Devoirs de Vacances // Holiday Homeworks

Vous connaissez la malédiction du week-end ? Mais si, deux jours, 48h, dans lesquels concentrer, coûte que coûte, tous vos loisirs de la semaine. Et alors s’enclenche la machine infernale des coûts d’opportunité : aller au ciné c’est ne pas aller boire un coup, aller boire un coup (ou deux ou trois) c’est ne pas se lever le lendemain matin pour peindre… Une bonne partie de ma vie est consacrée à contourner cette malédiction des coûts d’opportunité, qui découle de la rareté du temps. Pour cela il faut se créer des occasions.

Et le « pire » pour la peinture ce sont les vraies vacances, celles pendant lesquelles ont part loin. Les « devoirs de vacances » sont ma réponse, pour que la peinture et les voyages ne soient plus opposés mais complémentaires.

Depuis quelques années je ne considère plus qu’un week-end ou des vacances loin de chez moi, de ma vitrine et de mon bureau, signifient un week-end ou des vacances sans peinture. Loin de là ! J’ai découvert les joies (et à vrai dire l’intérêt créatif) de la peinture itinérante.

//

One of my biggest hobby issue is to find time to paint. I usually have no time during the week so I try to paint during my weekends. But weekends are short, too short, far too short… And then some of them are spent away. Sure, it is nice to visit great places around the world or to spend time with the family. But it means you are far away from your paints during your spare time.

With my wife’s help and complicity I started to fight this curse a few years ago and now, whenever we leave home, I pack some minis and some painting tools and here we go: holliday or hobby, why choose when you can do both!

91Fu73CecVL

Contraintes et création / Constraints fuel creativity

Les devoirs de vacances reposent sur un principe simple, que l’on connaît dans toute forme d’expression artistique : les contraintes dopent la créativité. C’est vrai en littérature, comme ici, la contrainte formelle n’est pas une entrave. En vous faisant passer par un labyrinthe artistique elle vous oblige à penser autrement et, finalement, à vous dépasser. Oui je suis un peu lyrique, et alors ? Les contraintes sont le moteur de la démarche créative et artistique. La contrainte ne restreint pas la créativité, au contraire, elle l’oblige à s’exprimer : pour dépasser la contrainte, vous allez devoir stimuler votre imagination encore plus intensément que d’habitude.

Les devoirs de vacances reposent sur deux contraintes essentielles :

  • la palette restreinte : je ne transporte pas toutes mes peintures, ni tout mon matériel. Ceci découle d’abord de raisons pratiques, quand on part en voyage il y a deux ou trois choses plus « nécessaires » à emporter que les peintures et les pinceaux (quoi que). Mais c’est aussi particulièrement intéressant de travailler ainsi. Quand je pars en voyage j’emporte en général une figurine (ou une petite unité) sous couchée. Je sélectionne à l’avance un schéma de couleurs puis j’embarque un nombre limité de peintures. Ainsi, quoi qu’il arrive, je me retrouve obligé de travailler avec ces couleurs là ce qui, au gré des oublis ou des inspirations soudaines peut s’avérer particulièrement intéressant ;
  • le temps limité : l’idée des devoirs de vacances est de partir avec une figurine tout juste sous couchée (je préfère préparer avant le départ, ça permet de limiter le matériel à emporter – et les bombes de peintures ne prennent pas l’avion -) et de revenir avec une figurine terminée. Comme avec la palette restreinte, cette fermeture du champ des possibles me force à faire des choix que je n’aurais pas été amené à faire si j’avais tranquillement peint chez moi et c’est bien ça que je recherche.

//

The idea of holliday homeworks is to use constraints to feed creativity. I am convinced that constraints are a great part of the artistic process and that they help you being more audacious than you would be in a more free environment. I think that in our hobby as in any other artistic activity constraints drive you to surpass yourself. Because you want to free yourself from them the way you work will change and I have to confess I find a great motivation in it.

Holliday homeworks are based on two constraits:

  • less colours: I do not take all my paints & stuff with me, for obvious practical reasons. It is also because I find very interesting to reduce my scope for some project. When I leave I usually take one primed mini (or a small unit). I choose the colours scheme in advance and take just the paints I need (sometimes, because of the size of my bags, I have to alter the colours scheme because I can’t take all the paints I want). Whatever happens, once I am on holliday I have to work with what I got. That’s what makes it interesting;
  • limited time: the goal of the holliday homework is to leave with a primed mini and come back with a completed mini (it is ok to apply the varnish back home). As for the colours, the idea is to force me to make choices I would have had to do if I were home. In a way, all of this helps me not being lazy.

By the way for great painters (far far – oh so far – better than myself) using really strong constraints to get amazing results, see here.

La recette / The recipe

If you want to try this, here are some advice.

  • Always be prepared: each time I plan a trip I decide to take a mini, but then I always change my mind. Why? Well because I pack at the last minute and there is always that time when not packing the mini will buy you 15 minutes sleep or allow you to take one bag less. When packing your paints is tricky, you won’t do it. The answer is « routine »: always use the same box (mine did its first trip to Warsaw and Berlin some years ago), pack the same tools, etc. The true secret is to have a kind of « emergency travelling tool kit » which you nearly only have to pick up to go.
  • Know your stuff: far from the workbench you won’t be able to adapt as much as you usually do. And when something breaks it is not as easy as usual to replace it. You never know if your favourite glue will be available at the local store and there are places where nobody sell 000 brushes (I know). The first answer to that problem is to take everything you have…and have a spare of it all! Since Air Force One is not always available to take you to your destination, maybe there is another way. Pack what you use most: favourite brush, all terrain modelling knife,…and of course that little-homemade-stingy-weirdy-dontknowwhat-pieceofnothing-oneofakind-stuff that you use all the time.
  • Always be prepared 2 / Prepare your mini: primer and glue are a pain in the *** to take away. And they are not that easy to find in some places. My advice is to prime and pre-assemble the mini before you go. Then you will have a « ready to paint » mini which is perfect for « travel hobbying »: you have less things to take away, you can set shop easily and all your painting time abroad will be dedicated to the really fun part. For practical reason I also usually leave varnish and basing materials home. Since the mini is at risk during transport, you may have to « repair » it once back home, so no need to varnish it before coming back. I always add the finishing touch home: repairs, base, varnish.
  • Do not be too ambitious: in other words choose your mini carefully. You will have limited time and not perfect conditions. That is part of the game. And the holidays are not all about painting. I still visit the places I go to, party, go to museums and restaurants and so on… I just get up earlier than I used to to get some time to paint. It is important to adapt your goal to that setting, the idea is to come back with a completed work (except for the base, the base does not count). I find it very depressing to come back with an unfinished mini. When that happens it usually stay unfinished for months, dreadful testimony of a failure… The only way to avoid such curse: start small, choose wisely, paint something simple. Coming back home from Canada with 2000 photographs, ten gallons of maple sirup AND a painted mini is a great pride!
  • Enjoy… once you have your holiday workbench set up, now is time to play. Improvise, feed on the atmosphere of the places you visit, try new mix of colours. I love having to work around a self inflicted lack of colours. And I really try to choose minis which will be at home in the place I visit (see below). I often come up with new stories and names for the models painted that way. Maybe pick up some local sand or small thingy for your base.
  • …and do not be too hard with yourself! You may not end up with your best work, since you cannot do all you want (that is the point) but you’ll end up with a very personal mini, which will remind you the kitchen of that small flat in eastern Berlin where you spent a lovely summer week… That alone is part of the pleasure of the exercice!

« Never go anywhere without a paintbrush » as Leroy Jethro Gibbs would put it, since the only sure way not to work on your minis is not being able to…

qVMd5

Quelques créations et ateliers de voyage / Some of my holiday workbenches and homeworks

Here are some pictures, mostly WIP taken with my phone, of my « holiday » minis. Maybe someday I’ll upload better pictures of the completed minis (they all are now complete).

  • Wolfgang Walderdbeere (Wolfen hunter – Rackham), born in Paris and raised between Warsaw (Poland) and Berlin (Germany)

My first attempt at painting during the holidays. I did not succeed in bringing it back home completed, but it was a great experiment: I learned to pack and most of all I learned that it was possible. Thank you Wolfgang!

  • Turball (Danu/Spasm warrior – Rackham), from La Turballe (France – 44)

That workbench is almost permanent (in my mother in law’s house in Britanny). Lovely light, garden view.

20150405_183724
Turball – WIP (base colours only)
  • The Brotherhood (Assassins – FreeBooter Miniatures), born in Beaumont-de-Perthuis (France – 84) ans raised in La Turballe (France – 44)

Great minis which make lovely NPC for Mordheim. Painted them while reading a book on the Medicis. Perfect timing!

  • Cyrille et Méthode & Sigmar’s bride (Skaven plague monks & Sisters of Sigmar Augur – GW), Caen (France – 14)

Some of you may have followed that workshop live on twitter.

  • Eil-Ton, le fils de la vague (Water Elemental – Rackham), from La Turballe (France – 44)

A mini I took to my in law’s and had to painted in a couple of day during my last stay there. Some of you may have already seen it on twitter.

 

Well that’s all for folks. Hope you liked what you read, see you soon.

Banner picture: Wolfgang in the sunset, by my dear friend Pigeon du Canal. The other pictures are by me.

4 réflexions sur « Devoirs de Vacances // Holiday Homeworks »

Laisser un commentaire

Entrez vos coordonnées ci-dessous ou cliquez sur une icône pour vous connecter:

Logo WordPress.com

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte WordPress.com. Déconnexion / Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Google+

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Google+. Déconnexion / Changer )

Connexion à %s