning of day two we went on with the face, pushed harder on the details and it felt like time flies while finding new details by new details! After noon we started with the metals, also many things to learn. Sadly I think I forgot many things right now because approximately 18h of intense brain filling since then took its toll. 

Second day was also 10h of painting and learning and so in total it's about 22h of pure painting joy! After the coaching I started to improve my sketching skills and I think I'm on a good way. My sketchbook is always with me ...

Let's see what it will look like when I start painting the mini.

Finally I have to say it was an intense, nearly perfect two day information "power fueling" of my brain and worth every euro. If it's possible I maybe take another two day brainwash ( ) this year after some practice at home. Thank you guys for the two days and hope we will meet again soon. Great pleasure to learn from you! Many greetings to the jungle and I hope it was not to bad to read the wall of text.


But now here are the promised pictures of my Tribe Chief Morrow - hope you'll enjoy and leave a comment: 

Keep on happy painting!


by Massive Voodoo

"You grow up the day you have the first real laugh at yourself."

Ethel Barrymore

WIPs of the Month - February

by Peter aka Baphomet

Hey dear jungle readers,

it´s middle of February and I wanted to share with you my actual pieces I´m working on. To be honest I was not very diligent in the last two months. Thanks to my job and some stupid family business my mind was occupied and distracted. I learnt in the last years that it´s better to stay away from the painting table if I´m not in the best mood. I can´t relax fully and things get even worse when something unexpected happens during painting (which I´m the expert in :-D ). So, I focused on playing computer and trying to get things settled.

Well, last weekend I joined a class in Augsburg, hold by Alfonso Giraldes aka Banshee. I won´t tell you too much about the class as there is already a review in preparation. But I can tell you that it brought me back to my painting table.

So, what I´m actually working on? At the moment I focus on the workshop miniature we started painting during the class. It´s the Ronin from Andreas Miniatures in 75mm. A very nice mini with not too much detail. Perfect for experimenting :-)

You will notice that here is a big difference to my usual painting style: I used intense colors! :-D This is something I was forced to do during the class. But to say it right here: I like it!

The basic concept of the mini was a mainly warm color scheme with quite a simple palette (redish, yellowish and blue colors). It´s very interesting to see the mini develop slowly. I still struggle a bit to manage the new way Alfonso showed us, but the actual result is promising in my opinion. Of course it still needs some more defining and a nice finish, but I won´t focus on it too much. At the moment I think about finishing the mini on the weekend and start/continue a new project. In my opinion, it´s not necessary to push the Ronin to perfection. I rather want to have him in the cabinet to get inspiration and have a look at the basic technique.

So what will be the next step? At the moment I think about using the things I have learned during the class on the bust from Latorre I started two months ago. Here is a picture of the recent status:

Compared with the picture from last month there have been some small changes, mainly in the face. But I somehow lost my track. It´s time for some new spirit ;-)

We will see how everything will develop until next month! As usual feel free to comment below. I`m curious about your thoughts and questions.


Partnach Gorge, Garmisch-Partenkirchen

by Massive Voodoo

Hey Jungle Painters,

Last week the Massive Voodoo HQ was visited by Alfonso Giraldes aka Banshee.
Alfonso was holding a class in Frankfurt, Germany and then a class in Augsburg, Germany.

You will read more about the class itself in the near future, but for now we want to show you some impressions about a little trip we've made into the Alps. More specific we went to the Partnach Gorge, close to Garmisch-Partenkirchen to give Alfonso a real reason to freeze.

Photos done by Phil, Bene and Roman.
We hope you enjoy our impressions. Beware it is getting cold.


This guide is for simple snow, i would recommand the advanced technique explained next.
Easy and cheap way of creating realistic looking snow on your base.

Making masterclass snow
A guide that brings you into detailed masterclass use of snow.
This article shows you how you can do icicles.