Review: Painting Class with Alfonso Giraldes in Augsburg, Germany

by Massive Voodoo

There are moments in life when everything starts to make sense. And there are moments in life when even the simplest things cause confusion. Alfonso „Banshee“ Giraldes‘ painting class which took place from 13th to 15th February 2015 in Augsburg was one of these moments – for both cases. This review tells you why…

Author of the review is Max aka the Maxican aka "Leichtmatrose".


Magnificent! And Mahogany.
But in particular magnificent!

These are the words that come to my mind when I think of Alfonso’s painting class.
Thanks to Phil, the mastermind behind both Putty&Paint and the workshop, and thanks to Roman, who again pulled his strings and organised probably the best location to host a painting class, Alfonso left his warm and cosy home in Spain to come to cold and gloomy Germany. Killing two birds with one stone, he first visited Frankfurt (or to be precise, Pfungstadt) to also give a painting class there. Check out the interesting review of it here.

Don’t mess with the gang – the Frankfurt painting class

In Frankfurt, Alfonso had the chance to gain some experience with the German sense of humour and our enthusiasm – both very much non existent from a Spanish point of view. Due to this social coldness by which he was surrounded, he got the man flu and nearly lost his voice, which is something incredible dreadful for such a talkative Spaniard like Alfonso. Having no regard for his bad constitution, some apes and their lovely ladies took Alfonso, once he had arrived in beautiful Augsburg, on a trip to the spectacular Partnach Gorge near Garmisch Partenkirchen.

Look at cheerful looking Banshee playing in the snow… 

To get some more expressions of the “Fellowship of the Paint” click it for the full length post and some really cool and cold impressions about the deep bavarian winter.

 Alfonso in the Massive Voodoo HQ, deep in the jungle ...

Alfonso, Roman and Raffa as well as Phil and Bene also used the days before the painting class for some very enjoyable painting sessions at the studio. But these days of joy and laughter were soon to end – Friday 13th was coming. And with it a whole bunch of part- and full time painting maniacs who were to be Alfonso’s students for the weekend. Even in his wildest dreams, he could not have imagined the terror he was to face… Or should I say: Even in their wildest dreams, they could not have imagined the terror they were to face. Fair enough, terror probably isn’t the right word here.

But if the Shire is your comfort zone, 
Alfonso took you to Mordor.


Welcome to Mordor!

Friday afternoon was all about colour theory.

Most of you know a lot about it, and everyone knows at least some basics, in particular since Roman teaches it in his painting classes, but on this Friday afternoon we were overwhelmed by all the information and input and thoughts and possibilities Alfonso planted into our brain. It is simply amazing what he can teach you, and most amazing is that it is not theory but actually practice. You can see that he didn’t gather the knowledge from books but gained it by experience. Believe it or not, but Alfonso mixing his colours and painting some gradients on white paper is more interesting than some other painters painting a whole miniature.

Little demo by Alfonso: Mixing skintones from yellow, red and blue and showing how to determine the temperature of colours, in particular of tertiary colours, by adding white

Mordor? No, not Mordor!!! No!!!!

Peter aka Pedro Muerte agrees:

“Well, what can I tell you about the class? To be honest, it melted my brain. A huge amount of complex colour theory and a new approach of painting. And for all of this there were only three days available.” 

 Peter's brain melting by Alfonso's sleep-walking exercises

Also Bene was particularly impressed by Alfonso’s colour theory:

“What a blast this weekend was. For me it was the right place and the right time because it showed me so many things, which were really cool insights into colour theory where I think it was the right time to help me to go on with my personal progress.” 

 Rubbing the chin means the brain is working ...

Lukas about his impressions:

“A weekend full of craziness, friendship and learning. Alfonso’s way of approaching both teaching and painting is just pure awesomeness of mind blowing. What started of as a pure lesson in colour theory turned out to be a changing experience in the way how one paints a figure.” 

I do not fear Mordor. I will just think of the Shire all the time ...

Mmmmmhhhhhh, Mordor?

“You know nothing, Jon Snow!” – this is what most of us felt on Friday evening Check out Kyle’s personal impressions of the workshop on his blog.

Saturday morning continued with more colour theory, and now it was our turn to do some exercises to actually understand it. The task was to mix a range of tonalities based on of the primary or secondary colours. Trying to create a warmer hue of blue might sound easy, but what about creating a colder one. Or even a warmer hue of orange. Madness? This is Banshee! You really have to attend one of his classes to see and understand it. A blog just cannot impart all the information the way Alfonso does.

Phil brings it to the point:

“Alfonso's class was amazing. So many new things to learn! He really knows what he is doing and can boost you to the next painting level if you let it happen and empty your cup. He teaches complex topics in a very playful and understandable way, even after hours of theory I wasn't bored, but I got really excited to paint. If you ever have the chance to attend one of his classes, do it! It's worth to travel any distance..” 


“During the weekend the amount of new stuff to learn confused me at some moments, like being lost in a city you know, but have no memory of it. But as soon as painting the workshop miniature started, the fog began to rise.” 

Indeed, you have read correctly, – and “Finally!” you may think as it already was Saturday noon – we started to actually paint the miniature. Alfonso determined for each one of us whether to create a warm or a cold overall atmosphere for the miniature. Only Phil got it wrong and, for whatever reason, painted an underwater version…

It's colourful in Mordor! And Colours are our friends!

 Ha! Found chocolate in Mordor!

Man of colourful Iron.

Painting exercises ...

Every brain is dancing in colourful circles ...

See, Mordor is beautiful ...

The miniature we painted (except for Kyle) was the 75mm Ronin from Andrea Miniatures.
Thanks to Peter Evers and his great online store who helped us to get a big number of these Ronins just in time for the class.

Cool and enjoyable miniature with an awesomely sculpted face. Unfortunately, you have to spend quite some time to remove all the mould lines, straighten the spear (again and again) and smoothen the surface. Given that we effectively only painted a little more than one day on the miniature, the results were amazing, not only that the quality was marvellous but they were also not too far from finished. This was probably because Alfonso encouraged us not to focus on blending but on atmosphere which for some of us was really hard since we were told and taught (or are telling and teaching others…) to be as smooth as possible. Also he prefers to always paint the miniature as a whole and not to paint the parts separately one after another. Alfonso showed us that a perfect result does not depend on a perfect blending, and so we didn’t spend any time on teaching technique at all. Only from time to time he gave some advise where really necessary.

I can’t say it better than Roman does:

“A wonderful weekend with a passionate painter as a teacher. Personally I was struggling since some months to find joy in miniature painting. I was sick and bored of highlighting this colour or the other and did not feel my creativity as I know it. Alfonso's class and he himself made me realize again what painting is all about. The artist soul and how he paints, how he uses colours, how he strokes with his brush. Soul. Painting. Not stupidly applying one colour after the other. Thanks to you, Alfonso.” 

 Colourful thumb is high in the sky.

But most of the time our teacher wandered around to challenge us to go further, to be more extreme. This meant that he took our miniature, took our brush and brutally painted a thick and nearly black line where he thought should be a more intense shadow. F*ck blending, f*ck accuracy, no regrets, just paint! It is his philosophy that you are never finished until you are actually finished, so don’t be afraid of making mistakes during the process because there are no mistakes that you cannot resolve and it is more important to first achieve the desired atmosphere and effect before tweaking the blending. We learned this lesson the hard way, but we all learned it.

 They even tell jokes in Mordor!

The Shire seems to be a darker place at all than Mordor!!


"Alfonso has a really fantastic way of teaching color theory in an understandable, emotional, interesting way that I have never heard of before. He is on fire when talking about art, colors, light and shadow and if you don't close your ears and eyes, it quickly kindles your imagination.
After the workshop I feel like I am painting again instead of applying color!"

Peter seems to somehow romanticise Alfonso’s way of teaching a bit:

“Alfonso was an awesome teacher and took his time to explain everything again and again if necessary.” 


“The workshop gave me back something I lost over the last months but couldn´t really define what it was: feeling free while painting and being more brave about new experiments and to fail - and to learn from those fails. Don´t get me wrong, I also learned many things how to prevent fails, but the fails I did helped me to understand better how to approach things right and to settle down the new gained knowledge. It was also really cool to experience Alfonso´s passion for miniatures and art which helped me waking up my own passion for this again and really made me want to paint, sculpt and draw again.” 

At the end of the weekend, on Sunday evening, Alfonso sat down to give another painting demonstration, this time actually on a miniature, which was his Anonymous bust (a simple but very cool sculpt). In a little over an hour he created a spectacular version with more different tonalities, effects and contrasts than others use in a whole diorama. After a weekend struggling to understand and to implement Alfonso’s theory, he gave you an impression of what you can achieve if you embark on his way and understanding of miniature painting.

In a little over an hour ...

Yes, really... that is how painting works.

Peter got a boost of motivation:

 “Just a few days after the class I still feel the positive mood when I look at my painting table. I think Alfonso´s way of painting and his philosophy brought me back from a deep valley of missing motivation. So, I can only say: Thanks a lot Alfonso!” 


“All in all I just can describe it a as mind blowing weekend with some of the most nuts and best guys I know. And on top of that, like Roman and Peter, I gave me back so much motivation to paint and see it as the one thing it started for me - a balance to my day-to-day job, relaxing and mind calming.” 

Bene joins in:

“So, after all, I just can say a big thank you to Alfonso for this cool class, sharing your knowledge with us and bringing back motivation to me. For me, it was definitely one of the best classes I have been to so far and I can really recommend to visit this workshop if you have the chance to do so.” 

Phil with the (almost) final words:

“Alfonso is a really cool guy and you will get a great comedy show as a bonus. I never laughed and learned that much at the same time. Thank you Alfonso. Also thank you Raffa and Roman (plus ladies) for a wonderful time with you. It's always sad to leave Augsburg.” 

 A proud teacher.

“But what about Mahogany?” you might wonder.
Simply ask Alfonso at one of his painting classes ;)


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