Discovering "new hands"

by Peter aka Baphomet

posted by Peter aka Baphomet

Hey guys,

yesterday was one of the most important day in my painting career... during a quite normal painting day at Roman´s place we discovered a very special mistake in my painting-technique... it´s about how to use your hands while you´re painting.

Well, of course you use one hand to hold your brush and the other to hold you miniature... but have you ever thought about their positions while painting? To be honest, it´s very hard to explain (even in German) what I mean, so sorry if I´m using the strange explanations ;) I think I just get started, so hopefully you will all understand what I´m talking about...

I´m painting miniatures for about 10 years now and so I have some very deep rooted habits.. one of them was (till yesterday) to lean my forearms (and often the socket too) on the table to get stability while working with my brush on the miniature... I don´t know where this habit came from, but I always painted like this... it gave me the feeling of security and, as I said, stability while painting...

Well, yesterday I had some big problems with my miniature... as you see the saracen has a lot of cloth and so even more cuttlings/tuckings (which ois the right word?). I was getting crazy because it was not possible to reach all of them properly with the brush, no matter how often I turned the mini... after some time Roman realized the problem: with leaning my forearms on the table I lose about 70 percent of my "arm-hands´s" mobility and flexibility. So in other words, while being fixed to the table I could only use a few of all "the possible angles and dimensions" of a miniature... it felt like if I I could only paint four different angles all the time...

You can belive me, it was not very easy to realize this point, especially as Roman asked me to lean back and to use my arms/hands freely while painting and without the familiar "stable" unterground... it took a lot of time for him to convince me just to even try this, because it felt so wrong at the beginning. We started by doing some excercises in "feeling your hands": slowly chafe your hands and by this try to explore and to feel them... get a feeling for them... know how they act if you move them... I know this sounds a little bit strange and belive me, it felt like this... but after this excercise it was a lot more easier to change my hand-positions (and to trust them). With this combination I got a new feeling of painting and a complete new understanding of the miniature, I saw new dimensions... I could turn the miniature in so new different ways and help the brush to reach its destination... damned... this is so hard to explain... probably I just show you what I have done:

Step 1) put the elbow of the "miniature-holding-arm" on your chair´s armrest

Step 2) lean your arms on your belly/ribs and relax them... your hands should make contact

Step 3) lean back, take your miniature and try to turn it freely while only using your hand and your wirst... your forearm should still rest on your belly/ribs and the elbow on the armrest

Step 4) now take your brush and start testing your new flexibility while using your hands and wirst. Your forearms should still relax on your belly/ribs. Take your time and get used to the "new way"

Step 5) I realized that your have more control with your brush, if your fingers have contact while painting and the miniature (if it has a bigger socket) rests on your breast

Well... I don´t have any idea if this is something new for you... for me it surely was... I never realized how limited I was in the last years and that this little change in holding my hands makes such a difference. Of course it´s pretty strange to have this new "visions/views" of your miniature. I surely have to adept my painting-technique quite a lot... but it´s all worth the (little) needs...It feels like a dam in my mind has broken and new possibilities are flooding my brain...

On little advice: look for your breathing! I you concentrate to much, you will breath the wrong way and have no control about your brush. Just get used to the new style of using your hands (without color) and then start to think yout your breathing... breath slowly and you will relax. You will really feel it when the miniature rests on your breast and moves slowly to your natural movements... It tooks some time at the beginning but it will work out quickly... yesterday evening I could feel my heartbeat while I was hlolding the miniature.... really strange, but somehow also very calming...

I am really curious about where this new path will take me...



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