Impressions of a Weekend Masterclass with Banshee

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The past weekend I had the chance of attending the two days Masterclass with Banshee in Oviedo, Spain.

In the miniature paintsphere there are many very well known names, people that are a reference for their contributions to our art and many others that achieve that fame because of incredible paintjobs and constant quality in their work. I think that Alfonso Giraldes (Banshee) is an artist that without a doubt complies with these characteristics. Apart from these, he has projected his work as a painter into the teaching aspect, which have made him probably the most representative painter of the Spanish miniature painting scene, widespreading his revolutionary ‪#‎fucksmoothness‬ all over the globe.

With this background and after months of waiting, the long-awaited date finally came and the 11 students gathered around on Saturday in the store of one of the participants, Gráficas Goblin.

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We knew already that Banshee’s Workshop is not the typical painting course, where you can see the painting process of a miniature with the corresponding explanation of the techniques applied. What Banshee had prepared for us really caught completely unprepared.

It all begins with primary colours. It’s in that moment when your inner alarm ticks off and makes you prepare yourself to listen to abstract terms, difficult to assimilate and complex theories and hieroglyphical pictorical relations. Banshee knows about it, so it is difficult for you to understand what he is trying to explain to you, and it is in that moment where his magic begins: with his direct (and tough at times) speech, you begin to understand what each colour is and how you are perceiving it in reality. Now it’s when you begin to understand why those sad songs that BB King sand, where called Blues.

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As the reader might understand, I’m not going to give out details of what the course contains, but I will try to explain what those 23 hours (12 on Saturday and 11 on Sunday) really mean to a standard miniature painter. This course will give you the understanding to be able to develop your painting in a way completely outside of the standards. It’s a pictorical revolution, but not really, because the trip takes you back to what the miniature painting hobby was really about in its roots. When you experimented that joy of painting a Blue Ultramarine, just for the sake of painting and caring only about not getting too much paint on the details.

You start to assimilate that despite formulas, thousands of brands and colour names, you only need to understand how these are related and experiment with them. You need to apply these to what you are painting, seeing how they can complement your brushstroke, playing with it all until you can make it all yours. Something seems really obvious once it has been explained to you!

During Banshee’s classes he proposes exercises on paper, many challenges always related to colours, correcting them and explaining the mistakes made and why. He shows reference paintjobs both from miniatures, oil paintings and photographs. Because one of the things you get as a conclusion, is that the basics that you are learning are the same you would use to paint a dungeon diorama or what Velazquez used when he painted “The Surrender of Breda”.

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There were many theory hours, but not of a boring and book like theory, more of a theory explained with examples, stirred with passion and understanding transmitted in a way so friendly that without you even notice, 2 complete days have passed and you have only been able to paint a miniature for a couple of hours, and the rest are just lots of pieces of white paper filled with exercises and colour experiences.

To put and end to the workshop, Alfonso used the latest reference from Hera Models, the orc Gürmuz “the barbarian”, to do a demonstration of two different techniques. First, 20 minutes of ‘Grissaille’ to dynamically and quickly sketch the volumes of this fantastic bust.

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Then, half an hour more to show us an introduction to colour filters applied with airbrush. Carefully explaining dillutions, pressures and ways of using the airbrush when applying colour over the previous ‘grisaille’ base.

FotoBanshee5The result after approximately 90 minutes is a very advanced figure already, a starting point that promises an spectacular ending.

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I can’t stop recommending this course, I really do. It really is a reboot of our inner painter. Whether you are an advanced and very technical painter, whether you are starting in this hobby, you need to know what Banshee is teaching.

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Unconditionally passionate about our hobby, Norberto Álvarez has been in love with figures and static modeling since he was 11 years old. Nor is an active and enterprising collaborator of many projects related to our community, contributing with ideas, work on social networks and the Internet. A regular in national events wherever they are, huge advocate of hobbying with good beer and friends ;)

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