After a few years attending a lot of classes with Roman and other teachers, I finally felt the time might be right to work on more specific issues of my painting and book a private coaching with Roman last year. We talked about it during one of his beginner classes in spring and then tried to find a date. Due things unforeseen however, it took me much longer than anticipated to find a date I was available on and we ended up setting a date for mid-december 2017. In hindsight, that was probably the best that could have happened.
In the weeks leading up to the date, Roman popped the question he always asks his students:
What the coaching should be about.
I had spent a good time of the year thinking about different aspects I wanted to improve in: textures, maybe busts or bases, but in the end the time I spent painting last year (in a lot of unfinished projects, but hey…) paid off and I realized that improving my technique in a certain area wasn’t high on my agenda any more. Not because I was that good now, but because I started to get a feeling for what I want to do with my painting. So I set Roman a task I hoped he would find challenging and that would help me grow:
I wanted to paint emotions.
Of course I had some preconceptions about how he might tackle the topic, but he ended up surprising me quite a bit…
When the date finally arrived, I packed lightly: Just my brushes, two airbrushes, a miniature handle, a notebook and the finished projects of last year. Then I took on the road to Augsburg. Since the private coachings always happen on weekdays and start early in the morning, I figured it best to arrive a day early and relax on the way down.
When I arrived at the studio, around 10 in the morning, I was well rested, fed and ready to take on the world – of painting. The view over the Exerzierplatz (Paradeplace) where the Studio is located was already breathtaking and I knew this would be great.
Roman welcomed me to the studio an immediately made me feel at home. It was really cool, in hallway before the actual studio where hundreds of pictures on the wall, among them photos of (all`?) his previous classes and coachings. It’s a painters paradise – see several articles on massivevoodoo.com to get an idea. Roman had set up a workplace for me, so I could get into the action whenever we would be ready.
A few days before the coaching, I had sent Roman an email, if we could maybe talk about some of my recent projects to discuss where I was right now in my development as a painter and maybe give me some pointers, how to improve myself working on weaknesses. That what we did for the first few hours of the coaching, as a warm-up you could say.
We discussed in Detail all non-play pieces I had painted in the last year and Roman showed me, how I can improve myself, just relying on my instincts about the strengths and weaknesses of the individual projects. In the end, we ended up taking the most recent one – a halfling sniper bust from a Warhammer 40k board game – and he showed me some simple ways to increase the depth and detail in about an hour or so in order to get a really polished result.
Then we had a short lunchbreak – Roman had brought some delicious snack from secret bakery in the heart of Augsburg – Leberwurstbrezen! – its like a Butterbrezen but with Leberwurst and pickles (sorry all sole-english-speakers – its really hard to find a fitting word for proper Leberwurst). And after that, the ride started.
Roman had prepared some books and samples and we started to talk about the representation of emotions in art. We did some exercises, assigning emotions to colors and from there, we started exploring brush strokes as a way to express feelings as well.
Analysing how the emotion with which the brush is used influences the result was quite enlightening. After the exercises we took to the actual projects, a bust sculpted by Raffa – Lazlo – courtesy of FeR-Miniatures. We looked at the bust and decided, each of us would try and paint a different emotion – Roman ended up with WRATH and for me, cold calculating bastard that I am, I felt in the mood for a cold, deliberate rage.
We used the things learned before about the dynamics of different brush-strokes to start sketching a grisaille on the bust, a concept in black and white by applying layers over layers in thin, diluted white. I put myself into the emotion I tried to convey and analysed where and how the emotion felt and then put the focus on that point on the bust.
The hours flew by and eventually it became time for dinner and more pleasant conversation and rounding out the day. I have to say that I really enjoyed talking with Roman, sometimes maybe chatting to much, but by now I know that that is part of how I paint. Sometimes new ideas need to go on the backburner of the brain in order to slowly simmer until they are ready to be used. And that time is easily bridged by idle chat.
On day 2, I continued with the grisaille,
I believe I started to make Roman a bit nervous, as he hadn’t considered this the main project before we started. The original idea was a quick sketch and then to start with the real project. But I think sometimes we do our best work improvising and that’s exactly what happened. We both ended up working a bit more on the sketch and finally coloring the sketch with the airbrush. After that, the detailing and polishing practiced on the day before began.
When it came to taking final pictures, I had another moment of enlightenment when Roman showed and explained their photo-setup to me (I believe there will be an article on that soon on massivevoodoo.com) and we took pictures of all the results.
Now that the programmatic part of the coaching has been described,
I really want to take the time going into the soft part: Roman was an amazing host, he really made me feel at home and he provided very deep and interesting conversations over those two days. Not only did I learn a lot about painting, but I also had great conversations on art, developing different worldviews as we grow older and all the other things that make a good time amazing.
Also thank you for introducing me to Romano – Köpenick is best!
I had a great time, learned a lot and I would and likely will repeat that, once I have digested and internalized all I learned during those two days. And since I know, prices of classes are often a topic for those interested and many wonder if it’s worth their while: The private coaching with Roman is not cheap. I think it takes a certain state of development in your personal voyage as a painter to benefit from a personal coaching in a way that sets it apart from lets say, a beginners or advanced class. But if you are at that point – it is absolutely worth it. Apart from personal sympathies, I have take many classes with different great artists, some of them are good teachers, others not so much. Roman is one of the good.
Keep on happy painting, Hansrainer!
Rock on and put some emotions in your brushstrokes!