Step by Step: Chimera vs. Bellerophon, part 2

by Massive Voodoo

Heyho Jungle,

step by step - part two of this monster project by Roman.
This article will be seperated in two parts as posting it in one load it would just make the blog and Roman's brain explode. Maybe yours too. If you missed the first part you can find it here!

Now let yourself carry away by Roman as he takes over.



Welcome back to part two of this step by step. 
You can not imagine how it feels to write these lines. This project was standing in my WIP cabinet for more than four years now. As too much freedom in decisions of this project made it hard for me to finish it. Now writing these lines feels like truely finding freedom again.

Did I tell you that this song (linked above) is the favourite song of one of my cats, Keiko. She always gets deeply relaxed while this song is playing - cats are just so great:

Into the Progress again
Well, the last step in part one was starting the conversion of Bellerophon on winged and brave Pegasus. After this was done a little time passed once again. I told you that the project went over several years and I am not sure why it took me as long as it took me. Maybe because everything happens just as it should happen? Who knows ...

What I knew when I went back to the project once again: I did not like the red Chimera anymore!
Great. So I started to repaint her from the top to the bottom. The early start can be seen here:

After putting some more work and hours in the beast:

This left me much more satisfied when I did place her on the base, that I have repainted so often already.  Well, at this point I took a break again. Another one.

In my dreams this picture haunted me ... regularly! Roooarrr!!

Confusion makes room for focus
Then my comissioner - the great guy I told you of, the guy with all the time in the world and ordering this picture/painting/three dimensional canvas of mine, leaving me all the freedom of the world -  told me that he would come to Europe in the end of 2015. As he is coming from the US, he was ready for a travel time through Europe and asked me if he could pick up the piece.

My motivational flame roared again and I was happy to seek this oppourtunity, handing him over this piece in person, shaking his hand, saying thank you for his patience and trust in me. The thought of not shipping the project to the US one day left me also very happy.

Back at the table I looked at my actual progress. Well, there is still a lot to do in front of me.

This is creating a diorama, not a single miniature.
I made up my mind, cleared it from all that past I had with this project. Cleared it from all those ups and downs, cleared my memory and looked at what I got there. A big painting, a big canvas, ready to be finished. I did not think about that one stone on the left of the base and the edge highlights I should paint to him - I focuses on the overall picture. The canvas.

I sat down and threw some watered greenish pigments to the base first to get back into it. Why not should be an ancient temple more dusty and mystical.  Still there are so many little details and such and until today I do not know why I put them on that one base. Maybe because I love basing, maybe this scene would not work with a smaller base.

I took the airbrush and sprayed several thin glaze of blueish green to the base and its elements to draw back together my overall picture. I decided to keep the lower area truely dark as the focus should draw the viewers eye to the epic fight going on on top of the base.

Athmosphere set.

Still such a big project can be very confusing. There are so many elements that scream at you for attention. A moment of clarity told me to work on the things I do not like at the moment. After checking for the Chimera's firm stand on all four feet I quickly realized that the base is missing some essential stones to see the beast stand plain and firm.

So I went over to my crate of stones, picked some, sprayed them black and placed them where they were needed with superglue. Of course I am planning to paint them.

While I did the part with the black stones I had the urge to get back control of that huge base. I liked the black dots of the additional stones. They made parts of the base look evil in my eyes. I remembered back to my shy start with the dark, black climbing plants and decided to go for some more. Much more.

Preparation for priming.

Applying them to the base with time and superglue. In the end I placed six bars like above to the base. It helped me to focus my eyes to the action going on. It helped me to see what I wanted to see, it helped me to hide what I did not want to see, it helped me to make the base even darker in its athmosphere and the place of the duel more evil.

To stay mentally healthy through all these climbing plants I decided to paint on the base here and there.  Also painted the additional stones of course. This part of the process kept me very focused. Plants, painting, airbrushing ... all went hand in hand to complete the final athmosphere of the base.

Paint your plinth black once in a while ... it helps to focus.

After this part was done. I checked back on the things on my to do list. Looking at my overall picture I was happy thus far, but my main duelists still needed attention.

I took the Chimera and painted the things I wanted to have in more contrast, more detail and more focus. In between those days a very good friend of mine helped me to bring back energies by cooking for me and inviting me over.

Mjam! Mjam!

Then it was painting time of Bellerophon himself. Increasing the contrast of the whites, but still keeping the athmospheric color of the base back in mind.

The horse was a lot of fun to paint, the rider too, but the wings with all those little highlights you can not even see on the following photo - not. I also paid final attention to the riders skin and armoury.

The finish line is close, 
at least closer as it ever was before, but still there are things to do. What I have done to finish it up is:

- After painting the duelists up I brought them into the picture, glued them to the base

- I took my time to paint a little more on the base, placed my attention and my brushtip to good visible columns, stones, details.

- Did the same to the Chimera. Checked for areas that I was unhappy with and paid attention to them

- Same for Bellerophon on Pegasus. I decided to sculpt a cloak for Bellerophon. Epic Ancient Heros should wear a cload in my imagination. I did this with the same technique that was used to build up this flag out of magic sculp.

- After painting the plinth black for the last time I created a socket label for the project

I sat down to do proper photos of this huge diorama then. 

And placed it back in the cabinet. 
This time finished. A strange moment. Let me explain to you why in my next words.

and why a pony with no wings ain't Pegasus!
In fact I have no idea why this project took me several years. I always say everything happens with a reason and maybe it did in this case too. I think I took the project very personal from the beginning. Like I told you I am a big fan of ancient mythology and I was happy to accept this comission.

I listened to my heart to decide the size of this project, the epic base, the monster and hero I did choose. My heart did not tell me wrong. The only problem were my pauses on working on the project. They were needed anyhow. If I pushed on through the project would not be the same like it would be now. You rather would see a red Chimera fighting on a blue planet. I learned many things about myself during this project. I used to say that every project has his right moment to be called finished and well I still stick to that sentence, but I had a hard time finishing this one. No, that is wrong to, it was that hard, I had my fun in the end, but arriving at this point took a long time.

During the last years I often thought: Maybe that base is just to big to paint it. I often found myself overwhelmed with the amount of details I have added to this scene to complete my imagination. And I was working on it unfocused. I forced to push all parts to it to the same level of painting to finish it off all together. This works well for me in smaller pieces. I am not sure if many of you ever did such a base/project in this size? If so you will understand what I mean.

During the last years my painting style evolved and as I always learn new things the project went through many stages of my own experience ladder. During the last years I learned a lot about high end quality display competition painting and what people like to see. All good if it comes to a bust or a single miniature or even a diorama with two models playing hide and seek, but I just realized I can not go the same ways I do on a single miniature with small base on this one. Won't work. Not in this lifetime. Not in this project. For sure I see areas where I could add another highlight on an edge, for sure I see what I still could do to fullfil the miniature painter community's expectations of a perfect blended miniature, but well, this is what kept me from finishing this piece.

What helped me most was to focus again on the initial freedom my comissioner gave to me: He wants a three dimensional canvas painting of this epic ancient duel. Made by me. In my style. My way. No other way. So I sat down and painted it.
And in the end I can say I like it, finally:

I will soon have more final photos ready for the blog, Putty&Paint and CMON, but why hurry now?

Now what is left for me to do is building up a transport box and take it to Monte to give it to the person it belongs, the one who made me create it!

Thank you!

Keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes


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